Last week, as I want to know what love is faded out in the distance, BBC Radio Lancashire opened their show with a tribute to “Finney and Shankly, two of the most famous surnames ever.”
“Sir Tom Finney arguably – who’s arguing – was the finest player of his generation, while Shankly was regarded as one of the games greatest ever managers” exclaimed Phil Tunnicliffe, and our very own Chris Shankly couldn’t have agreed more.
From Chris’s pride and excitement about The Shankly Hotel in Preston to Sir Tom Finney’s son Brian, and his pride in The Sir Tom Finney Preston Soccer Centre, here’s what the duo had to say about what was not only a wonderful day for everyone involved, but a deal which sees The Shankly Hotel in Preston sponsor Sir Tom’s soccer centre for 2019.
The Sir Tom Finney Preston Soccer Centre
One of the most renowned and most successful community development schemes in Lancashire, The Sir Tom Finney Preston Soccer Centre has worked for almost two decades to positively benefit the community of Preston, a feat Chris Shankly – co-owner of The Shankly Hotel in both Preston and Liverpool – was keen to point out when asked about what the community centre meant to not only the hotel, but also himself:
“Shankly was known as a man of the people, a real socialist so, obviously from a business perspective we were interested in working with people who share that similar ethos. And, what The Sir Tom Finney Preston Soccer Centre has is a real synergy with what Shankly stood for.”
Chris’s opinion was also backed up by Sir Tom Finney’s son Brian, who added: “[I’m] so proud, he was such a big believer in bringing football to the community through places like this.”
The Shankly Hotel in Preston are overjoyed to sponsor a community centre in 2019 that provides free coaching for disabled, disadvantaged and refugee children something Peter Mason, the chairman of The Sir Tom Finney Preston Soccer Centre, was keen to celebrate: “To have the Shankly name linked to the centre is absolutely superb and the funds are going to help us give back to the community.”
Nevertheless, on a “wet and windy day in Preston – a day both Finney and Shankly would have relished,” Chris epitomised the entire venture when he said, almost instinctively: “we’re just so excited.”
Sir Tom Finney and The Shankly Hotel in Preston
Despite Chris and Brian’s noble attempts to promote and elevate The Sir Tom Preston Soccer Centre, the duo’s conversation inevitably turned towards their famous ancestors.
It is clear to see just how close the two Preston icons were, none more so than when Brian warmly referred to them by their first names. However, Brian was blunt when he exclaimed: “They were great competitors.”
Indeed, Chris asserted that The Shankly Hotel’s sole purpose is to “tell the story” of his grandads’ Preston career. But, “because Sir Tom is such a legend of the game and the city of Preston” said Chris, who seemed so enthused that he would reveal the answer before he even finished his point, “we felt it apt to approach Brian and to see if we could have some of his memorabilia to sit alongside my grandads; and, luckily for us, he said yes.”
Even the mayor of Preston, Trevor Hart was quick to express his admiration for Finney and Shankly while he also echoed Chris’ pride in the hotel and Brian’s love for Preston. He claimed that “we should be very proud of what these two names continue to do for our city, it’s amazing.”
As the interview drew to a close, Chris and Brian spoke of their excitement to be working together, while their pride in their famous ancestors could be felt through the radio.
The Shankly Hotel Preston
We at Signature Living are looking forward to celebrating everything Preston has to say and do. We also can’t wait to continue the story of The Old Post Office and what we do best by reviving this iconic, architectural masterpiece.
In the meantime, why not take a look inside the hotel’s upcoming bar and restaurant? You certainly won’t be disappointed.