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Bill Shankly is 101 today

Widely known as the most influential man in Liverpool's history, Bill Shankly was the man who made Liverpool what it is today.

Alex Livesey

Liverpool Football Club were languishing in the second division of English Football when Bill Shankly arrived from Huddersfield Town in 1959, and upon first arriving, he noted that Melwood was "a shambles", and would go on to say that Anfield was "the biggest toilet in Liverpool" before his arrival.

Shanks had the opportunity to join the team in 1951, but refused after he was told that the board could make alterations to the side if they saw fit.

He quickly established good working relationships with the two men who would eventually succeed him, Bob Paisley, and Joe Fagan, as well as Reuben Bennet and the three of them instilled a system of training in which the players, apart from special exercises following injuries or warm ups, would always train on grass, with a ball at their feet, as he disliked the idea of long distance running on roads.

Additionally, Shankly and co. would invent the"sweat box", which was like "using boards like the walls of a house with players playing the ball off one wall and on to the next; the ball was played against the boards, you controlled it, turned around and took it again"

He also introduced 5-a-sides, which were used at all his previous clubs, which he demanded be as tough and competitive as actual matches.

All of this, including 2 complete reshiftings of the side, (one when he first arrived, and the other coming in the 70s, the first bringing in players like Ron Yeats, Ian St. John and giving young goalkeeper Tommy Lawrence, who'd come up through the youth ranks, his debut. The second reshape included Emlyn Hughes, who'd go on to captain us to 2 European Cups, Kevin Keegan, who'd eventually win the Ballon d'or with Hamburg, John Toshack and Steve Heighway).

Liverpool would gain promotion to the first division in '61, before consolidating their place the following season, finishing 8th, before winning the league in '64, and getting to the semis of the European Cup against Inter Milan in 65, and, unfortunately falling despite a 3-1 win over them in the first leg at Anfield. Shankly always said that 2 of the 3 goals that Inter scored in the return leg at San Siro were illegal, and held to that view until he died

The nucleus of the 70s team, which included Ian Callaghan, Ray Clemence, and  Chris Lawler, as well as the players mentioned above, went o nto win 2 European Cups, an FA Cup, 2 UEFA Cups, and five league titles, and before Bill Shankly's reign ended (albeit, to the fans, unexpectedly) in 1974, the Reds won him their first UEFA Cup in 1973, and the FA Cup, their first since '65, in Bill's last match, beating Newcastle 3-0.

Perhaps Shanks' two most lasting innovations at Anfield was his instillation of the "This Is Anfield" sign above the tunnel, which was placed, mostly, to psych out opposing teams, thus "beating them before the game even started", and changing the kits from Red and white, to all-red, a change which had been suggested to him by Ian St. John, who suggested it, similar to Real Madrid's all-white strip.

Saying of the kit: " ...I went home that night and I said to Ness (his wife): "You know something... tonight I went out onto Anfield and for the first time there was a glow like a fire was burning."

Shankly took charge of 753 games as Liverpool manager, winning 393, drawing 185, and losing 175, which comes out to a win perentage of 52%.

He set a record with 56 wins in 100 matches, which has only been matched by Rafa Benitez and, after Liverpool's recent victory over Tottenham, Brendan Rodgers.

Shankly would regret his retirement, often showing up at Melwood for training. He would, however, following his retirement, lead the team out for the 1975 Charity Shield, and was invited to travel with the team for their 2nd leg of the UEFA Cup Final in '76 against Club Brugge.

Bill Shankly died on 29th of September 1981, but, he once remarked that, above all, he would like to be remembered as a man that "made people happy", and after all he did for Liverpool FC, that was never in doubt.

Happy Birthday, Shanks.