Shankly's Greatest Team

On September 10th 1999, a special celebration of Bill Shankly's time at Liverpool was held in the city's Moat House Hotel. The theme of the evening was the unveiling of the greatest eleven players to play for Liverpool under Shankly's management.

The initiative was the brainchild of The Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, and the idea was put to its readers, who over a period of time, submitted the names of the players who they deemed worthy of selection to an 'All-time' Shankly eleven.

Some readers submitted individual names whilst others named a whole team and the result was the biggest ever sporting poll conducted by the Echo.

In his 15 years as manager, Shankly used the incredibly low number of 69 players. Many of these players, perhaps inevitably, played only a handful of games. As a marker of how dramatically the game has changed, it's an amazing statistic.

    

    1. Ray Clemence             2. Chris Lawler              3. Gerry Byrne

     

      4. Tommy Smith              5. Ron Yeats               6. Emlyn Hughes

  

    7. Kevin Keegan               8. Roger Hunt                9. Ian St John

 

  10. Peter Thompson         11. Ian Callaghan


Emlyn Hughes, Liverpool's captain from 1973-78 gave an inspirational and typically emotional speech, saying "We have seen what Manchester United have achieved in recent years, but they will never, ever match Liverpool F.C., which is still the greatest club in the world."

Of those selected for the greatest team, only Kevin Keegan, Ray Clemence and Ian St. John were unable to attend but they each sent individual messages of support. Mrs. Nessie Shankly, Bill's wife, also sent a message saying how proud she was that Bill's boys were together again.

*Although undoubtedly a Liverpool all time great, Billy Liddell did not feature in the greatest Shankly side because he only played a very small number of matches for Liverpool in Bill's early days at the club.

Shanks quote

"But the second leg of the semi-final was not a game, it was a war. We stayed at Lake Como, and we had trouble with the church bells. It wasn't so bad until about eleven o'clock at night, when the noise of the day had ceased and there was nothing to hear but the bells. One in particular was like doomsday. Bob Paisley and I went to see the Monsignor about it. We tried to get him to stop the bells ringing for the night so the players could sleep. 'It's not very fair', I said to him through an interpreter. 'We didn't know about this noise and we've come here on the eve of the most important match in the world this year, Inter Milan versus Liverpool.' That was right, because if we had won it, we would have won the European Cup. He was sympathetic towards us, but he said he could not do what we asked. So I said, 'Well, could you let Bob here go up and put a bandage on them and maybe kind of dull them a bit?' Crepe bandages and cotton wool! Bob was killing himself laughing. That would have been one of the funniest things Bob had ever done, one of his greatest cures as a trainer, creeping up the aisle with cotton-wool and bandages! But, we just had to put up with the noise."

Bill Shankly talking about when Liverpool were in Milan waiting to face Inter in the second leg of the European Cup semi-final in 1965

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