Liverpool legend Ian St. John has paid tribute to Bill Shankly ahead of the 30th anniversary of his death.
'The Saint', 73, still resides on Merseyside, having been signed by Shankly from Motherwell in May 1961 before going on to play a major part in the Reds’ renaissance throughout the 1960s.
His winning goal in the FA Cup final against Leeds United in 1965 was arguably his most memorable contribution to a side that went from Second Division underachievers to First Division champions.
In an exclusive interview with JMU Journalism, the former Scottish international spoke about his memories of “the boss” and why he is the greatest figure in the club’s history.
St. John said: “Although they were Second Division, Shankly told me all these dreams and what they were going to do. It was the charisma of the man. He had so much passion.
“Beforehand there wasn’t much history. They’d won the
league but they had never won the cup. However, Shanks
was determined to change all of this and I was convinced
The Scot believes that Shankly’s greatest achievement at
Liverpool was building a club from the bottom to become
one of the greatest teams in Europe: “Everything that was
done was all down to Shanks, without a doubt. He laid the
foundations for the club’s successes.
“Before him, it was like the dark ages. He revamped the
training ground and when I arrived the pitches were terrific.
There was running water and improved changing facilities
which hadn’t been in place before.”
The former striker also highlighted another change Shankly
made which was just as significant. He said: “Before he
arrived, the board picked the team and when he was originally
interviewed for the job he turned it down. So when asked
second time around, Shanks said ‘I pick the team!’ and that
Despite his achievements as manager, St. John believes it was Shankly’s dedication to the fans that was his greatest achievement. He said: “Up until Shankly, managers never interacted with the crowd. He’d get on the tannoy at Carlisle and explain why he left players out.
“When he came to Liverpool he put the fans first and made sure they were involved. He made the players give 100% for the supporters and I think that’s what he brought to the club. He is the man that started the revolution if you like.”
When asked to sum up Shankly, St. John pointed to the statue which resides outside the Kop. He said: “The inscription on his statue sums him up. Before him it must have been awful to have been a fan. He gave them championships and cups, everything was done with him. He made the people happy.”
EXCLUSIVE By Joel Richards, JMU Journalism Liverpool Life
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Shankly with the squad before the 1973/74 season; Click Liverpool: St. John gives his thoughts on Shanks
BILL SHANKLY MEMORIAL COVERAGE
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