Shankly: I was made for Liverpool

Posted: September 28, 2006 in LFC Verse, Liverpool FC

A collection of Shanklyisms  for the 25th anniversary of his passing

I was made for Liverpool

“Mr. Shankly, would you like to manage” they said
“The greatest club in football, the men in Red?”
“I didn’t know Matt Busby had resigned” he said
“But I’ll wake the giant in your football hotbed.” 

He kept faith & continuity with the Boot Room sages,
Such foundations that empires are made of.
“I don’t drop players”, he said, “I make changes.”
The right changes he wasn’t afraid of.

He kept Hunt, Byrne, Melia & young Callaghan,
As a Red Machine was carefully assembled.
St. John, Yeats & Thompson completed the plan
And the whole of football soon trembled.

“You’re not in Division 1” said Yeats to Shankly
Shanks said “No, but with you, we soon will be!”
To the press “take a walk round my new centre half,
Now we could play Arthur Askey in goal, for a laugh”.

In Sixty-two, as Shankly’s Reds won Division Two,
He led us back where we  belong.
And through the early Sixties Liverpool grew
Into the capital of football and song.

He spoke of “collective play” with “improvisation”
Of the “preparation & adjustment” that came before.
There was preparation even for the preparation
That made us runaway champions in Sixty-Four.

A Red Machine is greater than the sum of its parts
For individual superstars he couldn’t care less.
“The socialism I believe in is everyone working
Together .. sharing the rewards of  success.”

So into Europe he led the relentless Red march
And how did the Red Machine prepare?
On the way to Iceland he had the lads stop off
For some homely laughs, at Butlins in Ayr.

He was the man who put the Champions into all Red
“It’ll make you look like giants” he said.
Every quote made you believe we were different class:
“It’s great grass at Anfield, professional grass”.

He had the “This is Anfield” sign fixed up there
To make his team & their opponents equally aware
Of what it means to run out in front of the Kop,
Saying “Liverpool people will always come top”

When faced with jabbering reporters in Italy
He refused to be given their 3rd degree
He said: “just tell them I completely disagree
With everything they say.”

“I’m an impatient patient man”, he later said
“We trained hard, so Patience favoured the men in Red”.
So when it went to extra time in Sixty–Five,
The Cup was finally won by the fittest team alive.

For Shankly and Liverpool, brave Gerry Byrne
Laid his body and soul on the line.
Shanks said “it was the most emotional day
For Liverpool, in the history of time.”

He made every player the best they could be,
If they weren’t interfering, told them they should be!
He made them all feel that they were our property –
“That’s not your knee, son, it’s Liverpool’s knee.”

“Trouble with you laddie, is your brains are all in your head”
“It’s so simple, pass and move for the men in Red.
Work hard so this city has the 2 great teams it deserves:
That’s Liverpool  …… and Liverpool Reserves.”

At Anfield or scouting, till all hours of the clock.
“On overtime, he’d earn a million” said Tommy Doc,
Don’t get me wrong, he loved his family life,
But is the legend true about Nessie, his wife?

“On your anniversary you took her to Rochdale away?”
“Not so, laddie, I’ll tell you the reason
It was Rochdale Reserves & it was her birthday –
Would I have got married during the season?”

Never afraid of tough choices for his team in Red
As he dismantled his old side in 1970
“If you can’t make decisions in life,” he said
“You’d be better off becoming an M.P.”

He said “the best side drew” and he always knew
How to gee us up when we felt a bit flat.
It was every last breath, it was life and death,
It was “much more important than that.”

And beating Everton in the 71 semi, he said,
“I’d have wanted to be here even if I was dead!
When I go, prop my coffin up, and cut me a hole-
I wouldn’t want to miss the winning goal.”

“You learn more when you lose,” said The Boss
“Though we don’t lose many now”
And that most famous photo was taken when we’d lost,
With Shankly citing Chairman Mao:

“A greater show of  Red Strength was never seen,
Even by the Chinese people’s leader.”
(A ‘Little Red Book’ of Shankly’s great quotes
Is far more entertaining for the reader)

“Agents? The only good agent is 007”;
“I only wanted him for the 2nd eleven”;
“If Everton played in my garden, I’m certain
I’d just have to close the curtain.”

The lessons were learned, and in Seventy-Four
He repeated our Cup-winning dream,
Adding to League & UEFA the season before
Three triumphs for his new young team.

Then everyone remembers the newsagents’ signs:
“Liverpool in shock, as Shankly resigns”
He said “It felt like walking to the electric chair”
How could he do it? How would we fare?

I read the Echo that day, and through the tears
I didn’t think about the fifteen years,
But just thought about empty years to come
How could we repeat the trophies he’d won?

I was only young, though, what did I know?
Nobody knew then how we’d thrive and grow
From the seeds of passion that Shankly had sown
To make The European Champions Cup our own,

And dominate the game for the next 15 years
If I’d only known that, I’d have saved my tears
Not for Liverpool, and its young fans like me,
But for the sacrifices of Bill & Nessie Shankly.

I remember his programmes on Radio City,
And him still coaching young kids till 1980,
With his sheer enthusiasm shining through it all
“All you need is the green, green grass and a ball.”

The strongest voice of my youth, I can hear him still
Broadcasting the wit and wisdom of Uncle Bill,
And I remember that day, September 81,
That feeling of loss – Shankly has gone.

The next  home game v. Tosh’s Swansea,
He added 15,000 to the crowd.
And he was there in spirit, watching LFC
As we chanted his name aloud.

The one word “Shankly” had now  taken the place
Of all of the words to “Amazing Grace”
He’s there still in his statue, his name’s on the gates
But his spirit’s the ethos our club radiates.

“At Liverpool from the very start I’d planned
To build a bastion of  invincibility.”
I believe that “I was made for Liverpool, and
Liverpool was made for me.”

“I’d like to be remembered simply as a man
Who strove to make the people happy.”
I believe that “I was made for Liverpool, and
Liverpool was made for me.”

© Nige 2006


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