The city of Liverpool was rocked on 12th July, 1974 when Bill Shankly announced his intention to resign as manager of Liverpool Football Club.
After 15 years at the helm and with six major trophies collected, Shankly – then 60 years old – chose to leave the club of his own volition to spend more time with his family.
The Scot later admitted he found the experience extremely difficult and felt pangs of regret within weeks of informing the board of his intentions.
News of Shankly’s resignation was greeted with disbelief across the city, as fans tried to come to terms with the departure of a man who had inspired both a football team and a population.
The club could have been facing a crisis, but in a move
which would go on to become a trademark at Anfield in
the next twenty years, they chose to promote from within,
with Shankly’s assistant Bob Paisley taking charge.
Unfortunately, there followed a troublesome period where
Shankly continued to attend training sessions, potentially
undermining his successor. The Scot’s relationship with
the club he built was at a low, but his groundwork reached
fruition in spectacular style under Paisley.
Paisley’s personality was in stark contrast to that of his
good friend – whereas Shankly was outspoken, Paisley
was a quiet man who preferred to make his point subtly.
Indeed, Paisley did not need to say much as Liverpool’s
results on the pitch did all his talking for him. In total, he
won 20 trophies in nine years, including: six championships,
three European Cups, one UEFA Cup and three League Cups.
Paisley also had a keen eye for a player, recruiting the likes
of Kenny Dalglish, Phil Neal, Alan Hansen, Graeme Souness
and Ian Rush, all of whom would go on to serve Liverpool for
Such names have now become part of Boot Room folklore,
which Shankly had initiated as an informal arena to discuss
players, tactics and the future of the club.
Backroom staff such as Ronnie Moran, Joe Fagan – who would follow Paisley as manager and add another European Cup to the trophy cabinet – Roy Evans and Dalglish helped to ensure that Shankly’s philosophy of the ‘Liverpool Way’ would live on after he left.
Those 15 years will forever be remembered at Anfield, while Shankly’s legacy is so entrenched in the club that more recent managers such as Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez, despite hailing from abroad, have cited the great man as an inspiration.
By Chris Shaw, Senior Editor
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Shankly with boot room staff Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan & Ronnie Moran; YouTube: Fans react as Shankly quits
© Trinity Mirror
Bob Paisley won three European Cups after succeeding Shankly at LFC
BILL SHANKLY MEMORIAL COVERAGE
© Trinity Mirror