If you walk into any pub in the country you’ll be able to find someone debating who’s the best football manager ever. Some people base their opinion on how many trophies a manager has won, some base it on what they did for the club and how far the team progressed under them and others will base it on the managers character, personality and relationship with the fans.
When we look at English football many are convinced Sir Alex Ferguson is the greatest, he turned Manchester United into a world-class team winning many trophies along the way. Some will say it’s Bob Paisley because of the silverware he collected whilst in charge during arguably the greatest period in Liverpool F.C’s history. For me though, it isn’t either of these two, it’s the man who’s been a Liverpool legend for 50 years, Bill Shankly.
Shankly had the whole package. Firstly he brought us from rubble to Ritz, turning what was once a mediocre Division 2 side into one of the best teams in the world in record time. He didn’t do too badly on the silverware side either, winning three league championships, one FA Cup and a UEFA Cup. The things that Bill left behind in the cabinet are not what is most important though, what is most important is the foundations he set for the club, the man created the Liverpool Way which supporters at least still abide by today.
The ‘This is Anfield’ sign and the ‘holy trinity’ of the players, the manager and the fans are just two of the many traditions the great man established at the club. He left a legacy like no other manager ever has done and it’s likely no other manager will ever do again.
Another great thing about Shankly? He wouldn’t take credit for what he did, he was a humble man who would happily say the players and the fans are the reason for the teams success. He was down to earth, something that’s missing in modern day football. He adored the supporters and in return the adored him. They had a mutual respect for each other, Shankly wasn’t one to treat supporters just as customers, he believed they were integral to the teams success and could be the difference between a win and a loss, it’s what drives the Kop during must win games, it’s the Spirit of Shankly.
Bill Shankly- He made the people happy.