Quite Shankly, I'm Amazed.

So with the eve of 50 years since Shankly showed up at the Liverpool quarters nearly upon us, the 1st of December will mark exactly 5 decades since the great man began his reign at Liverpool Football Club.

William (Bill) Shankly was born on the 2nd September 1913. A small, isolated village in Ayrshire - Scotland would be host to the young life of arguably the greatest ever manager to grace the football league.

Shankly began his footballing career in 1931 when he became a player for his local team - Cronberry Eglinton. A year later he headed for Carlisle United but it wasn't until he again moved clubs to Preston North End that his playing abilities were truly realised.

His successes at PNE included;

Playing statistics:
Debut: 9th December 1933 v Hull City
Games: 297
Goals: 13
Honours:
1933-34 Runners Up Division 2
1936-37 F.A. Cup Runners Up
1937-38 F.A. Cup Winners

Shankly has his own stand at Preston NE with his face depicted using the seats and colours of the club
see here.

Shankly had a memorable year in 1938 after making his debut for Scotland and collecting the FA Cup with Preston. By 1949 Shankly was coming to the end of his playing career, although he himself felt he had much more left in the tank he decided his next move would now be to manage his former club - Carlisle.

Shankly went on to have successful managerial periods after Carlisle at Grimsby, Workington and Huddersfield before the call came from Merseyside. Shankly was officially appointed as manager of Liverpool Football Club on December 1st, 1959.

Shankly's undisputed excellence at Liverpool was backed up by the list of honours he achieved during his time at the club;

1961-62 - Division 2 champions
1963-64 - Division 1 champions
1964-65 - F.A. Cup Winners
1965-66 - Division 1 champions, European Cup-Winners-Cup finalists
1970-71 - F.A. Cup finalists
1972-73 - Division 1 champions, UEFA Cup winners

1973-74 - F.A. Cup Winners

Shankly was much more than a great manager in terms of silverware, promotion and stature though. He was far, far more influential. To list just a few of the essential changes Shankly made which now shapes LFC as we know it;
  • When Shankly arrived the training ground (Melwood) was in very poor condition, the facilities were atrocious. Shankly decided in order to dismiss the psychological effect of turning up at such a run down place he would meet the team at Anfield, then the staff & players could travel together to Melwood.
  • Shankly introduced diet assessments.
  • He introduced skills training - The famous goal painted on a wall at Melwood consisted of several painted targets or boxes where Shankly would instruct players to hit.
  • Shankly introduced "5-a-side" training, this was so that he could enforce his simplistic tactics - pass & move effectively.

Most famously however there are two distinct moments in Shankly's decisions at Anfield; Firstly the introduction of "The All Red Strip" and the introduction of the "This Is Anfield" sign.

All Red

When Shankly turned up the Liverpool strip consisted of a red shirt, white shorts & white socks with a red trim.

In 1964 Shankly had another idea that would change Liverpool FC forever. Shankly thought that by changing the shorts from white to red it would make the players look bigger and have more of a presence. After Ian St.John suggested changing the socks to red too, Shankly agreed and the rest is history.

Considering this idea was enforced in 1964 Shankly was arguably a pioneer in this way of thinking. You only have to look back to last season when Chelsea introduced a bright orange goalkeeping strip for Petr Cech, the idea was that the colour would make Cech appear bigger and put off the strikers. Shankly was way ahead of the game.

THIS IS ANFIELD

Another famous moment in Shankly's reign was when the "This Is Anfield" sign was introduced to the Anfield tunnel. Shankly was quoted as saying; "It's there to remind our lads who they're playing for, and to remind the opposition who they're playing against."

The sign is still there today and no player will argue the fact that when you are stood in front of that sign with the roar of Anfield in the background, it will always have an effect.

So with the silverware, the professionalism, the close bond with the fans, the ideas that have made Liverpool FC what it is today, we shall never forget the player,the manager, the man.

Bill Shankly The Player;
Cronberry Eglinton 1931-31
Carlisle United 1932-33
Preston North End 1933-49
Scotland 1938-43

Bill Shankly The Manager;
Carlisle United 1949-51
Grimsby 1951-54
Workington 1954-55
Huddersfield 1955-59
Liverpool 1959-74

Bill Shankly The Man;
1913 - 1981 R.I.P


"You'll Never Walk Alone."

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