Shankly's Greatest Team

On September 10th 1999, a special celebration of Bill Shankly's time at Liverpool was held in the city's Moat House Hotel. The theme of the evening was the unveiling of the greatest eleven players to play for Liverpool under Shankly's management.

The initiative was the brainchild of The Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, and the idea was put to its readers, who over a period of time, submitted the names of the players who they deemed worthy of selection to an 'All-time' Shankly eleven.

Some readers submitted individual names whilst others named a whole team and the result was the biggest ever sporting poll conducted by the Echo.

In his 15 years as manager, Shankly used the incredibly low number of 69 players. Many of these players, perhaps inevitably, played only a handful of games. As a marker of how dramatically the game has changed, it's an amazing statistic.

    

    1. Ray Clemence             2. Chris Lawler              3. Gerry Byrne

     

      4. Tommy Smith              5. Ron Yeats               6. Emlyn Hughes

  

    7. Kevin Keegan               8. Roger Hunt                9. Ian St John

 

  10. Peter Thompson         11. Ian Callaghan


Emlyn Hughes, Liverpool's captain from 1973-78 gave an inspirational and typically emotional speech, saying "We have seen what Manchester United have achieved in recent years, but they will never, ever match Liverpool F.C., which is still the greatest club in the world."

Of those selected for the greatest team, only Kevin Keegan, Ray Clemence and Ian St. John were unable to attend but they each sent individual messages of support. Mrs. Nessie Shankly, Bill's wife, also sent a message saying how proud she was that Bill's boys were together again.

*Although undoubtedly a Liverpool all time great, Billy Liddell did not feature in the greatest Shankly side because he only played a very small number of matches for Liverpool in Bill's early days at the club.

Shanks quote

"The word 'fantastic' has been used many times, so I would have to invent another word to fully describe the Anfield spectators. It is more than fanaticism, it's a religion. To the many thousands who come here to worship, Anfield isn't a football ground, i's a sort of shrine. These people are not simply fans, they're more like members of one extended family."

Bill Shankly on Liverpool fans

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