Shankly 100 Photography Exhibition

Liverpool Echo Building, Old Hall Street
End date - TBC

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

"I am just one of the people who stands on the Kop. They think the same as I do, and I think the same as they do. It's a kind of marriage of people who like each other." Quote from Bill Shankly.

Shankly, regarded as one of football's greatest managers, transformed Liverpool after he joined them in 1959, when they were in the old Second Division. Times were so bad before he arrived that the Anfield ground was in disrepair, with no means of watering the pitch!

He went on to lead them to three First Division Championships, two FA Cups and the EUFA Cup.

He announced his retirement a few weeks after Liverpool won the FA Cup in 1974.

He was succeeded by long-time assistant Bob Paisley, who later went on to lead Liverpool to three European Cup triumphs, Six League Championships and numerous other honours.

Shankly died seven years later, some suggested of a broken heart, after admitting soon after resigning from Liverpool that he had made a big mistake in doing so.

There are over fifty photographs on show, many of them in black & white.

Some of my favourites include the iconic image of him on the steps of St. George's Hall with his arms outstretched, receiving the acclaim of the massed crowd, after Liverpool won the FA Cup for the first time in 1965.

Another is him giving instructions to the players at the training ground in Melwood, which included Ian St John, Tommy Lawrence and Roger Hunt, with a bunch of kids perched on the wall, listening in. Innocent times!

The image of Shankly with the new signing from Wolves, Alun Evans, in the late 1960s, made me recall the time I saw him score four times for Liverpool when they played dear-departed South Liverpool in a friendly game at their old Holly Park ground in Garston.

On display is probably the first photograph taken of Shankly after he joined the club, when he was welcomed to Anfield by a stern looking Tom Wiiliams, the chairman. Little would Williams realise the impact the Scot would make!

An indication of the warmth and respect he got from the players was when he was hugged by captain Emlyn Hughes, 'Crazy Horse', after the side clinched the First Division title in 1973.

I never expected to see Tommy Cooper in an exhibition about Shankly but he is captured at the backstage of the London Palladium, with Clive Dunn, Russ Conway and Anita Harris also in attendance, along with Shankly, Paisley and various players, who had been invited to the Royal Variety Performance.

This exhibition captures the charisma and unique character of the man, affectionately known as 'Shanks'.

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