How the Remote Scottish Village where Bill Shankly Grew Up Shaped His Career

In Liverpool, Bill Shankly’s name brings to mind the glory and success of his managerial years at Liverpool FC so you might be surprised to discover that the Liverpool Legend grew up in a remote and poverty-stricken village in Scotland called Glenbuck.

Known amongst fans as Shankly’s lost village, Glenbuck is the birthplace and childhood home of the world-class manager who steered Liverpool FC to three English league wins, two FA Cups and a UEFA victory.

The former football legend was born in the remote East Ayrshire village on September 2nd 1913. One of 10 children, Bill Shankly was the second youngest child.

The iconic football manager had a modest upbringing, claiming that he didn’t have a proper bath until he was 15 and that he would regularly steal turnips for boiling and eating.

But it was this tough upbringing that shaped Shankly’s humble attitude to the beautiful game and grounded his ethos and values in equality and fair-play.

The Village of Glenbuck: Home of Footballers

Glenbuck

For most of Glenbuck’s history, it had only two exports: coal and footballers.

Glenbuck was a struggling coal mine village in the 19th and 20th centuries. Residents lived under constant threat of mine closure as the coal steam began to run out.

By the end of the 1930s, the pit mines had closed. In the late 1990s, the old mine was converted into a open-cast mine, which saw the destruction of many of the homes in the village.

But this tiny village in the Scottish hills also produced 50 footballers who went on to play professionally – an impressive figure for a village whose population never exceeded 1,700.

Alongside Bill Shankly, other renowned footballers to come from this small Scottish settlement included four English FA Cup winners, five full internationals and 50 professionals.

Bill’s uncle Bob Blyth who played for Rangers, Preston North, and Portsmouth respectively also heralded from the village. Alex Tait, a Tottenham Hotspur player when the club won the FA cup in 1901, was also Glenbuck born and bred.

Bill Shankly’s Football Experiences in Glenbuck

Glenbuck

Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to former inhabitants of the tiny village, football and mining went hand-in-hand in Glenbuck. When the mine was open, it was normal for the workers to have a game every night after finishing in the pits. The football pitch, Burnside Park, was only a short walk away from the mines.

When Bill Shankly left school he worked in the mine with his brother Robert for 2 years before it closed.

Appearing on the TV Show ‘This is Your Life’ in 1973 with her brother, Bill Shankly’s sister Netta reminisced about the antics the Shankly brothers used to get up. The five brothers would blow up balloons and kick them around the cramped quarters of their childhood home, often breaking vases and sideboards as they went.

Glenbuck’s local team was called the Glenbuck Cherrypickers, but the team folded before Shankly was old enough to play for them.

Instead he played for Cronberry, a semi-professional junior team located 12 miles away from the village. It was here that Shankly was scouted for Carlisle United, kick-starting his footballing career.

Professional footballers like Shankly were part of the fabric of the village, and this might be why so many successful players were raised in the village. Many of the footballers continued to socialise with younger players, encouraging their sporting efforts.

The Community of Glenbuck

Glenbuck

Source: Shutterstock

According to former residents of the Scottish village, the mining settlement had a collective attitude to life and were happy to help any family in need. This was later reflected in Shankly’s humble attitude on the pitch, and his belief in playing as a team and not as a group of individuals.

After his pitch-side success, Bill Shankly used return to Glenbuck and often joined in games with local youngsters. According to former residents, he often asked how families were getting on, before kindly gifting them financial support.

The family atmosphere of the village must have rubbed off on the LFC legend as Bill Shankly’s family was always important to him. Just before his death he said: “There’s nobody closer to you than your own kith and kin; your own blood. I’ve got my wife, my daughters, grandchildren, and my sons in law. They’re the closest to me and I would die for them”.

Today, an LFC supporter’s group called the Spirit of Shankly are dedicated to keeping the legacy and values of their hero relevant to the club. Their grassroots activism aims to represent the best interests of Liverpool fans on a local and international level, in keeping with Bill Shankly’s values on community and support. In 2015 they made a trip up to Glenbuck to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Liverpool’s first historic FA Cup win.

The Future of Glenbuck

The village of Glenbuck is currently uninhabited, but there are plans to revive the birthplace of the renowned Liverpool Legend.

Schemes are in discussion to restore the historic football field, establish a museum in the area and even reinstate the once mighty local team, the Glenbuck Cherrypickers.

A charitable football academy has been set up in the village’s name which trains young players in Douglas, South Lanarkshire (one of Scotland’s most deprived areas).

The mine is likely to become a centre for research and education due to its unique geological exposure according to the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust.

Unsurprisingly, the largest number of visitors to Glenbuck are Liverpool supporters visiting the ‘lost village’ of their club legend. Nestled on the roadside in the village is a simple memorial to Bill Shankly, ‘The Legend, The Genius, The Man’.

Dedicated fans can also travel to Muirkirk Heritage Park a short distance away to see the larger memorial unveiled by LFC legends, Alan Kennedy and Roy Evans, in 2014.

Celebrate Bill Shankly’s Memory at The Shankly Hotel

Glenbuck

The Shankly Hotel is a fitting tribute to one of football’s greatest managers. Offering spacious luxury rooms, a lively bar and restaurant and unseen memorabilia, The Shankly will bring the story of Bill Shankly to life during your stay.

To book your stay at The Shankly Hotel, give our team a call on 0151 601 8801 or email reservations@shanklyhotel.com today and head over to our Facebook for more details. 

How Shankly’s Stint in the RAF Shaped Liverpool FC

The Shankly Hotel, and the endeavours that bear the Shankly name exude an aroma of grandeur. However, this aura was serviced via his formative experience in the RAF and the backing of his beloved wife, Nessie. So, just how did Shankly’s RAF tenure shape Liverpool.

Shankly’s “Greatest Ever Signing”

RAF

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Agnes Wren Shankly; or ‘Nessie’ as she was affectionately know to those who encountered the woman who Bill Shankly lovingly regarded as his “greatest ever signing,” was amid the 180,000 homemakers who enrolled in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in 1939. Nessie, alongside her husband, was amongst a plethora of civilians who wanted to “do their bit,” as the patriotic posters exclaimed.

The RAF Corporal – who would go onto manage Carlisle United, Huddersfield Town and, eminently, Liverpool – met, and subsequently married Agnes in Glasgow in 1944; a choice he never regretted. It is undeniable that Shankly’s stoic self-confidence and Agnes’ patience blossomed during their stretch at Bishopbriggs. Indeed, despite a famous anecdote in which her husband of barely 24hours accompanied her to a Preston North End reserve match, Nessie rarely ventured into what she considered her husband’s domain. She was, undoubtedly, the sincerity behind the legend.

Corporal Shankly RAF 

RAF

Source: Shutterstock

Shankly’s RAF stint – which disrupted somewhat of a promising playing career – absolutely influenced his time at the helm of Liverpool Football Club. In his fifteen years as manager, the quotable Scot transformed a sleeping juggernaut into an immovable force: “a bastion of invincibility.”

This “bastion” which Shankly quotably described, shared a myriad of characteristics with the regiment in which he served, be it confidence, selfishness or the preparedness to “run through a brick wall and come out fighting on the other side,” a maxim he often repeated.

The 1965 FA Cup Final

These combative tropes were on view for the entire nation to appreciate as Shanks’ squad, which included future icons such as Tommy Lawrence – who, due to his nourished physique was nicknamed the “flying pig” – and Ian St. John, lifted aloft the 1965 FA Cup in an era when the final was the only game to be televised completely live.

Liverpool had displayed Nessie’s distinctive patience and her spouses unwavering strength to overcome Don Revie’s Leeds United, a team that would become a recurring adversary, and win their first of many trophies under the Glaswegian. Revie’s Leeds were synonymous with the Yorkshire mindset: tough, abrasive and hardworking – words usually reserved for Liverpudlians and, more specifically, Shankly’s squad.

The Healthiest Man Ever to Die

RAF

Between his conscription as an RAF Corporal in 1939 and his retirement thirty-five years later, the Liverpool manager would exude an aura of invincibility. Even when close to death in 1981, Shankly personified the warmhearted arrogance that made his teams so revered: “when I go,” he uttered as poetically as ever, “I’m going to be the fittest man ever to die.”

Shanks’ smugness was indicative of a man who neither drank nor smoked, exercised regularly and, remarkably, survived The Second World War as part of what is perhaps the toughest regiment in history with the ever-present, ever-patient Nessie in tandem.

“Through Adversity to the Stars”

RAF

Blazoned across numerous RAF insignia is the motto: “Through Adversity to the Stars.” This maxim, although devised one year before his birth in 1912, could have been written for Bill Shankly himself.

Because of his previous endeavours, be it Shankly’s RAF conscription or his relationship with Nessie, he was able to haul an abject Liverpool squad out of the second division and into the stars.

The Bastion Bar & Restaurant

RAF

We’ve hope you’ve enjoyed our look into Bill Shankly’s personal life and how it shaped his time as Liverpool manager.

If you wish to delve deeper into the personal and professional life of the grandiose gaffer, look no further than the memorabilia covered walls of the unique Bastion Bar & Restaurant located within The Shankly Hotel.

If you’d like to book a stay or a table, get in touch with our friendly team today by calling 0151 236 0166 or email reservations@shanklyhotel.com

Keep up to date with everything going on at the hotel by following The Shankly Hotel Facebook.

The Perfect Valentine’s Day With Bill and Nessie

Another Valentine’s Day in Liverpool and another chance to look back at the three great loves of The Shankly Hotel’s namesake.

It’s an undeniable, unrelenting passion that the Liverpool manager had for the game. Indeed, he probably would’ve sneered at us for referring to football as a game. Shankly’s love for the sport ran so deep, as deep as a Valentine’s Day rose planted in the ground, that he is known for having just three great passions.

His football, his darling wife Nessie and his family.

First came love, then came marriage

The couple met during their time stationed at an RAF barracks just outside Glasgow where Nessie was working in the WRAF. They were married in 1944 and had Barbara, one of two children, in 1945.

It is rumoured that despite his new-found love for Agnes, Shankly couldn’t let go of his passion for football and rumour once had it that he took Nessie to watch a Rochdale game on their anniversary, something that was, however, quickly discredited by Shanks himself who exclaimed:

“Of course I didn’t take my wife to see Rochdale as an anniversary present. It was her birthday. Would I have got married in the football season? Anyway, it was Rochdale reserves.”

Valentine's Day

Nessie’s unquestioning attendance of a match for a birthday present set the pace for a future existence of supporting her husband’s insatiable appetite for the beautiful game.

There is even word that Shankly took Nessie to a Tranmere match as a birthday present also, this rumour was quickly quashed by Nessie who corrected:

“it was Accrington Stanley but it wasn’t a birthday present”.

We can only imagine what he got her for Valentine’s Day.

The life of the first WAG

Valentine's Day

Nessie was a player’s wife long before she became the second lady of Liverpool. During the early years of her marriage, she married a superstar whom 5 years later became manager of Carlisle United.

From here, Shankly went on to manage Huddersfield Town in 1956. Then, in 1959, he moved to Liverpool for what would be his swansong. Nessie was behind her husband through think and thin, never complaining and buoyantly supporting his unrelenting passion for football.

While her husband would be out giving everything he had in the dugout, Nessie would be at home helping raise the grandchildren, despite having already brought up two daughters.

Nessie would also devote her time to entertaining and feeding fans of her husband and the hungry groundsmen of Melwood.

Behind every great man, there is a great woman

The couple remained a beacon of true love.

It wasn’t until 1974 – 30 years after they married – that the great man decided to relinquish his hold on Liverpool in favour of spending some quality time with his family.

During his retirement announcement he said:

“I’ve been so wedded to Liverpool that I’ve taken Nessie out only twice in 40 years. It’s time she saw more of my old ugly mug”

Valentine's Day

So, in time, Nessie’s utter devotion to her husband bore fruit. He had come to realise that, even though his love for Liverpool was strong, his love for his family was even stronger.

He would never miss another birthday, anniversary or Valentine’s Day because, after everything:

“There’s nobody closer to you than your own kith and kin; your own blood. I’ve got my wife, my daughters, grandchildren, and my sons in law. They’re the closest to me and I would die for them.”

Love of the People

Valentine's Day

Shankly was, and is, adored by the people of Liverpool.

His dedication to the city endeared him to us Scouser’s. That said, without the unyielding love and support of Nessie, his achievements would not have been possible.

After years of tracking his successful career across the county, Nessie and her famous husband would settle in Liverpool; laying down routes that would ultimately help them leave a loving legacy.

Even with the tragic passing of her one true love, Nessie was comforted by the fact that the people of Liverpool would remember Shanks with as much fondness as she would.

Love’s Lasting Legacy

At The Shankly Hotel, our guests can come and learn everything there is to know about Shanks and Ness.

Valentine's Day

The Shankly Hotel is built upon strong family values. The commitment our namesake and his loving Nessie had to one another’s happiness is awe-inspiring to say the least.

Spend Valentine’s Day at The Shankly Hotel

Valentine's Day

Love continues to be a huge part of what goes on at The Shankly Hotel as we have celebrated many happy couples’ special occasion.

So, on Valentine’s Day in Liverpool this year – and, for the rest of the year ahead – come and stay at the now famous Shankly Hotel and make some enduring memories of your own. Also, come and dine with us at the superb Bastion Bar & Restaurant.

Get in touch with our helpful team today on 0151 236 0166 or check out our latest Valentine’s Day deals . And, to keep up to date with everything going on at the hotel, follow The Shankly Hotel Facebook page.

The Shankly Liverpool | 5 Things Liverpool Can Thank Bill Shankly For

In Liverpool, there is plenty of home-grown talent. We’re a city renowned for The Beatles, Cilla Black and Kim Cattrall, however one of the most influential figures in our history wasn’t a Scouser, but a Scotsman whom the city took under their wing. In return, the one and only Bill Shankly changed Liverpool forever, and not just on the pitch. There are so many Shankly Liverpool connections that stretch far and wide.

Frequently credited as the manager who revolutionised Liverpool Football Club, Shankly was a firm favourite with everyone in the city. We’re taking a look back at all the things Liverpool can thank Bill Shankly for.

LFC’s First Victory in the FA Cup

Despite being crowned League champions twice in the 1920s and again in the 1946-47 season, LFC had been in a steady state of decline in the years prior to Shankly’s reign. They were even relegated to the Second Division in the 1953-54 season.

Bill Shankly

Champagne in the dressing room after Liverpool had clinched the League Championship.

However, Bill Shankly had faith in his players and faith in his team, persevering and working hard to turn them into a ‘bastion of invincibility’. After months of hard work, the change in training and dedication to the players paid off and LFC were finally being recognised for their impressive talent.

In 1962, the team were promoted back to the First Division and in 1964 Bill Shankly led the way to the club’s first FA Cup victory with a spectacular win against Leeds United. The match ended 2-1 in additional time and Shankly cemented his team as a solid force to be reckoned with.

Turning Melwood into a World Class Training Facility

Next up in our Shankly Liverpool connections and something the city and football club can thank the great man for is Melwood. One of the top training facilities in the world, with three full-size synthetic pitches, rehabilitation rooms, a gym, swimming pool and even a restaurant, it is a hugely important hub for LFC.

However, Melwood wasn’t always so state-of-the-art. When Shankly first visited the training facility he was shocked, famously stating it was “a shambles and a sorry wilderness”.

Shankly quickly put in the orders for an upgrade and it wasn’t long before Melwood was made fit for champions. The transformation was a success and, along with Shankly and his team’s great training plans, was an important factor in the future success of the club.

thank bill shankly

Source: thisisanfield.co.uk

Today, the training ground continues to be the site of LFC’s rigorous training, despite plans to move training to Kirby being announced in 2017. It was redeveloped again in 2001 under the careful eye of then manager Gerard Houllier, but still maintains the Shankly flair.

A New Style of Management

Bill Shankly was a pioneer when it came to football management; he brought a new style to the beautiful game. He always made sure he inspired his players, took time to speak to the fans and incorporated a hands-on approach in training.

Shankly knew how important good football was to the fans and always instilled this in his players. They were encouraged to set high standards for themselves, helping them to realise how privileged they were to be playing for the club.

His impact as a manager at Liverpool did not go unrecognised, with awards, accolades and tributes flowing in following his retirement and his untimely death in 1981. In 1982, his widow, Nessie, ‘unlocked’ the now iconic Shankly Gates at Anfield, he was given an OBE in 1974 and he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his impact as a manager.

Bridging the Divide Between Liverpool and Everton

The story of the Liverpool FC and Everton rivalry dates all the way back to 1892, when LFC was founded by Everton’s former club president John Houlding, following a disagreement about land.

Over the years, the rivalry between the two teams has been fierce but friendly, with reds and blues frequently going head to head, but always having an undertone of respect. Shankly only helped to further this bond with his famous friendship with Dixie Dean, star player and record-breaker at Everton in the 1920s.

Shankly Liverpool

Bill Shankly and Dixie Dean

Following his retirement as manager in 1974, Shankly struggled with the concept of no longer having football to rule his life and spent a lot of time at Melwood. New manager Bob Paisley felt undermined by Shankly’s empowering presence and the legend soon felt compelled to stay away from the team he loved the most.

He did, however, get regular invites to be a spectator at Goodison Park to watch the blues play top-tier teams from around the world. Chris Shankly, the grandson of the former manager, remarked that Bill developed ‘a soft spot for the blue side of the city’ and the man himself even said that he was welcomed warmly every time he visited Everton’s ground and training site.

The Shankly Playing Fields

Shankly is often revered as one of the friendliest managers football has ever seen. Stopping frequently to chat with fans and always taking the time to acknowledge those that did the same to him.

His home in West Derby was frequently visited by local kids and football fans alike, who hoped to catch a glimpse of one of Liverpool’s biggest legends. Shankly’s house was only a few minutes’ walk from Melwood and sat very close to a community football pitch.

Even during his time as manager, the fields were used by people from the local area for honing their football skills and coming together for friendly competition. It’s reported that Shankly often walked by these fields, stopping to watch or even dabbling in the game himself.

These football pitches were officially named ‘Shankly’s Playing Fields’ in 1990, with Nessie coming along to open the fields to the youngsters of the area.

The Shankly Liverpool

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Bill Shankly was, and still is, a true icon in the eyes of the people of Liverpool. He changed Liverpool Football Club forever and stole the hearts of the city in the process.

Liverpool has plenty to thank Bill Shankly for, not that the city needs telling. We’ll always hold the Scotsman in our hearts as a true Scouser thanks to the incredible work he did on the pitch and the shine he exuded wherever he went.

Today, fans can visit the famous Shankly Hotel, set in the heart of Liverpool. This luxurious hotel is dedicated to the great man and managed by Chris Shankly, Bill’s grandson.

Shankly Hotel room - party venues Liverpool

The Shankly Hotel Liverpool

Rooms at The Shankly offer the ultimate blend of contemporary and classic style with fabulous features, including everything from double whirlpool baths, to 50″ TV screens, Bluetooth and free WiFi.

As Liverpool’s unique Bill Shanky-themed venue, you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy an abundance of exclusive memorabilia. See Bill Shankly’s original LFC contract, personal typewriter and lots more within our hotel and stunning Bastion Bar & Restaurant.

To book your stay at the Shankly Hotel or enjoy a meal in the beautiful Bastion Bar and Restaurant, get in touch with our friendly team today on 0151 601 8801 or email info@signatureliving.co.uk. We also offer our guests a range of fantastic offers, check them out here.

We look forward to seeing you soon! 

Football History | What We Have to be Thankful For

The game as we now know it is unrecognisable from the game adored by our grandads and grandmothers; choreographed dance routines have replaced more conservative celebrations while the once sacred pre-match pint is no more. Gone are the days of local painter and decorator companies adorning the sides of stadiums, replaced now by Qatari airlines and Chinese banks.

It is undeniable that the era of bursting balconies and sodden stadiums paved the way for the game we recognise today and so, we thought we’d wax nostalgic about football history and what it once looked like “as it is no longer what it used to be,” according to your grandad.

1930-1949 | The Interwar Years

football history

www.facebook.com/nationalfootballmuseum

Prior to the interwar years, the game bared no resemblance whatsoever to what we now know and so, we’ve decided to begin with two of perhaps the most turbulent decades in football history: the 1930s and 40s.

The 1930s saw the emergence of notable players including Mathews, Lawton and Shankly yet it was Herbert Chapman, a manager, who revolutionised the game beyond recognition. Tantamount to Shankly who managed Huddersfield Town in 1956-1959, Chapman managed the team from 1921-1925 and although he would go on to win the same amount of trophies with Arsenal as he would with Huddersfield, it was his groundbreaking ideas that earnt him the nickname the ‘moderniser’ and a place in football history.

Formations, numbered shirts, both teams walking out together in the cup final: these were just some of the ideas Chapman implemented during his career, while his iconic ‘WM’ formation paved the way for what we now know to be 3-4-3, the formation that won Antonio Conte the Premier League in 2017.

Like Shankly to follow and Bernabeu before him, Chapman’s workings can be seen in the planning of Pep Guardiola; his value of what would become sports science is evident in Marco Silva; his aura pervaded every action of Sir Alex Ferguson and thus, he set the standard for the modern game back in 1934.

1950-1974 | A Bastion of Invincibility

Chapman was an innovator, a panoramic mind in an era of inward thinking. However, in 1959, Shankly re-reconsidered the role of manager when he nabbed control of one of the bastions of the beautiful game: Liverpool.

The way in which Shankly managed Liverpool can not only be seen in the manner in which Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger managed their clubs in an omnipotent fashion, but it can also be seen in how we lambaste the short-termism in the modern game as we are culpable of expecting every manager to build a dynasty just like Shankly did.

Football history

This is not to say however, that Shankly was the only manager ever to “circle the wagons” as Ferguson would say, around his club, yet he was pioneering in the sense that he combined his teams underdog status with that of a population who knew nothing else but to fight for what it had.

This is something some modern managers have imitated, be it David Moyes who proclaimed that Everton were “the people’s club” or Fergusons nurturing of The Class of ’92 while some, on the other hand, have failed spectacularly.

Nevertheless, Shankly paved the way for the modern bastions, the all-encompassing juggernauts who manage teams today.

2009-2019 | The Modern Modernisers

Football history

And so, what of todays ‘modernisers’ who those over a certain age say aren’t deserving of comparison to Shankly or Chapman?

One man who has captured the essence of the city in which he works is Jurgen Klopp. The German gets Liverpool, while his innovative gegenpressing approach is sure to be copied by those managing in the future. Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola’s tiki-taka tactic is as groundbreaking as Chapman’s ‘WM’ formation was.

What we can conclude from looking back is that while football continues to change those who adore it don’t, as what draws you in is a sense of wonderment that never seems to dwindle.

The Shankly Hotel

Football history

Celebrate football history by staying in the stunning Shankly Hotel while also basking in the memorabilia covered walls of the spectacular Bastion Bar & Restaurant.

The beautiful hotel is perfect for overnight stays or just watching the Liverpool match. Sound exciting? Get in touch with our friendly team today by calling 0151 236 0166 or email reservations@shankly.com

Keep up to date with everything going on at the hotel by following The Shankly Hotel Facebook or test your knowledge of football history by attempting our Liverpool quiz.

The Story of Liverpool’s History Through the Ages

Liverpool Football Club are one of the most decorated sporting institutions in the world having amassed 18 League Titles, 7 FA Cups, 8 League Cups and 5 European Cups in their 126 year history. They are often accused of living in the past, but what a past to live in.

Liverpool celebrate their history with enormous pride; but they never stand idle as one of the most successful stories in English Football continues to be written.

So, in order to look forward to what could be a monumental and prosperous year for the club, we’ve decided to look back at some of the most memorable moments in Liverpool’s history.

1892 – Liverpool Football Club are Born

Liverpool history

On March 15, 1892, John Houlding famously broke away from the board of Everton to form a new club and thus, Liverpool were born. And, from that day forward Liverpool played like the team they are today, beating Higher Walton 8-0 on September 3. In the wake of this tremendous trouncing Liverpool – following a match with Bury – unveiled an emblem that would become synonymous with the team forever: the Liver Bird.

Two years later Liverpool won promotion to the First Division and, just eight years later, were crowned champions; a triumph that would set the standard for future generations.

The ensuing decade would bring with it unprecedented success as Liverpool would go on to be crowned champions three more times, break the world transfer record when purchasing George Kay from Newcastle for £12,500, and yet, they were unable to win the FA Cup.

That was until Shankly arrived and changed the course of Liverpool’s history forever.

A Bastion of Invincibility

Liverpool history

1959. A date that is forever etched in the annals of Liverpool history – on December 1, Shankly was announced as the new Liverpool manager. What would follow was nothing short of unimaginable for a team that were once mediocre at best.

Shankly would win 3 League Titles, 2 FA Cups and 1 Uefa Cup. However, it was how he went about his business that adhered him to the people who sung his name.

It is often said that those who manger Everton must get them, if that is the case, Shankly got Liverpool. Speaking to the hordes of supporters who waited to welcome the team in St George’s Square, Shankly exclaimed: “I’ve drummed it into our players time and time again that they are privileged to play for you.”

However, eras must end, and leaders must leave and, in 1974, Shankly resigned as Liverpool manager.

He would never be forgotten.

The Impossible Job

Liverpool's history

Source: Wikipedia Commons

What seemed like the impossible job, the next Liverpool icon would make it look easy. On July 26, Bob Paisley was named Liverpool manager.

Paisley built arguably the best side in Liverpool’s history winning 6 League Titles, 3 League Cups, a Uefa Cup and 3 European Cups.

It is Liverpool’s win versus Borussia Monchengladbach in Rome that is mainly remembered the fondest while Alan Kennedy’s winner against Real Madrid is remembered for just that. However, in 1978, in the midst of these two triumphs, Paisley’s Liverpool team retained the European Cup at Wembley.

Like Shankly, Paisley abdicated the Liverpool throne victorious – paving the way for one of his players to take the reins.

Arise King Kenny.

Arise Sir Kenny

Liverpool history

Under the guidance of player-manager Kenny Dalglish Liverpool Football Club would complete a League and Cup double in 1986. He would go on to win another 8 trophy’s.

However, it is how he handled himself in the aftermath of the Hillsborough tragedy that adhered him to a city no longer divided by football but brought together in grief.

The 96 Liverpool supporters who sadly passed away on that day in 1989 will never be forgotten, nor will Sir Kenny Dalglish’s compassion, courage and support in the wake of such a tragic event.

In 1991, Dalglish would leave Liverpool a hero only to return in 2011 as a legend.

The Miracle of Istanbul

Liverpool's history

Source: Wikipedia Commons

The most incredible might in Liverpool’s history saw Rafael Benitez’s team add a fifth European Cup to their now bursting trophy cabinet.

3-0 down to AC Milan at half-time, Gerrard and Co fought back to win 3-2 on penalties.

The team were given a heroes welcome when they returned to Liverpool, sparking stunning scenes not seen since Shankly’s day.

A New Era

And so, what now?

Liverpool are on the cusp of greatness. No longer finding comfort in their past achievements, they are blindly looking to the future; a future teeming with silverware,

Jurgen Klopp, no matter how much he denies it, knows that he has a chance to etch his name in the annals of Liverpool folklore alongside Shankly, Paisley, Fagan, Dalglish et al.

By looking back on how previous icons secured silverware, Liverpool could win yet another title and thus, said history could repeat itself.

The Shankly Hotel

Liverpool history

Understand even more of Liverpool’s history by staying in the spectacular Shankly Hotel while also basking in the memorabilia covered walls of the unique Bastion Bar & Restaurant.

The astonishing hotel is perfect for overnight stays or just watching the Liverpool match. You could be here to watch Liverpool lift the Premier League Title.

Sound exciting? Get in touch with our friendly team today by calling 0151 236 0166 or email reservations@shanklyhotel.com

Keep up to date with everything going on at the hotel by following The Shankly Hotel Facebook or test your knowledge of everything Liverpool by attempting our Liverpool quiz.

Christmas With The Shankly Family

Every household has their own special Christmas traditions and the Shankly family are no different. From special family rituals, to Bill’s favourite festive tipple and the ever-present beautiful game, discover what the festive period was like in the Shankly household.

We spoke to Jeanette Shankly, Bill’s second daughter, about what Christmas was like in the Shankly household with Bill, Nessie and her sister Barbara.

The Early Years

Despite his unwavering commitment to football; Bill Shankly was a big family man and loved to spend Christmas with his loved ones. One of 10 children born to John and Barbara Shankly, his nine siblings were named Alec, James, John Jnr, Bob, Netta, Elizabeth, Isobel, Barbara and Jean. Coming from a large, loving family, Shankly placed a lot of worth and tribute to the family unit and carried these values into his own family.

family and nessies dad

The Shankly Family – Bill, Nessie, Nessie’s Father, Barbara and Jeanette

Bill met his wife ‘Nessie’, or Agnes Wren Fisher, whilst he was stationed as an RAF Corporal outside Glasgow at Bishopbriggs, she was serving in the WRAF. They were married in Glasgow in 1944 and had their first child, Barbara, in April 1945. It was another 6 years until Nessie gave birth to Jeanette in Carlisle, on 20 February 1951.

In these early years, the Shankly family did a lot of moving around due to Bill’s managerial career. However, a Shankly family Christmas was always a very traditional affair.

A Very Merry Shankly Family Christmas

Every year, the Shankly’s would spend Christmas at their home and Nessie would cook their traditional Christmas dinner.

It wasn’t until 1959, when Bill became the manager of Liverpool F.C, that they eventually put down permanent roots. They moved to a house in the West Derby area of the City, an area the family have never left to this day.

When she was young, Jeanette remembers their very traditional, happy family Christmases. However, on occasion, Bill would have to work.

“When we were younger, sometimes we were lucky if he was at home to spend Christmas with us. This was because, depending on fixtures, he was usually playing or managing a team on Boxing Day. As a result, sometimes he would have to go away Christmas Eve or failing that, Christmas night.”

If by luck he wasn’t involved in football one way or another, he would spend the festive period with his family. To celebrate this, he would even stretch to having a bit of whiskey in his tea. Shankly wasn’t a big drinker, but on the rare occasion he did, it would always be a small whiskey.

Bill and Agnes Shankly

Bill and Nessie

Jeanette also remembers when Bill was managing Liverpool, every Christmas the Shankly family would receive a huge hamper full of festive food for the family to enjoy. It was always a treat that Jeannette remembered.

The Shankly family grew in size when both Barbara and Jean grew up and married. Barbara would go on to have three children, Karen, Pauline and Emma. Jeanette soon followed suit with Jenny and Claire.

Even then the whole family would usually go around to Bill and Nessie’s on Christmas Day or Boxing Day to celebrate the festive season together. However, it was still always touch and go whether he would be able to stay, as of course, football dominated his life!

Jeannette remembers many happy years spent in the Shankly household at Christmas, filled with presents, a beautiful tree and homecooked food. She would go on to have a third child, Bill’s sixth grandchild and his one and only grandson, Chris. Sadly however, Bill would pass away before he was born.

Right up until the end, Bill’s family was the most important thing to him. Before his death he said: “There’s nobody closer to you than your own kith and kin; your own blood. I’ve got my wife, my daughters, grandchildren, and my sons in law. They’re the closest to me and I would die for them.”

The History of Football at Christmas

Of course, The Shankly Family weren’t the only ones who knew that Christmas Day and football went hand in hand. Today, Christmas Day is football free, however up until the 1950s it was once as much of a Christmas Day staple as the Queen’s Speech and pigs in blankets.

christmas footall

One of the great festive traditions that began in 1889 and remained very popular until the end of the 1950s, the Christmas Day home fixture was often the occasion when clubs attracted one of their highest home gates of the season.

But throughout the 1950s, attitudes changed towards playing sport on the 25th December. Christmas Day 1957 saw a near full round of fixtures: 37 out of a maximum 46 games took place; in 1959 there were just two games.

Understandably, Christmas Day football was very unpopular with the players, who felt it meant they could not enjoy the festivities and see their families. As transport systems declined and crowds began to dwindle, the fixture eventually disappeared from the football calendar.

The final December 25th programme of games in England was in the 1957/58 season. Today, games are still played on Boxing Day but Christmas Day football is a thing of the past.

A Shankly Christmas

We’ve hope you’ve enjoyed our look inside the Shankly family Christmas. If you and the family are looking for the perfect place to enjoy a festive meal or a Christmas retreat together, look no further than The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool.

Shankly Hotel room - party venues Liverpool

Offering a delicious home cooked menu, a relaxing and luxurious atmosphere and a range of festive entertainment, our hotel is the perfect place to celebrate Christmas as a family. Why not book a stay in one of our beautiful and unique rooms, or take in the fascinating memorabilia that is displayed around the hotel?

From festive afternoon tea experiences, to amazing football tours and wonderful festive events, a family Christmas at The Shankly is always memorable.

If you’d like to book a stay or a table, get in touch with our friendly team today by calling us on 0151 236 0166 or email reservations@shanklyhotel.com

Keep up to date with everything happening at the hotel by following The Shankly Hotel Facebook.

Merry Christmas!

Commemorate the Anniversary of Shankly’s Death with 25 Incredible Quotes

Bill Shankly knew how to captivate an audience. He was a manager filled with enthusiasm, intensity and passion for the game. This, combined with his amazing team management, is what made him one of the most celebrated football managers in the world. It’s no wonder that Bill Shankly quotes have gone down in history as gospel for the beautiful game.

On 29 September, it will have been 37 years since we sadly lost the legendary leader. The former Liverpool manager, and one of the best-loved figures in British football, died on this day in 1981, after suffering a heart attack.

Shankly led LFC to become one of the most successful footballing sides our country has ever seen, bumping the team back into the First Division and helping them win three championships and two FA Cups.

But it wasn’t just on the pitch that Shankly led the way: he became just as famous for his eloquent way with words and his ability to capture the feeling of a city in a single sentence. To commemorate the anniversary of Shankly’s death, we’ve decided to look back at the 25 best-ever Bill Shankly quotes and celebrate the legendary manager’s lookout on life…

 

The 25 Best Bill Shankly Quotes

1. On the work-life balance…

Never one to shy away from teasing, Shankly often laughed about how his obsession with football impacted his family’s lives. His much-loved, and incredibly patient, wife Ness was looked upon as Liverpool’s first lady:

“Of course I didn’t take my wife to see Rochdale as an anniversary present. It was her birthday. Would I have got married in the football season? Anyway, it was Rochdale reserves.”

2. On dealing with referees…

Shankly, and his colleague Bob Paisley, were famously respectful of referees on and off the pitch. Former official Keith Hackett once noted that the two managers treated him like a gentleman, listing the two men in his 10 top football managers of all time. But that didn’t stop Shankly teasing the honorable profession every once in a while:

“The trouble with referees is that they know the rules, but they do not know the game.”

bill shankly quotes

3. On the best way to play…

Bill Shankly was famous for seeing hard work and dedication as the key ingredients for a successful team. He summed up tidily what he looked for in a player in the following quote:

“If a player is not interfering with play or seeking to gain an advantage, then he should be.”

4. On his vision for Liverpool FC…

There’s a reason The Shankly Hotel’s restaurant and bar is called The Bastion. It celebrates the legendary manager’s vision for Liverpool FC and his success in fulfilling that dream. The name was inspired by one of the most repeated Bill Shankly quotes:

“My idea was to build Liverpool into a bastion of invincibility. Had Napoleon had that idea he would have conquered the bloody world. I wanted Liverpool to be untouchable. My idea was to build Liverpool up and up until eventually everyone would have to submit and give in.”

5. On self-belief…

Football wasn’t about boots and balls to Bill Shankly. It was a mind-game and he knew all the rules:

“A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe you are the best and make sure you are.”

6. On what makes a team…

Famously more interested in crafting a team than individual egos, Shankly often discussed the importance of group work over individual success, passed down in a number of renowned Bill Shankly quotes. That didn’t mean he couldn’t appreciate a good player when he saw one, though:

“A football team is like a piano. You need eight men to carry it and three who can play the damn thing.”

bill shankly quotes

7. On the holy-trinity of football…

We’ll never really know what Shankly would have made of big business football today, but we can guess. Often lauded as a socialist both on the pitch and off, Shankly dismissed money men as being cogs in the wheel of the game and put his trust elsewhere:

“At a football club, there’s a holy trinity – the players, the manager and the supporters. Directors don’t come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques”

8. On the age-old Merseyside Derby…

After beating Everton in the 1971 FA Cup semi-final, Shankly took the opportunity to take part in one of his favourite activities – relishing in Liverpool’s dominance over the Blues. Never one to shy away from laughing at the Toffees, a number of the Bill Shankly quotes on this list show his mischievous side:

“Sickness would not have kept me away from this one. If I’d been dead, I would have had them bring the casket to the ground, prop it up in the stands and cut a hole in the lid.”

9. On his pride for the city of Liverpool…

Shankly might have been born a Scot but Liverpool was his home and he made that very clear to his loyal fans:

“Although I’m a Scot, I’d be proud to be called a Scouser.”

10. On the simplicity of the sport…

“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.”

bill shankly quotes

11. On why winning was the only option…

Hard work was important to Shankly, but simply taking part didn’t count in his book. It was all or nothing for the father of Liverpool football:

“If you are first you are first. If you are second you are nothing.”

12. On keeping yourself grounded…

Despite Liverpool topping the league, and Shankly earning global acclaim, the famous manager never let the glory go to his head. In one of the lesser-known Bill Shankly quotes, we see how his childhood shaped his outlook on life:

“Pressure is working down the pit. Pressure is having no work at all. Pressure is trying to escape relegation on 50 shillings a week. Pressure is not the European Cup or the Championship or the Cup Final. That’s the reward.”

13. On hard work…

Shankly’s belief in putting your head down and working hard was revealed in a short interview caught on film, where he connected the ideals he’d learnt in the armed forces with his footballing work ethic:

“No football club is ever successful without hard work. If everyone thinks along these lines and does the small jobs to the best of their ability, then the world will be better.”

14. On the ‘This is Anfield’ plaque installation…

Shankly was the manager that installed the now-iconic ‘This is Anfield’ plaque at the Liverpool grounds during his tenure. The below sentence is one of those Bill Shankly quotes that perfectly sums up why Shankly strove for success at Anfield and who he dedicated it to:

“This is to remind our lads who they’re playing for, and to remind the opposition who they’re playing against.”

15. On being the best…

For Bill, playing football was about winning all or nothing, and the best way to get there was to believe:

“A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe you are the best and then make sure that you are. In my time at Anfield we always said we had the best two teams on Merseyside, Liverpool and Liverpool reserves.”

16. On the greatest gift in the world…

Having grown up in a remote and poverty-stricken village in Scotland, Shankly had a keen sense of what made a life worth living. In an interview held during a Liverpool training sessions, he revealed his most treasured character trait in a person:

“It’s the greatest thing in the world, natural enthusiasm. You’re nothing without it.”

bill shankly quotes

17. On the dedication of Liverpool players…

Shankly was picky about his Reds players and if he couldn’t see the dedication in their eyes, he was unlikely to warm to them. He once made this declaration about what he looked for in a future LFC boy:

“For a player to be good enough to play for Liverpool, he must be prepared to run through a brick wall for me then come out fighting the other side.”

18. On the privilege of working for Liverpool FC…

Addressing the crowds of Reds supporters waiting for the team in St George’s Square, Liverpool (despite the Reds having just lost the 1971 FA Cup Final), Shankly showed his gratitude to the hero’s welcome:

“I’ve drummed it into our players time and again that they are privileged to play for you.”

19. On his admiration for Kopites…

The Liverpool legend always had a special place in his heart for Anfield’s best-loved stand. Allegedly, after The Beatles asked for tickets to an FA Cup final, Shankly coyly replied, telling them “I’ve never seen any of The Beatles standing on The Kop. Any ticket I have spare will be going to my mates on The Kop”. The following quote makes his admiration for the stand very clear:

“If you’re a member of The Kop, you feel as though you’re a member of a big society, where you’ve got thousands of friends all about you. They’re united and loyal”.

bill shankly quotes

20. Teasing Everton…

Never one to shy away from reminding Everton they were standing in the shadow of one of the world’s greatest football teams, Shankly famously enjoyed ribbing the Blues on many an occasion:

“When I’ve nothing better to do, I look down the league table to see how Everton are getting along.”

21. On his love for Liverpool…

There’s no doubt that Liverpool and Bill Shankly were a match made in heaven, and Bill knew it as well. He once nostagically remarked:

“Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool.”

22. On more teasing of Everton…

Despite the two clubs being arch rivals, Bill Shankly struck up an unlikely friendship with one of Everton’s greatest, Dixie Dean. At the funeral for the Toffees legend, Shankly couldn’t help but tease the opposing team once more…

“I know this is a sad occasion but I think that Dixie would be amazed to know that even in death, he could draw a bigger crowd than Everton can on a Saturday afternoon.”

23. On resigning in 1974…

Shankly’s resignation in 1974 was a bombshell that shocked the club and the city. Questions still surround why Shankly chose to step down, although his grandson has suggested it was due to Shankly wanting to spend more time with his family. Regardless of the reasons, it’s obvious that it was an incredibly difficult decision for Liverpool’s main man. Afterwards, in one of the more emotional Bill Shankly quotes on this list, he said:

“It was the most difficult thing in the world, when I went to tell the chairman. It was like walking to the electric chair. That’s the way it felt.”

bill shankly quotes

24. On the importance of football…

One of the most well-known Bill Shankly quotes, the below sentences eloquently demonstrate the Liverpool legends dedication to the beautiful game:

“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

Interestingly, this quote is often interpreted out of context, and what isn’t mentioned is the following sentence where Shankly says “My family’s suffered. They’ve been neglected”. Despite all the glory and success he achieved, Shankly remained humble and questioned if he’d always had his priorities straight.

25. Remembering Bill Shankly

As we commemorate Bill Shankly’s death, there can’t be any better way to remember him than how he wanted us to. So, in his own words:

“Above all, I would like to be remembered as a man who was selfless, who strove and worried so that others could share the glory, and who built up a family of people who could hold their heads up high and say ‘We’re Liverpool’.”

Celebrate the life and legacy of Bill Shankly at The Shankly Hotel

The Shankly Hotel is dedicated to celebrating the life and legacy of LFC’s greatest leader. A night at The Shankly isn’t a stay – it’s an experience. You can explore the stories of Shankly’s successes and his ethos in life inside our uniquely designed suites, which are all based around a quote or anecdote celebrating the legendary manager.

bill shankly quotes

One of The Shankly Hotel’s luxurious suites

With unseen memorabilia throughout the hotel and spacious rooms equipped with luxury amenities including whirlpool baths, walk-in showers and flat-screen TVs, a night at The Shankly is the perfect present for any Liverpool fan looking to discover more about the Father of Liverpool FC.

We hope you enjoyed the 25 best-ever Bill Shankly quotes and we look forward to welcoming you to The Shankly Hotel.

To book, call our friendly team on 0151 909 3635 or visit our booking page today. Make sure you check out our offers page for some incredible autumn packages.

 

Christmas Party Liverpool | Enjoy an Enchanting Experience at The Shankly Hotel

The festive season is the most wonderful time of the year and here at The Shankly Hotel, we’ve got all you need to help you celebrate in style. Enjoy an unforgettable Christmas Party Liverpool style and check out some of the fun festive activities and dining options that are sure to get you in the yuletide spirit.

From showstopping Christmas party ideas, to idyllic Christmas Day celebrations, New Year’s Eve extravaganzas and festive dining, The Shankly Hotel has everything you need for the perfect Christmas night out.

Christmas Party Liverpool 2018 | Enjoy an Unforgettable Celebration

The Shankly Hotel is home to three spectacular venues, that are ideal for small or large groups looking to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

From the breathtaking Garden of Eden, to the cosy Baby Eden and the opulent Bastion Bar and Restaurant, our hotel offers guests a range of amazing options when it comes to Christmas party planning.

Whether you’re celebrating the festive season with work colleagues, friends or family, party the night away at The Shankly Hotel.

The Garden of Eden

Christmas Party Liverpool

The enchanting Garden of Eden is bursting with yuletide charm and character, making it a perfect host to your Christmas party. Located in the heart of Liverpool city centre, enjoy this unique rooftop setting surrounded by your closest friends, family or co-workers for an unforgettable celebration.

The Garden of Eden features gorgeous interiors and breath-taking views over Liverpool’s skyline. Gaze out at the view whilst you enjoy great festive music, a tasty Christmas menu and the company of your nearest and dearest. We will be decking the venue out with luxurious Christmas decorations and wintery features, to help you really get in the yuletide spirit.

Party nights at the Garden of Eden include a delicious three-course meal, where diners can indulge in dishes such as Spiced Pumpkin Soup, Roast Cheshire Turkey Breast served with all the trimmings and mouthwatering traditional Christmas Pudding.

Baby Eden

Christmas party venues Liverpool

Our delightful Baby Eden venue is perfect for smaller Christmas parties in Liverpool. Atmospheric and cosy with an intimate feel, this stylish space is ideal for seasonal celebrations throughout December.

Whether you’re planning a festive celebration with work colleagues, a well deserved get together with your friends, a family occasion or a mixture of the above, this beautiful venue is the ideal place to raise a toast to Christmas.

Set on the ground floor of our hotel, Baby Eden exudes charm and character, making it an idyllic backdrop to your festive photographs.

The Bastion Bar and Restaurant

Christmas party venues Liverpool

If you’re searching for a more casual Christmas Party Liverpool venue, look no further than The Bastion Bar and Restaurant. Why not book a table in this popular restaurant and enjoy an atmospheric dining experience with your loved ones?

Our luxurious venue offers diners a unique experience where you can tuck into delicious food and tasty drinks, served surrounded by amazing Bill Shankly memorabilia. You can either enjoy a delicious festive meal, or why not try our seasonal afternoon tea? Perfect for sharing during a unforgettable Christmas party.

At The Shankly Hotel, we also offer a number of festive packages that run across the whole yuletide season. You and your loved ones can enjoy a luxurious Christmas Day feast in either Eden of the Bastion, or perhaps a Boxing Day treat?

Whatever you’re looking for, our hotel is sure to have something that suits your needs. Check out what’s on this festive period at The Shankly Hotel.

A Festive Stay at The Shankly

Shankly room

The Shankly Hotel offers guests an entirely unique experience. The stylish hotel attracts football fans from around the globe as well as guests in search of something special.

We encourage guests to make their Christmas party all the more special with an overnight stay in our luxurious hotel. Whether you fancy heading out for the night to continue the fun or heading to bed, you’ll have both options to choose from.

Rooms at The Shankly offer a lavish blend of contemporary decor and classic style. Sink into a comfortable double bed and enjoy luxury facilities at your leisure. And if you have a little too much festive cheer, you can recover from the night before in a rejuvenating whirlpool bath. Perfect!

The Shankly Hotel - Christmas

Our hotel is a beautiful tribute to the legendary Liverpool FC manager, Bill Shankly and guests are welcome to enjoy the exclusive collection of memorabilia on display. Kindly donated by the Shankly family, our fascinating museum includes Bill Shankly’s original LFC contract and personal typewriter.

The Bastion Bar & Restaurant boasts a fantastic menu of tantalising light bites and indulgent meals. The Bastion is also a local favourite for a refreshing pint or eclectic cocktail.

So, for the ultimate Christmas party Liverpool, look no further than The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool.

So, we hope you’ll join us this Christmas at The Shankly Hotel for a Christmas party filled with merriment!

To book your Christmas Party Liverpool at one of our venues, you can contact us on 0151 305 3753 or check out our festive page here. You can also keep up to date with all things festive by following us on Facebook! 

Celebrate Shankly’s Birthday With His Best Moments Caught on Film

On 2 September, it would have been Bill Shankly’s birthday. For the special occasion, we thought it would be a great chance to look back at Shankly’s best moments caught on film and celebrate the legacy of the renowned Liverpool FC leader.

Famously reserved, the glimpses of his grace and humour shine through on the few clips we have of the legendary manager, as does the down-to-earth manner, and no-nonsense straight talking he became famous for.

Here are our favourite moments of Shankly on film, showing the true gentlemen he was and his immeasurable connection to the city of Liverpool…

Shankly celebrating the ’73 Championship with The Kop

“This is the man they love. The Kop rise and Shankly responds. A great day for him and a great, great day for them.”

The coverage of Anfield celebrations after the Reds took the Championship in ‘73 reveal the special bond between Shankly and LFC fans.

In the video, the winning team runs towards the Kop to a resounding cheer, with the cup thrust above their heads. Shankly himself then heads towards the Kop as the emotionally-charged singing of You’ll Never Walk Alone fills the stadium.

The legendary manager waves to the crowds, raising his fists in triumph. His admiration for the fans is clear but, as the commentator says, “It’s difficult to say who admires who most now”.

Shankly’s View on Working Hard

“No football club is ever successful without hard work”.

 

In this short interview clip, Bill Shankly sets out where his ethos as a football manager stems from. Remembering his time in the armed forces, Shankly reveals how he’s adapted his work ethic in the army for his footballing career.

Just as the tough jobs of cleaning floors and latrines in the forces was matched by hard work and determination to do the best job possible, Shankly suggests that playing football can be defined by the same ideas. “If everyone thinks along these lines and does the small jobs to the best of their ability,” he says, “then the world will be better.”

Talking to the people of Liverpool

“I’ve drummed it into our players time and again that they are privileged to play for you.”

We often talk of Shankly being the greatest ever, but it’s also true to say that Liverpool fans are also some of the best supporters in the world. The legendary football manager knew that the dedication Reds put into their team was second to none.

Shankly once described his intimate connection with fans in a typically eloquent way: “Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool”.

The above video was taken on 9 May 1971 after Liverpool had just lost the 1971 FA Cup Final against Arsenal. Despite the score of 2-1, Reds fans still filled the square outside St George’s Hall in Liverpool city centre, giving the frustrated team a hero’s welcome.

On seeing the throng of fans, Shankly apparently held his arms wide and declared: “Chairman Mao has never seen the greatest show of red strength!” to cheers from the crowd.

He then went on to express the privilege it was for LFC footballers to play for their fans, to chants of ‘Shankly, Shankly’ from the whole square.

 

“Natural Enthusiasm!”

“It’s the greatest thing in the world, natural enthusiasm. You’re nothing without it.”

In this short clip of a Shankly interview, the King of the Kop reaffirms his belief in hard work being the deciding factor for success in life, singling out ‘natural enthusiasm’ as his most important trait.

Much of Shankly’s childhood was defined by working hard and to the best of your ability – he grew up in a remote and poverty-stricken village in Scotland, who’s only exports were coal and footballers.

The community of Glenbuck, in East Ayrshire, strove to do the best job possible in helping out their neighbours. According to former inhabitants of the tiny village, the mining settlement had a collective attitude to life and were happy to help any family in need.

This community spirit followed Shankly into his career as a manager, where he instilled a belief that footballers should play as a team and not as a group of individuals, and that the best footballers were the hard-working ones.

On The Kop

“If you’re a member of The Kop, you feel as though you’re a member of a big society, where you’ve got thousands of friends all about you. They’re united and loyal.”

At the beginning of this clip, Bill Shankly describes his admiration for The Kop and the loyal fans who count themselves as part of the famous fan group.

The football manager always had a special place in his heart for Anfield’s best-loved stand: allegedly, after The Beatles asked for tickets to a FA Cup final at Wembley, Shankly replied saying “I have never seen any of The Beatles standing on The Kop. Any ticket I have spare will be going to my mates on The Kop.”

It was a relationship that went both ways: as the rest of the clip shows, when Shankly sadly past away in 1981, it was The Kop that lead the mourning for the father of football in Liverpool.

Happy Birthday Shanks!

On behalf of everyone at The Shankly Hotel, we’d like to say Happy Birthday to Bill Shankly – a legendary football manager like no other.

The Shankly Hotel is dedicated to celebrating the life and legacy of LFC’s greatest leader. We like to say that a night at The Shankly isn’t a stay, but an experience. The stories of Shankly’s successes and his ethos in life are woven into the design of the hotel, with each suite based around a quote or anecdote celebrating the legendary manager.

Shankly room

With unseen memorabilia throughout the hotel, including Shankly’s own typewriter, a Telegram wishing him luck from The Beatles, and much more, a night at The Shankly is the perfect present for any Liverpool fan looking to discover more about the Reds legendary manager.

To book, call our friendly team today on 0151 909 3635

Shankly Documentary Available Now On BBC iPlayer

More famous today than he was when he passed away, Bill Shankly is a name that will resonate throughout the ages in Liverpool and the sporting world. Famous for moulding the Liverpool football club we know and love today, Shankly laid the foundations for what would be the clubs continued success long after his retirement.

 

So what was it that took Bill Shankly from a humble miner living in Glenbuck to the greatest and most well-respected football manager among peers, fans and players?

A recent BBC Shankly documentary titled Shankly: Natures Fire takes a look at everything from Shankly’s humble beginnings to the height of his stardom.

Where Shankly Began

The BBC Shankly documentary starts where Shankly did, in Glenbuck village. Talking with one of Shankly’s nieces, Barbara we get a sense of what his early life was and where his love of football began. At 15 years old Shankly worked down the mines, as did any other young man in the area and the game of football was a reprieve from the dark and claustrophobic conditions of the pits.

Shankly documentary - Glenbuck village

Glenbuck Village

During interviews with many of Shankly’s peers and friends, there is an overall conclusion that the camaraderie and communal spirit of the pits remained with Shankly throughout his life and helped forge Shankly ‘sand another 50 pro-footballers careers from within the area. Their collective drive and ambition born from forging a common purpose together as one unit in both work and play.

Teamwork was in their bones, chiselled into their way of life from an early age and it is on these principals that Shankly went on to build his style of management in later life.

Shankly’s Journey To Greatness

After leaving Glenbuck behind the BBC Shankly documentary takes us to through Shankly’s brief playing career at first Carlisle then Preston Northend.

At the time of being scouted by Preston Northend, the club was one of the top class teams in the league. They paid a huge sum of £500 to sign Shankly and despite this being a huge opportunity for Shanks as a player he was reluctant to move so far from home.

Bill Shankly Glenbuck

Bill Shankly playing for Preston

Family and friends recount how he confided to his older sibling worries about moving so far away for not much more money. Thankfully Shanks was reminded of the opportunity and took it, playing in the 1938 FA Cup and winning against Huddersfield Town.

War cut off Shankly’s pro-football career taking 6 or 7 of his best playing years away whilst he served in the RAF. Upon returning to professional football after the war was over for the 1946-47 season Shanks was coming to the end of his playing career at the age of 33 and decided instead to put his skills into a promising management career.

Following Shankly from his return to Carlisle as a manager to Grimsby and then Huddersfield, viewers are given a real sense of what made Bill Shankly a force to be reckoned with both on and off the pitch.

His Effect on Liverpool Football and the People

“Share the ball, share the game, share the worries” Shankly

The majority of the BBC Shankly documentary covers Shankly’s overwhelming effect on the people of Liverpool as he comes to transform Liverpool football club from a second division team to FA Cup winners.

Players like Ian St John, Roger Hunt, Kevin Keegan and Chris Lawler give detailed recollections of their time under Shankly. Each remembering fondly the personal and professional advice he gave them as well as some of their favourite memories of his character.

Shankly documentary 1965 team

BBC Shanky: Nature’s Fire

Ian St John remembers how “he made us believe” and Kevin Keegan recollects how “it was all about the team”.

Shankly believed that with a strong team and strong support of the fans, anything could be accomplished and that by working together no one player could ever be to blame for the team’s failure or success.

Shankly documentary - Shankly and the people

Each person who is interviewed throughout recalls Shankly being a man of the people and how he wanted to change the luck of Liverpool football club so the fans had a team they could be proud of.

What He Meant To Those Who Knew Him

“He’s more famous now than he was when he passed away” Granddaughter Emma

Even though Shankly seemingly lived for the game of football, the legacy he has left behind was built upon so much more than the games he won.

the kop

The people who knew Shankly well recall his connection with everyone he met. How he knew the name of the cleaners and tea lady’s at the training grounds and stadiums and how he always opened his doors to fans who came knocking at this home address.

His granddaughter, Karen Gill, recalls her nan, Nessie, asking for the front lawn to be paved over as it was constantly being worn away by visitors and fans coming to see him.

The Spirit of Shankly remembers his attitude towards the game of football and what it meant to communities who not only played it but supported the game too.

There are dedications to Shankly in Preston’s Deepdale football ground, The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool and the Shankly Museum and Shankly Experience tours each helping others to remember the great man. Such is the lasting legacy that Shankly left behind with his fans, his peers and of course his loving family.

Shankly’s Training Methods

“If you are fit you have a tremendous advantage” Shankly

Many of the players who contributed to the BBC Shankly documentary recall Shankly’s unique training methods and remember how his style of playing became dubbed the Liverpool way.

The Shankly Hotel Preston

The sweat boxes being a particular favourite of Shankly’s, players would have to react to a rebounding ball kicked off a specially made board. The players note that before the time of Shankly, the training involved staying in shape by running laps of the pitch but not so much ball time.

Melwood 1956

source: LFCHistory

Howard Gale thinks back to a time when he used to climb the walls of Mellwood to watch the players train, dreaming of nothing but playing for Liverpool. In the documentary, Gale remembers the day Shankly came out to speak with those watching asking why they weren’t in school and instilling how important an education is before playing football.

There was more to playing the game for Shankly, he said that anyone could play football the skill was learning to work together as a team.

Career Changing Moments

‘The Liver Bird Upon My Chest, We Are Men Of Shankly’s Best, A Team That Plays The Liverpool Way, And Wins The Leaguea nd A Cup in May’ Phil Aspinall

After building his team up from key players, Shankly had but one goal, to win the FA Cup for Liverpool and the people for the very first time.

This, he and his world-class team did in 1965 and the Shankly documentary shows the unprecedented turn out of Liverpool fans when the team came home to parade the cup through the city.

More fans share their memories of the extraordinary day and how much it changed moral in the city. It was onwards and upwards for the team from that moment on and Liverpool football club had become the Bastion of English football Shankly always knew they could be.

The peak of Shankly’s time with Liverpool coincided with the meteoric rise of Merseybeat music, the Shankly documentary captures how Liverpool had become the spotlight of the world in areas of sport and music.


Following the success of Liverpool into the next decade, the BBC Shankly documentary covers Liverpool’s first European trophy win in 1973, another league win, Liverpool’s 8th so far and the return of the FA Cup to Liverpool in 1974 after beating Newcastle United.

As with all good things, the career of Shankly had to come to an end and in July 1974 news broke that Shankly had resigned as manager of Liverpool football club.

Old film footage has been collected to show the shock and bewilderment of fans all over the city as reporters break the news to groups of Liverpool supporters. Their looks of dismay captured on camera show just how important Shankly had become to the people of Liverpool and just how much he was going to be missed.

The BBC Shankly Documentary Shankly: Natures Fire

“Players are privileged to play for you” Shankly

By watching the entire Shankly documentary showing now on BBC iPlayer, people can learn all about a man that changed Liverpool by doing more than building a football team that won trophies.

His efforts involved uniting the city and the players with a common purpose. By forging strong ties with the public, Shankly gained the fans, trust, respect and support which in turn bolstered the players to do their best to avoid disappointing Shankly and the people who loved them.

Shankly and a fan

People like Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard remember how important football was in the city of Liverpool, both players enjoyed a kick about form a young age and were instantly obsessed with the game.

Jamie Carragher recounts learning all about how football brought the city together, he remembers it being a part of the city’s interesting history and even says in the documentary;

“Liverpool is football” Jamie Carragher

Today the sport has changed, moved forward into a business rather than the communal game Bill Shankly had used to inspire his training and managing tactics.

The BBC Shankly documentary highlights the fans growing disappointment about how the sport has moved from being for the fans and is more money orientated today. High ticket prices, kit costs away games and season ticket restrictions are making it increasingly difficult for those who love football to support it.

Something that if Shanks were around today, would shake him to his very core. As he would say, what is football without the fans?

Check out the documentary on BBC iPlayer here and come along to The Shankly Hotel to tour The Shankly Museum or stay the night in one of the luxury hotel rooms dedicated to the great life and career of Bill Shankly using any of our amazing Shankly Hotel offers.

Liverpool FC History: How Bill Shankly Led Liverpool to Greatness

Liverpool FC weren’t always in the top half of the footballing league tables, before Bill Shankly took over as manager, the club were struggling. When Shankly arrived at Anfield on Monday 14th December 1959, Liverpool had been in the Second Division for five years and had been beaten by non-league Worcester City in the 1958 – 59 FA Cup.

However, their success all came down to a pivotal year when Bill Shankly led Liverpool to promotion from Division Two, showcasing both Shankly’s shrewd ability in the transfer market and his outstanding management skills.

We take a look back at some fascinating Liverpool FC history and discover how Shankly built the club into the force we know it as today.

Building a New Team

Shankly training

When Shankly arrived at Anfield, the team and ground was in disrepair. There was no means of watering the pitch, the training ground at Melwood was a shambles and the Liverpool squad consisted largely of average players, with a few promising reserves.

Shankly quickly decided that he needed to strengthen the team through the middle, they needed a strong goalkeeper, a centre half who could stop goals and somebody up front who could create and score goals.

Shankly highlighted a list of 24 players that he wanted to replace, all were placed on the transfer list and had left the club within a year. One of the men on the list was legendary Billy Liddell, a player that was so loved that for a short time Liverpool were referred to as ‘Liddellpool’.

Liddell had played for the club for 22 years and remains the oldest goalscorer in the Reds’ history. Although the decision may not have seemed too hard to make, as Liddell was now an aged player, it was still difficult to replace a man of that stature within the club. But, Shankly knew the squad needed a change and he needed to build a whole new team of his own.

Gaining Financial Support

Bill Shankly was aware that Liverpool FC were struggling for money. They hadn’t won a trophy for 13 years and had spent six years in Division Two, meaning that the Board of Directors were reluctant to invest any money in them.

However, with the help of Eric Sawyer, Shankly was able to secure the signatures of the two players at the top of his transfer wish list, Ian St John and Ron Yeats. These two players, as well as goalkeeper Tommy Lawrence, were described as the backbone of the new team.

St John was a hugely important influence at Liverpool and played for the team for 10 years. Similarly, Yeats proved to be a great signing for Shankly and went on to captain Liverpool, lifting seven trophies during his career with them. Both players instantly went down in Liverpool FC history.

Unrivalled Managerial Ability

iconic photos of Bill Shankly

When Shankly first came to Liverpool, he had orchestrated a lot of departures from the team. However, those that showed real talent and success stayed at Liverpool, which showed Shankly’s real skill as a manager.

Liverpool FC’s key striker, Roger Hunt, was a driving force in the club’s improved performance. He scored 41 goals in 41 league appearances in the 61/62 season and Shankly used Hunt extensively in the two previous seasons, too, showing the strength in his judgement.

It was clear that Shankly was not just selling players to make a profit for a whole new squad, he was remoulding the one he had and making them into a Division One side.

And that is exactly what he did, in the 61/62 season Shankly lifted Liverpool out of Division Two forever. Shankly had built a squad that the fans had no fear would lose, they won their first six games and won the league title in April with five games to spare.

Liverpool FC Become Champions

Bill Shankly

When Liverpool made the leap from Division Two to Division One, it was a hugely significant event in Liverpool FC history. It kick started the golden age for football on Merseyside, the promotion saw Liverpool gain access to a better level of football and much more prestigious trophies were now up for grabs.

After their second season in Division One, Shankly won the league title with Liverpool FC and the following year they won the FA Cup for the very first time.

In his autobiography, Shankly recounted that among his many achievements, winning the 1965 FA Cup was his “greatest day”.

By the end of Bill Shankly’s management career at the club, Liverpool FC had become a First Division club that had won two FA Cups (1965 and 1974), the UEFA Cup (1973) and the FA Charity Shield in 1964, 1965 and 1966.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our look back some Liverpool FC history and how the legendary Bill Shankly developed LFC into the amazing football team they are today. If you’d like to delve into his fascinating life more, visit the Shankly Hotel and check out the never-seen-before memorabilia in the Bastion Bar and Restaurant. Or, why not try a Shankly Tour Experience and see the Liverpool Shanks loved.

We hope to see you soon!