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
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.
Alan Ball was Everton's idol at the time while his father, Alan Ball Snr, was the manager of Preston. Alan Snr asked Shankly if he wanted to accompany him to a midweek game against Wrexham. Shanks agreed, but said he would follow Alan in his own car in case he wanted to drive home before the end of the game. Shankly was uncertain of the directions to Wrexham, so Ball Snr agreed that Shanks would drive behind him. When he turned up at Shankly's house, Bill was pleased to see Alan Jnr. in the car with his father as he admired him as a player. When the two cars reached the Mersey tunnel, Shankly was struggling to keep up and ground to halt halfway through the tunnel. Shankly was renowned for his lack of driving skills and was rather accident prone. Shanks couldn't restart the engine. Ball Snr. was naturally concerned, 'I'll tell you what, Bill. I've got a rope in the boot. I'll attach it to your car and tow you to the tunnel exit. We'll then call a mechanic to sort out the problem. Shankly paused for a few seconds, thinking over Ball Snr's suggestion and then exclaimed: 'I don't think that's a good idea, son. Can you imagine the headlines in tomorra's Echo?' "SHANKLY DRAGGED OUT OF THE MERSEY TUNNEL BY THE BALLS."