1932 - 1933
Young Shankly at Cronberry was attracting interest from the Football League. Two scouts, Peter Carruthers of Carlisle and Bobby Crawford of Preston, followed his progress. Bill's uncle, Billy Blyth, was a director at Carlisle United and this family connection undoubtedly helped Bill make the decision to go to Brunton Park. Preston were a division higher and Bill thought it best to make a start in professional football a rung lower down the ladder in Third Division North, earning £4 per week.
By the time Christmas 1932 had come round, Shankly was already forcing his way into the Carlisle first team. His displays as a hard running, gritty right-half, brought him much praise and credit and he was earmarked as a key young player capable of taking Carlisle on to greater things.
So dedicated to the game was Shankly, that during the summer of 1933, after completing his first season as a pro, he returned to Glenbuck where he continued to do his own training. Being an early exponent of the long throw-in he would practice by throwing balls over a row of houses and getting the small boys of the village to fetch them back for him.
Carlisle were struggling at the time and following Shankly's impressive debut season Preston came in for him again. Whilst in Glenbuck he received a telegram from Carlisle, which read, "Report to discuss transfer to Preston North End." After initially rejecting Preston's advances, Bill signed for Preston in a railway carriage just outside Haltwhistle.
"Carlisle was only a stepping stone. I knew I was going further than that. At the end of the season I was paid four pounds ten shillings a week, which was good, because the top rate in English football then was eight pounds. I was much better off than the coalminer for doing something in the fresh air that I would have done for nothing."
Debut: Dec 31st 1932 v Rochdale (2-2)
"We were staying and playing in Belgium one time, and this night Chris Lawler and I had gone to a casino just opposite the hotel but the rest of the lads had gone down to the village for a drink after the game. At twelve o'clock Shanks stormed into the casino and dragged us back to the hotel. We knew he was in a foul mood, and we were up in our rooms, looking down the road, when we heard the rest of them coming back.. there was Gerry Byrne, Roger Hunt, Geoff Strong, Tommy Lawrence, Gordon Milne, all singing and kicking a few beer cans along, that sort of thing. There was a small playground in front of the hotel and they were mucking about on the swings. We knew Shanks was waiting downstairs, so we tried to tell them to quieten it a bit, but they didn't pay any attention. Too far gone for that! It was about half-past one, and they came falling into the lobby, shouting and bawling, and Shanks was so flabbergasted he didn't know what to do or where to start, and of all people he picks on Cally. 'You, Callaghan... ', he says, and you can see he's reaching for the right thing to say. 'You... I'm going to tell your wife on you!' Everybody just collapsed!"