Bill Shankly’s Glenbuck set for rebirth

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 Glenbuck strikes a chord with Liverpool supporters the world over, because it’s Bill Shankly’s birthplace.

The Scot laid the foundations for Liverpool’s most successful period in our history and he’s still very much loved despite passing away more than three decades ago.

The story of Shankly’s Glenbuck is also a sad one, with the little mining village depopulated for nearly half a century.

But Glenbuck could be set for an unlikely rebirth with plans to transform it into a unique visitor centre attraction.

Burnside Park is where the once all-conquering junior team ‘The Cherrypickers’ played and where Shankly and his four brothers learned their trade, but the park has been left abandoned and is now overgrown and covered in rocks.

The aim is to restore the field, establish a museum and reinstate the Glenbuck Cherrypickers.

Efforts to revive Glenbuck were revealed in BBC Radio Scotland documentary ‘The Cradle of Football’.

Journalist Martyn McLaughlin produced it and is hoping it will raise awareness about the project.


The footballing side of the scheme is being led by Robert Gillan, a youth football coach from the nearby village of Douglas.

Gillan is the co-author of Shankly’s Village, a book charting the glory days of Glenbuck, he has also started a charitable football academy in the village’s name which trains youngsters in Douglas, South Lanarkshire.

Gillan is hoping that the links with Liverpool can help the project.

“Bill Shankly is the most famous and Liverpool fans regard the village as a special place, but what I’m trying to do is bring the game back to a part of Scotland most people forget about or don’t even know existed.”


“My big aim is to try and restore the Cherrypickers pitch and hopefully build four or five cottages.”

“One of the interesting things our consultants have said is there might be a real market for Liverpudlians coming up to Glenbuck to play a few games of football.”

The plans are also gaining support from Merseyside, with a fundraising match due to take place in May between Robert Gillan’s youth team and a side sponsored by the Shankly Family Foundation.

The event will also see Liverpool fans embark on a sponsored cycle from Anfield to Glenbuck.

Shankly’s grandson Chris Carline expressed his family’s support:

“There’s been a lot of support from different agencies. There’s been a lot of support from different agencies. We’ll have a lot of sponsorship from local businesses. Liverpool Football Club are going to help us promote it.

“So something that only came to us as an idea about a month ago has come together quite quickly.”

It would be great to see Glenbuck put back on the map after being left to rot all those years ago with end of mining in the area.

The village shouldn’t be forgotten after producing so many professional footballers and it has played an important part in Scottish footballing history and Liverpool Football Club’s – and with the help of publicising the venture there is hope that Glenbuck can be reborn.

‘The Cradle of Football’ is available on BBC iPlayer.

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