Liverpool 'great' Ronnie Moran dies aged 83
Former Liverpool captain, coach and caretaker manager Ronnie Moran will be remembered as a "legendary figure" akin to the great Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley, according to ex-Reds defender Jamie Carragher.
Moran, who has died aged 83, only managed the club on a caretaker basis, but his 49-year service on the playing and backroom staff coincided with the Reds' most successful period in their history.
He may not have taken charge of a team who won the first division title or the European Cup, but his influence was present throughout.
"There's a lot of legendary figures involved at Liverpool over the history of the club and Ronnie Moran will be very close to being right up there at number one," Carragher told Sky Sports News.
"The great managers which started with Bill Shankly; Ronnie Moran was a major part of that success with all those managers."
Crosby-born Moran was the training ground 'sergeant major' for his managers and players learned to both fear and respect him.
There are numerous stories about his methods, all players remembering his famous training ground 'bark', and his snippets of wisdom which kept a host of trophy-winning players at the peak of their game.
"Throughout all those times, those glory days, you needed somebody to keep the feet on the ground of all these superstars, and this guy was the man. Every day, he was the driving force," Liverpool's European Cup-winning captain Phil Thompson told Sky Sports.
"Sometimes as a young man you'd think, 'Nothing satisfies this man', but without him we would not have won half the trophies.
"This is not just a flippant comment: Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley - great. Ronnie Moran is up there with those two greats."
Moran made 379 appearances for the club between 1952 and 1968, including a spell as captain, winning two league titles and the FA Cup, but arguably played a bigger a role as part of Shankly's famous Boot Room, also working under Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Roy Evans.
He was twice called upon to become caretaker manager: once after Dalglish's resignation in 1991 and when Souness was recovering from his triple by-pass heart surgery in 1992, before finally retiring in 1998.
Even then he could not tear himself away from the club and he remained a regular visitor to Anfield and was a familiar face at the club's Melwood training ground during his daily jog - and then walk when he got older - around the field.
His legacy, however, lived on and current captain Jordan Henderson reflected that in his tribute.
"The reason being captain of Liverpool Football Club is such a huge honour is because legendary figures like Ronnie Moran held it before I did," he wrote on Instagram.
"I wasn't lucky enough to work with Ronnie but I had the great fortune of being in his company on the occasions when he came to Melwood to walk around the training pitch and although we all regarded him as a true great, he was as humble and down to earth as anyone you could ever come across.
"I know I speak for all of the current players when I say that we are all deeply saddened by Ronnie's passing and the greatest tribute we can pay to him is to give everything we've got for Liverpool Football Club just as he did each and every single day during the 49 years he spent here."
Four years ago Moran was diagnosed with vascular dementia and last October his family took the difficult decision to admit him to a care home where he could receive 24-hour care.
His son, Paul, announced his death on Wednesday and the news prompted hundreds of tributes from current and former players and acquaintances.
Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard wrote on Instagram: "RIP Ronnie Moran. Gave me some great advice over the years.
"The reason our club has a fantastic history is because of people like him. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time."
Dalglish, for whom Moran was a mentor as he took his first steps in management, expressed his admiration.
"There are many ways to measure Ronnie Moran's contribution to Liverpool Football Club, but none greater than the esteem in which he is held by all who were fortunate enough to work with him," he told liverpoolfc.com.
"The success we enjoyed during that period is something that we are all able to look back on with immense fondness and pride but it should never be forgotten that without people like Ronnie it would not have been possible for us to achieve as much as we did."