The Bill Shankly Era (1959-1974)

Posted on May 2, 2008


Honours Won : League Championship (1964), FA Cup (1965), League Championship (1966), League Championship (1973), UEFA Cup (1973), FA Cup (1974)

Bill Shankly became Liverpool manager in December 1959 and over the next 15 years he transformed them into one of the top club sides in Europe. Within a year he had released twenty four players. Fellow Scots Ian St John and Ron Yeats were signed from Motherwell and Dundee United respectively. Striker Roger Hunt, winger Ian Callaghan and full back Gerry Byrne also established themselves in the team. By the beginning of 1961-62 Shankly had assembled the nucleus of the new team. That season, Shankly’s third season as manager, they duly won the Second Division championship by eight points and were promoted to the top flight where they have remained ever since, never finishing below eighth in the league.

In 1964, Liverpool lifted the League Championship. It was also the year in which the team adopted its now famous all red strip. They failed to retain the championship trophy the following season but compensation came in the form of a first-ever FA Cup (a 2-1 Final win over Leeds United). Their first ever European Cup campaign ended at the semi-final stage against Inter Milan. In a tie still remembered on Merseyside, Liverpool won the first leg 3-1 only to lose the second leg 3-0, going out 4-3 on aggregate.

The following year Liverpool regained the championship. They also reached the European Cup Winners Cup Final – losing 2-1 to Borussia Dortmund. By now Shankly was one of the most highly rated managers in the game and his squad contained some of the finest players in England. Despite this success Shankly was already planning further signings. Future internationals Emlyn Hughes, Ray Clemence and Kevin Keegan were signed from clubs in the lower divisions as the 60s team was gradually dismantled.

Liverpool won their first European trophy in 1973 in the UEFA Cup, as well as winning another league title that season. The UEFA Cup Final appeared over after the first leg with Liverpool 3-0 winners. However, German team Borussia Moenchengladbach fought back in the second leg to win 2-0, giving Liverpool a narrow 3-2 aggregate victory.

They won the FA Cup again a year later with a convincing 3-0 final win over Newcastle United. Shankly stunned the footballing world soon afterwards by announcing his retirement. The club’s players and fans tried to persuade him to carry on, and a local factory even threatened to go on strike. Shankly ignored these pleas and joined the club’s fans on The Kop as a spectator, while he handed over his managerial duties to Bob Paisley.

(from: Wikipedia)

Posted in: History of LFC