If Bill Shankly was the Father of Liverpool football then Agnes Shankly was undoubtedly the Mother.
Agnes Shankly was as dedicated to Bill and his squad as Shanks was to his love of the game. It is because of Nessie’s moral support and unyielding devotion to Bill and the family that Liverpool football club were able to get the very best from Shankly as a manager and leader.
At the helm of the Shankly Family
As Bill took control of Liverpool football club, pulling them out of the slums and pushing them onto glory, Nessie was manning the fort at home.
Nessie was strong and would always give her opinions speaking her mind but always with wise words and a supportive manner
She was the captain of her ship, known for her unwavering encouragement of Bill and the lads he managed.
As a mother, Agnes ran a tight ship.
She had two daughters at home to think about whilst Bill was off conquering the world with the Mighty Reds.
Her daughter Jeanette told us;
“She was just an amazing Mum to my sister and me, and of course a fantastic wife to my Dad. She was the family matriarch and held it all together for us, continuing to do so when the grandchildren came along.
My memories of her are just the simple things in respect of her being a Mum.
She would take me to town every week, and we would go to a restaurant called Reece’s for lunch.
When I was younger; she would take me what was called the Doll’s Hospital, a shop for dolls clothes and accessories, as I got older, we would go to WH Smith, both being keen readers, and would quite often read large sections of books stood in the shop!
She would always buy books for us to take home and after she had read them she would write on the inside cover to remind herself so she didn’t try and read it again!
When I got older, I would accompany her to a lot of her charity commitments. She did a lot for the Royal National Institute for the Blind.
They used to do events at local pubs to raise money called the ‘Piles of Pennies’ and we would have some fantastic nights.”
Jeanette, Ness & Bill’s second daughter.
Chris Shankly, Nessie’s only grandson, has fond memories of her as a grandmother popping round for guaranteed choc ice and a quid pocket money for the shops whenever he could.
“She was a proper lady. Always immaculate. She just wanted to look after you.
Every time you went round she would try and give you money. ‘Do you need any new clothes Chris?’ or ‘Do you need any new trainers Chris?’
We used to laugh that we had a job on our hands to get out of there without having money given to us.
That is the person she was though. She was all about everybody else.”
The first lady of Liverpool football
Nessie was known among the players for her kindness and as far as Bill’s own personal fans were concerned, her door was always open, inviting those who loved her husband in for tea and biscuits, or even full family meals when they came to call.
The people of Liverpool grew to love Nessie as much as they did Bill and during one event in the north of the city, Nessie was attending a presentation when someone broke into the car she came in and stole some of her things.
When word got out among the public the guilty individual swiftly returned the goods to the venue, no questions asked. Such was the influence Nessie had on the people of Liverpool.
Remembering the Mother of Liverpool football at The Shankly Hotel
Chris and the entire Shankly Family have recounted some touching stories of Nessie some and these are the memories that have endured and inspired the wonderful things The Shankly Hotel do for the public today.
Chris says that his mother Jeanette is everything that Nessie was as far as being a caring person who loves to give.
“If I had to sum Nanny Ness up, I would say she was the best human being I have ever known. One of the most generous, strong, wise and loving people I have ever met. She was completely selfless. Where Grandy was all about the people, so was she. She never took anything for herself, she simply gave.”
Particularly on Mother’s Day at The Shankly Hotel we like to celebrate the Mother of Liverpool football Nessie Shankly and how by loving, encouraging and supporting her family she helped to make Liverpool football all it is today.