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.'
League Matches: 129
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
"Known to the lads as Bald Eagle, Jimmy always looked older than he was. He had this ritual of coming in for a rub-down every day, whether he was injured or not. Shanks, of course, would always be keeping any eye on Jimmy to see if he was actually carrying an injury. I was on the groundstaff at the time and in on the Sunday, as usual, to help brush the dressing-rooms and terraces as well as generally tidying things up at Anfield with the other younger lads. This day, Shanks came out, wearing a beaming smile. 'Boys, put your brushes down and come in here. I want you to see the latest in football technology. The next thing, Jimmy is sitting on a table alongside this machine and Bob is fitting the electrodes to his legs. The logic was simple. The machine sent out an electric impulse. This worked the muscle which in turn helped the flow of blood. Jimmy turned it on to number one. No effect. He turned the dial two more notches. Nothing. He got to five and was still telling the boss that he couldn't feel anything. 'Bob', said Shanks, beginning to get annoyed, 'perhaps these bloody Germans aren't as inventive as I thought. Either that or Jimmy is immune to pain.' Melia pressed on... six, seven, eight. 'Still nothing, boss.' Suddenly the dial was all the way to ten and Jimmy was just sitting there, shaking his head, 'No, nothing.' Shanks was furious, 'German crap', he was screaming. 'They haven't got a clue. You can send this back to Munich and tell them they can stick it up their backsides. Two thousand pounds? Get your sponge out, Bob. You might need it.'
We began to back towards the door, when Shanks suddenly said, 'Christ, Bob, you haven't even turned it on!' He flicked the switch and poor Jimmy, still on a maximum setting of ten, nearly hit the ceiling. Sparks were coming out of his ears. His hair would have stood on end if he'd had any. We all ran out, exploding with laughter. As we headed down the corridor, Shanks was right behind us and shouting, 'That'll teach the Bald Eagle to come in for a treatment on a Sunday.'"
TOMMY SMITH - Liverpool 1962-1978 (on the unfortunate guinea pig, Jimmy Melia)