Manager- Workington

6th January 1954 - 15th November 1955

"Workington threw out a challenge to me. They were struggling at the bottom of the Third Division North and were threatened with extinction. There was only one man they thought could save them and that was me, so they offered me a bonus if I saved them."

Shankly had undoubtedly taken a step down the football ladder on leaving Grimsby for Workington. The fact that he had walked out on two clubs, without actually winning anything tangible, meant that he was still to make an impression in the boardrooms of the wealthy senior clubs. Still, being the man he was, he attacked the Workington job with all the enthusiasm and relish he always showed at whatever he did.

Billy Watson groundsman and Shankly remember the Workington days
(uploaded by BULLFROGBUZZ)

The biggest problem Bill had on arrival at Borough Park was the fact that the town's rugby league team shared the playing surface with the football team. The pitch, owned by the football club, was leased out to the rugby side and provided vital income for the club. There was, however, a conflict of interests over the standard and condition of the grass, Shanks preferring a shorter cut and wider pitch boundary to that favoured by Gus Risman's rugby players.

Workington had only been a league side for two years and had had to apply for re-election at the end of both seasons. At the end of the 53-54 season, Shankly had lifted them to 20th position, 6 points clear of re-election. Gates had risen from 6,000 to 8,000. Playing a delightful brand of football, Workington were transformed.

Season 1953-54 saw them finish a creditable 8th in the old Third Division North. A wee cup run which saw them beat a strong Orient side against the odds also lifted morale at the club. By now, Shankly had recharged the batteries that had run so low after his experiences at Grimsby and he was looking to step up the managerial ladder again. The realisation, also, that Workington's ambitions were restrained by a chronic financial straitjacket meant there was no real future for him at the club. When he heard his old colleague from his Preston days, Andy Beattie was in trouble at Huddersfield, he was only too glad to tend his resignation at Workington to go and help him out.

Managerial Record:

League Matches: 85
Won: 35
Drawn: 23
Lost: 27

1953/54: 18th in Divison 3 North
1954/55: 8th in Division 3 North
1955/56: resigned on 15th November 1955

Shanks quote

"I got in first to the referee and said: 'I'll have tails.' Lucky for me the referee said ok. Liverpool tails, Cologne heads. Up it went and Christ didn't it stick in a divot. I said to the referee: 'Ref, you're going to have to retoss the coin.' And he went: 'You're right, Mr. Yeats.' I thought the German captain was going to hit him. He was going berserk because it was falling over on the heads. He picked it up, up it went again, came down tails. We were coming off and who is standing there but Bill Shankly. I was first off the pitch and he went: 'Well done, big man. I am proud of you. What did you pick?' I said: 'I picked tails, boss.' I was waiting for the adulation but he just went: 'I would have picked tails myself' and just walked away.

It happened twice. I guessed right, the second time I guessed wrong [in the 1st round vs. Atletico Bilbao 1968]. When I told him I had chosen tails, he said 'Christ, you should have said heads!' It’s the kind of man he was. 'I don’t know why you picked that!'"

RON YEATS - Liverpool faced Cologne in the European Cup quarter final. After a third draw, a coin-toss was to decide their fate.

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