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Liverpool Echo memories of Bill Shankly

I KNEW Bill Shankly was a boxing fan but it was still a surprise when he turned up to one of our shows. It was November 1977 and, as a coach with Kirkby ABC, I was with some of our kids boxing at the old Aintree Institute. I was sat on the balcony as one of our best lads, Paul Hodkinson, was starting his bout. Paul, of course latera British, European and WBC world featherweight champion, was only an 11-year-old kid starting out.

As I'm watching him take this kid on, a man came and sat next to me. I didn't pay much attention until he started saying how good Paul was. “That's a good 'un,” he said. “The boy's got bags of talent.” I knew the voice. It was Shankly. I couldn't believe it. Being a massive Liverpool fan and knowing 'Hoko' was too, I went to get his medical card which Shankly duly signed.

He had come over on his own, with no airs or graces about him; he'd even paid to get in. His interest in boxing was fantastic and, as we talked, I could see exactly how his enthusiasm was passed on to so many people.

John Lloyd, Aughton

I WAS away in the army when Bill Shankly came to Liverpool but was intrigued by all the stories.
Just before I was discharged home I broke my leg playing football. I couldn't believe it. One of my mates had got us Kop tickets for Shankly's first Merseyside derby and here I am with a broken leg. The Kop was out of the question.

I decided to write to Shankly to see if there was any chance of swopping the tickets for a pair in the stand. A few days later two tickets arrived in the post. He even put me by an aisle so I could stick my broken leg out!

My dad told me to send a postal order back to make up the difference, which I did. I got a reply from Shankly returning it with a note saying 'Have a pint on the way to the match son.'
Everything I'd heard about him was true. It summed the man up.

Bernard Harrison, Maghull

I WAS 13 and we were watching the players at Melwood while the managers were sitting on a bench by this old wooden hut.

Next thing, Tony Hateley has hit a wayward shot that a struck my head. It knocked me out cold and I had to be carried round to the hut to get treatment. Bill Shankly broke off from training to come and see how I was. I remember him coming in with a huge, steaming cup of tea. 'There you go, son. Get that down yer,' he said and then sat talking to me. From being all over the place I soon came round and went home feeling great.

Jim Woods, Liverpool

I have wonderful memories of the great Bill Shankly since he arrived at Anfield in December 1959 and he had an incredibly close relationship with Reds fans.

Along with a few lads from Huyton we never missed a game home or away for many years and on many occasions we would meet and talk to him, especially on the way to London games.
On one occasion as we travelled to play Arsenal at Highbury a couple of us managed to get in his first class carriage.

He was with Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan and he welcomed us in of course, and all five of us started talking about football. Suddenly, two railway inspectors who had these three young lads by the scruff of their necks walked past the compartment, Shankly saw this and opened the door and said, "What are you doing, treating them like that for?" The inspectors replied, "They have no tickets Mr Shankly, they bunked on the train at Lime Street."

Shanks knew they were going to the game because they were wearing red scarves, so Bill reached for his wallet and asked the inspectors how much the fares were, and paid for the three of them to have a return fare. He asked the lads if they had tickets for the match and they said they didn't but planned to try and get in. Shanks once again reached into his inside pocket and gave them a ticket each. The inspectors were just shaking their heads, and Shanks repeated that they had no reason to treat them so roughly. He had saved them from getting locked up when the train reached Crewe, I'm sure those lads will always remember that day.

Another time, one of the lads invited Bill to his house to celebrate his brother's 21st birthday party in Huyton. He arrived around 9pm and said he would not be staying long as he wanted to watch Match of the Day. In the hour he stayed, everyone must have tried on his white mac, including myself. I have seen Shanks looking for people who were out of work outside grounds to give them a match ticket as long as they wore a red scarf.

Bill would often be seen in West Derby village carrying shopping for elderly people. A friend of mine who lives in the village told me he would often see Bill around there, and if he saw someone who looked a bit down, he would often reach in his pocket and help them out. Thanks for the memories Bill, you made us all happy.

Ernie Ashley, Woolton

Shanks told us off for sagging school but it was worth it

As a young lad of about 13, me and a friend decided to sag school and found ourselves outside Shank's house. Nervously and not knowing what to expect we knocked on the door, which was opened by Nessie. Shanks invited us in and you could tell by the cakes, biscuits and orange on the table that he was used to visitors.

We were there to get God's autograph, but Shanks had other ideas, with gentle coaching we answered all his questions ie school, and why we were off etc. Five minutes later, after Shanks had phoned the school and given our names to the headmaster, we were shown the door, ticked off for sagging, with no autograph and with a weeks detention waiting.

It was worth it, to sit and talk with the greatest man in football

Shanks playing physio was our finest moment in football

My personal memory of Bill Shankly is back as a kid living in Stoneycroft, Liverpool 13.
We were not far from Melwood, Everton’s training ground, where we’d play football across the road on the local playing field. We would often see Shanks, and possibly Joe Fagan, training some local ten to twelve year olds on the other side of the field.

One day my friend George accidentally crocked an opposing player. As the player lay on the floor, Shankly came across and tended to the player and checked him out for injuries. I’ll never forget the huge grin of pride on my friends face as he stood behind the mighty Shanks, watching him attending to the player he just fouled. I’d not be surprised if the player who got injured is probably grateful to my friend, for giving him the finest football moment in his life.

Ade (via e-mail)

Shanks kissed my wife and she didn't wash her face for a week!

My wife and I were in the old Moat House hotel on a New Years day and I was going to the bar, when in came Bill Shankly with his wife Nessie. I made my way towards him and confronted the great man saying I'd just like to thank him for all the good times he had given me and my family.
He looked at me and said, "Are you with your family today?" "Just the wife" I replied. He then asked if I would like to introduce himself and Nessie to my wife.

He followed me with Nessie to our table and I introduced them to my open mouthed, speechless wife. He shook her hand and wished her a good year and kissed her on the cheek, then chatted for a few minutes before he and Nessie went on their way. As for my wife, she never washed her face for a week.

I'll never forget him, he was big time but he had made time for two ordinary fans. He was truly a man for all seasons.

Derek McShane, Netherton

Back in 1974 my dad worked at the Liverpool Echo as he did for many years and he bumped into Bill Shankly. The first thing my dad did was grab the nearest bit of paper and approached him for an autograph. Shanks took a look at the bit of paper and said “I can do better than that laddie” with that he pulled out from his inside pocket a massive wedge of postcard sized pictures of himself with the FA Cup which we had just won and asked who the autograph was for. Dad told him it was for me (his son) and Shanks asked “how old is he” my dad replied two to which Shanks said “Aye bring him up on the Kop it’ll make a man out of him”.

I still have the autograph today it’s framed and takes pride of place at home. My dad followed Shanks advice and I was brought up on the Kop and I’m doing the same thing with my own kids today.

Paul Beggs, Wallasey

How Home International on Blackpool beach left even Shanks lost for words

My own personal meeting with the late, great Bill Shankly came during a family holiday in Blackpool. It was one of those long, hot summers in the 1970s and I was about 10 years old, attempting to build a sand castle with my brother Gary. Unfortunately, each time we lifted the bucket, the castle fell down and it was obvious we didn’t have the technique right. Just as I was about to give up, I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned around in surprise to see our legendary former manager Mr William Shankly esquire himself stood behind me.

I later found out that Bill regularly holidayed at the popular Lancashire resort with his wife Nessie who did not like flying and he must have been going for a stroll along the beach and heard our Scouse accents. "Son,” he said. “Need a helping hand from a master?” And there we were, building a sand castle with Shanks. My old fella, sporting one of those ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hats couldn’t believe when he returned a few minutes later with a couple of 99s for us.

As a couple of donkeys trotted along the dunes, Shanks displayed the kind of razor-sharp wit he was famous for, quipping: “Plenty of work for you at Goodison Park!”, much to our amusement – my Dad even spat out the cup of tea he was about to drink and some went straight up his nose.
Shanks did prove to be something of an expert at constructing an imposing fortress to rival Anfield on the beach, must be all those castles up in Scotland!

Grabbing our spade, he laid down some solid foundations for us in much the same manner of how he laid down the foundations at Anfield for his successor ‘Sir’ Bob Paisley to build on. However, just as the former Reds manager was about to place the flag in the top of the tower on our masterpiece, a rogue football flew seemingly from nowhere and destroyed the fruits of our labour.
Shanks was clearly annoyed for a moment or so but he quickly dusted himself down when he realised that the guilty party were fellow Scots.

Before we knew it, he had arranged an impromptu ‘Home international’ on the beach and we were all chasing around as if it were Wembley or Hampden Park. At first, Shanks was just offering the lads tactical advice, swaying his hands from side to side like he did in that famous video footage from the FA Cup final, but within minutes the temptation to join in the playing proved too much for the veteran gaffer. A cross was swung in by one of the Sweaty Socks and Shanks nodded past my Dad in the England goal, knocking out his ciggie as it flew past him. Clearly made up with his diving header, Shanks rose from the ground arm aloft but we noticed a worrying brown object on his forehead. The donkeys had got their revenge and the ball must have been accidentally rolled in one of their ‘little presents’ during the game.

Shanks lifted his hand to his head, sniffed his fingers and proceeded to screw up his face.
For once in his life, the great man was actually lost for words.
YNWA
Des Riteh, Clubmoor.

How Shanks stopped an interview to share cream cakes with me

I met Bill after meeting Elton Welsby on a tram in Bruges in 1976. Elton got me into the team hotel and I went around getting autographs of all the team, when I spotted Shanks sitting at a table in the restaurant being interviewed by a radio reporter. I went over to the table and Shanks spotted me hovering about, he leaned over the table and turned off the guys tape recorder, he just banged the buttons and said "Sit down son." I sat down and he he was brilliant, the waitress came over to the table with a fancy cake stand with two cream cakes on it. Shanks took one and offered the other one to me completely ignoring the reporter.

What a brilliant man, I've still got the menu he signed in the restaurant. I still get a shiver down my back when I see the old videos with the Kop singing his name. Great, great man is all I can say.

Tony Malone

My friend Terry Sylvester was in the Hollies and has told me stories about Shanks. He is a big Reds fan but now lives in America, he told me of the time the Hollies and the Reds booked into the same hotel in Sheffield. The players had gone to bed early for the game the next day but Terry found Shanks and Paisley sitting in the foyer and asked what they were doing. Shanks called Terry 'Beatleboy' because of his haircut! He said: 'Beatleboy,' we can see the stairway & the fire escape from here!'

The Willows15 (via e-mail)

Why my pic of Shanks training alone still haunts me

School kids find it hard to concentrate at the best of times, but the frequent sight of Bill Shankly jogging alone in his comically old and worn tracksuit was particularly distracting and made staring out of the classroom window almost inevitable. The kids that didn’t believe it was actually him were convinced when, during breaks, they got closer and saw his tatty initials sewn onto his tracksuit top.

It was the late 1970s and I was a pupil at St Edward’s College in Sandfield Park, West Derby, which was near to the house Shankly had lived in since he arrived in the city. He had retired and was famously, and perhaps inevitably, finding it difficult to actually leave Liverpool Football Club.
His continuing presence at Melwood was by all accounts proving awkward and undermining for Bob Paisley, especially as some of the playing staff reportedly still called him "Boss".

My father had business contacts with Paisley at the time and he’d arrive at my dad’s office driving his Ford Cortina wearing carpet slippers. So not a man with a huge ego, you’d have to assume. But still, you can only have one boss.

I assume Shankly found the excellent training facilities at my school useful and distracting during this period of exile. Despite his friendliness to the pupils and staff he cut a tragic and isolated figure. His tracksuit seemed symbolic of his plight especially in comparison to the brand new Mercedes-Benz's and Porsche's we saw the likes of Souness, Rush, Dalglish and Craig Johnston in, driving to and from their Sandfield Park homes.

If we’d taken a photograph of Shankly at the time it could have had a similar impact, at least in Liverpool, to the image of Diana Spencer at the Taj Mahal. But this was a more innocent era. No camera phones, no digital cameras, no internet and a different view of what constituted celebrity.
Still, the image has always stayed with me as a reminder both of his shabby treatment at the hands of the club and the fact that Liverpool Football Club making a bad decision was at the time quite exceptional.

When we heard he had died some of the kids in my year bought some flowers and took them to his wife Nessie in nearby Bellefield Avenue; a small tribute to a great man.

Liam McCormack (via e-mail)

When I gave Shanks a lift home in beat-up Ford Cortina!

I once gave Bill Shankly a lift home in my beat-up old Mark III Cortina! My girlfriend's boss had arranged for Shanks to make a charity presentation at the Albion Pub in Hawthorne Road, and he asked me if I wanted to drive Shankly home afterwards. That was it then - no beer for me that night - I wanted to savour every moment of the great man's company.

I also realised what a great responsibility I had been handed, and I was desperate to ensure that he was safely delivered to his doorstep. My car was not much of a specimen, and the crowds of people milling around it to see Bill and wave him off can't have been too impressed, but the man himself was gracious and probably understood that it was all I could afford. It was never a speed machine anyway, but on that journey I never went faster than 20mph - due to a combination of Bill not wearing a seat belt and me wanting to maximise the audience time that I had been granted. Of course, the talk was all about football, and all about our beloved LFC.

We had a great team at the time and I told Bill of my admiration for Steve Heighway and Kenny Dalglish (funny how both now feature together in "Fields of Anfield Road"). Shanks recognised the quality and achievements of Bob Paisley's current team, but he was very keen to impress upon me how great his own teams had been; and in particular how brilliant Peter Thompson was.
I was only too happy to agree enthusiastically with him.

All too soon we had arrived in Bellefield Avenue and were saying our goodbyes, a kiss for my girlfriend and a firm handshake for me. Bill kindly signed the back of a photograph before we left - one of me with my Dad and brothers taken outside Wembley after our second European Cup win in 1978. I drove home hardly believing my luck. Like most Liverpool fans of my age (23 at the time), I'd grown up idolising the great Bill Shankly, the man who had led our club out of the wilderness into eternal greatness.

When I tried to tell the tale to my colleagues in work the next day I soon realised that it was April the 1st, and no one believed a single word! I even had to bring in my signed photo the next day to convince the doubters.

Jonathan Deeks (7 European Cup Finals)

How I got a Cup Final ticket in exchange for drawing Shanks' portrait

In 1971 I was studying commercial art at Wallasey Art College. Liverpool had just beaten Everton in the semi finals of the FA Cup through a rare goal by Brian Hall. Throughout the country the scramble for cup final tickets by Liverpool supporters was intense as it was Liverpool's first appearance in Cup final since 1965. In a desperation at obtaining a ticket I pleaded with a mate studying fine art's if he would paint a portrait of Shank's in watercolour in the vain attempt that Shank's would swap the painting for a priceless ticket. After dropping the portrait off at Anfield on match day I waited, and a few days later a letter arrived through the post incorporating the official Liverpool FC crest. Inside was a cup final ticket and a note from Shank's which read. "I like the portrait very much, I enclose a cup final ticket." (Unfortunately the note has gone missing)

A year later I went to a pre-season friendly at Tranmere and there is Shank's walking through a dark, deserted car park.
I introduced myself as the guy who sent him the portrait.
His reply left an impression with me that was pure poetry.
"Son, it hangs on my living room wall, Nessie is very fond of it.
"If only on the day we could have played as beautiful as those brush strokes in the painting. But fear not son, we'll be back sooner rather than later."
We then shook hands.
In 1974 Liverpool lifted the FA Cup after beating Newcastle 3-0 and I was there for the second time.
Profound words indeed.

Marc Gee (via e-mail)

Charismatic Shanks wouldn't let us miss the game

In the sixties me and my mate Tony Smith were both mad Reds and used to go to all home games especially European matches. We were working on building sites around Scotty at the time and for a midweek game we would finish at about five and go to the Ranch on Scotty for our tea.
We were not ticket holders but had never had a problem getting tickets before but when we got to Anfield there was not a ticket to be seen.

We started to panic a bit and walked around to the players entrance hoping to see Thommo or any of the lads but to no avail. Just then Tony spotted Shanks in the foyer we tried to go in but the commissionaire stopped us. Shanks seen this and said let them in, we were in our element. I have never met a more charismatic person in my life. Tony said: 'Bill we have been to all the home games this season and cannot get tickets for this game.' He said no problem and produced two from his inside pocket. We were over the moon and couldn't believe our luck. As we thanked him and went to go to the ground he stopped us and said: 'That will be four pounds each boys.' We paid him whilst falling over laughing

Will Stanistreet

Why I was proud to give Shanks my Liverpool scarve in Rome 1977

I'm in the crowd flooding out of the Olympic Stadium, Rome after the 1977 European Cup victory against Borussia Mönchengladbach in Rome. Everyone is delirious and dancing down the street towards the coaches, singing at the top of their voices when I glanced to my left and pushed up against my left shoulder was none other than Bill Shankly. I looked at him in disbelief and said "Is that really you Bill?" "Aye Son" came the reply "but keep it down Son, I don’t want to start a riot with all the fans around." I said, "what are you doing out here, why aren’t you back in the stadium with the team?" Bill replied, "Well son, it's not my team any more, its Bob's team now."
"Rubbish" came the reply (or words to that effect) "Everyone knows it’s yours Bill and you should be celebrating with the players you bought." Bill replied, "Thanks for that son, that’s a nice thing to say" I asked "Where are you going?" "Back to the Hotel for a quiet little celebration drink by myself son" came his sombre reply. "But you haven't even got a Liverpool scarf on. I would be proud if you would wear mine", and I placed it around his neck before he could reply. He said "thank you son, I will treasure this. I know what this scarf must mean to you on this great night for our great club". I am sure to this day I saw a little tear in his eye. "The pleasure is all mine" I replied and shook his hand.

By this time the word was out and had spread like wildfire. Thousands of supporters were down on their hands and knees in the gravel, the full length of the coach park leaving a sort of wandering path down the middle which Bill duly walked down touching the bowed head of the fans and their outstretched hands, as they sang "Shankly, Shankly" - a very very moving sight.
The local Lazio and Roma fans who, a few minutes before had been very aggressive towards us stood watching in amazement and one said to me in broken Italian.
"Who is this man, is he some sort of God?" "Yes" came the reply.

Alan Parkinson (via e-mail)

Not long after Mr Shankly resigned as manager of Liverpool FC my football club were completing their pre-season training during a Saturday afternoon on the playing fields alongside Barnfield Road in West Derby. We had reached the stage where all the physical work had been completed and the setting up for the end of session game. As we put the jumpers down for goalposts, an elderly gentleman approached from the Bellefield Road side of the field and asked if he could join in. Much to everybody's surprise that gentleman was Bill Shankly.

After the game in which we all listened to the advice and coaching points that Bill barked out, we sat around for a good hour listening intently to his views on the state of the game at that time. Eventually he was beckoned to return home for his tea and we departed much later than our usual time. When I arrived home my wife asked what I had doing that caused me to be so late. "Playing football with Bill Shankly", I answered. "Oh yeah, I'm sure you were", she replied.

Bill Buck (via e-mail)

When Shanks called my ex-docker Grandad 'Sir'

I was about nine or 10 (around 1973) when my Grandad, an ex-docker who lived on Wilmslow Street in Walton, walked me across Stanley Park to visit Anfield. In those days you could just wander about Anfield unchallenged and even get onto the pitch. We saw Bill Shankly in the car park and approached him. My Grandad introduced himself and was clearly in awe of the great man.

One thing about the meeting has always stuck in my mind until this day and will never leave me. Bill Shankly, this great man, this famous man, this idol to many, addressed my Granddad as 'Sir' as he shook his hand and exchanged pleasantries. Can you imagine any of the current managers in the Premiership doing that? It was a fleeting moment in my life, but one which has had a profound effect on me. 'Shanks' was one in a million. YNWA.

Nigel Walter, Liverpool

It was in the early 1970's, that our class (I was about 12 or 13) went on a school trip to London.
We were on the train when one of the lads came hurtling, almost breathless, into our section spluttering "Shankly's on the train, honest". No one except myself and another classmate believed him so we went to investigate, hoping for an autograph. However, all we could find were a couple of British Rail paper plates but (horror of horrors) they had blue borders on them. But they had to do. We were desperate.

Also my mate was a blue (I was a red) and he had, what was called back then, a footballer jumper on, a jumper in blue and white quarters. He hastily tore it off and threw it into the corner at the end of the first class carriage. We knocked on the first carriage that we came to. The blinds were drawn so we couldn't see who was in there. The door opened and this smartly dressed bloke came out and we asked him if we could have Mr Shankly's autograph. He turned and went back inside and closed the door. We just stood there practically shaking, wondering whether the great man would come out or not. We need not have worried on that score as several seconds later he came out and signed our paper plates with nothing more than a couple of grunts before going back inside.

It struck me how small he was but that did not detract from his God-like status. We practically floated back to our carriage to greetings of utter jealously and disbelief from our sceptical classmates. It is an occasion etched forever on my mind and I can recall all the details even to this day. It says a lot for the man that he could have God-like status to both a red and my blue mate.
I have still got my paper plate to this day.

Paul Neville, Walton

My story begins at the tender age of eight years old. Me and three friends all descended on the Shankly household in Bellfield Road, West Derby. On plucking up the courage to knock on the door to ask for Mr Shankly's autograph we were greeted by a lovely woman called Nessie who informed us that Mr Shankly was having his tea and could we call back in about 10 minutes please. We turned and left the house and headed for the house opposite to sit on the wall and as nobody had a watch began to count. One and two and three and four, yes right the way until sixty, ten times. When we returned, Mr Shankly opened the door to ask what can i do for you boys. We asked for his autograph and shoved a piece of paper in front of him. Mr shankly then wrote "Best Wishes, Bill Shankly."

After he signed my paper, he told us to wait one minute and off he went, returning with four photographs of the great man himself holding the FA Cup in his famous red tracksuit top and then rewrote my new autograph Best Wishes, Alan Bill Shankly." I still have both autographs. What a nice man and great manager. That was thirty five years ago, a day that will live with me forever.

Alan Fulton (via e-mail)

How Shanks went in goal for us during our car park kickabout

Me and my two friends were playing footy in the Liverpool clubs car park, in the summer holidays approximately 1966/67. We would be 10 or 11 years of age and none of us wanted to go in goal, we all wanted to play outfield. During our kick about, Bill Shankly came out of the club, looked at us and came over. We thought he was going to tell us off for playing in the car park but no, he asked why we did not have a goalie. Without another word, off came his coat, and he went in goal, staying for about half an hour, before telling us to be careful and keep playing football.
Marvellous, could you imagine today’s football people doing that?

Patrick Carden (via e-mail)

In the seventies my cousin, Colin Divers, was arranging his 21st Birthday party and being a mad red invited the great Bill Shankly. We all went down to the Hall and guess who turned up? Yes, it was the Boss. He gave a speech about Liverpool and it's people that I will never forget. He danced with my girlfriend (now my wife) and if it had been anyone else I would have nutted them.

Will Stanistreet (via e-mail)

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Shanks gave me a lift home in the pouring rain! 

It was 1968 and I was 16 or 17, making my way home from work in the rain. It was absolutely pouring down but there was a bus strike on at the time.

With little money I had no choice but to walk.

I worked in the city but lived in Norris Green so I would cut up by Anfield and go past the ground. I remember turning on to Arkles Lane when a car pulled up about 15 foot in front of me and beeped its horn.

I thought whoever it was was going to ask me for directions but as I stooped to look in the window, I recognised the driver as Bill Shankly.

'Get in out of the rain son. I'll take yer home,' he said. I couldn't believe it. I've always been

a massive Red but didn't know what to say to him.

Shankly did all the talking, asking me 'what team do you support? Who's your favourite player?,' that kind of thing.

I knew he lived in West Derby and was going right out of his way to get me home so as we got to Broadway I said 'this'll do Mr Shankly'.

'No son, I said I'd take yer home,' he said but I didn't want to take advantage of his generosity.

'Are you sure son?, he said. 'Look at the weather!' I told him that was fine, and shook his hand as we said our goodbyes. I was over the moon, physically jumping in the air. It was amazing, I could have been an Evertonian for all he knew, but it didn't matter.

Shankly will have known about the bus strike and when he saw a young lad struggling in the torrential rain he simply didn't have the heart to drive past.

My only regret is that I didn't let him drive me all the way home and invite him in to meet my mum and dad.

What a great, great man. Even in that car he had this incredible aura about him. It was like meeting Muhammad Ali or something. To this day, Shankly is Mr Liverpool. We wouldn't be anywhere near where we are today if it wasn't for him.

Ronnie Guy, West Derby

Shortly after Bill Shankly left Liverpool I recall being at a midweek game at Anfield.

We were playing Derby County who had recently recorded a famous 4-1 win over Real Madrid in Europe. We were sat in the Main Stand and Derby were 1-0 up at half-time through a Franny Lee goal when suddenly the people behind us started to pass things forward, asking us to get the guy in front to sign them.

I wasn't sure who it was until he turned around. It was Bill Shankly. My friend and I couldn't believe he'd been sat just in front of us for all that time and we hadn't noticed. We started talking to him and gave him our tickets to sign.

Charlie George was playing for Derby and Shankly didn't have a very high opinion of him, but he told us he had wanted to sign Franny Lee when he was manager of Liverpool.

We got talking about Derby's game against Real Madrid. We were saying how momentous it was for them to beat the Spanish giants like that, but Shankly insisted the tie wasn't over. Sure enough, Madrid beat Derby 5-1 in the second leg to go through to the next round.

Reg Taylor, Knowsley Village

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