Shankly's most important game

King George shakes the hand of royalty.

Winning the FA Cup in 1938 was undoubtedly the highlight of Shankly's playing career.

"When the whistle blows at Wembley and you've played in a final and you've won, that's the greatest thrill of your life. No doubt about that. I thanked God for that. That feeling is unbelievable." - Shankly

In the late '30s, Preston North End were emerging as one of the best teams in the land. They had been to the F.A. Cup Final in 1937 and lost to a very good Sunderland side, and at the end of season 37-38, they were pipped for the title by Arsenal. However, in May 1938, they found themselves back at Wembley and up for another shot at winning the F.A. Cup. In contrast, their opponents at Wembley, Huddersfield, were struggling, and had finished the season in 19th place in Division 1.

The match, the first cup final to be broadcast live on television in it's entirety (there were an estimated 10,000 viewers watching on television), was a disappointment. After 90 minutes the game was goalless. Extra time was then played (another first for a Wembley cup final) and the tireless efforts of Shankly made Preston the likelier side to break the deadlock.

In the last minute of extra time, Shankly put George Mutch through on goal and the Huddersfield centre back and skipper Alf Young, who had been having an inspired afternoon, pulled Mutch down just inside the box. The referee gave a penalty, although for years afterwards the debate rumbled on about whether the incident had taken place inside or outside the box.

Surprisingly, the normally ice cool penalty taker Shankly refused to take the spot kick, leaving the responsibility to the still shaken George Mutch, who picked himself up, dusted himself down and smashed the kick home off the underside of the crossbar.

"I played in three Cup finals - 1937, 1938 and 1941.
There was only one good player on the field. That was me!"

Preston North End: 1
Mutch (120 pen)

A. Beattie
R. Beattie
H. O'Donnell

Huddersfield Town: 0


Shanks quote

"Liverpool is not only a club. It's an institution. And my aim was to bring the people close to the club and the team and for them to accepted as a part of it. The effect was that wives brought their late husband's ashes to Anfield and scattered them on the pitch after saying a little prayer. That's how close the people have come to this club. When they wanted to scatter the ashes of their loved one, who wanted to be part of the club when they were dead, I said to them: 'In you come, you're welcome.' And they trooped in by the dozen.

One young boy got killed at his work and a bus load of 50 people came to Anfield one Sunday to scatter his ashes at the Kop end. It was very, very sad. Another family came with a man's ashes when the ground was frost-bound. So the groundsman had the difficult job of digging a hole in the pitch inside the Kop net. He dug it a foot down at the right-hand side of the post facing the Kop and casket containing the man's ashes were placed in it. So people not only support Liverpool when they're alive. They support them when they are dead. This is the true story of Liverpool. This is possibly why Liverpool are so great. There is no hypocrisy about it. It is sheer honesty.

Laughingly I have said, when a ball has been headed out of that particular corner of the net: 'That's the bloke in there again! He's having a blinder today.' But I wasn't trying to be funny really. I don't think we lost a goal at that end for years after the man's ashes were placed in there."

What Liverpool Football Club means to people by Shankly

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