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.”
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
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”
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
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.
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
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.