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The granddaughter of Bill Shankly has paid tribute to her grandad, and the supporters' group which uses his name, ahead of the 30th anniversary of his death.

 

Karen Gill, aged 45, now lives in Athens, Greece, but still takes a keen interest in Liverpool FC’s fortunes and insisted that “it’s still in my veins”. She plans to return to the city “in the not too distant future".

 

Speaking about her legendary grandfather, she told JMU Journalism: “I always knew he was famous as the Liverpool manager from an early age. I saw that he was followed around by people wherever we would go. People were always coming up to him and talking football. Journalists were always on the phone to him."

 

Shankly is still revered by Liverpool fans as the man who simply built the club into the institution it is today.

 

But it wasn’t until Mrs Gill went to Greece that she realised the

extent to which her grandfather is admired, literally all over the

world. "It made, and still continues to make me, incredibly proud

of everything he achieved,” she said.

 

A supporters' union group named 'Spirit of Shankly' was formed in

2008, and Karen said: “I was absolutely thrilled when Nicky Allt

asked if the union could use my grandad’s name.

 

“I think it’s an incredible indication of just how much respect my

grandad still commands. The name Shankly is, I think,

synonymous with Liverpool Football Club.”

 

Mrs Gill addressed Liverpool supporters at a rally in July 2010

and she said that will “remain in my memory forever as one of the

best days of my life”.

 

She added: “I met some amazing people, who are totally

committed to LFC and it was a chance for me to meet some of the

greatest supporters in the world. No exaggeration.”

 

This September everyone connected with Liverpool FC will be remembering the 30th anniversary of Shankly’s death. But instead of feeling upset, Karen wants supporters to celebrate his life, just like she does every year.

 

She concluded: “Every year this anniversary is very special as I’m overwhelmed with lovely messages from people all over the world. I plan to mark it in the way I always do, by celebrating his life and focusing on his amazing achievements.”

 

 

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'Memories of my grandad, Bill Shankly'

EXCLUSIVE by Joel Richards, JMU Journalism Liverpool Life

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