Bill Shankly

Bill Shankly

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William (Bill) Shankly, the son of John and Barbara Shankly, was born at the mining village of Glenbuck in Scotland on 2nd September, 1913. Bill had four brothers (John, Bob, Jimmy and Alec) and five sisters (Netta, Elizabeth, Isobel, Barbara and Jean).

Although most of the men living in the village worked as miners, John Shankly was a tailor. People living in Glenbuck were strong trade unionists and during his youth Bill Shankly developed socialist beliefs. "The socialism I believe in is not really politics. It is a way of living. It is humanity. I believe the only way to live and to be truly successful is by collective effort, with everyone working for each other, everyone helping each other, and everyone having a share of the rewards at the end of the day."

Bill Shankly's mother was very interested in football. Her two brothers, Robert Blyth and and William Blyth, both moved to England to play professional football. Both became involved in the administration of football with Robert being appointed chairman of Portsmouth and William was director of Carlisle United for many years.

Bill Shankly attended the local village school: "We played football in the playground, of course, and sometimes we got a game with another school, but we never had an organized school team. It was too small a school. If we played another school we managed to get some kind of strip together, but we played in our shoes."

Bill Shankly left school at 14 and like the other boys in the village went to work at the Glenbuck Colliery. As he later recalled: "My wages would be no more than two shillings and sixpence a day. My job was to empty the trucks when they came up full of coal and send them back down the pit again and to sort out the stones from the coal on a conveyer-belt... After about six months working at the pit top, a job that was active but not heavy, I went down to the pit bottom. The coal mines and pits were the first places to have electricity, before people had it in their houses, and the pit was like Piccadilly Circus. First I would shift full trucks and put them into the cages and then take out the empty trucks and run them along to where they were loaded."

Shankly played junior football for for Cronberry Eglinton. In 1932 a scout working for Carlisle United, saw Shankly play and arranged for him to join the club. Like his four brothers, John Shankly, Bob Shankly, Jimmy Shankly and Alec Shankly, Bill was now a professional footballer. As he later pointed out in his autobiography, Shankly: "All the boys became professional footballers and once, when we were all at our peaks, we could have beaten any five brothers in the world." In fact, despite only having a population of less than a 1,000 people, the village produced near fifty professional footballers in a sixty year period.

Bill Shankly was transferred to Preston North End for £500 in 1933. A teetotaler, non-smoker and fitness fanatic, this very energetic 20 year old, formed a great partnership with former English international, Robert Kelly. In the 1933-34 season Kelly and Shankly helped the club win promotion to the First Division.

Kelly, now aged 41, was considered too old for First Division football and was allowed to become player manager at Carlisle United. Preston signed another veteran, Ted Critchley, to replace Kelly. Other players brought in that year included Jimmy Maxwell (Kilmarnock) and Jimmy Dougal (Falkirk). In the 1934-35 season Preston finished 11th in the league. Maxwell, who played at centre-forward, was the club's leading scorer with 26 league and cup goals.

The following season Preston North End persuaded the Scottish international, Tom Smith, to join the club. Other signings that year included the brothers, Hugh O'Donnell and Francis O'Donnell, from Celtic.

In the 1935-36 season, Preston finished 7th in the league. Jimmy Maxwell was again top scorer with 19 goals in all competitions. Shankly, a powerful wing half, had emerged as the most important player in the team. He rarely missed a game and helped Preston North End reach the 1937 FA Cup Final against Sunderland at Wembley. Francis O'Donnell scored in the first-half but with Raich Carter in top form, Sunderland responded by scoring three in reply.

At the beginning of the next season, Preston made two important signings. In September, 1937, Preston purchased the high scoring George Mutch, from Manchester United for £5,000. The following month, Robert Beattie a skillful inside forward, arrived from Kilmarnock for a fee of £2,500. They joined fellow Scotsmen, Bill Shankly, Jimmy Dougal, Andrew Beattie, Jimmy Maxwell, Tom Smith, Hugh O'Donnell, Francis O'Donnell and Andrew McLaren.

In the 1937-38 season Preston North End (49 points) finished 3rd in the First Division of the Football League behind Arsenal (52) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (51). Preston also had another successful run in the 1937-38 FA Cup. Preston beat West Ham United in the 3rd round with George Mutch scored a hat trick. Mutch also scored goals in the 4th round against Leicester City and in the semi-final when Preston beat Aston Villa 2-1.

In the FA Cup Final Preston played Huddersfield Town. This was the first time that a whole match was shown live on television. Even so, far more people watched the game in the stadium as only around 10,000 people at the time owned television sets. No goals were scored during the first 90 minutes and so extra-time was played. In the last minute of extra-time, Bill Shankly put George Mutch through on goal. Alf Young, Huddersfield's centre-half, brought him down from behind and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Mutch was injured in the tackle but after receiving treatment he got up and scored via the crossbar. It was the only goal in the game and Shankly won a cup winners' medal.

Shankly had a magnificent season and on 9th April, 1938 he won his first international cap when he played for Scotland against England at Wembley. Also in the Scottish team were Preston colleagues, George Mutch, Andrew Beattie, Tom Smith and Francis O'Donnell. Scotland won 1-0 with Mutch scoring the only goal of the game. Later that season, two other Preston players, Jimmy Dougal and Robert Beattie, were called up to play for Scotland.

Shankly also played for Scotland against Northern Ireland (October, 1938), Wales (November, 1938), Hungary (December, 1938) and England (April, 1939). Shankly's international career was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War. Games in the Football League were brought to an end as the government imposed a fifty mile travelling limit. However, the clubs were divided into seven regional areas where games could take place. In the 1940-1941 season Preston North End needed to win their last game against Liverpool to win the North Regional League title. The nineteen year old Andrew McLaren scored all six goals in the 6-1 victory.

Preston North End also took part in the 1941 Football League War Cup. The teenage Andrew McLaren scored five of the goals in Preston's 12-1 victory over Tranmere. He also scored a hat-trick in the fourth-round tie against Manchester City. Preston reached the final by beating Newcastle United 2-0. The Preston team that faced Arsenal at Wembley on 31st May was: Jack Fairbrother, Frank Gallimore, William Scott, Bill Shankly, Tom Smith, Andrew Beattie, Tom Finney, Andrew McLaren, Jimmy Dougal, Robert Beattie and Hugh O'Donnell.

The game took place in front of a 60,000 crowd. Arsenal was awarded a penalty after only three minutes but Leslie Compton hit the foot of the post with the spot kick. Soon afterwards Andrew McLaren scored from a pass from Tom Finney. Preston dominated the rest of the match but Dennis Compton managed to get the equaliser just before the end of full-time.

The replay took place at Ewood Park, the ground of Blackburn Rovers. The first goal was as a result of a move that included Tom Finney and Jimmy Dougal before Robert Beattie put the ball in the net. Frank Gallimore put through his own goal but from the next attack, Beattie scored again. It was the final goal of the game and Preston ended up the winners of the cup.

Bill Shankly retired from playing football in 1948. During his time at Preston North End he scored 14 goals in 337 league and cup games. This included a record 43 successive FA Cup ties.

Shankly became the coach of Preston's reserve team but in March, 1949 he agreed to become manager of Carlisle United. The club finished 3rd in the Third Division (North) league in 1950-51. Carlisle had little money to spend and in 1951 he resigned complaining about a lack of resources. It was a similar story at Grimsby Town (1951-54) and Workington (1954-55).

In 1956 Shankly became assistant manager under Andrew Beattie at Huddersfield Town, a club that had just been relegated from the First Division of the Football League. Soon after joining the club, Shankly signed the 15 year old Dennis Law. Over the next three years Shankly was involved in keeping Law at the club. This included an offer of £45,000 from Everton.

Shankly did not manage to get Huddersfield Town back into the First Division finishing 12th (1956-57), 9th (1957-58) and 14th (1958-59). In December 1959, Shankly became manager of Liverpool, another Second Division club trying to get promotion to the top league. Shankly got them into 3rd place in 1959-60. He repeated this in 1960-61, but the following year won the championship with 62 points.

Wilf Mannion was a great advocate of Shankly's man-management: "What I like about Bill is that he never panics. Even when things weren't going so well, he stuck to the same team and gave them a chance to settle down. 'Panic and all is lost,' is one of the Shankly maxims. Everything Bill does is done to plan. Even training is scheduled to a strict timetable. But that doesn't make him a strict disciplinarian. Far from it. He is one of the easiest-going characters I have met. Ask the players. He's always 'Bill' to them. There's no 'Mr' or 'Boss' when he's around. 'Let the players regard you as an equal,' says Bill, 'and you gain just as much respect.' I couldn't agree more."

Liverpool finished in a respectable 8th place in their first season back in the First Division. The following season (1963-64) they won the league with their arch-rivals, Everton, finishing in 3rd place. Over the next ten years Liverpool won the league on two more occasions: 1965-66 and 1972-73. They also won the FA Cup in 1974.

Shankly remained interested in politics and once said: "The socialism I believe in is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards. That's how I see football, that's how I see life."

In July, 1974, Shankly, now 60 years old, decided to retire. He later commented: "It was the most difficult thing in the world, when I went to tell the chairman. It was like walking to the electric chair." He was replaced by Bob Paisley. Soon after he retired Shankly was awarded the OBE.

Bill Shankly died of a heart attack on 28th September, 1981.

I was born in a little coal-mining village called Glenbuck, about a mile from the Ayrshire-Lanarkshire border, where the Ayrshire road was white and the Lanarkshire road was red shingle. We were not far from the racecourses at Ayr, Lanark, Hamilton Park and Bogside.

Ours was like many other mining villages in Scotland in 1913. By the time I was born the population had decreased to seven hundred, perhaps less. People would move to other villages, four or five miles away, where the mines were possibly better...

There was the village council school and a higher-grade school in the village of Muirkirk three miles away. I just went to the village school. We played football in the playground, of course, and sometimes we got a game with another school, but we never had an organized school team. If we played another school we managed to get some kind of strip together, but we played in our shoes.

When I left school I went to work at the pit, which was the usual thing in the village. I worked a section with my brother Bob for a time. Occasionally a boy would take a job on a farm, but we were not farm-minded people really.

There were plenty of mines, into which you could walk down an incline, and plenty of pits, where you had to go down by cage. There was no unemployment in the village at that time.

I went to a pit and spent the first six months working at the pit top. My wages would be no more than two shillings and sixpence a day. My job was to empty the trucks when they came up full of coal and send them back down the pit again and to sort out the stones from the coal on a conveyer-belt.

On Sunday you could make extra money emptying wagons of the fine coal we called dross, which was fed into about six big Lancashire boilers. You got sixpence a ton and each wagon contained maybe eight to ten tons. I've been in on a Sunday, just me and my shovel - as big as the wagon - and emptied two wagons, twenty tons, on my own. It was light stuff and nothing to us.

After about six months working at the pit top, a job that was active but not heavy, I went down to the pit bottom. First I would shift full trucks and put them into the cages and then take out the empty trucks and run them along to where they were loaded. I did more running than lifting and at the end of an eight-hour shift I had probably run ten or twelve miles. This might have done me good - marathon-running!

Then I went into the back of the pit itself, where they were digging the coals and where they had the stables in which the ponies were kept. I felt sorry for the animals. When they were lowered down to the bottom of the pit, below the cage, it looked like cruelty, but it wasn't really. I've seen them in their stables, eating their straw. They could be there for months at a time. Then they took a break. They were blind then, but they recovered their sight. They used to pull a dozen of the trucks on the rails from the back end of the pit to the pit bottom.

At the back of the pit you realized what it was all about: the smell of damp, fungus all over the place, seams that had been worked out and had left big gaps, and the stench - not the best of air, though possibly better ventilated in mines and pits now. There was a ventilation system which diverted the air through channels with doors, canvas and all kinds of things. You were supposed to get air but I'm sure there were some places it did not reach. People got silicosis because they had no decent air to breathe.

In one part of the pit you went up an incline with the water gushing down it, and if the trucks went off the rails there, what an operation it was to put them back on again!

You would be down there eight hours and you would have your grub to eat there and a tea can wrapped up in a big, thick newspaper to keep it warm for a couple of hours, perhaps even less. You had to drink your tea maybe an hour after you'd started, otherwise it would probably be cold. You had to eat where you were working and there was no place to wash your hands. It was really primitive. The longest break you would get for anything would be half an hour, but if a man was digging coal on piece-work he could stop to eat anytime. If there were six men doing a job, three would take a break while three worked.

We would see a lot of rats in a mine, though not as many in a pit. In a mine the rats could go down the incline. But they did not frighten the men. Not at all. I have seen rats sitting on men's laps eating.

I went to the coal-face, but I didn't actually dig any coal. I was too young. I saw the firing of shots to bring down the coal - men boring the big holes, stabbing them up with powder or gelignite and then... whoof!

And men putting up props before they could go in and waiting for the smoke to clear. A lot of men went in before the smoke had cleared, and they would get severe headaches.

We were filthy most of the time and never really clean. It was unbelievable how we survived. You could not clean all the parts of your body properly. Going home to wash in a tub was the biggest thing. The first time I was in a bath was when I was fifteen...

After about two years in the pit I was unemployed. The old, old story. The pits closed. All of them. Men had to travel to other villages where the mines and pits were still working. I remember two men, James and Will McLatchie, who walked seven miles to a place appropriately called Coalburn, did a shift, and walked seven miles back. The pits started at seven o'clock in the morning, so if you were not at the pit-head then, when they started winding up coal, you didn't get down.

It was said that any Scottish town or village that didn’t have a decent football team had got its civic priorities wrong. Glenbuck was certainly no exception to this rule, the club had its beginnings in the late 1870`s and was founded by Edward Bone, William Brown and others. It was originally called Glenbuck Athletic and wore club colours of white shirts and black shorts. The Glenbuck team had two earlier grounds before finally settling at Burnside Park. It was at the turn of the century that the team changed its name to that of Glenbuck Cherrypickers. Initially a nickname, Cherrypickers was soon adopted as the clubs official name, something that continued to the end. Over the years The Cherrypickers won numerous local cups including the Ayrshire Junior Challenge Cup, the Cumnock Cup, and the Mauchline Cup. Despite all their honours the real place of Glenbuck in footballing history was as a nursery of footballers. It is thought that Glenbuck had provided around fifty players who plied their trade in senior football at least half-a-dozen who played for Scotland - not bad for a village whose population never exceeded twelve hundred.

In 1933, Preston North End were a club with a rich history but a gloomy-looking future... When Bill Shankly landed on their doorstep, they were little more than a moderate Second Division side. They had been relegated in 1925 along with Nottingham Forest and had struggled ever since to escape the anonymity of Second Division soccer. In the season before Shankly arrived, they had finished ninth in the table, fourteen points adrift of champions Stoke City.

Like so many other industrial cities, Preston suffered appallingly during the thirties. The Depression hit Lancashire hard. Across the country, the number of unemployed rose to 2.9 million, a staggering 20% of the working population and, if those who were unregistered were included, the total was nearer three-and-a-half million. Everywhere, the unemployed protested.

In Lancashire, they marched to Preston and in Scotland they descended on Glasgow, while those from Jarrow in the North-east marched bravely to London, pricking the conscience of the nation. The politicians called the unemployed regions Distressed Areas. It somehow sounded better. Unemployment benefit was basic if not downright miserable. The Means Test, with its crippling rules, ensured that money was only forthcoming if certain stringent criteria were met. And, when money was paid out, it was done so begrudgingly and in small amounts. Few claimants met the criteria; most survived thanks only to family and friends.

In some areas of Lancashire, unemployment topped the 25% mark. Preston was a cotton-spinning town and like all the cotton towns of Lancashire had been severely shaken by the Depression. Almost half a million cotton workers were on the dole. Exports to India had crashed. Looms lay idle; mills were closing. Unemployment in Preston, even though it hit an all-time high, may not have been as bad as some parts of Lancashire, like Mersyside and Blackburn, but there were still more than 15% on the dole...

Shankly was as aware as anyone of the problems of unemployment: he'd seen it all before. In Ayrshire, his family and friends had suffered as the mines closed and it was little better in Carlisle. He'd spent a couple of months on the dole himself and was well aware of the humiliations that unemployment brought. But in case he had forgotten, he was to be rudely awoken by what he saw in Preston.

Shankly was lucky. At the end of his first season, his wages had risen to £8 with £6 in summer, a small fortune in a place like Preston. It allowed for the luxury of going out occasionally though, as ever, much of his money was sent home to his family in Ayrshire. But it would get better. Shankly arrived at the peak of unemployment and, as the thirties unwound, jobs were beginning to return and with them wealth creation. Even the fortunes of Preston North End began to look up...

It was a learning process and Shankly was developing as rapidly as anyone. By December, he had made the first team. He made his debut against newly promoted Hull City on Saturday 9 December. Ironically, Shankly had played against Hull just a few months earlier when he was with Carlisle and had been on the wrong end of a 6-1 drubbing. This time, the boot was on the other foot. Preston won 5-0. Preston were three goals up within half an hour with Shankly having a hand in the second goal. His arrival did not go unnoticed in the press. 'Shankly passed the ball cleverly,' reported the Sporting Chronicle without going into further detail. It was probably the first time his name had appeared in a national paper.

By the end of the season, Preston had clinched promotion as runners-up to champions Grimsby. It was to be the start of a famous period in Preston's history. They had begun the season confidently and after a couple of games were topping the table. By October however, they had slipped and by early December they were down to seventh place. But then the inclusion of Shankly seemed to revive them. Their win over Hull hoisted them into sixth spot, some way behind Grimsby who were runaway leaders almost the entire season.

Preston were not always obvious promotion candidates. One week, they would shoot up the table and, overtake their promotion rivals, only to lose their next game and slither back the following one. Grimsby had clinched promotion by early April, but the second promotion place remained in doubt until the final day of the season.

It was neck and neck between Bolton Wanderers and Preston, two of Lancashire's most famous clubs. Both teams had 50 points from 41 games: Bolton looked to have the easier final fixture with a visit to Lincoln, while Preston were at Southampton. But much to everyone's surprise, Bolton could manage only a draw while Preston won 1-0 and were into the First Division. After making his debut in December, Shankly had gone on to play all season. Once he was in the side, he was there to stay and undoubtedly became an important influence on Preston's promotion challenge.

I was a hard player, but I played the ball, and if you play the ball you'll win the ball and you'll have the man too. But if you play the man, that's wrong. Wilf Copping played for England that day, and he was a well-known hard man. The grass was short, the ground was quick, and I was playing the ball. The next thing I knew, Copping had done me down the front of my right leg. He had burst my stocking - the shin-pad was out - and cut my leg. That was after about ten minutes, and it was my first impression of Copping. He was at left half and we came into contact in the middle of the field. I think the pitch was more responsible for what happened than anything, but I was surprised that he would do what he did to me in an international match. He was older than me and had a reputation. He didn't need to be playing at home to kick you -he would have kicked you in your own backyard or in your own chair. He had no fear at all. But while we were fighting for Scotland that day, we didn't go round trying to cripple people.

What Copping did stung me, but I didn't complain about him. I said to him, "Oh, you're making the game a little more important." Frank O'Donnell, who could look after himself, was annoyed at Copping and told him what he thought about it.

Copping had been after me and had caught me and I never contacted him again during the match. But he also hurt me when I played against him for Preston at Highbury on a Christmas Day. One of our players pulled out of a tackle for the ball and I had to go in to fight for it, and Copping caught me on my right ankle.

I was due to play another match the following day, but my ankle had blown up to an awful size. We went from London up to Fleetwood and Bill Scott said, "We'll have a try-out in the morning."

"What do you mean, a try-out?" I asked him, and I soon found out. Next morning my ankle was still badly swollen, and Bill got me a bigger boot to wear on my right foot. My normal size was six and a half, but I put on a size seven and a half or eight that day.

For years afterwards I played with my ankle bandaged and wore a gaiter over my right boot for extra support, and to this day my right ankle is bigger than my left because of what Copping did. My one regret is that he retired from the game before I had a chance to get my own back.

Bill Shankly is probably still British football's most celebrated socialist. Wisecracking, dapper and a charismatic orator, Shankly was a hugely successful manager of Liverpool through the 60s and early 70s. What seems most remarkable about him now is his insistence on talking politics, even while talking football: "The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It's the way I see football, the way I see life."

Shankly traced his political beliefs to his upbringing in the Ayrshire mining village of Glenbuck. A childhood spent in areas dominated by heavy industry and trade union influence has been a common theme among football's senior socialists. Sir Alex Ferguson was a Govan shipyard shop steward before he became a player with Rangers. His backing for the Blair Labour leadership is well documented. At the last general election he posted a message on the government's website praising "two brilliant barnstorming speeches from Tony and Gordon". Ferguson, with his fine wines and his multi-million pound racehorse ownership disputes, has frequently been subjected to the familiar jibe of "champagne socialism". Football is fond of this kind of reasoning, based on the idea that those with socialist beliefs are expected to live exemplary altruistic lives, whereas rightwingers can pretty much do whatever they want. Nottingham Forest legend Brian Clough, a sponsor of the anti-Nazi League and a regular on picket lines during the miners' strike, had his own riposte. "For me, socialism comes from the heart. I don't see why certain sections of the community should have the franchise on champagne and big houses."

At Deepdale his skills were honed to perfection among a growing contingent of Scotsmen. Always fiercely enthusiastic, Shankly's brash, competitive nature made him a key figure in helping his new club to promotion from Division Two at the end of his first season. A teetotaller, non-smoker and fitness fanatic, he was instrumental in helping North End reach two successive FA Cup finals, picking up a winners' medal in 1938. In his first eight seasons at Deepdale, Shankly missed only 28 out of a maximum 319 games and stood down only once through injury.

It might have been watered-down fare, but regional wartime football was fine by me. I very much doubt that in normal circumstances I would have started the first game of the 1940-41 season playing for the Preston first team against Liverpool at Anfield.

Also in our team that day was a man who, many years later, was to become a Liverpool legend - the Liverpool legend - the great Bill Shankly. If my father was my guiding light in life, Bill Shankly was my football mentor. Has there been anyone with a greater love for the game? If there has, I have yet to meet him.

Shanks was unique, a complete one-off: He caused a great stir when he described football as more important than life or death and, what is more, he meant it. He was the best pal in the world to anyone prepared to eat, sleep and drink football, but a man with no time for those who failed to meet his standards. Extremely fit, his enthusiasm was infectious and the word defeat didn't have a place in his vocabulary. Bill influenced so many and so much, and his contribution to the game cannot be exaggerated - unlike many of the tales about him and his antics.

Shanks first set foot in Deepdale in 1933 and within months, at just 19, he was in the first team. As you may imagine, he wasn't a guy to give up his shirt without a fight and he followed his debut by playing 85 games in a row. He stayed for 17 seasons, eventually returning to Carlisle as manager. During his time at Preston, he won an FA Cup winner's medal, in 1938, and was capped by Scotland; he was also a member of our double-winning wartime side.

He was an established player when I first encountered him during my days as a junior. He invariably popped along to our matches - Bill would stop off anywhere a game of football was being played and, even at that early stage of his career, you knew he would go into coaching and management and make a damn good job of it.

A much better all-round player than some might have you believe, Shanks worked tirelessly to improve. After morning training he was always asking if anyone fancied going back for an extra session or a game of head tennis in the afternoon.

1. "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."

2. "If Everton were playing at the bottom of the garden, I'd pull the curtains."

3. "The trouble with referees is that they know the rules, but they don't know the game."

4. "A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe that you are the best and then make sure that you are. In my time at Liverpool we always said we had the best two teams in Merseyside, Liverpool and Liverpool reserves."

5. "Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool."

6. "Of course I didn't take my wife to see Rochdale as an anniversary present, it was her birthday. Would I have got married in the football season? Anyway, it was Rochdale reserves."

7. "If you are first you are first. If you are second you are nothing."

8. "With him in defence, we could play Arthur Askey in goal." (Bill Shankly talking about Ron Yeats.)

9. "The difference between Everton and the Queen Mary is that Everton carry more passengers!"

10. "At a football club, there's a holy trinity - the players, the manager and the supporters. Directors don't come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques". (Bill Shankly on boardroom meetings.)

11. "I'm just one of the people who stands on the kop. They think the same as I do, and I think the same as they do. It's a kind of marriage of people who like each other."

12 "It was the most difficult thing in the world, when I went to tell the chairman. It was like walking to the electric chair. That's the way it felt." (Bill Shankly on the leaving of Liverpool.)

13. "If you can't make decisions in life, you're a bloody menace. You'd be better becoming an MP!"

14. "My idea was to build Liverpool into a bastion of invincibility. Napoleon had that idea. He wanted to conquer the bloody world. I wanted Liverpool to be untouchable. My idea was to build Liverpool up and up until eventually everyone would have to submit and give in."

15. "I don't think I was in a bath until I was 15 years old. I used to use a tub to wash myself. But out of poverty with a lot of people living in the same house, you get humour."

16. "It's there to remind our lads who they're playing for, and to remind the opposition who they're playing against."

17. "I know this is a sad occasion but I think that Dixie would be amazed to know that even in death he could draw a bigger crowd than Everton can on a Saturday afternoon." (Comment made at Dixie Dean's funeral.)

18. "The problem with you, son, is that all your brains are in your head." (Comment made to a Liverpool trainee.)

19. "I was the best manager in Britain because I was never devious or cheated anyone. I'd break my wife's legs if I played against her, but I'd never cheat her."

20. "No one was asked to do more than anyone else... we were a team. We shared the ball, we shared the game, we shared the worries."

21. "Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and of making yourself available to receive a pass. It is terribly simple."

22. During one match, Tommy Lawrence, the Liverpool goalkeeper, let the ball go through his legs. "Sorry, boss, I should have kept my legs together," said Lawrence. "No, Tommy, your mother should have kept her legs together!," replied Shankly.

23. "Son, you'll do well here as long as you remember two things. Don't over-eat and don't lose your accent." (Comment made to Ian St John on the day he signed him.)

24. "He's worse than the rain in Manchester. At least God stops the rain in Manchester occasionally." (Comment made on Brian Clough.)

25. "I've been a slave to football. It follows you home, it follows you everywhere, and eats into your family life. But every working man misses out on some things because of his job."

26. "A football team is like a piano. You need eight men to carry it and three who can play the damn thing."

27. "The socialism I believe in is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards. That's how I see football, that's how I see life."

Liverpool manager Bill Shankly was the first to make an impression as a "personality" outside of the narrow confines of football. Shankly's success in the 60s and early 70s was soundtracked by his own apparently endless repertoire of quips and wisecracks, as the hitherto rather stilted and secretive world of football management acquired a public voice for the first time. A dapper, sharp-suited Scot, Shankly took his inspiration from American entertainers. His delivery was a cross between James Cagney and Groucho Marx, and he borrowed his defining epigram - the one about football not being a matter of life and death, but actually something much more important than that - from the gridiron coach, Vince Lombardi.

It was utterly extraordinary that three great managers, Matt Busby, Jock Stein and Bill Shankly, came from the same area of Scotland, and it was, I think, very significant. These people absorbed the best of the true ethos of that working-class environment. There was a richness of spirit bred into people from mining areas.

I'm likely to see it that way because my father worked in the pits for a while, but there is no question that there was a camaraderie. Stein said that he would never work with better men than he It was utterly extraordinary that three great managers, Matt Busby, Jock Stein and Bill Shankly, came from the same area of Scotland, and it was, I think, very significant. There was a richness of spirit bred into people from mining areas. I'm likely to see it that way because my father worked in the pits for a while, but there is no question that there was a camaraderie. Stein said that he would never work with better men than he did when he was a miner, that the guys who got carried away with football were never going to impress him much, and although Shankly was completely potty about the game and was the great warrior/poet of football, he nevertheless retained that sense of what real men should do, the sense of dignity, the sense of pride.

I love football stories from the old days but normally you have to eat a seafood starter, chicken breast with duchesse potatoes and garden peas, and watch some comedian do his Geoffrey Boycott impression to enjoy them. Now, though, Sky Sports has had the smart idea of bringing the best of the after-dinner circuit into the comfort of our own living rooms in Time Of Our Lives, a six-part nostalgia-fest featuring legends of the game.

The term legend, of course, is a fairly flexible one in sports broadcasting, but The Shankly Years, the first in the series, boasted a font of great anecdotes about the eponymous genuine article.

Ian St John, Chris Lawler and Ron Yeats, who between them played 1,200 games for Bill Shankly's Liverpool in the 1960s and early 1970s, gathered in a studio under the tutelage of Jeff Stelling to share memories of the great man (Shanks, that is, not Stelling), only occasionally straying into Monty Python Four Yorkshiremen territory, mainly on the topic of the former Liverpool boss's cavalier attitude to health and safety.

Yeats told the story of the defender Gerry Byrne, who had to be careful not to take throw-ins after he appeared in the second half of a cup final with a broken collarbone (you tell the youngsters that these days, they'll crash their Ferraris), and all three guests agreed that Shankly's attitude to injuries was what you might call a touch old-school.

He feared any player carrying an injury might infect the others, so his solution was to banish him to the far corner of the training field adjacent, apparently, to a pigsty. If Shanks saw a player on the treatment table — even one of his trusted lieutenants — he would shun him.

This might explain why Lawler missed only three games in seven seasons. When Shankly once saw Lawler wearing a crepe bandage on the advice of a physiotherapist, the manager barked: "What's wrong with the malingerer?" The full-back was pretty sure he was not joking.

There was little more to the programme than the three former players sitting in armchairs telling their stories — no archive footage, no expert views and only a brief clip of Shankly himself — and yet the hour flew by for those of us not overly familiar with the material. If the current Liverpool manager, Rafael Benítez, may appear mildly paranoid of late, he has nothing on his illustrious predecessor, who believed all foreigners were "cheats and liars" according to St John.

When Liverpool played at Internazionale in the semi-final of the 1965 European Cup, said St John, they stayed by Lake Como. Shankly was so convinced the bells at the little church up the hill were being deliberately rung to keep his players awake that he walked to the church with his assistant Bob Paisley, and asked if the ringing could be stopped.

When the Monsignor told him they had rung like that for centuries, Shankly asked if Paisley could muffle them. "He wanted Bob to climb up into the tower and bandage the bells," chuckled St John. Shankly was also deeply suspicious of coaching manuals, said St John ­— "He said if you need to read a book to know about football, you shouldn't be in the game" — and yet, according to the former Liverpool forward, he introduced the flat back four to British football.

To say Shankly was singleminded is rather like saying Oscar Wilde was a little flamboyant. He would turn up at the training ground for five-a-side games (Shankly, that is, not Oscar Wilde) even after his retirement in 1974, when Paisley took over. Eventually he had to be asked to stay away to avoid confusing the players as to who was the boss.

I remember getting off of the train at Lime Street Station and being met by Joe Fagan who was then the youth team coach. We got in a taxi and drove up the famous Scotland Road where Joe told me there was a pub on every corner and not to visit any of them ever.

We soon arrived at 258 Anfield Road where I was to share lodgings with two other apprentices, Bobby Graham and Gordon Wallace, both of whom later went on to play in the first team.

My first wage as an apprentice professional was £7.50 per week of which I gave £3.50 to my landlady for my lodgings and sent £2.00 per week home to my Mum in an envelope to help the family out. I was left with £1.50 per week which was enough in those days for a young man to have a great time for a week in Liverpool, including being able to watch the Beatles start their career playing live in the Cavern in Mathew Street.

In May 1961 outside the secretary’s office I found a complete record of the week’s wages to be paid in to Barclays Bank in Walton Vale for every player and member of staff at Anfield. Unbelievably the total wage bill for every player and all of the coaching and managerial staff in the Liverpool Football Club was five hundred and thirteen pounds, thirteen shillings, and two pence old money.

As Apprentice professionals, after cleaning the first team’s boots, painting the stands and clearing the rubbish from the Kop we used to play 5-a-sides in the car park behind the main stand every Monday morning. The opposition in these games was usually Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Ronnie Moran and Reuben Bennett. Our side was Bobby Graham, Gordon Wallace, Tommy Smith, Chris Lawler, and me. We never ever won those games because Shanks and company would have played until dark to make sure they got the result.

It was from one of these games that the famous true story has been passed down to generations of Liverpool fans.

We were playing the usual hard fought match and Chris Lawler was injured and watching from the sidelines. As we only had four men to their five, Shankly tried a long range effort to the unguarded goal which went over the shoe that we had layed down as a goalpost. He immediately shouted “Goal we have won, time up, get showered boys”.

Led by Tommy Smith we all hotly disputed the goal. Shankly saw that Chris Lawler was watching from the sidelines and shouted to him. ”You are in the perfect position son was that a goal?” Chris was a very quiet boy of few words and replied with one word “No” Shankly shouted at him in all seriousness” Son we have waited a year for you to speak and your first word is a lie”.

One of my first memories of Bill Shankly was in January 1960 when we were standing in the centre circle on the pitch while he was showing my father and me around a rather dilapidated Anfield. Liverpool at the time was in the second division and he had just taken over as Manager. He said that I should look around and be grateful that I had signed for the club at this time because this place was going to become a “Bastion of Invincibility and the most famous football club in the world”

My father worked at the time as a gardener for the Aberdeen City Council and during the conversation Bill asked him the question “Who are you with Mr Scott”? My Dad replied “I work for the City Mr Shankly” whereupon Bill responded by saying in his best James Cagney voice “What league do they play in?

After a two year apprenticeship, I signed full time professional forms on my 17th birthday on October 25th 1961. I made my reserve team debut along with Tommy Smith, Chris Lawler, Bobby Graham and Gordon Wallace as part of a very young Liverpool reserve team in the semi-final of the Lancashire Senior Cup against Manchester United reserves at Old Trafford in 1962 playing against some great old united players such as Albert Quixall, David Herd, Jimmy Nicholson, David Gaskell, Barry Fry, and Noel Cantwell.

During the next three years 1963, 1964, and 1965 I went on to make 138 appearances in the reserve team at Anfield scoring 34 goals.

In 1964/65 I was easily the top scorer in the Liverpool reserve team, and although I moved in to the first team squad, I never made my first team debut, as they only used 13 players in total that year, and the substitute rule only became effective in 1966/67, after I had left the club.

It was so different then from the Liverpool of the modern era. When reporters asked Bill Shankly what the team was, he used to reply “Same as last season”

During my time at Liverpool as a young player, I saw at first hand the fantastic charisma and motivational powers of Bill Shankly, and I was a witness to the authenticity of many of the stories of this amazing man that have found their way in to the folk lore of British football.

I was there when he ordered the building of the famous shooting boards and sweat boxes at the Melwood training ground, where the training and coaching methods instilled by Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley were ultimately copied all over the world.

There were three full sized pitches at Melwood but the main pitch in front of the dressing rooms at Melwood was his pride and joy, and over one weekend he had the turf re-laid to ensure it was as good as Wembley Stadium.

When we arrived at Melwood for training on the Monday morning Shankly had jokingly put a notice on the notice board which said “In future only players with a minimum of 5 caps are allowed on the big pitch.” By order of the Manager.

In the 1964-65 season first team beat Leeds United to win the FA Cup at Wembley. This was the first time that Liverpool had ever won the Cup, and it was a fabulous occasion, and the greatest day in the clubs history at that time.

I remember walking up the Wembley pitch with Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Peter Thompson an hour and a half before the game. Bill looked at the masses of Liverpool fans behind the goal and said to Bob Paisley. “Bob we can’t lose for these fans, it is not an option” The hairs still stand up on the back of my neck today when I think about it.

I remember Ian St John’s great headed winning goal in extra time, and the winner’s reception at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

On the train journey home we drank champagne from the FA Cup, and once we passed Crewe you could not see the buildings for flags and bunting.

When we arrived at Lime Street station there must have been over 500,000 people in the streets as we made our way to the town hall for the official reception.

I stood behind Shankly on the town hall balcony as he made his speech to the thousands of supporters congested in to Water Street below, and it was absolutely electrifying. At the time I was in digs with the great Liverpool winger Peter Thompson and when we eventually got home to our digs that evening I found a letter from the club waiting for me from Mr Shankly. I opened it thinking that I had been permanently promoted to the first team squad and that 1966 would be my big breakthrough year.

I was brought right back to reality when I saw that the letter stated that at a board meeting of the Directors of Liverpool FC it had been decided to place me on the transfer list.

On the Monday morning I went in to see the great man as I was very upset. He then proceeded to make the most wonderful sacking any manager has ever implemented.

He said to me “George son there are five good reasons why you should leave Anfield now.” I was puzzled and asked what they were. “Callaghan, Hunt, St John, Smith, and Thompson” he replied “The first team forward line, they are all internationals”.

I was in tears by now, and it was then that he showed his motivational powers, humanity and greatness when he said the words I will never forget. “George son always remember that at this moment in history you are the twelfth best player in the world” When I asked what he meant by this outrageous statement he replied “The first team here at Anfield son is the greatest team in the world and you are the leading goalscorer in the reserves. I have sold you to Aberdeen go back home and prove me right”

As I was leaving his office very upset, he made his final comment. ”Son remember this, you were one of the first players to come here and sign for me so I want you to think of yourself like the foundation stone of the Liverpool Cathedral. “Nobody ever sees it but it has to be there otherwise the cathedral does not get built.”

He also gave me a written reference that day which is still my proudest possession and which says the following.

"Dear People, George Scott played for my football club for five years from 1960 to 1965 and during that time he caused no trouble to anybody. I would stake my life on his character. Bill Shankly".

Bill Shankly: Life, death and football

I n the early autumn of 1981, Bill Shankly suffered a heart attack and was rushed to Liverpool's Broadgreen Hospital. The former Liverpool manager was 68 years old and otherwise in rude health he neither drank nor smoked, and exercised daily. Even at such a grave time there was an aura of invincibility about him. Death had been a recurring theme in his rich litany of sayings "When I go, I'm going to be the fittest man ever to die," he would promise, but – as with his periodic threats to quit Liverpool, through the 1960s and early 1970s – nobody believed that he would ever pass on.

Shankly was, however, a man of his word. Three days later, on 29 September, he had a second, massive heart attack and died that morning. To a city still reeling from the Toxteth riots and beset by mass unemployment, news of Shankly's death was a huge blow. Like the murder of John Lennon in New York nine months earlier, his passing touched the entire city Shankly transcended the great Liverpool-Everton divide.

Bill Shankly was always more than a great football manager. He was football's Muhammad Ali: a charismatic maverick whose utterances had an unexpected, undeniable poetry. Between his appointment as Liverpool manager in December 1959 and his retirement 15 years later, he transformed a second-rate club, stuck in the lower ranks of the Second Division, into the finest team of its generation, winning three First Division titles, two FA Cups, a Second Division title and a Uefa Cup. He led Liverpool like a revolutionary leader, casting his personnel not just as footballers but soldiers to his cause, and became a folk hero to the fans. At the same time he laid the foundations of the team that dominated the First Division and European competition for the decade that followed his retirement.

Yet by the time of his death Shankly was a tragic figure, the forgotten architect of Liverpool's footballing supremacy. Almost from the day he announced his retirement in July 1974 he considered it the worst mistake of his life: Shankly could not live without football, but the game carried on without him. Harder still was that Liverpool became an even more formidable force, and later banned him from their training ground at Melwood, where the newly retired Shankly had tried to rediscover some of the camaraderie that once filled his life. Shunned by his former club and increasingly bitter at his treatment, he searched unsuccessfully, during his last years, for a meaningful role in the game he loved. "It was," said Kevin Keegan, "the saddest, saddest thing that ever happened at Liverpool." Shankly was a fit man but he died, in the words of the former Leeds player Johnny Giles, of a broken heart.

One of 10 children, Bill Shankly was born in the Ayrshire coalmining village of Glenbuck in 1913. It was a poor upbringing. His schooling was rudimentary, and although he displayed a fierce intelligence as a man, it lacked the polish of a formal education. At 14, Shankly left school and went to work at the local colliery. He spent more than two years down the pit.

Football, even in an age when players' earnings were deflated by the maximum wage, was a way out. Around 50 of Glenbuck's sons, including Shankly's four brothers, made it as professional footballers in the first half of the 20th century. Shankly signed for Carlisle United in 1932, but it was with Preston North End, whom he joined a year later, that Shankly made his name as a player. A gritty right half, he made 337 appearances – a tally cut short by the war – over 16 years for the Lilywhites, including FA Cup finals in 1937 and 1938, the year Preston last won it. "He was a very enthusiastic player and a very good player," Preston legend, Sir Tom Finney tells me when we meet at Deepdale. "He talked an awful lot about the game off the field. He was always a larger than life character and he was always prepared to talk to you about your career."

Even as a player, Shankly's destiny seemed to be in management. Finney says that he made a big impression on himself and the younger players. "He was always a football fanatic, you could tell from the moment he left playing that he was going to be a manager," he says. In 1949, when Shankly was 36, he returned to manage Carlisle.

But there was no dramatic ascendancy. A qualified success at Brunton Park, he managed in the lower leagues for a decade, with spells in charge of Grimsby, Workington and Huddersfield. Never did a Shankly team finish higher than 12th in the Second Division during this time.

Yet his infectious personality and knack of developing outstanding young players, such as Denis Law and Ray Wilson, got him noticed by bigger clubs. In November 1959 Shankly was approached by two men at the end of a Huddersfield game. One was Tom Williams, the Liverpool chairman, the other Harry Latham, a director. "How would you like to manage the best club in the country?" asked Williams. "Why?" Shankly replied, sharp as ever. "Is Matt Busby packing it in?" A few days later, Shankly was unveiled as Liverpool's new manager.

To imagine the state of Liverpool FC in 1959, you must conjure something entirely different to today's institution. It was, recalled Shankly's successor as manager, Bob Paisley, a "happy-go-lucky, slap-happy" place, with the directors content for the club, then below Shankly's Huddersfield in the Second Division, merely to get back to the top flight "and go along three or four places off the bottom". Although the club was well supported, its infrastructure was second-rate: Anfield and the training ground at Melwood were dilapidated directors regularly meddled in team selections. Funds for transfers were rarely forthcoming.

Although Shankly would transform Liverpool, the messianic qualities that brought him fame and adoration were not immediately evident. At the club's AGM after failure to win promotion in 1961, Solly Isenwater, chairman of the shareholders' association, having demanded to know if Shankly had been letting his teams take it easy, tried to hold a vote of no confidence in the board. Average attendances had already dropped from around 40,000 when Shankly took over to fewer than 30,000.

Shankly turned it around, winning promotion within a year. Supported by his clever coaches, the boot-room staff – Paisley, Joe Fagan and Reuben Bennett – that would enter club lore, he transformed Liverpool through sheer force of personality. As Keegan later said, he put "his character into the club in every facet from the bottom to the top". He instilled pride, discipline, loyalty and a relentless work ethic. He bought astutely and galvanised those new players, while ruthlessly ridding himself of those who had kept the club in mediocrity. He made everyone involved believe that Liverpool were the best team in the world even at a time when they were, quite palpably, the second best in their city.

Remarkably, the First Division title was won in 1964, just two years after promotion, and again in 1966. Liverpool won their first FA Cup in 1965 and among the red half of the city Shankly began to assume the aspect of a god.

Defender Tommy Smith, the so-called "Anfield Iron", joined Liverpool as a 15-year-old in 1960 and was made captain in 1970. He says that Shankly became like a father to him – Smith's own father had died shortly before he signed, and Shankly "took care" of him. The father-son relationship was common in Shankly's dressing room. John Toshack, who was signed as a 21-year-old striker from Cardiff City in 1970, says he was in awe of Shankly from the moment he met him. "He inspired us in every way," says Toshack, now manager of Wales, "his belief in Liverpool Football Club, the standards he set for himself and for the club, the intensity that he went about his job. His quote about football being more important than life or death, he really felt that way. He rammed it into us how important it was to be playing for Liverpool, how privileged we were to be playing for these people. We really believed that."

At the decade's end Shankly refashioned his team, rebuilding it around outstanding youth team players and hungry unknowns, such as Keegan and Ray Clemence, whom he had plucked from the lower leagues. "He looked at people and wanted to see himself: in terms of self-motivation, wanting to win, wanting to play football," says Brian Hall, the pocket-sized midfielder Shankly signed in the late 1960s. "If you had those sort of character traits you were good enough for him." Shankly's Liverpool won their third league title in 1973, and narrowly missed a league and cup double a year later, when they finished league runners-up, but won the FA Cup with a 3-0 win over Newcastle in a display of magnificent domination.

At the end of that game a Liverpool fan ran onto the pitch and threw himself at Shankly's feet so that he could kiss his shoes. He did not know that Anfield's messiah had just managed Liverpool for the last time.

Liverpool's chief executive, Peter Robinson, and the Anfield board of directors had grown so used to Bill Shankly threatening to resign as to become blasé about it. A 1967 resignation letter sat in Robinson's filing cabinet, unretracted. Every summer, during the long football-less months, a kind of depression consumed Shankly. Put simply, he could not live without his daily fix of football. In these moments of despair he would talk of "finishing", of walking out on the club and retiring. Then the players returned for pre-season training and the despondency lifted and Shankly was his ebullient self again.

But in the summer of 1974, Shankly insisted that he was quitting. "I think that perhaps it was tiredness, that football had taken its toll on him," says his granddaughter, Karen Gill. Peter Robinson initially played along, thinking he was crying wolf, but as he realised that Shankly was unmovable he started to search for ways for him to stay – in any capacity.

At a press conference on Friday 12 July, Shankly made public his decision. "It's one of those moments in time, like when Kennedy was shot," says Brian Hall. "I couldn't believe it because he was so besotted with the game, with Liverpool Football Club, and with the fans."

Hall believes that the pressures of being not just a manager but an icon had taken their toll on Shankly. "He put enormous pressure on himself," he says, "because every time he stood up in front of people, whether it be the media boys, or fans at a dinner or a school function or whatever he did, he had to produce a performance that was Shankly-like. It had to be dramatic, it had to be poignant, it had to hit nails on heads. I just have a sneaky feeling that the pressures of football management and the pressures of who he was and how he had to perform in front of people became too much in the end."

"He was always on stage," says John Keith, who as the Daily Express Merseyside correspondent, knew him well. "We were all Boswells, waiting for the words to drop out of his mouth."

As a player and manager Shankly had lived in a world not just of men, but one of men's men. In giving up football for family life, Shankly was turning his back on what he had known: his family was dominated by women. His attempts at domesticity failed because he just couldn't overcome his football obsession. "He lived and breathed football from morning to night. If he wasn't watching it, he'd be talking about it or playing," says Gill. "Even when he was having lunch the whole table would turn into a massive football field and he'd be moving objects around. He couldn't get football out of his mind."

Holidays to the Lancashire resort of St Anne's revolved around beachside kickabouts with hotel waiters. Everyday outings with his family, to a cafe or the shops, would be taken over by fans wanting to chat. Bill always had a word. "It was kind of annoying," says Gill. "But we had nothing to compare it to: that's just the way it always was. It was never as if there was a nice quiet period when we had him all to ourselves."

Shankly soon realised that in leaving Liverpool he had made a terrible mistake and started to rail against his self-imposed exile from the game. "Retire is a terrible, silly word," he said. "They should get a new word for it. The only time you retire is when you're in a box and the flowers come out." And so, he busied himself in the only way he knew – by throwing himself back into the sport he loved.

When the Liverpool players reported back to Melwood for pre-season training, days after he had announced his retirement, they may have been surprised that Shankly was there to greet them, dressed in his training kit as if nothing had happened. This might seem unusual, but both Merseyside clubs at the time had an open door policy at their training grounds, welcoming former staff to use their facilities.

Shankly, who believed physical activity to be redemptive, had come to join training with his former colleagues and stay fit. But the players still greeted him as "boss", while his reluctant successor, Bob Paisley, was just "Bob". Paisley's initial pleasure to see him soon turned to polite embarrassment as it became clear that he was being undermined by Shankly's presence.

"He started taking the training," says Tommy Smith. "Prior to that, as a manager, he didn't actually take the training, he'd walk around and talk to Reuben Bennett, Joe Fagan and Bob Paisley and tell them what to do. But he started taking the training! In the end, Bob Paisley, purely for his own sanity, had to say to him: 'Bill, you don't work here any more. This is my team here, I've got things I want to do.'"

"It was difficult for Bob, having him hanging around," says Toshack. "We're not just talking about any member of the coaching staff who's retired, who just came to Melwood to have a bit of jogging around and a shower and that was it. Shanks was Liverpool he was an institution." Eventually, with Paisley threatening to resign, Shankly was asked to stay away by the club chairman, John Smith. It was a decision Shankly bitterly resented for the rest of his days.

Shankly often drew a contrast in his treatment by Liverpool and Matt Busby's at Manchester United. When Busby retired in 1969, he was given a place on the Old Trafford board and continued to play a role in the running of the club. But Shankly's relations with the Anfield board had frequently been acrimonious. "At a football club, there's a holy trinity – the players, the manager and the supporters," he once said. "Directors don't come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques." Not normally a man to harbour grudges, he seemed to have been governed by a different set of principles in his dealings with the boardroom. In 1962, for instance, Johnny Morrissey was sold to Everton without Shankly's knowledge, and more than a decade later he was still furious about it. The 1967 resignation letter was written after he lost out on the signing of Howard Kendall by Everton. Again, Shankly blamed the board and stormed out of Anfield. He stayed away for a few days before returning, and even then sullenly refused to retract his resignation letter, while carrying on his work.

"I used to fight and argue and fight and argue and fight and argue until I thought, 'Is it worthwhile all this fighting and arguing?'" Shankly said. "It is bad enough fighting against the opposition to win points but the internal fights to make people realise what we were working for took me close to leaving many times."

Such episodes were pardoned by Robinson, but board members were less forgiving. "When he finished he thought he was going to become a director, but the directors got their own back," says Tommy Smith. "I don't think they were out to get him, but I think there was an opportunity whereby Bill Shankly had retired and they said: 'Right, that's it, we've got rid of him at last.'"

Smith says that Shankly's predicament was an accumulation of mistakes by the board, that stemmed from their inherent misunderstanding of football matters and their treating him as a mere employee. "They didn't realise that he was a god on Merseyside because they didn't mix with the fans," he says. While Liverpool was an "ego trip" to them, for Shankly it was his life. "They knew nothing about football. They were just businessmen."

John Keith believes that Shankly's huge charisma also worked against him and that Liverpool's board could not be blamed for wanting to keep him on the outside, having previously gone "on bended knee" to retain him. "He was such an overpowering figure," he says. "He wasn't like Paisley, who [later] went on the board and let the manager manage." Besides, Matt Busby's time as a Manchester United director had been a disaster, with the club relegated in 1974. Could Liverpool have risked their own back-seat driver? While the club's treatment of Shankly at first seems shameful, in shunning him they were merely following the same relentless winning ethic that Shankly himself had instilled. And their ruthlessness was vindicated by an unprecedented haul of league titles and European Cups under Paisley.

Exiled from the Liverpool training ground but still deeply in love with football, Shankly began to search for other ways to slake his thirst for the game. Unsurprisingly, given his gift for a quip, he flourished when given media work, which, by the standards of the era, came fairly frequently. For a period, he presented his own chat show on the Liverpool station Radio City, interviewing such figures as Harold Wilson, Freddie Starr and Lulu. Sometimes he worked for the same station as a match pundit, working in the commentary box with a young Elton Welsby.

Because he was so approachable, quotes from Shankly were always easy for journalists to come by. Sometimes he was manipulated: after Liverpool beat Borussia Mönchengladbach to win the European Cup in 1977, Shankly was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying his former club were not the best team in Europe. And so the schism deepened and the discontent between club and former manager rumbled on.

Some of those who met Shankly in these last years have portrayed him as a man desperate for attention. I was once told that when Shankly was in the press box, working as a pundit, he would always leave a few minutes before the end of the game to the puzzlement of everyone there. It was deduced that this was so that he could position himself by the entrance of the Anfield boardroom and be seen by all the old faces – board members, former opponents, journalists – as they made their way in after the game.

John Roberts, the Daily Express journalist who became Shankly's ghostwriter, rebuts this suggestion. "He was never short of an audience," he says. "Because he was always a man of the people type. I don't go along with the 'dying of a broken heart' thing. He still had a great sense of humour. A huge important slice had been taken out of his life, but he'd brought it about himself. He'd retired, they hadn't pushed him out. But he felt that he'd be annexed to Liverpool FC for life, in some capacity, and that didn't happen. But he was still full of good humour. He'd go to Anfield, he'd go to matches, he'd still have the passion."

A year after retiring, Shankly sat down and wrote his autobiography with Roberts. Perhaps the most candid passages dealt with Shankly's retirement. On his treatment by Liverpool, he wrote it was scandalous and outrageous that he should have to issue complaints about a club he had helped to build. But while Shankly's fury burned from the page, there was no sadness about him, says Roberts. Indeed Shankly remained an ebullient man. "But he did feel that he had been let down by Liverpool by the directors, mainly."

Shankly also revealed his shock that he had found solace at once-hated rivals Everton. "I have been received more warmly by Everton than I have been by Liverpool," he wrote. Indeed, on being exiled from Melwood, he began turning up at Everton's training ground, Bellefield, where he trained and sometimes helped Everton's club captain, Mick Lyons, coach the junior teams.

To ambitious young managers, such as Brian Clough and Ron Atkinson, Shankly also became a counsellor. He briefly took up advisory roles at Wrexham and Tranmere Rovers, where he helped his old protégé, Ron Yeats, who was starting out as manager. As at Melwood, the players took to calling Shankly, rather than Yeats, boss. In November 1976, Shankly was hotly tipped to take over from Dave Mackay as Derby County manager, but the position went to Colin Murphy instead. Shankly, says Toshack, was very much a help when he went into management with Swansea City in 1978. "He was in the dressing room with us at Preston when we went up that first year. Whenever we played in the north-west I'd invite him and he'd come along to the hotel, he'd have lunch with the players and give them a boost. I can remember him walking into a room, and saying 'Jesus Christ, John, who you going to leave out, what a team you've got.' And of course some of the local lads, the Swansea lads that didn't know him, hung on every word he said."

While Shankly seemingly enjoyed these experiences, they remained mere interludes. Without more concrete roles within the professional game, he resorted to the grassroots of Merseyside soccer to get his football fix. "To a young coach, it was an incredible experience working with Shankly," says Charles Mills, who met him in 1975, when he was starting out as PE teacher at an outdoor activity centre on the Wirral. "He came down to help us for the day, and stood with me on the sidelines, offering me advice. He was a humble man, despite this reputation as a no-nonsense Scot. As an Everton fan, I'd always regarded him as the devil incarnate, but my view changed after meeting him."

Shankly's modest 1930s semi-detached home on Bellefield Avenue became a place of pilgrimage for supporters and schoolboys. The Shanklys always treated such visits with patience and kindness, inviting people in for a cup of tea and passing out signed photographs to anyone who asked. On away trips he would circulate among Liverpool supporters like a concerned uncle, ensuring they had tickets or the fare to return home. Stories of Shankly handing out wads of cash or tickets to Liverpool fans are legion.

On Fridays Shankly played five-a-side in Stanley Park with ex-pro Johnny Morrissey, famous for "crossing the park" from Liverpool to Everton. "Sometimes when I asked how he was, he'd rub his knee or shin, and say 'Ah, I've got the odd twinge here, but I'll be OK, I'll be OK!"' says John Roberts. "In his mind he was still the professional footballer who'd played for Preston or Scotland. He talked as if he wanted to give the impression that he'd be fit for the next match." When there was no other game on, Shankly would head down to his local park and join in kickabouts with schoolboys. "There were always kids coming up to the front door, asking if he could come out to the bottom of the road and have a kickaround," says Karen Gill. "It was his life, he couldn't not do it, it was part of him. That's the way he kept going."

The personal demons – drink, depression, poverty – that consumed other forgotten stars never afflicted Shankly. His tragedy was always more oblique than that. He was addicted to football and struggled to function without his daily fix, but at the highest level, where he belonged, he was considered yesterday's man, or, worse, an embarrassment. "He was a sad figure in many ways," says John Keith. "He always wanted to be associated with football and he used to turn up in all these places. But I suppose you could say he sprinkled stardust in the dark recesses of the game."

Only after his death, perhaps, did Liverpool realise what they had lost. The club hastily erected the Shankly Gates, 15-foot high cast-iron gates which stand in front of the Anfield Road stand and are inscribed "You'll Never Walk Alone". They were "unlocked" by his widow Nessie at a low-key ceremony 11 months after his death. "He would have loved to have walked through the Shankly Gates: what greater honour could you get?" says John Roberts. "But they never went up until he was dead."

Kevin Keegan has suggested that only renaming Anfield the Shankly Stadium would be an appropriate memorial. "That stadium wouldn't be what it is now if it wasn't for Bill Shankly," he said in 1995. "They might still be a club with no direction as they were when he joined. The gates are not enough, nowhere near enough and the club know that." In 1997 a seven-foot tall bronze statue of Shankly was unveiled outside the Kop not that Liverpool paid for it – the club's sponsors, Carlsberg, funded the memorial. "Bill Shankly was probably the greatest manager in the world," said their spokesman in a tawdry exhibition of commercialism that Shankly, a teetotaller and socialist, would probably have found deplorable.

You wonder what Shankly would make of the current state of Liverpool, since American businessmen Tom Hicks and George Gillett purchased it for around £300m in February 2007. In January last year, Hicks and Gillett restructured their purchase of Liverpool, so that they loaded the club with £350m worth of debt. In July, despite the credit crunch, Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia agreed to refinance the deal. Liverpool supporters are effectively paying the Americans' mortgage repayments for years to come.

Equally the actions of some fans would have dismayed Shankly: Hicks's son, a Liverpool director, was spat at and jostled when he tried to explain himself to supporters in an Anfield pub and the businessmen have also received death threats. More bizarre were banners on the Kop calling an "SOS" to Dubai International Capital, a rival investment fund about whose plans to buy Liverpool little is known, but who are somehow deemed a less worse alternative to the Americans. But such are football's mad loyalties in the 21st century, with supporters so desperate for success that they will demand it even if it involves selling the very heart of the club they claim to love.

"The integrity of football is being ruined. Money's killed it," says Tommy Smith, who laments the loss of the more innocent age in which he starred. Karen Gill agree, "It's all about making money. Things that my grandad would never have understood or approved of."

In Shankly's mind, Liverpool belonged to the people – not the directors, shareholders, or – inconceivable though it might have seemed in the 1970s – a faceless overseas investment fund. After winning the FA Cup in 1974, Shankly stood on the steps of St George's Hall, opposite Liverpool's Lime Street railway station. At least 100,000 supporters stood before him, but the crowd was hushed to an absolute silence. Then, with one hand in his pocket, and his team standing behind him, he started talking: "Since I came here to Liverpool, and to Anfield, I have drummed it into our players time and again that they are privileged to play for you. And if they didn't believe me, they believe me now."

The crowd let out a cheer and started chanting his name. Shankly raised his hands and turned to his team, before facing his crowd again, arms still aloft as the staccato shouts of "Shankly, Shankly" rose in a deafening crescendo.

Bill Shankly remembered: 11 brilliant quotes from Liverpool's iconic manager

Bill Shankly was the man who transformed Liverpool from a Second Division team to the winners of three First Division Championships, two FA Cups, four Charity Shields and one UEFA Cup.

The most famous figure in the club’s history, Shankly is a Liverpool legend.

Immortalised in both the legacy he left at Anfield and by the statue that stands outside the ground, Shankly will always be remembered as charismatic, devoted and fanatic about football.

Originally from a small Scottish mining community, Shankly passed away on 29 September 1981 at the age of 68.

He was cremated at the Anfield Crematorium and his ashes were scattered on the Anfield pitch at the Kop end.

On the anniversary of Shankly’s death, we wanted to celebrate his life with a look at some of his most famous and inspirational quotes.

Find out more

See him speak about his early life and the importance of football in his upbringing on History of Football. You can also explore his profile on the National Football Museum Hall of Fame.


Statue of Bill Shankly at the front of Anfield stadium (Photo: Rodhullandemu).

50 Years On: Is Bill Shankly the Most Important Man in Football History?

Today is a historic day for everyone involved in English football. In fact, scrap that, today is a historic day for everyone involved in world football.

On December 14, 1959, the face of the game was changed forever as Bill Shankly walked through the Liverpool doors to embark upon a jouney on which he would create a dynasty that would last for decades.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the world has completely changed in the intervening 50 years, and thanks to Shankly, so has Liverpool Football Club.

When he arrived from Huddersfield, Liverpool were a Second Division side low on trophies and ambition.

Thanks to the Scotsman's efforts, however, by the time he left the club in a shock resignation 15 years later, Liverpool were one of the top clubs in the country, and would go on to become the best in the world under Shankly's successor Bob Paisley.

In many ways, Shankly deserves as much praise as Paisley for those success too. It was he who groomed Paisley to become the world-beating manager who is now revered as much as Shankly himself, and it was also he who built the base for continued domination.

1962 saw promotion as champions of the Second Division, and just two years later they were crowned kings of the top division in the country.

This success not only ensured Shankly's first great team, including the likes of Roger Hunt, Ian St. John, and "his colossus" Ron Yeats, conquered England, but also gave them a chance to do the same in Europe.

A semi-final place in 1965, only stopped by an Inter Milan side led by another legendary manager in Helenio Herrera, was an impressive performance two years before Celtic became the first British team to win the trophy, and three years before Manchester United became the first English team to do so.

Any disappointment felt by the loss would have been swept away by success in the then-still-relevant FA Cup, however.

Shankly's relentless machine continued to rack up the trophies the following season as they won the league title and almost completed a unique double by reaching the Cup Winners' Cup final, only to be beaten by Borussia Dortmund.

The resulting European Cup campaign was only cut short when Liverpool ran into a young, but already world class Johan Cruyff.

As the old guard began to age, Shankly displayed his ruthlessness, or rather lack of sentiment, by shipping them out and introducing new blood to the fray.

Once again, his uncanny poise in the transfer market did not let him down.

The likes of Kevin Keegan, Ray Clemence, and Steve Heighway were all bargain buys, and they formed the basis of the Liverpool side that would experience so much success over the coming years.

Keegan even went on to become a two-time Ballon d'Or winner not bad for a £35,000 man from Scunthorpe.

In 1973, this transfer acumen came to fruition as Liverpool once again won their domestic league title, but also conquered Europe for the first time, albeit in the UEFA Cup.

1974 brought another FA Cup and a second place finish in the league, and the future looked bright for all Liverpool fans.

With the cult hero Shankly in charge, what could possibly go wrong?

Then, suddenly, Shankly shocked the world by announcing his retirement. At the time, it seemed like the future of the club had dissolved overnight.

Of course, history now dictates that Paisley went on to match and arguably surpass Shankly's feats with an unprecedented, and still unmatched, three European Cup wins.

Fast forward to the present day, and Liverpool could really do with the "Shankly factor."

The team seems to be low on confidence, and a season that started out with such promise and anticipation has collapsed into one of desperation and despair.

Current manager Rafael Benitez also enjoys a cult hero status at Anfield, although not on the same level as Shankly, and even managed to do what the great Scot could never do and win the Champions League.

But there will only ever be one Bill Shankly.

At the start of the article I mentioned that he had changed the face of world football. Some people may have thought that was a slight exaggeration, but I think it is a fair assessment of the impact this man has had on the game.

Without him, Liverpool would not have become the force they were in the 60's and 70's, and subsequently wouldn't have enjoyed the domination they did in the 80's.

That rich history is the reason Liverpool are considered such a big club, and such an alluring prospect for players and managers alike.

Liverpool have changed the face of world football, and Shankly was the man who kick-started the change of Liverpool. His effect on the club cannot be underestimated.

He created the aura around the club. He created the world famous Kop atmosphere. He even changed Liverpool's kit to the universally recognised all-red it is today.

He is the reason millions of people around the world support the club. He is the reason Liverpool are the most successful English club of all time, and he is the reason people say they are underachieving today.

Success can never be attributed solely to one man. Everyone from Keegan to Dalglish to Gerrard or Paisley to Fagan to Benitez have contributed in their own way.

But if one man was to be given the title of the most influential and important man in Liverpool's history, it would have to be Shankly.

And while Liverpool may no longer be the biggest or best club in the world, they once were. They changed the face of football, thanks to Bill Shankly.

Is he the most important man in the history of the game?

Perhaps not. There must have been men equally important to their respective clubs who made waves all around the world, but he is certainly a contender for such a prestigious crown.

The football world misses him. We need another man like him, who can entertain us all with a quick one-liner, as well as being the best at what he does.

50 years after taking control of Liverpool, I would like to say thank you Bill Shankly for creating the club I have come to love.

I leave you with some famous Shankly quotes:

“When I've got nothing better to do, I look down the league table to see how Everton are getting along.”

“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that.”

“Me having no education. I had to use my brains.”

“Aim for the sky and you'll reach the ceiling. Aim for the ceiling and you'll stay on the floor.”

“This city has two great teams - Liverpool and Liverpool reserves.”

“The trouble with referees is that they know the rules, but they do not know the game.”

“If you're not sure what to do with the ball, just pop it in the net and we'll discuss your options afterwards.”

“If you are first you are first. If you are second you are nothing.”

“If a player isn't interfering with play or seeking to gain an advantage, then he should be!”

“If Everton were playing down the bottom of my garden, I'd draw the curtains.”

Bill Shankly: Socialism & The Relationship With Liverpool’s Fans

One of the best ways to understand Bill Shankly’s relationship with the fans is through Davie’s study of analogy and Liverpool FC. Davie states that, when analysing ‘football as if it were a religion’, in Liverpool’s case, the environment enables fans to hold ‘valuable and accurate perceptions about charismatic individuals … notably Bill Shankly’.[1] Put more simply, football is viewed as a religious experience by many on Merseyside, Shankly is viewed as a God to hardcore Liverpool supporters.

Many fans see football as ‘a religion, a way of life’, Shankly understood and tapped into this.[2] Waller supports this by labelling this affection as, ‘Deification by Liverpool fans’, this became troubling for Shankly as he felt a pressure to live up to their estimations.[3] This lead to him saying “I’m no God. People seem to think I’m a miracle-maker”, the fact that Shankly had to say this illustrates the intense relationship he had with the fans.[4] Most Liverpool fans at the time believe that deifying Shankly is ‘extreme’, yet could ‘understand why people would view him like that’.[5]

Shankly had such a special relationship with the fans and the love was certainly returned to him. Shankly himself believed this, he said “It is more than fanaticism, it’s a religion. To the many thousands who come here to worship, Anfield isn’t a football ground, it’s a sort of shrine’.[6] This pseudo religious image is best depicted on Shankly’s last competitive game, the FA Cup Final in 1974, where two fans ran on the pitch in celebration and kissed Shankly’s feet.

The relationship was so intense that it became a ‘cult’ around Bill Shankly. It is hard to fathom how a Scotsman could arrive in Liverpool and carve such an amazing relationship with the Liverpool FC fans. Shankly was a successful manager, however, compared to Bob Paisley his successor at Anfield, he did not win as many trophies. Paisley was more consistently successful. Yet, Shankly is loved more than any other Liverpool manager, it will be interesting to try and decipher what Shankly possessed that made him so loved.

One reason could be that Shankly started the greater success that followed in the two decades after his retirement. It can always feel easier to understand a story if you can mark a beginning, Shankly was the beginning of this future success. Before Shankly, Liverpool were a solid team but by no means the best in England.

They went on to dominate England and Europe by winning many leagues and European Cups. It was Shankly that orchestrated this transformation. His charisma in momentous occasions and personal relationship with the fans, created an affinity with Liverpool. As Toshack said about the bond, ‘He was unique in his relationship with the fans and his love affair with the Kop’.[8]

Shankly was a staunch socialist and he always believed in the power of everyone working together. One of his most famous quotes is:

The socialism I believe in isn’t really politics. It is a way of living. It is humanity. I believe the only way to live and to be truly successful is by collective effort, with everyone working for each other, everyone helping each other, and everyone having a share of the rewards at the end of the day. That might be asking a lot, but it’s the way I see football and the way I see life.[9]

Shankly is so inextricably linked with socialism that writer, Stephen Kelly said ‘The football of Shankly was the football of socialism, it was the post-war government of Attlee, it was the miners, it was about the dignity of the working man’.[10] Shankly was entwined with politics and was friends with former Prime minister, Harold Wilson. Wilson was interviewed by Shankly on the Bill Shankly Show on Radio City 96.7. The two men discussed politics and football and Shankly said, ‘Our football was a form of socialism’.[11] He needed the fans as much as they needed him and he would do anything to please them.

There are countless examples of Shankly’s relentless attempts to please the Liverpool fans. He would spend a lot of time replying to letters from fans and giving them tickets to the games. One example of this comes from Eastley, he notes that one young fan who wrote ‘the word ‘please’ 1,010 times in a begging letter to Bill Shankly and is rewarded with a £1 ground ticket’.[12]

Another example is when ‘Bill Shankly wrote an article in the Liverpool Echo, saying that he would help any genuine fans who were having difficulty in obtaining tickets’. According to Paul, one lucky fan received a letter from Shankly with a Cup Final ticket inside, there was ‘a note on headed notepaper saying, ‘Best Wishes B Shankly’.[13] There are countless examples of Shankly sending Cup Final tickets and Birthday Cards to Liverpool supporters throughout his life.

It was not only match tickets that Shankly obtained for Liverpool fans. Ray Clemence recalled of times when Liverpool fans would be on the same train home from away matches as the Liverpool team. Several of the fans had not purchased tickets but when the ticket inspector went around the train, Shankly would pay for the tickets of the fans as he knew how important they were to the club.[15] He was even seen ‘in West Derby Village carrying shopping for the elderly people’.[16] These were all genuine acts of kindness that Shankly did, he was a true believer in socialism and he wanted to help his people as much as he could.

Aside from individual memories, there are several moments of contrasting emotions that illustrate Shankly’s relationship with the Liverpool FC fans. One of the significant moments came shortly after the defeat to Arsenal in the 1971 FA Cup Final, a game billed as ‘the best Wembley final for years’.[17] Shankly’s team returned to Liverpool as the defeated side, yet nothing about Shankly presented failure and he managed to turn the moment into power and pride between fans and players. The team returned to Liverpool with ‘At least 100,000 supporters’ to greet them and congratulate their efforts, despite defeat.[18] Shankly stood on the steps of St. George’s Hall in the centre of Liverpool and spoke to his people.

“Since I came here to Liverpool, and to Anfield, I have drummed it into our players time and again that they are privileged to play for you. And if they didn’t believe me, they believe me now”.[19]

The crowd was in total silence listening to their enigmatic leader and when he finished speaking they erupted and began chanting his name. Shankly possessed such power over the fans, they and his team were disappointed with defeat, the players looked almost awkward and embarrassed as he was speaking. Yet, he completely turned the occasion on its head and inspired everyone present. Bill Shankly stood in front of the fans with his arms wide and this image is still famous today, in the picture he does not look like a loser. He was showing that despite losing, the fans were right to be proud of their team.


When looking at the image, it does not look as though it presents a defeated manager who has just marked his fifth season without a trophy. The huge crowds demonstrate the love that the Liverpool fans had for their team and manager. His arms are outstretched and he looks like a man who is proud of his club and certainly is not portraying a loser. Even the crowd behind him look bemused, amongst the many adoring faces there are several fans and police officers who seem to be questioning Shankly’s actions somewhat. Shankly is rarely pictured with a beaming smile but his stern face shows that this is a moment he is trying to evoke power and passion.

This may have been hard to initially understand for the many who may have thought he was celebrating defeat. He and the thousands of fans who had gathered were proud of their team, Shankly knew this reception was special and he had to utilise the crowd. Through his speech and actions, he made Liverpool look like the winners and he strengthened his bond with the Liverpool supporters. This is perhaps summed up by what else he said in his speech “Yesterday at Wembley, we lost the Cup. But you the people have won everything”.[21]

Another moment where Shankly delivered a great speech was after winning the FA Cup in, what proved to be his last season with Liverpool, 1974. This was much like the 1971 experience, except on this occasion Shankly had silverware with him whilst he spoke. Liverpool had just beaten Newcastle at Wembley and came home to Liverpool to celebrate their second FA Cup triumph under Shankly. The ‘traditional reception’ that awaited the team saw a ‘quarter of a million people’ lining the streets of Liverpool.[22] According to Shankly the reception was ‘better than 1965’, when the first FA Cup was won.[23]

On the open top bus, whilst the players were displaying the trophy to the fans, Shankly asked Brian Hall, one of his players, “Hey son, who’s that Chinaman, you know, the one with all the sayings? What’s his name?’, to which Hall replied, “Is it Chairman Mao you mean?”. When the bus arrived at St. George’s Hall again and Shankly delivered another great speech, he exclaimed “Chairman Mao could never have seen such a show of red strength”.[24]

This again displayed Shankly’s ability to summarise these moments of mass jubilation and to entertain a crowd with his words. He recalled how three years previous he had spoken to the fans and promised them a return to Wembley, he was proud he lived up to that promise and now he could celebrate a trophy with them.[25] He went on to say “Today I feel prouder than I’ve ever felt before. We played for you, because it’s you we play for. And it’s you who pay our wages”.[26] Again, he was pinning all his success on the Liverpool fans, he was thanking them for the role that they played and he wanted them to know how much they meant to him.

It is easy for a manager to tell their fans how much they mean to him and the club. However, with Shankly it felt genuine, his actions on and off the pitch displayed a real love for the people of Liverpool. This continued after his career when he joined the Liverpool fans in the Kop for a match in 1975. When he ‘took his place for the first time on the Kop’, he was greeted with ‘the familiar chant of “Shankly is our king”’.[27] Shankly was the king of the Liverpool fans, not just for winning trophies but for how he handled himself on and off the pitch. He was following his socialist beliefs and this endeared him to the Liverpool fans. Shankly said “I’m a people’s man. Only the people matter”, this shows what the fans were to him[28]. This was a golden age for Liverpool because there has never been a football manager so adored by Liverpool fans, or perhaps any fans across the world.


  • Birthday Card from Bill Shankly to Tom Jones, January 1978.
  • British Universities Film & Video Council, Bill Shankly Show, at accessed 19 Nov. 17
  • Corbett, ‘Bill Shankly: Life, death and football’, at accessed 19 Nov. 17.
  • ‘Cup Final Special’, TV Times (London, 8. May. 1971), p.21.
  • Daily Mail, ‘’Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude, I can assure you it is much, much more important than that’… As Liverpool (and Preston) toast Bill Shankly’s 100th birthday, Golden Years remembers the great Scot’, at accessed 19 Nov. 17.
  • Davie, ‘Believing without Belonging: A Liverpool Case Study’, Archives de sciences sociales des religions, 81 (1993).
  • Eastley, From Bovril to Champagne: When the FA Cup Really Mattered Part 1 (Milton Keynes, 2010).
  • Gill, The Real Bill Shankly (Liverpool, 2006).
  • Hughes, John Toshack: FourFourTwo great footballers (London, 2002).
  • Interview with T. Jones, 06. Sep. 2017.
  • Interview with T. Madden, 12. Sep. 2017.
  • ‘It’s Shankly the Kopite!’, Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, 22. Nov. 1975).
  • F. Kelly, Bill Shankly: It’s Much More Important Than That: The Biography (London, 2011).
  • F. Kelly, The Official Illustrated History 1892-1995: Liverpool (London, 1995).
  • Liverpool ECHO TV, Bill Shankly – the Legend, at accessed 19 Nov. 17.
  • Paul, Anfield Voices (Gloucestershire, 2013).
  • Peace, Red or Dead (London, 2013).
  • Shankly Hotel, ‘Two fans kiss Bill Shankly’s feet after the match on 4th May 1974’, at accessed 19 Nov. 17.
  • TheSpionKop, Shanks speaks to the people, at accessed 19 Nov. 17.
  • Thompson, Shankly (Liverpool, 1993).
  • Tickets and accompanying Letter from Bill Shankly to Tom Jones, May 1974.
  • Waller, ‘Shankly, William [Bill] (1913-1981)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004),, accessed 19 Nov. 17.
  • Weber, You’ll Never Talk Alone (Liverpool, 2006).
  • YouTube, ‘Bill Shankly retirement and death’, at accessed 19 Nov. 17.

[1] G. Davie, ‘Believing without Belonging: A Liverpool Case Study’, Archives de sciences sociales des religions, 81 (1993), p.85.

[2] Interview with T. Jones, 06. Sep. 2017.

[3] P. Waller, ‘Shankly, William [Bill] (1913-1981)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004),, accessed 19 Nov. 17.

[4] S. F. Kelly, Bill Shankly: It’s Much More Important Than That: The Biography (London, 2011), p.290.

[5] Interview with T. Madden, 12. Sep. 2017.

[6] E. Weber, You’ll Never Talk Alone (Liverpool, 2006), p.4.

[7]Shankly Hotel, ‘Two fans kiss Bill Shankly’s feet after the match on 4th May 1974’, at accessed 19 Nov. 17.

[8] C. Hughes, John Toshack: FourFourTwo great footballers (London, 2002), p.33.

[9] E. Weber, You’ll Never Talk Alone (Liverpool, 2006), p.21.

[10] E. Weber, You’ll Never Talk Alone (Liverpool, 2006), p.47.

[11] British Universities Film & Video Council, Bill Shankly Show, at accessed 19 Nov. 17.

[12] M. Eastley, From Bovril to Champagne: When the FA Cup Really Mattered Part 1 (Milton Keynes, 2010), p.66.

[13] D. Paul, Anfield Voices (Gloucestershire, 2013), p.109.

[14] Tickets and accompanying Letter from Bill Shankly to Tom Jones, May 1974.

Birthday Card from Bill Shankly to Tom Jones, January 1978.

[15] YouTube, ‘Bill Shankly retirement and death’, at accessed 19 Nov. 17.

[16] K. Gill, The Real Bill Shankly (Liverpool, 2006), p.125.

[17] ‘Cup Final Special’, TV Times (London, 8. May. 1971), p.21.

[19] TheSpionKop, Shanks speaks to the people, at accessed 19 Nov. 17.

[20] Daily Mail, ‘’Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude, I can assure you it is much, much more important than that’… As Liverpool (and Preston) toast Bill Shankly’s 100th birthday, Golden Years remembers the great Scot’, at accessed 19 Nov. 17.

[21] K. Gill, The Real Bill Shankly (Liverpool, 2006), p.48.

[22] S. F. Kelly, The Official Illustrated History 1892-1995: Liverpool (London, 1995), p.109.

[23] K. Gill, The Real Bill Shankly (Liverpool, 2006), p.84.

[24] P. Thompson, Shankly (Liverpool, 1993), p.64.

[25] D. Peace, Red or Dead (London, 2013), p.131.

[27] ‘It’s Shankly the Kopite!’, Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, 22. Nov. 1975).

Bill Shankly is Appointed as Manager of Liverpool FC

In May 1956 Welsh was replaced by former English schoolboy international Phil Taylor who would become the only Liverpool manager to never manage in the First Division. Taylor was a former Liverpool and had worked as a part of the coaching staff. Unable to achieve promotion back into the First Division 'nice guy' Taylor resigned as manager of Liverpool. His replacement would bring about a revolution at Anfield.

From Genbuck in Scotland Bill Shankly became the manager of Liverpool FC on the 1st of May 1959. Shankly was a hugely ambitious manager and in club chairman Tom 'TV' Williams he found matching ambition.

Liverpool finished in third place in Shankly's first full season in charge. Following this he made to important acquisitions when he bought Ian St John from Motherwell for £37,500 and Ron Yeats from Dundee United for £22,000. The following season Liverpool won promotion as champions of the Second Division.

Just two seasons later Bill Shankly had delivered the first major honour for the Reds since 1947. More than that he was creating a type of English footballing dynasty that would last for more than 25 years. In the following year he led Liverpool out at Wembley to win the first FA Cup in the

history of the club, with a 2-1 victory over Leeds United. He also made an impact in the European Cup as Liverpool narrowly failed to make the final that year. Before Bill Shankly retired as Liverpool manager he led the club to two more League titles and another FA Cup win. Most importantly his vision and abilities had turned a Second Division club into a powerhouse of English football and was now well equipped to go on to conquer Europe. Shankly retired in July 1974.

Former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly dies – archive, 1981

Bill Shankly, the former Liverpool manager and one of the best-loved and respected figures in British football, died early today.

He was taken ill with a heart attack on Saturday, and went into Broadgreen Hospital, Liverpool. He was put in the intensive care unit yesterday after suffering a relapse.

Liverpool manager Bob Paisley, who was Shankly’s deputy for 14 years, said: “Bill was one of the greatest managers there has ever been. I am deeply, deeply shocked. Although I knew just how seriously ill he was, the news has still come as a great blow.”

A hospital spokesman said that 66-year-old Mr Shankly, who only hours before his condition became critical had been sitting up in bed joking with nurses, suffered a cardiac arrest at 12:30 this morning. He died at 1:20 a.m. His wife, Nessie, was by his bedside.

Mr Shankly, a legend in Liverpool, was the manager who turned Liverpool into one of the finest and most successful footballing sides in Britain. He brought the team back to the First Division and left them in 1974 on the threshold of even greater victories in Europe.

In his 15 years as manager, Liverpool won the League Championship three times, the FA Cup twice and the UEFA Cup once.

He was born in Ayrshire, one of ten children, in 1913 and played his first football in the Scottish junior league. He turned professional with Carlisle United in 1932 and the following year was transferred for £500 to Preston North End. He won an FA Cup winner’s medal as a wing-half and five caps for Scotland.

Such was the mystique of the man that the day he stepped down in July, 1974, supporters in tears jammed the Liverpool club’s switchboard hoping it was all a hoax. Even a local factory threatened to go on strike if he did leave. Shortly afterwards he received the OBE. The Queen said to him: “You have been in football a long time.” He replied: “It’s been 42 years.”

A tribute to Shankly by the Guardian’s David Lacey appeared on 30 September 1981

Bill Shankly and the values that built Liverpool Football Club

The club we all know and love today, constructed by the qualities and values of one man. Bill Shankly.

One of the most iconic figures in the history of our club, Liverpool Football Club.

Ahead of LFC Foundation Day, which is taking place at our game with Watford at Anfield on Saturday, we want to celebrate one of the men who built this club up to become one of the most dominant football institutions in English football history.

Shankly&rsquos spirit has been stitched into the very fabric of the club, with his morals and values evident decades after his retirement in 1974.

The Scot took charge of the club when they were languishing in the second division on December 1,1959 and laid the foundations that would see the club claim three First Division titles, one Division Two title, two FA Cups and one UEFA Cup during his time in charge.

From founding the legendary Boot Room to revitalising the club&rsquos training facility at Melwood &ndash Shankly&rsquos legacy reflected on the club as they continued to be successful following his retirement.

&ldquoI was made for Liverpool, and Liverpool was made for me.&rdquo

The LFC Foundation strives to do work that Bill would have been proud of &ndash helping those who need it most.

Watch the video: Shankly (October 2022).

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