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Gérard Houllier

Gérard Houllier (born September 3 1947 at Therouanne, northern France) is a football coach and manager, currently the manager of the French champion side Olympique Lyonnais.

He entered Lille University to pursue a degree in English, but in the first year his father's serious illness forced him to drop out of full-time study and start work, eventually as a schoolteacher, while he completed his degree part-time. As part of his degree, he elected to spend a year in 1969-70 in Liverpool as an Assistant at Alsop Comprehensive School, and while there he attended his first Liverpool F.C. match on September 16 1969 — a 10-0 thrashing of the Irish side, Dundalk. He became a confirmed Liverpool fan during his stay in the city.

He was a natural football player, and at the time French football was a mixture of amateur and professional players. Although he had become deputy headmaster of the Ecole Normal d’Arras, at the age of 26 in 1973 he began his full-time managerial career as player-manager of Le Touquet. He later moved to Arras as youth coach, and Noeux Les Mines as Head Coach where he won two consecutive promotions into the French Second Division before moving to Lens in 1982. He took the Lens team to promotion and qualification for the UEFA Cup before moving to Paris Saint-Germain in 1985, and PSG won the French title the following year.

In 1988 Houllier was appointed technical director and assistant to the French national team, under manager Michel Platini. He became manager in 1992, though resigning in 1993 after the team failed to qualify for the Template:Wc; however, he remained as technical director. In 1998 France won the World Cup and Houllier's contribution was recognised with the award of a special medal.

In 1998, at the age of 51, Houllier was invited to become joint team manager (together with Roy Evans) of Liverpool F.C. Unfortunately, the arrangement did not work well and Evans resigned a few months later, leaving Houllier in sole charge of the team. In 1999 he began a programme to rebuild the team, which resulted in the extremely successful 2000-01 season, when Liverpool won the Worthington Cup (League Cup), the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup, as well as finishing third in the English Premier League, and attaining the European Super Cup and the Community Shield at the start of the following season.

A lack of success in later seasons, coupled with what were considered negative tactics and unattractive football, and a lack of support from fans, led to Houllier's departure from Liverpool F.C. on 24 May 2004. He left by mutual consent with the club. One year later, on 26 May 2005, a Liverpool team containing many of Houllier's players won the UEFA Champions League.

On 29 May 2005 it was announced that Houllier had signed a two-year contract as manager of the champions of Ligue 1 for four successive years, Olympique Lyonnais, succeeding Paul Le Guen.

Gérard Houllier has been awarded the Legion d'Honneur for his services to French football, and an honorary OBE for services to British football.fr:Gérard Houllier

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