Ronnie Whelan - Irish Soccer Legend, Television pundit, Media Personality and After Dinner Speaker
A highly successful and well respected former Irish International footballer and current media personality, Ronnie is best remembered for his time as part of Liverpool FC’s all-conquering teams of the 1980’s.
Born in Dublin into a family of footballers, Ronnie’s father and brother were both also professional footballers, Ronnie Snr an ex Ireland International and Paul representing Bohemians FC and Shamrock Rovers. His early career was spent with local club Home Farm FC where his skillful and industrious midfield displays earned him a call from the famous Bob Paisley, with a move to Liverpool FC materializing in 1979. What followed was a long career as a player and manager at clubs including Liverpool, Southend United, Panionios, Olympiakos Nicosia and Apollon Limassol.
Ronnie is a regular pundit with various media organisations in the broadcasting world, sharing his insight and opinions on the game today. His media credits include a regular feature on RTE’s football programming, including its English Premier League, UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup coverage.
Ronnie on The Late Late Show
He is a regular on the after dinner speaker circuit and has worked, in conjunction with JGA Sports Agency, on many projects including photo calls, launches and personal appearances.
A stalwart of Liverpool throughout his career, Ronnie made a total of 443 appearances for The Reds, netting 73 goals in the process. This golden period endeared him to the fans and rewarded him with a list of honours including six Football League First Divisions (1982, ’83, ’84, ’86, ’88, ’90), two FA Cups (1986, ’89), three League Cups (1982, ’83, ’84), five FA Charity Shields (1982, ’86, ’88, ‘’89, ’90), one European Cup (1984) and one European Super Cup (1984).
Having left Liverpool, he made the move into management and experienced mixed success. The highlight of his managerial career was leading Panionios of Greece to the quarter finals of the Cup Winners Cup in 1999, where they were defeated by eventual winners Lazio.
His International career brought along a new dawn for Irish football as the national team qualified for its first major competitions. Ronnie represented Ireland at two World Cups (1990 & ’94) and one European Championships (1988), amassing a total of 53 caps and 3 goals before his retirement in 1995.
In 1988 at the Republic of Irelands first UEFA European Championships, he scored a spectacular acrobatic goal in the 1-1 draw with the USSR, a goal that is widely regarded as the best ever scored by an Irish International.
That goal versus USSR
In 2011, Ronnie was the ambassador for the UEFA Europa League, which culminated with the showpiece final in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. He took part in the group stage draw for the 2010 – 2011 competition.
He is also an active fundraiser and patron of the Myasthenia Gravis Association in Ireland, where he works to raise awareness of this rare autoimmune disease.