Manager - Huddersfield

10th December 1955 - 1st December 1959

Shankly's initial interest in a position at Huddersfield was fuelled by his connection with their manager Andy Beattie. Shankly and Beattie had played together at Preston and had remained friends so when, in 1955, Beattie had approached Shankly, with a view to asking him to help out at Leeds Road, Shankly accepted. His initial position at the club was as coach to a reserve team that included several promising youngsters.

The improvement in the fortunes of the reserves was in direct comparison to that of the first team who were promptly relegated from the first division. Thus, in season 56-67 several of Shankly's reserve side found themselves in the first team as Huddersfield adapted to life in the second division. On 5th November 1956, Shankly became first team manager after Beattie resigned his post and on Christmas Eve 1956, he gave a full first team debut to one of the rising stars of the club, 16 year old Denis Law.

Future superstar, Denis Law, signing for Huddersfield

During his time at Huddersfield, Bill took part in a kickabout every Sunday with the locals on a field in Crosland Road near where he was living. He would play whatever the weather and would go in as hard on a ten year old boy as he would on a grown man, never holding back or altering his style for anyone!

Shankly became increasingly frustrated at the lack of ambition shown by his board of directors. They were constantly urging him to sell his best players (Ray Wilson was sold, and Matt Busby was keen on Law), whilst at the same time failing to sanction the purchase of any possible replacements. In November 1959, T.V. Williams, Chairman of Liverpool, offered him the Liverpool job, and after 13 years in management, much of it at basement level, Bill Shankly had found a club that shared his own ambitions about the game and were prepared to give him full backing to achieve them.

On leaving Hudderfield to become Liverpool's manager, Shankly told his players: 'I'm going to a place where they live, eat sleep and drink football. And that's my place.'

Managerial Record:

League Matches: 129
Won: 49
Drawn: 33
Lost: 47

1956/57: 12th in Division 2
1957/58: 9th in Division 2
1958/59: 14th in Division 2
1959/60: resigned on 1st December 1959

Shanks quote

I got caught up in an amazing post-match row after the Albion game which took place at Maine Road. We were all disappointed at the end of the match and sitting in the dressing-room when a knock came on the door. A policeman was standing there and he said: 'I want to see number four.' One of the lads said: 'You're wanted, Smithy. There's a policeman asking for you outside.' I had a cousin called Lawrie who was in the force. I assumed it was him and went towards the door. Standing there, helmet under his arm, bike leaning against the corridor wall, was a large constable. He immediately cautioned me, saying: 'At around 9.15 pm this evening, you were heard to shout: 'Chris, give me the fucking ball!' I thought he was joking and said: 'It's a good job you were not in earshot when they scored their second goal.' The pedantic PC clearly didn't see the funny side. He said: 'I'm arresting you for using abusive language.'

I shouted for Bill Shankly who came out and said: 'What's going on?' 'Who are you?', said the constable to the most famous manager in football. 'I'm the manager of this football team', said Shanks, clearly getting agitated. 'Are you in charge of Tommy Smith?', said the constable. I've just arrested him.' 'You've what?', roared the boss. The fact that the PC was in blue didn't help. When he started to repeat this business about me swearing, Shanks went into a rage. 'You better listen to me. If you don't fuck off, I'll let the tyres down on your bike.'"

TOMMY SMITH

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