10th December 1955 - 1st December 1959
Shankly's initial interest in a position at Huddersfield was fuelled by his connection with their manager Andy Beattie. Shankly and Beattie had played together at Preston and had remained friends so when, in 1955, Beattie had approached Shankly, with a view to asking him to help out at Leeds Road, Shankly accepted. His initial position at the club was as coach to a reserve team that included several promising youngsters.
The improvement in the fortunes of the reserves was in direct comparison to that of the first team who were promptly relegated from the first division. Thus, in season 56-67 several of Shankly's reserve side found themselves in the first team as Huddersfield adapted to life in the second division. On 5th November 1956, Shankly became first team manager after Beattie resigned his post and on Christmas Eve 1956, he gave a full first team debut to one of the rising stars of the club, 16 year old Denis Law.
Future superstar, Denis Law, signing for Huddersfield
During his time at Huddersfield, Bill took part in a kickabout every Sunday with the locals on a field in Crosland Road near where he was living. He would play whatever the weather and would go in as hard on a ten year old boy as he would on a grown man, never holding back or altering his style for anyone!
Shankly became increasingly frustrated at the lack of ambition shown by his board of directors. They were constantly urging him to sell his best players (Ray Wilson was sold, and Matt Busby was keen on Law), whilst at the same time failing to sanction the purchase of any possible replacements. In November 1959, T.V. Williams, Chairman of Liverpool, offered him the Liverpool job, and after 13 years in management, much of it at basement level, Bill Shankly had found a club that shared his own ambitions about the game and were prepared to give him full backing to achieve them.
On leaving Hudderfield to become Liverpool's manager, Shankly told his players: 'I'm going to a place where they live, eat sleep and drink football. And that's my place.'
League Matches: 129
1956/57: 12th in Division 2
1957/58: 9th in Division 2
1958/59: 14th in Division 2
1959/60: resigned on 1st December 1959
"When I took a physiotherapy course before I became a manager, I learned some valuable things. Notably about the heart, the intake of food for an athlete and particularly the timing of meals before a match. I put this into use. When I came to Liverpool, I stopped the system of players having a big meal on the night before a game. I adopted the pattern of taking them away on Friday night, timing the journey to reach the hotel about 10 pm, where the players had tea, toast and honey and then straight to bed.
On the day of the match, three hours before the kick-off, they could have a steak or chicken or poached eggs. They did not have a cooked breakfast as well. It was simple diet and and the word "simple" came into most of my football thinking in training and playing as well. I ate the same sort of food all my life and I've always been a fitness fanatic. The food players had before a match is to preserve their strength, not build it up. Players find what suits them best by trial and error. If their demand fell within the limits I laid down, that was all right. I also expected them to eat properly when they were not at the club, not to eat stupid things when they were out of control. Most of them did that but I invariably knew when any of them had stepped off the rails in any way. In any case, it usually told on their performance."
Shankly's recipe for success seemed simple on the surface, but was anything but!