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Gary Ian Ablett
Gary Ian Ablett (born 19 November 1965 in Liverpool, England) was a strong and unfussy defender who was a regular in the all-conquering Liverpool team of 1988.
Ablett joined the Anfield club as a schoolboy and rose through the ranks until given a first team debut by manager Kenny Dalglish shortly after his 21st birthday. He also spent some time on loan at Derby County and Hull City as an exercise in grooming for regular first-team football.
In 1988, after regular defenders Mark Lawrenson and Barry Venison each suffered an injury, Ablett was called into the first team by Dalglish and he responded with such a polished and composed run of displays that he stayed in the side for the rest of the season, with Venison missing out and Lawrenson being forced by his injury into premature retirement. Alongside vastly experienced players in defence like Gary Gillespie, Steve Nicol and skipper Alan Hansen, Ablett settled confidently into the team as Liverpool crushed opponent after opponent on their way to the League championship and the FA Cup final.
At Wembley, Ablett was one of Liverpool's better players on a day when their standards slipped vastly, and they were beaten 1-0 by Wimbledon and missed out on the "double".
In 1989, Ablett was deeply affected by the Hillsborough disaster as a local lad, but with his team-mates retained his professionalism to help Liverpool to success in the FA Cup with a 3-2 win over fierce Merseyside rivals Everton. However, they dramatically lost the League title to Arsenal with practically the last kick of the season.
Ablett flitted in and out of the squad over the next year, and was used more frequently as a central defender rather than left full back after Hansen began suffering more with injuries. Eventually he took the central role more often following the arrival of left back David Burrows from WBA and won the League again with Liverpool in 1990.
When Dalglish resigned as manager, his replacement Graeme Souness decided in a mildly controversial manner to sell Ablett to Everton in 1992, at a time when moves directly between the two clubs were rare (though Souness would also do the same with Peter Beardsley). At Goodison Park, Ablett was a sturdy and regular defender who won the FA Cup again in 1995. He later had a brief loan with Sheffield United before making a permanent move to Birmingham City.
Ablett ended his career with short spells at Wycombe Wanderers and Blackpool before retiring to take up a post as the coach of Everton's under-17s side, a role he holds to this day.
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