‘Bang! He took a sledgehammer to the club’: Barry Venison on the impact Graeme Souness had on Liverpool when he returned as manager

Liverpool manager Graeme Souness looks on from the dugout during a pre season match prior to the 1991/92 First Division season.
(Image credit: Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images/Hulton Archive)

Liverpool legend Graeme Souness oversaw a ruthless Reds rebuild as manager, wielding a "sledgehammer", according to former player Barry Venison.

The Merseysiders are in a similar spot at current, with an overhaul of their playing squad needed following a fifth-place finish in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp has his work cut out getting his side into shape – and now Venison has shed light on how Souness had a similar transition as Liverpool boss.

Souness returned to Anfield from a stint in Scottish football and immediately set about altering things at the club – with Venison one of his unfortunate victims along the way.

"Souness arrived from Rangers, where he’d been highly successful, and bang! He took a sledgehammer to the club," Venison tells FFT now. "He recognised that Liverpool needed a big change and he did it in a radical way, all guns blazing. 

"A lot of people went; a lot of people came. I don’t blame him for doing what he did. It was his solution based on what he’d done at Rangers."

The remorseless scythe, however, meant that Venison eventually became surplus to requirements – though the Reds were keen to him on board. Eventually, the County Durham-born defender went back home to Newcastle, though he ended up reuniting with Souness years later, when the Scot brought him to Galatasaray.

"Unfortunately, I had a few problems with my achilles tendon and a young right-back, Rob Jones, joined from Crewe," Venison reveals. "Rob did very well and I was never going to get my place back. 

"Liverpool offered me another contract, but I went to Newcastle."

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