Great football manager William Shankly (1913-1981) was born on this day in the hardworking mining town of Glenbuck, Scotland. Growing up, with a head full of dreams, he loved American gangster films, boxing, and fitness.
"Some people think football is a matter of life and death," he once said. "I can assure them it is much more serious than that."
With a passion for the game, he arrived at the Second Division Liverpool in 1959 (the so-called "December earthquake") and managed until 1974, transforming the team into the pre-eminent force in English football. Shankly led his team to three First Division championships (1964, 1966, 1973); two FA Cup victories (1965, 1974); and the Uefa Cup (1973).
He introduced "modern" game training, fitness, and preparations. One of the most famous managerial personality the game has ever seen, the ambitious Shankly believed in the virtues of determination and hard work, with team effort a key. He spoke often of a "holy trinity" of manager, players, and supporters.
Beloved for his gravel voice and sharp wit, he said, "If you are first you are first. If you are second you are nothing."
Shankly was a celebration of hard work and grit. He possessed a strong personality and was a genius at player-nurturing skills--bringing out the best in those he coached, from Ian St John to Emlyn Hughes.
An inspiration and lightning bolt, after his retirement he said: "I was only in the game for the love of football - and I wanted to bring back happiness to the people of Liverpool."
Aim high and wide.