Former Liverpool captain, coach and caretaker manager Ronnie Moran has died at the age of 83.
Moran made 379 appearances between 1952 and 1968, scoring 17 goals, but arguably played as big a role as part of Bill Shankly’s famous Boot Room.
“Liverpool Football Club is deeply saddened by the passing of Ronnie Moran,” said a statement from the club.
Moran’s son Paul wrote on Twitter: “I am devastated to tell everyone on behalf of the family that my dad passed away this morning after a short illness.”
Moran played for the Reds between 1952 and 1968 before joining the coaching staff at Anfield, serving the club for a total of 49 years.
He twice filled in as caretaker manager, firstly in 1991 following Kenny Dalglish’s resignation and once again in 1992 when boss Graeme Souness underwent heart surgery.
Evans, who worked alongside Moran for many years before including him in his coaching staff when he took over as manager, paid tribute to his former colleague.
“It’s a sad end to a great man’s life,” Evans told BBC Radio Five Live.
“He’s one of these guys that day in, day out, did his job and did a great job for Liverpool Football Club.
“Liverpool and the fans will remember him for the great man that he was and he’ll be sadly missed.
“I’m sure he will be remembered with great love and affection for what he did for our football club and it’s a sad time for us.
“Ronnie Moran is one of the greats of Liverpool.”
Former Reds defender Phil Thompson, who wrote the foreword for Moran’s book ‘Mr Liverpool’ earlier this year, spoke fondly of his “mentor” and said the Merseyside club would not have won half the trophies they did without Moran.
Liverpool won 13 league titles, five FA Cups and four European Cups – among other silverware – during Moran’s near-half-century with the club.
“He was truly wonderful, inspirational, our guide,” Thompson said on Sky Sports News. “You’re saying ‘Ronnie’ but to us he’s known as ‘Bugsy’, his nickname.
“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.
“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.
“He was my mentor. Ronnie was so important. I had the opp of going into the bootroom and seeing how Ronnie Moran worked. He did everything – everything was meticulous. To see him work was an absolute wonder.”
Former players were also quick to pay tribute on social media, with ex-defender Jamie Carragher crediting Moran for finding his best position.
He posted on Instagram: “Gutted with the news this morning that the @liverpoolfc Legend Ronnie Moran has passed away.
“The one man who was involved throughout the years Liverpool dominated at home & abroad, and the man who first made the decision to play me at Centre back. That showed the influence he continued to have long after he’d left the club.#liverpool #legend #ronniemoran.”
All-time leading scorer Ian Rush tweeted: “It’s a sad day in Football! RIP Mr. Liverpool #RonnieMoran you will be greatly missed! @LFC”
Former striker Michael Owen wrote: “So sad to learn that Ronnie Moran passed away last night. A truly pivotal figure @LFC during the most successful years in their history.”
Another ex-frontman, Robbie Fowler, retweeted Paul Moran’s confirmation of Ronnie death and added: “So sorry to hear this Paul..Deepest sympathy to you and all the family, thoughts and prayers with you … The man deserves the legend status”
Former goalkeeper Ray Clemence wrote: “Deeply saddened by the passing of Ronnie Moran he had an influence on all of us who played @LFC thoughts are with family and friends #YNWA”
Ex-midfielder Jason McAteer posted: “Absolutely devastated to here the news of Ronnie Moran I will be forever indebted to him for my time @LFC the man’s a true legend god bless.”
Former forward Stan Collymore tweeted: “Saddened to hear of Ronnie Moran’s passing, a giant of #LFC and British football. Condolences to family, friends and all @LFC. #YNWA”
Ray Houghton, who played for Liverpool between 1987 and 1992, told BBC Radio Five Live: “Ronnie was such a key member of Liverpool for so many years. He would have done anything for the club.
“He was there for a number of years, both as a player and coach, and he just loved everything about Liverpool Football Club and it’s a real sad day.
“He was a very humble man but a very honest one, who would give you 100 per cent every time.”
Former midfielder Jamie Redknapp recalled Moran’s “bark” and how much it helped him learn.
“He had a great heart, cared passionately about Liverpool Football Club and the players there,” the 43-year-old said on Sky Sports News. ” He taught me everything in my early years at Liverpool and the traditions of how the game should be played.
“He just had this bark. During training he’d shout at you, and I’d just think, ‘Why does he keep shouting at me? What’s his problem?
“I remember saying to John Barnes one day, ‘Why does he keep picking on me?’ and he said, ‘He’s not picking on you – it’s because he likes you and he wants to make you better, and the day he stops either means he’s given up on you or he thinks you’re now a player. I hope it was the latter!
“Young players now would be petrified of him because his bark was so loud. He had an amazing way of getting information across. You could hear him, no matter where you were on the pitch.
“He always used to call me ‘Harry’. I’d say ‘My name’s Jamie’, but he always called me ‘Harry’. Even to this day, it makes me laugh.
“A very special man, and I’m very lucky to have worked with him for as long as I did.”