It is difficult for us to imagine that at the beginning of the 60s of the last century the great Liverpool was in the second division, and occupied the bottom of the table, and the famous Enfield stadium had not been repaired for a long time and was a sad sight. But that was exactly the case when the club was headed by Bill Shankly, who came from the Huddersfield club, also dropped in the second division. Behind Shankly, there was no special coaching experience, he never headed famous clubs, but it was this man who had to raise Liverpool to the first positions of English football, and even with him he first entered the European arena. In addition, Shankly created a special coaching school, preparing his successors, in which the club achieved even more.
Of course, only an extraordinary person with an unbending will could achieve all of this, not to mention the gift of a football coach, who also had an extraordinary, supernatural sense for talented players. As for the will, then the future coach was tempered by life itself from an early age – he was born in Scotland into a poor mining family, where there were 10 children. In a small village, most teenagers had one future in mind — dangerous and hard work in the mines. However, many, driving on the back of the ball, dreamed of becoming professional footballers and avoiding the miner’s fate. Some really succeeded in this – Bill Shankly himself, as well as his four brothers, entered the list of such lucky ones. One of them, Bob Shankly, later also became a coach and headed the club Dundee in his native Scotland.
Bill began his football career with the Scottish clubs Kronberry Eglington and Glenbach Cherripickers, and in 1932, at 18 years of age, he signed a professional contract with the English club Carlisle United. The following year, Shankly moved to Preston North End – the club, famous for the fact that in 1889 he won the first championship of England, and the next season became the champion of the country for the second time. Alas, since then the club from the city of Preston has never again climbed to the first row of the standings, but in 1938 Shankley won with him the FA Cup. It was the second Cup in the history of the club, won 49 years after the first …
Bill Shankly continued to play in Preston after the Second World War, but his football career was already coming to an end. Having completed it in 1949, he immediately became a coach, leading the modest Carlisle United, where he began his football career. Then Shankly coached several more clubs, not stopping anywhere for long, but worked quite successfully. It was Shankly who coached Huddersfield in 1956–1959 and invited 16-year-old Scotsman Denis Law, the future great striker of Manchester United, to this club. Finally, in 1959, Shankly came to Liverpool, replacing the former head coach, former football player of the same club, Phil Taylor. Shankly had to lead Liverpool for 15 years.
The Liverpool case was then unimportant. Phil Taylor for 3 years of work could not return the club to the top division. The fans of Liverpool were despondent, the stands of Anfield at the second division matches were never completely filled. The club had a weak composition, the training fields were not maintained in proper condition.
The only ones who rated Shanklyi positively were the assistants of the former chief Phil Taylor. These included Bob Paisley, a former Liverpool footballer who ended his playing career in 1954, and Joe Fagan. He was a former Manchester City football player who had time to work on second coaching roles at Rochdale before Liverpool. Shankly also worked in close contact with these people. Subsequently, the coaching staff Schenkley dubbed the “Boot Room” (Boot Room) – by the name of the room at “Enfield”, where boots and other football equipment were kept.
It was here that the head coach preferred to work with his assistants, making plans for games and solving many other issues. Here, the coaching staff was going after the matches, discussing the details of the game over a cup of tea or other drinks. And indeed, one of the main merits of Bill Shankly was that he created in the club an almost homely atmosphere of friendliness and special devotion to the club – both in the coaching council and among football players.
The composition of the team, however, had to be seriously updated, and the first successes did not come immediately. Only in the season of 1961-1962, in the third year of Shankly’s work, did Liverpool become the champion of the second division. The season of 1962-1963 made the fans pretty worried: the team for the first time after a long break, played in the first division. The first match against Blackpool, played at home, Liverpool lost – 1: 2. In November, the club was in 19th place, but then scored 9 victories in a row and eventually ended the season in 5th place. And next season, in the spring of 1964, Liverpool became the champion of England.