Thommo salutes impact of Mr Liverpool

He was Mr Liverpool. He was everything to me.

I was only five when he arrived in 1959 but when it all began to take off in the Sixties, Liverpool was my life. The team was your life and Bill Shankly was your life - those were the two things that you lived for. Shanks' words just made you feel special, made you feel proud to be a Liverpool fan.

Every day your mum, your dad, your brothers and sisters would ask: "what did Shanks say today? Did you see him?"

They must have thought he was put in this ivory tower and you didn't have a chance to even speak to him.

But he did and he took great interest in your well being - even as a young kid. You've heard the stories about how he didn't want to know you if you were injured, but one of my greatest memories of him was when I was out of action.

I was only 16; come your 17th birthday you signed professional. He came to me one day, I think it was the end of November and I had a groin strain. He asked me how I was and said he knew it was my birthday on January 21.

He told me he was going to sign me up as a professional - just remembering my birthday was fantastic, but that's how good he was. This great man was actually talking to me - it was just absolutely sensational.

Life is all about timing and he was sent for us. We believe that, as Merseysiders, we are special people anyway and this guy was here to help bring us out of the doldrums and make us a world super power.

It was great in those early days. I was the last kid that he brought through - he had already introduced Ian Callaghan, Chris Lawler and Tommy Smith and I was the last one - so for me to be playing under Shanks at 20 years of age in 1974, it was just a dream come true.

Every day, going there and being in the team was great, but also knowing that he trusted in you was brilliant. I used to listen to some of the older boys going 'that Scottish so and so', because they were being left out of the team or he had upset them. I was stood there thinking 'That's Bill Shankly you are talking about! You can't be saying things like that.'

I was at such an impressionable age then and he was everything - he was Mr Liverpool and you weren't allowed to say that - that's what I thought and I didn't get a chance to ever feel differently because, of course, Shankly retired in '74.

Even my children know who Bill Shankly was and what he stood for. It is great that he has a statue situated at the Kop End, but everyone needs educating on what he actually did with very little resources and everyone that supports Liverpool should never, ever forget that - that should never, ever die in anyone's mind.

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