Sir Kenny Dalglish new project confirmed as Liverpool icon joins forces with son

Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool talking with Sir Kenny Dalglish
-Credit: (Image: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Sir Kenny Dalglish will have representation for the first time as his son launches a new sports agency.

TaP23, set up by Paul Dalglish and talent manager and barrister Ben Mawson, has launched with the view to provide full-scale management to sportspersons.

Mawson, an award-winning music manager, has been behind some of the biggest stars of the industry including Liverpool fan Lana Del Rey and Dua Lipa, whose ‘One Kiss’ classic has been adopted by Reds since the 2018 Champions League final in Kyiv.

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Dalglish enjoyed a successful playing career spanning the likes of Newcastle United, Norwich City and Blackpool before spending time in America, where he moved into the backroom staff with Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake, as well as success in the dugout with Austin Aztex.

Injuries hampered the 48-year-old’s playing time but he has tasted success as a manager and coach, moving into the general manager's role at Miami FC. It was in the Florida city where Mawson and Dalglish rekindled their friendship, having gone to Merchant Taylor’s School in Crosby together.

Dalglish was among one of the first agents to complete FIFA’s Player-Agent Program and he believes from his career on and off the pitch, as well as guidance from experts within TaP23, the new agency can be a success.

He told the ECHO: "From my playing career, you learn a little bit of good and a little bit of bad. You learn what can be achieved if things can be done at a high level and you also learn what the consequences are if you take your eye off the ball.

"It’s definitely prepared me for it, I think Arrigo Sacchi said when someone questioned that he didn’t have a playing career he said ‘I didn’t think you had to be a horse before you could be a jockey’ and it’s true.

"Just because you’ve been a player, manager or general manager doesn’t mean you are automatically going to be competent but what it does do is give you experience of different aspects, gives you a perspective of how it feels to be a player in good and bad situations."

Sir Kenny is also in a non-executive advisory role for the company but with the support of the iconic Liverpool captain and manager, the Scot opted to hand the responsibility to his son to manage his opportunities moving forward. Already, the 73-year-old is meeting parents and prospective players who may join the agency.

Paul added: "My dad is going to be an ambassador for us really, he’s got so much experience and at the end of the day, he’s Kenny Dalglish but he’s my dad.

"Just like if any of my sisters want to get involved in a venture, he would help and support them, he has already met with parents and players just to be a source of information. If he can pass on any of his experience or guidance to players or parents, that’s what he’s willing to do.

"It’s as much as people want him to be involved and how much he wants to be involved but he is 100 percent supportive.

"He’s never had management in his whole career - he’s had an accountant his whole life, when he saw what we was doing and at the level we were doing it, he asked us to start doing it for him.

"We’re working with my dad on a few projects so that’s the greatest endorsement he could give."

TaP23 has launched its network across England, Scotland and Wales as they look to put coaching, development and psychological well-being at the centre of its offering.

They will also look to strategise career pathways while off the field, the agency will look to help build, protect and elevate profiles of their clients to exploit opportunities for commercial collaborations.

Mawson continued: "In football, the traditional agent mostly handled, as I saw, football and transfers, it felt, looking from the outside, there was an opportunity for a fresh approach to it.

"Sportspeople are public figures now and I couldn’t ever bring football credibility, although I have a music background and a legal background.

"(When) Paul and I got talking, conversations evolved with Paul and the Dalglish family, all it’s experience between them were the missing piece of the jigsaw to do a full-scale where we look after a player from helping them improve on the pitch from a football side through to transfers, finding them the right club and the career pathway planning - which Paul does - which goes to the off-field needs which is my specialism.

"It’s taken a while to look at the industry together and look at what we felt would be the perfect blend for the company, it’s coincided with the introduction from FIFA of these very strict exams for anyone who wants to represent players to ensure that footballers were being represented by properly qualified people."

Dalglish concluded: "People will try to poke holes in it. We had to make sure before we were ready and we’ve got all these different ways to support the player with advice.

"But first and foremost, we have to see how we can improve the players as footballers, the reason we’re doing things differently is because when you sign with TaP, you don’t just have an agent, you have a management - a team who are experts in their area.

"The demands for a footballer have changed over the last 10 years, management hasn’t really, we are true team-based approach, we’ve got the best in everything, social media, PR and football, that is why we feel we are different."