Friday, April 01, 2011

Friday Video: Busby, Stein and Shankly

Recent commutes have been leavened by Barney Ronay's The Manager: The Absurd Ascent of the Most Important Man in Football.

It's in turns mildly diverting, reasonably interesting and laugh out loud funny.

And, of course, no discussion of the role of the manager without reference to management's tartan trinity.

Sent forth from the very bowels of the Ayrshire and Lanarkshire coalfields, it seemed Matt Busby, Bill Shankly and Jock Stein were put on this earth to bend football clubs, and the game itself, to their will.

As Ronay writes:

"Busby, Shankly, Stein. This is our managerial supergroup. They're like the members of Cream, if Eric Clapton had been joined not by some other excellent 1960s musicians, but by Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix and Liberace.

"Each brought something different, his own virtuoso guitar solo, drum break or shrieking signature vocal. Busby gave the preacherly and the paternal tone, father and Father rolled into one. Shankly brought an urgently vocal presence. Stein was the Big Man, the beacon, the lighthouse."

Each rebuilt clubs from inauspicious beginnings. Manchester United were near bankrupt and bombed out when Busby took over. Liverpool were in the Second Division when Shankly arrived. Celtic had won the league only once since war when Stein was appointed in 1965.

All stories that have been oft repeated, all stories that remain remarkable despite that familiarity.

In an ideal world, a planet free of copyright and rights issues, this week's Friday video would centre on Hugh McIlvanney's three part Arena documentary for the BBC: Busby, Stein and Shankly - The Football Men.

Instead we'll turn to the most publicly vocal of the three. That might be fitting, it's easy to imagine Busby and Stein giving their smiling acquiescence as Shankly, as ever, demanded the last word.

Bill Shankly on Matt Busby

Bill Shankly on Jock Stein

Bill Shankly on Bill Shankly

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