When Bill Shankly arrived at Anfield in December 1959, Liverpool was in the second division and going nowhere. The training ground, Melwood was a mess, the Anfield ground not a pretty sight and Liverpool FC itself was imposed with largely average players, and the reserves team was bursting with promising, quality players.
Shankly said he felt immediately at home as he sensed a kinship and dedication in the huge crowds with the supporters from the beginning. They were his kind of people. With the backing of Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan and the enthusiasm of the fans behind him he set about rebuilding the team, and that he did.
He used this passion to manage the team sternly, but lovingly. Shankly was always a very distant, authoritarian character, whilst Bob Paisley was seen as the the approachable one. Shankly was very encouraging to the youngsters, but once players were in the senior side he became more standoffish, in order that no favouritism be showed.
Under Shanks’ reign, the team went from strength to strength. And the figures speak for themselves:
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Liverpool fans are still proud of Bill’s record at Liverpool Football Club.
Shanks’ turnaround of the club from a pitiful second divison team to an internationally recognised and celebrated club is regarded as one of the best in history, even to this day.