Shankly - My Story
Do you ever start reading a book and accidentally read a couple words in front of where you are at cos you're that excited by the content?
For all that he built and achieved, Shankly has immortalised himself into Liverpool FC's and footballing history.
I initially thought that this book would solely be about his time at Liverpool, but it starts right from his humble beginnings in Scotland. Football seemed like such a different proposition back then, the way they played, and the way they got trials to clubs.
Shankly played for various teams in Scotland before playing for different teams in England. Throughout the book, you can sense his self-belief in everything he does and the assurance in others when he talks about them too.
Throughout his playing career, he enlisted in the army and talks frequently about training there with other professionals. Not short of confidence, he talks himself up about being the fittest person there! Fun fact: He met his wife at the army barracks.
After managing Huddersfield Town, he was recruited to manage Liverpool FC. He knew the potential of the club as soon as he got there. He talks about how he needed to change the mindset of the directors and even the fans to make them all see the potential and get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet.
We learn about the beginnings of the famous boot room. Bob Paisley, Shankly's eventual successor, was part of that team.
I loved reading about how the city of Liverpool became famous with the hotbed of talent coming through in the sixties. Shankly makes references to Cilla Black, The Beatles, and how Gerry Marsden's song, You'll Never Walk Alone became an instant hit with the supporters. After the Liverpool supporters started to chant the song, it was soon adopted by other clubs.
In those days there were no substitutions, so the players had to play through some horrible injuries. Although it sounds as though men were made of stronger stuff back then. Shankly mentions that Gerry Byrne, the left-back had to play through an FA CUP Final with a broken collarbone. Surely that can't be true!
With all that is ever written or said about him, I never knew about the relationship breakdown between this legend and Liverpool FC (the club WE ALL know and love ?).
Taking this moment to also pay respects to another Liverpool legend who sadly passed last week.
Rest In Peace Gérard Houllier, you will be missed
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