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.

13 Reasons Why The Shankly Hotel Won Simply the Guest

Have you heard the wonderful news? The Shankly Hotel has been rated the best UK Luxury Hotel on Late Rooms. We are absolutely ecstatic to scoop the sought-after ‘Simply the Guest’ award, and believe it is a testament to the hard work and passion delivered by our growing team.

We are proud to have received such a prestigious accolade, so we thought we’d take a look at what makes The Shankly Hotel stand out from the crowd.

1. Our Hard-working Team

From the front of house team all the way to the sales department, The Shankly Hotel is full to the brim with hard-working individuals, who ensure we deliver exceptional customer service day after day. Without them, we could not have achieved this accolade in just eight months.

2. Luxurious Rooms

You can guarantee you are in for one comfortable night sleep when you book a stay at The Shankly Hotel. Offering relaxing double beds, a double Jacuzzi bath and plush interior, you will want to spend each and every second of your stay in the comfort of your hotel room.

3. The Bastion Bar & Restaurant


When you do decide to leave your luxurious room, you can join us for dinner downstairs at The Bastion Bar & Restaurant. Our talented chefs lovingly create delicious dishes created from fresh, local ingredients. So, whether you feel like Salmon or a burger, there will be something for you at our stylish Liverpool restaurant.

4. Bill Shankly Memorabilia

The first thing you’ll notice when you head into our restaurant in Liverpool is the Bill Shankly memorabilia on display. You can view various items throughout the bar and restaurant, which were donated from the Shankly family’s private collection. You can view everything from Bill Shankly’s personal typewriter, clothing and his letters to and from fans.

5. Superb Service

As we have already mentioned, our passionate team have created the well-oiled machine that is The Shankly Hotel. You can therefore guarantee you’ll receive an exceptional service from start to finish. Our goal is to cater to our guests’ every requirements, and we encourage feedback to ensure we can continue to deliver a superb service time after time.
Whether you need extra towels in your room, another glass of wine to toast a fantastic stay or just something taken off your dish, our team will be happy to offer a helping hand at every opportunity.

6. Shankly Tours

The Shankly Hotel has been founded by the hotel provider Signature Living and the Shankly Family – so there’s no better football tours in Liverpool. We are thrilled to provide six fantastic tour options for our guests to choose from. Both children and adults can attend the tours, which can take you to Shankly’s West Derby home and St George’s Hall where he delivered his ‘Chairman Mao’ speech.

7. Famous Guests

The wonderful thing about The Shankly Hotel is that you never know who will be passing through our days. Previous guests have included Megan McKenna and David Hasselhoff, and we also regularly welcome a number of sporting stars to deliver Q&As at The Bastion Bar & Restaurant during a big LFC game. Just some of the football stars to visit the hotel include footballing legends Alan Kennedy, Ian Callaghan and Phil Neal.

8. Group Accommodation

The Shankly Hotel

Unlike other hotels, our aim is to bring guests together through spacious, comfortable and stylish accommodation. We don’t split our guests into different rooms; we offer flexible accommodation that allows everyone to create amazing memories in one location. So, if you are planning a hen party, stag party, birthday party or another special event, be sure to book a stay at our beautiful hotel in Liverpool.

9. Afternoon Tea

The Bastion Bar & Restaurant’s afternoon tea has become incredibly popular, as guests can enjoy scrumptious finger sandwiches, cakes and traditional jam and cream scones. It’s therefore a wonderful dining experience to celebrate an anniversary or birthday, or to just your loved ones’ company.

10. Onsite Parking

You don’t have to worry about where to put your car when you stay at The Shankly Hotel – as we offer onsite parking underneath the hotel. You can park your car for just £1.50 for up to five hours, or can spend just £8.50 to park for between five and eight hours. However, if you’re staying in our hotel, we recommend paying just £10 for car parking from between 8 to 24 hours.

11. Central Location

Our central location means you’re never too far away from the city’s best attractions and transport links. Whether you’re staying with us to explore our wonderful city, visiting loved ones who live in Liverpool or are set to attend an event, you won’t find a better destination in the city centre. We’re just a short walk away from the city’s high street shops, train stations, bus stops and famous landmarks.

12. Private Dining


Do you want to celebrate a special event in an intimate setting? Well, consider Little Eden, which can play host to a number of events, including small weddings, engagement celebrations, baby showers, birthday dinners and more. Our beautiful interior will provide the perfect backdrop to your event, whilst our dedicated team will ensure it runs smoothly, so you can simply focus on toasting to a wonderful evening.

13. The Story

The whole of Liverpool fell in love with Bill Shankly – who changed the face of Liverpool FC forever. The humble Scot made Liverpool his home after enjoying a successful career as LFC’s manager, pulling them up from a Division Two club to a Premier League team.

Settling in West Derby with his wife, Nessie, and their children, the family have grown up in the city. Immensely proud of Bill Shankly’s legacy, the family have chosen to create a luxurious hotel inspired by the legendary football player and manager, in conjunction with Signature Living.

This is only the start of The Shankly Hotel – as work on the second phase of the hotel begun just last month – and we plan to create a rooftop bar and install a 100ft slide. So, if you haven’t done so already, book a stay with us to experience our unique hotel in Liverpool for yourself.

Call our friendly team today on 0151 601 8801 or email for more information.

John Aldridge to Return to The Bastion Bar & Restaurant

Liverpool FC legend John Aldridge will once again return to The Bastion Bar & Restaurant. This time to offer a pre and post match analysis of the Manchester City vs Liverpool FC game on Saturday 21st November at the Etihad Stadium – and will be the first meeting since the departure of Raheem Sterling to Man City.

Aldo will happily provide an insight into the match, which passionate LFC fans won’t want to miss. He’s also be taking part in a Q&A, so you can ask him a question ahead of the big game, such as his opinion of new manager Jurgen Klopp or even his opinion on Raheem Sterling’s departure.


For just £19.95 per person, you will be guaranteed a seat at our Liverpool restaurant and bar to watch the match, which also includes a meals with a drink and an exclusive football experience with John Aldridge. During half-time, John will gladly pose for photographs with fans and sign autographs. Other LFC legends who have appeared at The Bastion Bar & Restaurant include Terry McDermott and Alan Kennedy.

You can choose between the aromatic Thai Green Chicken and Lemon Grass Curry, which features fresh lime, chilli, prawn crackers and fragrant rice, or you can opt for our award-winning The Shankly Burger, which is served on a brioche bun with streaky bacon, mature cheddar cheese, Batavia lettuce, dill pickle, beef tomato, home-made relish and hand-cut chips. Please be aware that your food options must be made when booking a table.

The match will take place at 4.45pm – and we encourage you to book a table soon as our last football event with John Aldridge was a total sell-out. So call us now on 0151 236 0166 to avoid disappointment. Alternatively, you can drop us an email on

So…did Shanks end up an Evertonian after he resigned?

In my last blog regarding Grandy’s resignation and the reasons behind it; I intimated I’d shed some light on THOSE Bill Shankly rumours.

Those rumours I refer to are in relation to one of the most asked questions we get, “Did Shanks end up an Evertonian?”

A direct follow on from the question as to whether Liverpool treated him poorly after he left.

The truth is that the answer to both could be either yes or no. As with everything in life; it isn’t black or white, there are shades of grey.

The Rumours

If I can take the latter question first.

When Grandy left the club; he struggled to adapt to life without football. It had been all he knew, from a young age, from morning until night. To go from that extreme to the other is hard for anyone. As a result, he would often travel to Melwood to indulge in the facilities, to keep fit and to stay around the thing that he loved most; football.

Having spent 15 years at the club, and having personally bought and/or nurtured many of the players at the club, many of them; when coming into contact with his person would still call him ‘boss’ and in truth, the club felt like this would potentially undermine Bob Paisley’s authority.

His job was already on paper, hard enough; having taken over from the godfather of the club; it’s most successful manager and a man revered by football fans all over the world. The club therefore took the hard task of advising him of this.

Manchester Utd have just gone through it with Ferguson stepping down and Moyes taking over.

Moyes failed where Bob was a success.  Ferguson was however; offered a directorship at the club, giving him impetus there, whereas Grandy never was.

In truth, it was this that rankled with him. He could live with not being around the training ground, what hurt, and he says as much in his autobiography; was not even being approached about being a director.

Whatever way you look at it; and you can be the most mentally strong, composed individual in the world, hearing these words and sentiments from a club, organisation or person who you have given everything to, and taken to the pinnacle of success; is always going to hurt.

It’s like being dumped by your first love!

In typically true fashion however, he took it on the chin and very, very rarely spoke about it, electing only to really go on record with his feelings in the late seventies when he published his autobiography.

It was through this vehicle that he used the phrase; ‘Over the last few seasons I have been received more warmly by Everton than I have been Liverpool.”

So did he end up an Evertonian?

It is true to say that he did end up with a soft spot for the blue side of the City, and it is absolutely true that he spent a lot of time at both Bellefield and Goodison.

Bellefield was a two minute walk from his home and he would often take the dog for a walk (Scamp!), visiting Bellefield as part of his route.

He would enter the training ground and converse with the ground staff, players and management, and was widely welcomed and looked after by all in situ (many Liverpool fans like to think he took the dog there to do its business but alas that wasn’t the case!).

He was also a frequent visitor to Goodison.

In the wealth of memorabilia we have that will be displayed in the museum at the hotel; we found ticket stubs for the directors box there and for other parts of the ground; and the family were also regaled by the story of how when he was there one week; such had been the frequency of his visits; our blue neighbours even began singing his name.

So did he become an Evertonian?

The answer not quite. Liverpool was his life. But did he have a soft spot for them.  In truth, as we already know; he was a man of the people.

Everyone loved his personality and his charisma so it was hard not to be fond of him, rival fans included. More so; he loved Liverpool as a city. He had a great fondness for its people. Nanny Ness said of him once, “In Liverpool, with its traditional love for football, Bill found kindred spirits who shared his enthusiasm for the game.”

Grandy saw a successful Everton side as much a catalyst for success for his Liverpool team as any other element, highlighting that the intensity of rivalry and competition brought out the best in both sides.

He reflected;

“When they had a good team which was the equivalent of Liverpool or better, the games were tense.The rivalry is like it is for Celtic and Rangers, but without bigotry. I’ve seen supporters on Merseyside going to the ground together, one wearing red and white, and the other blue and white, which is unusual elsewhere.

You get families in Liverpool, half Everton and half Liverpool. They support rival teams but they have the same temperament and they know each other. They are unique in the sense that their rivalry is no real aggro between them.

This is quite amazing. I am not saying they love each other. Oh no. But I’ve never seen a fight at a derby game. Shouting and bawling, yes. But they don’t fight each other. And that says a lot.”

Everton’s warmth towards him following his resignation from Liverpool only fuelled his warmth for the people of this city and it is on that note that I end this particular blog; with a reflection from Grandy to these sentiments.

“If I had a business and needed a work force, I would take it from Merseyside. And we would wipe the floor with everybody. They’ve got hearts of gold. They’d give you their last penny….and they can work. So I’d pick my workforce from Merseyside and anybody else can pick theirs from anywhere else and we’d have a go with them. And I’d win. They’ve got a big spirit…when they’re on your side and all working together they take a bit of a beating.”


Christopher William Shankly Carline