The Liverpool FC Forum > Opinion

The Bill Shankly Story

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John C:

--- Quote from: Sons of pioneerS on January 31, 2020, 12:50:30 am ---To be honest, there are a number of people on here who would be far more interesting to read and far more knowledgeable about the Shankly era than me. Bill left us in '74, and I was born in 1962, so I was very young when he departed the club. I only started going to the match in 1971, so I didn't get to see as much of him in the flesh as I'd have liked to. A lot of my admiration for him came with hindsight. The problem with youth is you don't have much life experience, thus not a great deal of perspective. Basically, I was born into the era of the great man, but didn't actually understand what I was witnessing. It's like being born with a silver spoon in your mouth. You don't know any different. You don't understand just how lucky you are.

Funny enough, as a youngster I'd see Shanks getting interviewed after the usual win and I'd be a bit embarrassed. He used to say things I didn't really understand. I used to wish he'd just talk in what I considered simple terms. It was only later I realised the man was a genius. He was a philosopher, and I couldn't understand because I needed to live a little in order to understand what he was saying.

All I knew back then was the man had what I now know as charisma. A truly magnetic character. Such a positive man who made people feel good about themselves and about their city and their club. A man you would tear up tress for. A man who made you feel you were capable of pulling up trees. Although different characters, I think Klopp has some very similar attributes. Both men made the club feel 1,000 feet tall and the players and fans 10 feet tall. For me, having Bill Shankly, LFC, the Spion Kop in my corner, well it felt amazing. The quality and feel of that identity helped me through some very difficult times in my young life. The entity that was Liverpool FC just seemed so monumentally massive, and I think that came from Shankly.

As I've grown older I now understand just how valuable and rare people like him are. People who believe in you and are positive. People who bring your best out of you and push you to believe in yourself. It's a special gift, and Bill Shankly had that gift.

Even now, all these years on, I find Shankly to be like a complex piece of art. By that I sort of mean multi-layered. You uncover new things each time you look. He saw football as such a simple game, yet he was such a complex man. He was basic and no-nonsense, yet he was a philosopher with great depth. Even today, I still get goosebumps looking at the photo of him on the steps of St. George's Hall in town with his arms outstretched with the crowds behind him. Every time I see it, I get goosebumps and feel slightly emotional.

The day he retired came as such a shock. I remember Tony Wilson breaking the news to people on the streets of Liverpool at the time. Total shock on faces. Honestly, It felt like my first bereavement. It felt impossible. It felt so wrong. Disbelief, denial, sadness set in. Was it the end for us? Little did I know at the time just how solid were the foundations he'd laid down and how they'd endure...

I never actually met him, but I know pretty much everyone who did has a story they will tell anyone who will listen. My girlfriend's brother once turned up at his house and knocked on the door. He got invited in by the man himself and they had a cup of tea and talked football. Imagine that. You turn up at the house of a living legend, and he invites you in for tea. He also had time for my girlfriend and her mum on the platform of Lime Street station. The team were travelling down south and he chatted with them like old friends.

Back in the 80s a few mates and I would do the away trip to Norwich by car. A fella who came with us had all sorts of Shankly interviews on cassette tape and as it was a long, tedious trip over to Norwich we'd play these tapes. My god, the stuff I didn't really understand when I was young all of a sudden made sense. Honestly, I could listen to him all day and learn so much about football, life, people, mentality, philosophy, psychology etc...

All I know is the man was a gem. An incredibly rare diamond who made us all feel we could run through walls. A myth, a legend, yet all so very real, so authentic and so down to earth.

I know this post is a bit of a mess. To be honest, I'm struggling to articulate my thoughts. It's strange really. The only time I've ever felt like I do when I see or hear Bill Shankly was when I was in Che Guevara's mausoleum in Santa Clara, Cuba. Being stood next to things he owned, seeing things he wrote and knowing his remains were there. Such an iconic figure in world history. Different people in many ways, but both carved into history and seen as myth and reality in equal measure. You're possibly wishing you hadn't asked me now.  ;)

But anyway, he was a man who built an empire that thrives to this day. Anyone who met him was lucky. Liverpool were privileged to have had him, and I mean that as a club and a city. He saw himself as privileged to have had us too. What more can you ask, eh?

Well, I'm full of goosebumps again now.  8)

--- End quote ---

Sits in here as well a reckon.

Priory Road:

--- Quote from: CHOPPER on February  2, 2020, 10:36:12 am ---Sits in here as well a reckon.

--- End quote ---

Amazing. Imagine a manager saying stuff like that now.

Fantastic times! Thank you for the great read!

so good story


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