Bill Shankly week could not have come sooner for thousands of Liverpool fans unsure of where their club is heading. This week, LFC TV and the club website will air tributes and put together articles that honour the memory of the club’s greatest manager.
It was 50 years ago, that Shankly moved from Huddersfield Town to Liverpool then languishing at the bottom of the second division. The Scotsman began a transformation that made Liverpool a football powerhouse and carried forward into Europe by his proteges Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan.
All those glittering FA Cups could have been Huddersfield’s if Shankly had his way. He wanted Ian St John and Ronnie Yeats to join Denis Law and Ray Wilson at Huddersfield to complete a team that could made the town famous for something other than the birthplace of the rugby league. But the club had no money.
As Ian St John tells it, Shankly said, ‘If I’d got you two, Huddersfield would’ve been the Liverpool of today’.”
The two joined Shankly at Anfield and added to a team which included Ian Callaghan, and Chris Lawler that took Liverpool out of the second division and into the echelons of European football.
The fab four are now part of “a anecdote-packed drama-documentary titled The Bill Shankly Story” that will air at the Liverpool Empire on December 14th, the same venue which saw the Beatles, Merseyside’s greatest export make the sixties eponymous with the British Invasion.
Shankly had something to say about those usurpers:
” Forget the Beatles and the other groups. The Kop is the real Liverpool sound. That’s real singing. ”
That legendary wit, quick eye for talent, formidable powers of persuasion, and keeping the game simple- The Bill Shankly way will be the evening’s theme. Coincidentally, the one off show falls on the 50th anniversary of Shankly’s arrival at the training ground of his new club.
“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.”
Amen to that.