50 Years Shanks.Continued
Some more snips honouring the Great man..no apologies from me if these are repeated .thanks Shanks……
The Saint>Shankly not only built two teams, but he was involved in helping to revamp the stadium and he really pushed the directors in the right direction.One thing’s for sure, the Liverpool of today wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Bill Shankly.But there are so many great things about Bill Shankly. Without a single doubt, this man made Liverpool Football Club. He was the saviour and resurrected it all.What he said we would do, we did. These bold statements of what we were going to go on and achieve actually came true. We believed him and the crowd followed him like the pied piper. He made things happen.He said we’d be the Kings of Europe and although he didn’t do it in his time, if he’d hung on after 1974, he’d have probably been the first manager to win the European Cup for Liverpool.As Bob Paisley said, ‘Shanks laid the foundations and built the house. All I did was put the roof on it.’ It was a nice way of putting it.If Liverpool Football Club hadn’t brought Bill Shankly in, I don’t know where it would be now. He was a one-off and a great man.
Sammy>He built a dynasty for Liverpool Football Club – it wasn’t a short-term thing.Everyone can see, and has reaped the benefits of, what he did and also what the people working with him did too.The likes of Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Ronnie Moran, Roy Evans aren’t just plucked from trees. It takes a good set of skills to pick them out.Shankly’s legacy can be seen all around the place now.You can see from all of his quotations, of which there are many on the walls at Melwood and Anfield, that he set some very high standards for the club. Rafa Benitez is fully aware of our history, and rather than shy away from it, he embraces it.You can’t build on sand, you need good foundations and I think everything at this football club has been built upon the foundations set down by Shankly.Rafa wants to continue that, as you can see around the place now.As a fan it’s very easy to say there won’t ever be anyone like Shankly again. But even if I think outside the box, my answer would still be the same – he was unique.
Clem>A lot of people nowadays have heard about Shankly but weren’t around when he was at this magnificent football club.It’s difficult to explain just how influential he was, but for those at this club at the time he really did set the foundations. This club would not be what it is today without Bill Shankly coming 50 years ago, I can assure you of that.I was totally overawed by the man. I was so impressed with how much he loved this football club; how much it was the fans’ football club, and how privileged I was going to be to come and play for Liverpool and play in front of the greatest set of football supporters in the world. He wasn’t wrong.He got that message through to every single player. You were privileged to play on that pitch in front of those 50,000 fans every week. He was quite simply an incredible person.
Bionic carrott>He made the modern Liverpool. That may sound a bit over the top but I don’t think Liverpool were going anywhere before Shankly arrived at Anfield.He set the foundations for all the years of success and domination. He put rules in place and methods and I think up to not so long ago most of those ways were still very much ingrained in the club. I remember going to Anfield on many days collecting autographs and Shanks appeared and everybody got excited and would rush to him. Just to hear him talk, he was never shy to offer a few words to anybody who would listenI think he picked up straight away what the Liverpool people wanted and how they reacted. They were a mixed group, almost cosmopolitan in those days and a great mix of cultures and nationalities. We were a special breed and I think Shanks picked up on that very quickly. I think he relished the job of dragging Liverpool out of where they were and delivering something to the public.In return they just knew that he was the type of man with the required passion and determination. He made everyone give everything for the supporters and once that was ingrained in the team then the mix was absolutely perfect and Shankly just played to the crowd.I remember the day after the 1974 FA Cup final when we came back and he got silence when he talked to the crowd on St George’s plateau. It was absolutely awesome and in his own way he was very much the leader of Liverpool.I don’t think you will ever see anyone like him again, you won’t get two Bill Shanklys. He was a very special man. When he spoke to you the hairs on the back of your neck stood on end – you listened. He just wanted to talk to people and he was enthusiastic.He had a great outlook on life and you could never have anyone equal to Shankly. I know there have been great football managers down the years and they all had their way of doing things, but I’m sure a number of them have taken one or two of the lessons that Shankly put out and learned from him.
B.Hall>Once you put on that red shirt and went out onto the pitch you had to perform in the team structure. You had to perform well but inside the team structure and it was fascinating living in that environment.
Shanks was a socialist. Politically he didn’t do a great deal and push that too strongly but he had this principle that working together we could achieve far more than individually.It wasn’t just about the 11 red shirts on the pitch and him, Bob, Joe and Ronnie. That was one team but there was another team that was all very much a part of what he was trying to achieve as a manager.He sensed and realised the power of the supporters. When he came to Liverpool he realised there was something very special, so the team for Shanks was the 11 red shirts, okay 10 and a green one! His backroom staff and 50,000 people. Everybody got behind the team and he harnessed that – he brought that in.What Shanks did was take the slumbering giant that was Liverpool Football Club with this fantastic support and he harnessed the whole lot together. He brought quality players into the club and began to develop learn about producing successful football clubs. That was the foundation upon which everything else was built.
Rambo>When you talk to older players about the managers Liverpool have had over the years, they feel Bill Shankly was the only one who was capable of doing what he did when he came to the club.We were a second division team at the time, who appeared to be going nowhere and were crying out for somebody to transform us.The ex-players feel if it had been someone other than Bill arriving in 1959, we might not have what we have today. That alone makes him the greatest manager we’ve ever had.He was way ahead of his time and a lot of the methods he implemented in the early 1960s were still being used when I was at the club.
But what he did more than anything was to get people to believe the team was as good as he was telling people. He received incredible support from the fans in the city. I knew a fair bit of the history of Liverpool Football Club, and therefore about Shankly, but sadly he’d passed away by the time I arrived.There is no person or subject that is spoken about as much as Bill Shankly is at Liverpool. Within days of me joining the club, I’d heard five or six stories about him, and since then I’ve heard thousands.Everybody has a Shankly story to tell. Even our 2005 Champions League win will probably not get as many mentions as Shankly does over time.
Tommo>I was only five when he arrived in 1959 but when it all began to take off in the Sixties, Liverpool was my life. The team was your life and Bill Shankly was your life – those were the two things that you lived for. Shanks’ words just made you feel special, made you feel proud to be a Liverpool fan.Every day your mum, your dad, your brothers and sisters would ask: "what did Shanks say today? Did you see him?" They must have thought he was put in this ivory tower and you didn’t have a chance to even speak to him.But he did and he took great interest in your well being – even as a young kid. You’ve heard the stories about how he didn’t want to know you if you were injured, but one of my greatest memories of him was when I was out of action.
I was only 16; come your 17th birthday you signed professional. He came to me one day, I think it was the end of November and I had a groin strain. He asked me how I was and said he knew it was my birthday on January 21.He told me he was going to sign me up as a professional – just remembering my birthday was fantastic, but that’s how good he was. This great man was actually talking to me – it was just absolutely sensational.Life is all about timing and he was sent for us. We believe we are special people anyway, not just Liverpool fans, but Merseysiders and this guy was here to help bring us out of the doldrums and make us a world super power.Even my children know who Bill Shankly was and what he stood for. It is great that he has a statue situated at the Kop End, but everyone needs educating on what he actually did with very little resources and everyone that supports Liverpool should never, ever forget that – that should never, ever die in anyone’s mind.
Ronnie Moran>Shanks changed my life and I learned so much playing and working for him. If he had not come to Liverpool FC you don’t know what would have happened. He changed the club for the better and he changed it forever.He was just brilliant and he didn’t like losing any game, even in training when we were playing eight-a-side games. There was one game we were losing 2-0 and someone said to him it’s 12.15pm boss it’s time we finished, and he said we are not finishing until we are winning! We played on and luckily enough we got three goals by 1pm! He just loved football. His house overlooked Everton’s training ground and he used to tell the staff how he watched them train and how they were doing it all wrong! He taught us all to think about what we are doing, where we are and what we want to achieve. If the players were not prepared to work hard and do that then they would be out of the team. You could always go and talk to him and he would always make time for his players. Shanks had people he could trust on his backroom staff like Bob, Joe and Reuben Bennett and he trusted every one of them. He was just a great man.
B.Reade>He rebuilt the crumbling shack and re-laid the barren turf at Melwood. He introduced modern training methods and treatment rooms. He gave the club a new professionalism and instilled a self-confidence, optimism and ambition which saw it fly.Nowhere was this feelgood factor felt as intensely as on the terraces. By the mid-sixties, when Shankly started to deliver the trophies, our love for the man bordered on religious worship. Which was why, in the lean years that followed, we loyally stood by him, refusing to doubt he would turn things around.If the many sages who are astounded that Rafa Benitez is still in a job, could only see past their next bitter soundbite, they’d do well to study Shankly’s position in 1972, when he’d gone six years without lifting silver. If they wanted to know why most Liverpudlians refuse to join in their witch-hunt, therein lies the answer.Because Shankly injected loyalty into our DNA. Shankly’s socialism came from deep inside. It defined how he treated other people, as his equal and with respect. How he built his football teams as communal forces by drawing the fans into his vision.
He had his faults. He could be vain, arrogant, cold and dictatorial. But for all of that he was unique and inspirational. Dennis Skinner, Jack Jones, D-Day veterans, the sacked Liverpool dockers, Barbara Castle and Muhammed Ali are people I’ve met whose courage and generosity moved me almost beyond words. But none touch the effect Shankly had. No-one’s charisma and selflessness has stayed with me through life more than his.It was summed up in a letter he sent to me in 1973, after I’d written to Harold Wilson demanding to know why Shankly hadn’t figured in the Honours List.
I am not really disappointed about not being recognised. The people who dish out honours are not my people, my people go to Anfield. If I can make you all happy, then that is my greatest ambition.
I’m far from alone here. Individual stories abound which testify to the sincerity of his feeling towards his beloved fans. A feeling summed up when we beat Leicester to clinch the 1973 title.As he did his lap of honour a boy threw a scarf at his feet and a policeman kicked it away: "Don’t do that" said Shankly picking up the scarf and wrapping it round his neck. "That scarf’s the boy’s life." Such a bond between manager and crowd had never been seen before. He started something unique in football: the manager as idol. Look at the huge Liver Bird flag that spreads across the Kop shortly before every kick-off and you’ll see, down either side of it, not drawings of the club’s greatest strikers, but the managers. Listen to the songs sung about Benitez (as they were about Gerard Houllier) and you’ll hear a crowd reaching out to its leader, demanding a communion between the dug-out and the stands. It’s a scream for the man who holds their destiny in his hands to recognise his flock and reciprocate their trust.
At no other club in the world does the manager receive that kind of love and support. And the reason is, that no other club had Bill Shankly. I can still see him, standing at Melwood that hot summer’s day in 1975, saying to this star-struck schoolkid: "right, I’ve work to do." He breaks into a jog, floating off into the distance, past those famous sweat-boards he introduced to improve the players’ touch and control, across the pitches he helped re-lay at a training ground so dilapidated there was no running water. Pitches that laid the foundations for what is still the most successful club in the history of British football. I can hear him tell me how he laid every single blade and every single brick. And I know for certain, that if I live to be 110, I’ll never meet a finer man than Bill Shankly.