The owner of Bill Shankly's desk

There was a lot of tension at auctioneers Cato Crane when Bill Shankly's historical desk was put up for auction last year. Shankly wrote a resignation letter to Liverpool's board in 1962 at this very desk because the board decided to sell Johnny Morrissey to Everton.

Read this news article from Liverpool Daily Post for more information about the auction.

The oak desk had been in the possession of Alan Bush, son of Tom (former player and coach at Liverpool), for 38 years. It is believed the desk was bought by Liverpool FC in 1936 and used by managers Don Welsh, Phil Taylor and Bill Shankly until 1962 when Shanks had his own office so the oak desk was passed on to Tom Bush.

Alan Bush says: "In 1970 the desk was put in a store room in the Kemlyn Road stand when the main stand new build started. I was a student at the University and worked on the site during my summer vacation. I found the desk in a poor state and asked Peter Robinson then club secretary, could I have the desk and subsequently took it away to have it refurbished."

A private collector in Ireland bid more than others and the oak desk sits proudly in his home. There were a lot of other interesting things from Liverpool FC's history that came with the desk as discovered from its current owner.

Don Welsh's letter - Click on the image for a larger PDF version

There were Mr Don Welsh's contract terms and conditions as well as the ladies itinerary from the 1950 Cup Final, the gate receipts letter from Everton for the 1955 Cup tie against Everton and the expense returns to Billy Liddell for his appearance in the Great Britain team also in 1955.

There is loads more general admin bits and pieces with the desk, all of which I find fascinating. The nuts and bolts paperwork of a business from around about that 1955 era.

So what made you part with £4,200 for the desk and its contents? 

I have been a Liverpool supporter since the seventies. Of course being from Ireland made it difficult to get to games as a child. Such was my infatuation that when it came time for me to chose a University there was only one city I was interested in... Liverpool. I lived in St. Domingo Grove and was so excited to be that close to the club. I was there to see what I consider to be the best ever Reds team of Barnes, Beardsley, Aldridge and Dalglish.

How did you feel during the auction at Cato Crane?

During the auction I was pacing up and down the office at work on the phone. I waited patiently till all other bids had stopped and made my maiden bid... and got it. I was straight off the phone and calling my Dad and brother who were as shocked as I was that I had got it.

What Shankly means to you

Liverpool and Shankly in particular mean the world to me. Having the desk makes me feel tangibly closer to the man. I believe the greatest gift given to the club by Shankly was its personality and identity. I have often wondered why Liverpool has held such an enduring place in my life and I trace it back to hearing Shankly speak about the fans and their importance to the club. The man was an immense character and I still get a thrill daily seeing a desk he used in my home. It is a real 'administrators' desk with lots of pigeon holes etc. Suitable for lots of paperwork to be stuffed into (and I can imagine Shanks doing just that!)

How did your family react to you buying such an expensive item?

I have been acquiring bits and pieces of Liverpool memorabilia for a few years now. The desk is the perfect store for them. Some of them may even have been there before! The desk is treasured by me and because my wife knows what Liverpool means to me, by her too! My father and brother are also lifelong Reds and also share in the thrill I get from the desk.

Copyright - - interview by Arnie ([email protected])


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