Bill Shankly
"What we love to do and why!"
Bill Shankly

     
Bill´s granddaughter, Karen Gill, joined Vince on
the line from her home in Greece to discuss her
new book about her granddad    Sept 18th
2007        

Bill Shankly during a lap of honour of
Anfield, during the famous scarf
incidentDue to his working class
background, Shankly had a strong
feeling for how the fans followed the
team and wanted them to perform. He
felt he was letting the fans down when
the team didn't do well.

When he wasn't managing a football
club, Shankly was usually at his
typewriter, personally replying to the
letters which arrived at Melwood.
Shankly even called some supporters at
home to discuss the previous day's
game, while the accounts of him
providing tickets for fans are endless.[1]

One of the most iconic images of all was
caught on television, when a Liverpool
scarf which had been thrown at Shankly
during a lap of honour was flung to one
side by a policeman. Shankly pounced
on the scarf and reprimanded the
copper, uttering the immortal words
"Don't do that. This might be someone's
life". In a tour of the United States
Shankly couldn't believe American
people had never heard of Tom Finney.
Shankly was a huge fan of Finney's as a
footballer, and was also a close friend of
his.[citation needed]

After his retirement he said: "I was only
in the game for the love of football - and I
wanted to bring back happiness to the
people of Liverpool."

The journalist John Keith, who wrote the
play "The Bill Shankly Tribute Story",
commented that Shankly knew how
important the fans were to a successful
team, and that even after his retirement,
at the 1976 second leg of the UEFA Cup
final in Brugge: "A fan came over and
said he didn't have a ticket - so Shanks
went and bought him one." [2]


[edit] Retirement
Shankly was by now 60 years old, and in
July 1974 decided to retire - he said that
going to tell the chairman of his decision
was like facing the electric chair. He
wanted to spend time with his wife Ness
and their family. When news of
Shankly's resignation first emerged,
distraught fans jammed the club's
switchboard and at least one local
factory's workers threatened to go on
strike unless their hero returned [3].

The club was left in capable hands, with
the bootroom staff supplemented by
ex-players Ronnie Moran and Roy
Evans and they got behind new
manager Bob Paisley. Later it was
revealed that Shankly wanted Jack
Charlton to succeed him at Liverpool,
and not Bob Paisley.

Shankly was awarded the OBE in
November 1974. He even went regularly
to Melwood, to watch the team train. He
continued to live in the terraced house
that he and his wife had bought when
they moved to Liverpool, and he was a
regular sight around the city, happy and
willing to talk to anyone about football. In
the end, his wife had to take him
shopping to Manchester instead!

On the morning of 26 September 1981
Bill Shankly was admitted to Broadgreen
Hospital following a heart attack. Whilst
in Hospital he insisted on being nursed
in an ordinary ward not a private one.
"That is where he wanted to be," a
hospital spokesman told the Liverpool
Echo newspaper.[1]. His condition was
stable and it appeared that he was going
to make a full recovery. There was no
suggestion that his life was in danger.
The switchboard was jammed with
concerned fans and prayers were said
for him in the Sunday morning and
evening services at both of the Anglican
and Catholic Cathedrals. However, late
on 28 September Shankly unexpectedly
took a turn for the worse and died, aged
68, at 1.20am on 29 September 1981.
He was cremated, and his ashes buried
at the Anfield Crematorium on 2 October.
[4].

The Labour Party conference stood in a
minutes silence when his death was
announced, for a man who had always
been a socialist. Sir Matt Busby was so
upset when he heard the news of
Shankly's death that he refused to take
any telephone calls from people asking
him for a reaction.

Some years before his death, Shankly
had paid tribute to Busby, saying that he
was "greatest football manager ever".

On the first game at Anfield following his
funeral, a huge banner was unfurled on
the Kop which read "Shankly Lives
Forever".

His widow, Nessie Shankly, outlived her
husband by more than 20 years. She
died, aged 82, after suffering a heart
attack on 2 August 2002. [1] At the time
of her death, she was still living in the
house on Bellefield Avenue, West
Derby, where she had moved on her
husband's appointment as Liverpool
manager in 1959. [2]

Bill Shankly was made an Inaugural
Inductee of the English Football Hall of
Fame in 2002, in recognition of his
impact on the English game as a
manager.