Wednesday, November 30, 2011

1970: Bill Shankly Speaks

When I was writing about the evolution of the football programme a few weeks ago I mentioned a Hibs v Liverpool Fairs Cup programme from December 1970 that carried an interview with Bill Shankly.

I can't remember seeing an interview with a visiting manager in a programme before.

Here's the transcript:

Question time...with Bill Shankly

Ayrshire born Bill Shankly is one of the big personalities in British football, having steered Liverpool to some of their greatest triumphs. Now he has rebuilt the side and hopes for more honours in the future. He is known as a man who speaks his mind and here is a brief interview with the Anfield boss.

Q. The Liverpool team of the sixties was a great one? How will the present team compare?

A. This team will be just as good and in the end they'll be better. We've had a lot of serious injuries to forwards this season and that has made a difference.

Q. What has given you the biggest thrill in football?

A. Undoubtedly, winning the FA Cup in 1965. It was the club's first Cup success and made us all very happy.

Q. What about the biggest disappointment?

A. I'm disappointed every time we lose. It's always sad to lose a final and we were beaten in the European Cup Winners Cup at Hampden. But I was most disappointed when we beat Inter Milan 3-1 at Anfield and went out in the return tie. That was in the European Cup and Inter had a real team then.

Q. Any dislikes in the game?

A. It can be a cruel, bitter game and there are many rules that could be altered. However, it's the European games that I'd like to see ended differently. I don't like the toss of a coin or a penalty finish. I'd prefer to see victory go to the team which earns more corners in extra time. Then the more aggressive team would survive.

Q. Any regrets about going to England?

A. I don't know really. I would still have been in football if I had stayed at home. I'm Scottish to the bone as most people know. They've suffered me in England for 30 years and I've tried to make an image for Scottish help Scotland by being a good citizen.

Q. Do you have time for any hobbies outside football?

A. I'd find it hard to concentrate on anything other than my job. Going home in the evening to my family is relaxation enough.

Q. What is your opinion of Scottish football?

A. For a small country, Scotland has done a fantastic job in keeping the game alive. The clubs deserve all the credit in the world for making such an impact on the game and producing so many players in [the] face of rising wages etc. Scotland deserves plenty praise.

Bill Shankly is one of the few people in football to have won an FA Cup badge and then managed a team which won the Cup. He was in the Preston side which beat Huddersfield in 1938 thanks to a George March penalty.

This was consolation for the previous year when Shankly was at right half in a losing final team.

He belongs to Glenbuck and worked in the pits about the same time as he joined Cronberry Juniors at the age of 15. Carlisle signed him at 17 and in a year he went to Preston to start a 16 year career at Deepdale.

He was capped for Scotland before the war and gathered an impressive quota of honours.

His managerial career began with a return visit to Carlisle where he had two very successful seasons and then he served Workington, Grimsby, Huddersfield and Liverpool.

He is 55, married to a Glasgow girl, a non-smoker and non-drinker.

> Liverpool won the game 1-0 with a second half goal from John Toshack. In the second leg goals from Steve Heighway and Phil Boersma completed a 3-0 aggregate win.

Liverpool went on to beat Bayern Munich 4-1 in the quarter final before losing to eventual winners Leeds in the semi final.

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