He made the people happy


'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.'  

Bill Shankly



 Today, we remember Bill Shankly, who died exactly 25 years ago. He managed the great club called Liverpool from 1959-1974, taking them from the bottom of the second division to becoming the best team in the country. After he left, the foundations he laid down led to an unprecedented six league titles and three European Cups in nine seasons for his successor, Bob Paisley.

Shanks is the reason why I'm a Liverpool fan. His anecdotes and quotes are stuff of legend. And I personally think the best way to remember him is to remember the things he said:

'If you are first you are first. If you are second you are nothing.' 

Radio Merseyside reporter to Shankly: 'Mr Shankly, why is it that your teams' unbeaten run has suddenly ended?' Shanks replied: 'Why don't you go and jump in the lake?'   
'Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool.' 

To a translator, when being surrounded by gesticulating Italian journalists - 'Just tell them I completely disagree with everything they say!' 
'The trouble with referees is that they know the rules, but they don't know the game.' 
'Son, you'll do well here as long as you remember two things. Don't over-eat and don't lose your accent.' - to Ian St John when he signed for Liverpool. 
To a journalist who suggested Liverpool were struggling – 'Ay, here we are with problems at the top of the league.' 

Talking to a reporter about Roger Hunt – 'Yes Roger Hunt misses a few, but he gets in the right place to miss them.' 

Explaining to Kevin Keegan what's expected of him at Anfield - 'Just go out and drop a few hand grenades all over the place son!' 

'I know this is a sad occasion, but I think that Dixie would be amazed to know that even in death he could draw a bigger crowd to Goodison than Everton on a Saturday afternoon' – speaking at the funeral of Everton legend Dixie Dean 
'If Everton were playing at the bottom of the garden, I'd pull the curtains.' 
'Sickness would not have kept me away from this one. If I'd been dead, I would have had them bring the casket to the ground, prop it up in the stands, and cut a hole in the lid.' - after beating Everton in the 1971 FA Cup semi-final 

Addressing the Liverpool fans who turned up in their thousands to welcome the team home despite losing to Arsenal in the 1971 FA Cup Final - 'Chairman Mao has never seen a greater show of red strength.' 
After signing Ron Yeats - 'With him in defence, we could play Arthur Askey in goal.' 

To Alan Ball after he'd signed for Everton - 'Never mind Alan, at least you'll be able to play next to a great team' 

To Tommy Smith after he'd turned up for training with a bandaged knee - 'Take that poof bandage off, and what do you mean YOUR knee, it's LIVERPOOL'S knee !' 
To the players after failing to sign Lou Macari - 'I only wanted him for the reserves anyway.'

To Ian St John - 'If you're not sure what to do with the ball, just pop it in the net and we'll discuss your options afterwards.' 
'In my time at Anfield we always said we had the best two teams on Merseyside - Liverpool and Liverpool reserves.' 

About the This-is-Anfield plaque - 'This is to remind our lads who they're playing for, and to remind the opposition who they're playing against.' 
'Of course I didn't take my wife to see Rochdale as an anniversary present. It was her birthday amd would I have got married during the football season? Anyway, it was Rochdale reserves.' 
Shankly to the Brussels hotel clerk who queried his signing 'Anfield' as his address on the hotel register: 'But that's where I live.' 
Shankly explaining rotation to a reporter - 'Laddie, I never drop players, I only make changes.' 
Comparing the Anfield pitch to other grounds - 'It's great grass at Anfield, professional grass!' 
'The difference between Everton and the Queen Mary is that Everton carry more passengers!' 
To a local barber, who in 1968 had asked 'Anything off the top? Shanks retorted: 'Aye, Everton!' 
On awaiting Everton's arrival for a derby game at Anfield, Shankly gave a box of toilet rolls to the doorman and said: 'Give them these when they arrive – they'll need them!' 
'I always look in the Sunday paper to see where Everton are in the league – starting, of course, from the bottom up.' 
To Chris Lawler during a training session at Melwood – 'Was it a goal? Was I off-side?' Lawler replied: 'You were boss.' Shanks then quipped: 'Christ, son, you've been here four years, hardly said a word and, when you do, it's a bloody lie!' 
To Tommy Smith during training – 'You son, could start a riot in a graveyard.' 

'There's Man. Utd and Man. City at the bottom of Division 1, and by God they'll take some shifting.' 
'It's a 90 minute game for sure. In fact I used to train for a 190 minute game so that when the whistle blew at the end of the match I could have played another 90 minutes.' 

On a wartime Scotland v England match – 'We absolutely annihilated England. It was a massacre. We beat them 5-4.' 
After losing to Ajax in the 1967 European Cup - 'We cannae play these defensive continental sides!'
Shanks and Tommy Docherty were at a game. There was a player every other club coveted on view. Docherty said to Shanks: '100,000 wouldn't buy him.' Shanks retorted: 'Yeah, and I'm one of the 100,000!' 
What Shanks disliked about football: 'The end of the season.' 

On hearing a rival manager was unwell: 'I know what's wrong - he's got a bad side!' 

To reporters after a 3-0 defeat – 'They're nothing but rubbish. Three breakaways, that's all they got.' 

Talking about Tommy Smith – 'If he isn't named Footballer of the Year, football should be stopped and the men who picked any other player should be sent to the Kremlin.' 

After winning the FA Cup in 1974 Shankly goes into a fish and chip shop and orders a fish supper. The woman at the counter asks: 'Mr Shankly, shouldn't they be having steak suppers?' Shanks replied: 'No lass, they'll get steak suppers when they win the double!' 
To the Anfield PA during a match – 'Jesus Christ, son, can ye no' talk into that microphone when the players are in the penalty box. You're putting them off, you're doing more damage than the opposition.' 
Shankly on boardroom meetings - 'At a football club, there's a holy trinity - the players, the manager and the supporters. Directors don't come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques.' 
Talking about the Liverpool fans – 'I'm just one of the people who stands on the kop. They think the same as I do, and I think the same as they do. It's a kind of marriage of people who like each other.' 
Explaining on what the off-side rule should be - 'If a player is not interfering with play or seeking to gain an advantage, then he should be.' 
'I was only in the game for the love of football - and I wanted to bring back happiness to the people of Liverpool.' 
'"If you can't make decisions in life, you're a bloody menace. You'd be better becoming an MP!' 
When told he had never experienced playing in a derby - 'Nonsense! I've kicked every ball, headed out every cross. I once scored a hat-trick; One was lucky, but the others were great goals.' 

After a 0-0 draw at Anfield – 'What can you do playing against 11 goalposts!'
Waxing lyrical about Ian Callaghan - 'He typifies everything that is good in football, and he has never changed. You could stake your life on Ian.' 
'Fire in your belly comes from pride and passion in wearing the red shirt. We don't need to motivate players because each of them is responsible for the performance of the team as a whole. The status of Liverpool's players keeps them motivated.' 
'Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and of making yourself available to receive a pass. It is terribly simple.'

On the leaving of Liverpool – 'It was the most difficult thing in the world, when I went to tell the chairman. It was like walking to the electric chair. That's the way it felt.'

Rest in peace old man. Rest in peace.


  1. hey bro..was gonna post some of those quotes..hehe now dont have to...cannot add anything more to what u have said...many others have been knighted and such..but for the pure influence one man had on a team , a city and even other people all over the Uk..Bill Shankly will never be forgotten and most definitely never walk alone !! Rest in peace Shanks..though he was before our time...what an inspirational person to have..
    I believe his achievements , sincerety and stories of his kindness towards Reds fans are what distinguishes our greatest manager...
    And boy did he leave us memorable quotes...the most famous of which you quoted first....Mr mourinho...you can never match this legend and truly great man...how hard you try! Shanks invented psychological battle with other managers and forever believed in the holy trinity of manager, players and supporters...YNWA!

  2. When you walk through a storm
    Hold your head up high
    And don't be afraid of the dark.
    At the end of the storm
    There's a golden sky
    And the sweet silver
    Song of a lark.
    Walk on through the wind
    Walk on through the rain
    Though your dreams
    Be tossed and blown.
    Walk on
    walk on
    With hope in your hearts
    I And you'll never walk alone
    You'll never walk alone.

  3. shankly would have hated that display by the reds today...and the linesman certainly didnt help matters..but no excuses..didnt create clear chances and didnt score..once again had all the possession...shanks would have reminded the reds..only one statistic matters...goals! a sad and tame end to liverpools ambitions for the season...the best we can hope for is 4th if that! absolutely disappointed and disheartened....