Bill Shankly: A Timeline of Events

Shankly’s life was an interesting one to say the least. From being born in Glenbuck, to living in Liverpool as an honourary Scouser till the end.
Here’s a timeline of important events during Shankly’s 68 year life and beyond!

The early years

02.09.1913 – William Shankly is born in Glenbuck, Scotland.

1931 – He plays football for his local team in Ayrshire, Cronberry Eglinton.

1932 – Shankly moves south where he joins Carlisle United in Third Division North.

July 1933 – After a remarkable season for Carlisle Shankly signs for 2nd division Preston North End. Preston was soon promoted as Shankly’s career flourished.

Young Shankly

09.04.1938 – Shankly was selected to play for his country, Scotland for the first time, playing against England in a 1-0 win at Wembley.

30.04.1938 – Shankly’s highlight as player when Preston wins the FA Cup by beating Huddersfield.

29.06.1944 – Bill marries Agnes “Nessie” Fisher

From player to manager

22.03.1949 – Despite feeling he had more to offer as a player, 35-year-old Shankly took the manager’s job at Carlisle United.

June 1951 – Grimsby’s board felt Shankly was the right man to revive the club that had dropped from Division 1 to regional football in Division 3.

1951 – Liverpool interview Shankly for the vacant manager’s job at Liverpool.

06.01.1954 – Shankly moves down the ranking in Third Division North, but saving Workington from destruction is a commendable challenge.

05.11.1956 – Takes over as manager of Huddersfield after coaching their reserves for 11 months.

01.12.1959 – Liverpool appoint Bill Shankly as Phil Taylor’s successor in the managerial seat.

Shankly arrives at LFC

14.12.1959 – Shankly takes officially over at Liverpool after finishing his occupancy at Huddersfield.

19.12.1959 – Shankly is in control of his first Liverpool game, but it’s a long way from a perfect start as Liverpool lose 0-4 to Cardiff.

21.04.1962 – After seven years in the 2nd division, Liverpool are promoted with five League games remaining!

18.04.1964 – Liverpool win the championship for the sixth time in their history after a 17 year wait with an impressive 5-0 win vs Arsenal at Anfield.

01.05.1965 – Liverpool win the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history. Shankly added that it was his finest moment at Liverpool.

12.05.1965 – Liverpool knocked out of the semi-finals in the club’s inaugural season in the European Cup. After a sensational 3-1 win at Anfield in the first leg, Inter beat the Reds 0-3 in Italy after bribing the referee!

30.04.1966 – Liverpool close their second League title under Shankly by beating Chelsea 2-1 at Anfield.

08.05.1971 – Liverpool lose 1-2 to Arsenal in the FA Cup – Shankly delivers the famous Chairman Mao speech.

08.07.1971 – Shankly agrees a new three-year contract with Liverpool which became his last.

23.04.1973 – After 7 years deprived of a title, Liverpool win the championship by beating Leeds 2-0 at Anfield.

23.05.1973 – Liverpool beat Gladbach 3-2 on aggregate in the UEFA Cup final, almost conceding their 3-0 lead from Anfield.

1973 – Bill voted Manager of the year, the only time in his career!

Bill Shankly Memorabilia

04.05.1974 – One of the most one-sided FA Cup finals in history when Liverpool annihilates Newcastle 3-0 at Wembley.

The shock announcement

12.07.1974 – The football world and the whole of Liverpool are stunned when Bill Shankly announces that he is retiring as Liverpool’s manager.

10.08.1974 – Shankly is given the honour of leading Liverpool out at Wembley vs Leeds in the Charity Shield despite retiring in the summer.

12.08.1974 – Bill Shankly legitimately terminates his ‘reign’ as manager of the Reds in Billy McNeill’s testimonial in front of 60,000 people at Celtic Park.

29.04.1975 – Shankly’s testimonial against a Don Revie Select XI – an emotional night at Anfield.

25.05.1977 – Shankly was in attendance when Liverpool won its first ever European Cup in Rome.

The loss of a great man

29.09.1981 – Shankly passes away. Bill suffered a cardiac arrest after battling for life since a heart attack early on Saturday morning. He had been making good progress until his condition deteriorated.

30.09.1981 – Liverpool face Finnish European Cup opponents, Oulu Palloseura, at Anfield. Reds won 7-0 and for the whole of second half the Kop sang Shankly’s name to the tune of Amazing Grace.
A banner in the crowd reads “King Shankly lives”.

03.10.1981 – Bob Paisley and John Toshack lead out their teams at Anfield in the league. Tosh, who was now the manager of Swansea, created quite a stir among the Swansea faithful when he revealed a Liverpool shirt underneath his Swansea tracksuit when Shankly was remembered before the game.

22.11.1981 – “A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Bill Shankly” held at Liverpool Cathedral.

A series of tributes

26.08.1982 – Shankly Gates unlocked by Bill’s widow, Nessie.

27.04.1997 – The Shankly memorial is erected – a fitting tribute in his hometown, Glenbuck.

04.12.1997 – The statue of Shankly in front of the Kop is unveiled.

June 1998 – Preston North’s End ground was replaced by a new stand named the “Bill Shankly Kop”, designed with different coloured seats providing an image of the great man’s head and shoulders.

18.12.1999 – A mosaic on the Kop to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Bill Shankly’s arrival at Anfield.

02.08.2002 – Nessie Shankly passes away, 82 years of age.

2002 – Bill Shankly is introduced to the English Football Hall of Fame due to his impact on the English game as a manager.

08.11.2004 – Bill is introduced to the Scottish Football Association’s Hall of Fame.

01.12.2009 – 50th anniversary since he signed his contract to become manager of Liverpool Football Club.

16.12.2009 – A “SHANKS LEGEND” mosaic was unveiled on the Kop prior to kick off.

17.12.2009 – Shankly is awarded an Honorary Citizenship of Liverpool in recognition of the 50th anniversary of his arrival as manager of Liverpool FC and his dedication to Merseyside.

May 2014 – A Shankly themed hotel and museum is unveiled by Shankly’s family and Signature Living.

What was your favourite Shankly moment?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter! Credit to www.shankly.com for providing the timeline dates.

40th anniversary of Shankly’s LFC retirement

12th July 1974: The date the Godfather of the Kop, Bill Shankly, announced his retirement.

The Unexpected

Nobody knew what to expect when a sudden press conference was called by John Smith, the club’s chairman at the time.
As the press filtered in with their notepads, cameras, and Dictaphones at the ready, there wasn’t a buzz of excitement. Unlike a usual event of this kind there was instead a dullness in the air.

A pin drop could be heard when Smith stepped up to make his opening statement:

“It is with great regret that I as chairman of Liverpool Football Club have to inform you that Mr Shankly has intimated that he wishes to retire from active participation in league football. And the board has with extreme reluctance accepted his decision. I would like to at this stage to place on record the board’s great appreciation of Shankly’s magnificent achievements over the period of his managership.”

Shankly agreed to a three-year contract with Liverpool Football Club during the signing of his last contract in July 1971. He was then offered the option of having it extended to five years. When the three year mark was met, Smith asked if he would like to continue for two more years. Shankly declined.

Speculations

It was widely speculated as to why he refused to stay those two more years. Even those closest to him like his wife and Bob Paisley had their own theories regarding the subject.

Conclusions were drawn that former England captain Emlyn Hughes once asked Bill why he chose to retire. Shanks said “I’m going to tell you the reason why I left” but his small grandchild came running in, and he got sidetracked. Emlyn never found out.

Without realising it or not, Hughes actually got the truthful answer to his question. Bill became anxious to spend more time with Nessie, his children, and his grandchildren.

In his autobiography, Shankly mentions his decision to retire. He says:

“After the FA Cup Final I went into the dressing room and I felt tired from all the years. I said to a bloke who was looking after the dressing room, ‘Get me a cup of tea and a couple of pies, for Christ’s sake.’ When I sat down with my tea and pies, my mind was made up. If we had lost the final I would have carried on, but I thought, ‘Well, we’ve won the Cup now and maybe it’s a good time to go.’ I knew I was going to finish.”

Regrets

Rumour has it almost immediately after resigning, Bill thoroughly regretted his decision. By the time the new football season came around, Shanks was back at Melwood FC, training with the players, enjoying the camaraderie and the chance to put his boots on again. Some players were calling him ‘boss’ and treating him as equally as their real manager Bob Paisley, to his annoyance.

“I wasn’t feeling ill or anything like that, but I felt though that if I was away from the pressures of Anfield for a while, and rested, it would make me fitter and rejuvenate me. I felt I could contribute more later on. I would never leave the city of Liverpool, and still wanted to be involved in football. I still wanted to help Liverpool, because the club the club had become my life. But I wasn’t given the chance.”

The retirement was a clean break between LFC and Shankly, to both side’s disappointment. However living close to Everton’s training ground, Bill would often call in and join in the training sessions, proving that many of his cutting comments about Liverpool’s city opponents were no more than harmless shots to fabricate a sense of bitter rivalry.

Shanks spent his first Saturday afternoon in retirement watching Everton Vs Derby County as the club’s special guest, and was met by a rapturous applause by the Goodison crowd.

He would talk to anyone about football and go anywhere to put his boots on again. Simply because, he just loved the game.
To him, the beautiful game was just that.