It's Not Your Leg Son: The Book of Shankly

Other Managers have won more trophies than Shankly, and they are respected and admired for their achievements. The likes of Ramsey, Ferguson and Paisley will live forever in the annals of football for all their World and European Cups. Yet Shankly, a humble son of Ayrshire, earned something more precious than silver: he won the undying love of millions. It is hard to imagine another person whose epitaph is etched into the hearts of so many. He carved out his unique claim to posterity by transforming Liverpool from a failing Second Division club into one of the world's most august sporting institutions. More than that, he made the club synonymous with its supporters, and forged an unbreakable bond between the men on the field and the fans on the terraces. As the Sixties got underway it proved an unbeatable combination, as Liverpool won promotion to the First Division, added the Championship twice, and the first FA Cup in the club's history. The spirit of Shankly's first great team reflected the vibrancy of the city of Liverpool itself, as the world tapped its feet to the Merseybeat, and the planet tuned in to the sounds of The Beatles. For the first time in decades the docks were full of ships, and the city had a team it could be proud of. Shankly was not idolised solely for the success he brought to the club. The fiercely proud Scot won the hearts of his adopted city with his warmth, honesty and humour. He also had an unfathomable knowledge of football - he knew players, and he knew how football teams worked. After his first great side of the Sixties began to fade, he had the vision to build up a second great team, which climbed back to the summit of English football. Shankly retired from the job he loved in 1974, but he handed a rich legacy to his successor, Bob Paisley. When the Reds' first four European Cups followed in the late 1970s and 1980s, Liverpool supporters recalled the debt they owed to Shankly's hard work. He died too soon in 1981. The city of Liverpool led the mourning, but by now the name of Shankly was revered the football world over, and tributes poured in from every country where the game is played. The boy from the tiny west of Scotland pit village of Glenbuck had made his mark. For all the honours he earned in the game, Shankly did not die a rich man. But you cannot reckon the worth of a man such as Shankly in pounds and pence. He took nothing from the game, and gave it everything. The simple words on his monument at Anfield neatly sum up why he is still held in such esteem: 'He made the people happy'.