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
As a 8/9 year old my dad would take me to work sometimes, and we would go in the Eaton Rd cafe for breakfast. Shanks, who had retired by then, would be sitting in there and would come right over and keep us there for ages, him talking, us listening. About 4 years later my dad jumped out his van in Old Swan. He said it was lashing down, and who ran up to him and made him take the umbrella cos of the rain but Bill."You have not been in the cafe for ages" he said, again my dad protested about the umbrella, but Shanks gestured for him to shut up and said "Son, you work too hard and I can go home now and dry off, you still have to work all afternoon. Besides, a few years ago you told me the only mistake I have ever made since coming to Liverpool was resigning. So you just resign yourself to the fact that I'm right again and get under the fucking thing." He then spent another 20 mins getting wet while talking football. My dad said he could see people looking at him thinking why he did not offer Shanks his brolley. At the end of the conversation my dad handed Bill his brolley back and an old lady, walking past at the time told my dad he should be ashamed of himself. Mr Shankly walked away laughing his head off.
I now live in Australia, and the footy team I play for has a trainer/coach who has been at the club for years. He is a mad red, 65 years old and everyone knows him by one name only. SHANKS. This is a legend that will never die. You have a great site. Keep up the good work.