Tag Archives: Bob Paisley

Happy Birthday Shankly

2 Sep

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Happy Birthday Shankly


I thought it only fitting that I should write an article about Liverpool’s greatest manager to mark Bill Shankly’s 100th birthday . Bill Shankly was before my time but like any Liverpool fan I have learned about him over the years and even read his one and only autobiography about him quite recently. It’s hard to write an article on this great man as so many better people and writers than me have said it all before. But I just wanted to have my say of what this great man means to me.


I was only 10 years old when the great man passed on and I had just recently started supporting Liverpool but I didn’t know who he was but I had heard of him, and I remember the sad news that day of his passing and the reaction of my father who obviously new a lot more about him. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to experience his time in charge of Liverpool, but I have consulted people who did and they said that it was an amazing time to be a Liverpool supporter.


All the great stories you hear of this great man from former players are legendary like his achievements. The way he has touched every Liverpool supporter even after so many years after his death shows what this man done for this club.


Coming from a small mining village in Ayrshire which is sadly no longer inhabited as I quite recently visited only to find the Shankly memorial standing. I think his mining back ground stood him in good stead for his future career. Football was the only alternative to a life down the pit, and Shankly grabbed it with both hands as he forged a career in football.
I don’t want to bore you with the facts of his career as I’m sure you know all about them, I just want to tell you how he has touched me.


I also live in Ayrshire, and I think that is why I took an added interest in his life. I have learned so much about Shankly over the years by supporting Liverpool and I am absolutely fascinated by the great man. I always try to watch programmes on TV about Shankly or read articles in newspapers about him as I respect the man so much for what he has done for Liverpool. I am currently reading the recently published Red or Dead which is another book about Shankly and a very interesting read too.


His achievements at Liverpool are all the more remarkable considering the state of the club at the time. Shankly called Anfield “the biggest toilet in Liverpool”. Shankly transformed the club totally and even maintained Anfield and Melwood himself as Liverpool’s facilities were so run down. Shankly put everything into his job and he expected his players to do the same.


He had a tremendous rapport with the supporters and told his players that they were lucky to play for them. Shankly would always have time for Liverpool supporters, he would reply to every letter personally and he would give match day tickets away and even play football with them. He loved the supporters and they loved him back.


The way Shankly changed the training methods, the players’ diets and obviously the team was amazing, and how the transformation of the club happened relatively quickly as Liverpool’s results on the park improved. Shankly built a brilliant team as he took Liverpool back into the First Division after languishing in the Second Division.


He kept improving the team, bringing in tremendous players with the likes of St. John and Ron Yeats strengthening the team. After much success in the 1960’s Shankly realised the core of his team was getting too old and with his priority on improving the team he replaced players that had been with him for so long. He brought in the likes of Clemence, Heighway, Hughes, Toshack and Keegan and basically built a new team that would keep the success coming.


Bill Shankly built Liverpool into one of the top football teams in the country and his methods and close knit team of coaches (The Boot Room Boys) would ensure that Liverpool would continue at the top of the English game for years to come after his retirement. Nobody really knows why he really retired but I’m sure he only did so because he knew that Liverpool had a great man in Bob Paisley to reign after him.


Liverpool provided a perfect tribute on the eve of Shankly’s birthday with the Kop displaying a mosaic and a minute’s applause prior to kick-off against Manchester United and Liverpool’s win catapulted them to the top of the League, just where Shankly would want them.

Bill Shankly you will never be forgotten.


He made the people happy.

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A Quiet Incredible Man

14 Feb

A Quiet Incredible Man



On the 23rd of January 1919 in a little known town called Hetton-le-Hole in County Durham, was born a baby who was to grow up to be the most successful manager in Liverpool Football Club’s history. His name of course was Bob Paisley.



Paisley started his long road to success at non-league Bishop Auckland before signing for Liverpool in May 1939, but due to war breaking out Paisley had to wait until 5th of January 1946 to make his debut in Liverpool’s first post-war competitive match. Paisley became a regular in the Liverpool team at left-half and he helped Liverpool win their first league title in 24 years in his first full season at the club. Paisley had to wait until 1948 to net his first goal at Liverpool on the 1st May at Anfield in a 2-1 win over Wolves.


Paisley scored the opening goal in a 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Everton in 1950 only to suffer heartache when he was dropped for the final against Arsenal in the club’s first ever trip to Wembley, which they lost. Paisley stated that this experience helped him deal with players during his time in management when he had to tell a player he was being left out of a big game.



Paisley became the club captain the following year. He retired from playing as a one club man in 1954 and continued to work for Liverpool as a self-taught physiotherapist. He later became coach of the reserves before becoming a member of Bill Shankly’s famous “Boot Room”. In 1971 he became Shankly’s assistant manager until Shankly’s shock resignation in 1974, where Paisley succeeded as manager.



Liverpool had become one of the top clubs in the country under Shankly’s leadership and had won numerous trophies. Paisley’s task seemed a formidable one to continue in Shankly’s footsteps. But the unassuming Geordie took to management like a duck to water, although his first season did end without a trophy.



Bob Paisley went on to manage Liverpool for 9 years winning 6 League Titles, 3 European Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, 3 League Cups, 5 Community Shields and 1 UEFA Super Cup. The only cup that eluded him was the FA Cup which he lost in a final in 1977. It really is a remarkable record for a man that never really wanted to become manager.



Paisley inherited a great team from Shankly but through time he had to shape the team into his. He lost great players like Kevin Keegan but he replaced him with an even better player in Kenny Dalglish. He could change the role of an established player like Ray Kennedy who was a superb striker for Arsenal, but Paisley could see that he would be a better player in midfield.



Paisley retired from management in 1983 after serving Liverpool Football Club in so many different roles in 44 years unbroken service. He did return to help Liverpool in 1985 as a consultant and advisor to new player-manager Kenny Dalglish for two years before being appointed a director of the club until 1992, having to retire due to ill health after being diagnosed with Alzhiemer’s Disease. Bob Paisley died on the 14th of February 1996. But Liverpool Football Club honoured his fantastic service and achievements by erecting the “Paisley Gates”.



For me, Bob Paisley is the most under-rated manager in the history of British football, his record of success is astonishing. He is the only manager in history to win the European Cup 3 times. During his time as manager he always tried to shun the spotlight and maybe because he was so quiet may be the reason why he is not talked about as much as Ferguson or Mourinho.



It’s not just Paisley’s incredible management career that excites me, but his service to one club in so many roles that he played to help Liverpool Football Club achieve what they have. Paisley was the opposite of Shankly in terms of personality but similar in terms of success.



Although Paisley was quiet he did come away with some memorable quotes –


“Kevin was quicker off the mark, but Kenny runs the first five yards in his head.”


“Mind you, I’ve been here through the bad times too – one year we came second”



“It’s not about the long ball or the short ball, it’s about the right ball”



“Other people have earned more money than me in football but no-one has enjoyed it as much as me”



Although this great man is overlooked by many people on his achievements in football, he has legendary status in the hearts of Liverpool supporters. Paisley was manager of Liverpool when I started supporting them and I took the winning for granted at the time, but now after nearly 30 years since his departure from management I realise that success does not come easily in football, and I now I can fully appreciate how great a manager Paisley was.


Bob Paisley –  You’ll Never Walk Alone



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