The footballing community is paying homage to legendary player and Liverpool manager, Bill Shankly, who would have been 108 today.

Shankly, who was born in the former mining village of Glenbuck, was a major influence in the modern game, and “his integrity, his principles, his attitude” have been attributed to the club’s monumental success since he took over in December 1959.

Shankly was also a devoted family man who never forgot his roots and continued to share his childhood memories of Glenbuck with the next generation, including his granddaughter, Karen Gill, who remembers her grandfather fondly.

She told the Chronicle: “It’s a very personal day for me. People write really lovely things on social media so I’ve been reading through all the messages that have been sent in. People have so many memories of him, there is something new every year. 

"People come up to me with their little kids and say, who is this lady? They’ll say, Bill Shankly’s granddaughter, and they’ll say, and who is Bill Shankly? And they’ll say, he created Liverpool Football Club. It gives me a nice, warm feeling. 

“He made the people so happy so it seems fitting that it’s the people who are remembering him on a day like today.”



Karen is also patron of Spirit of Shankly – the Liverpool FC Supporters Union committed to protecting supporters’ rights and interests.

Just like the families who approach Karen in the street, she, along with other committee members, are determined that Shankly’s memory will live on.

Karen added: “It’s all about keeping his legacy alive, and what is a more fitting way of doing that than looking out for the supporters because that’s what my granddad is probably remembered for most, his relationship with the supporters.

“We hope it inspires other clubs to do the same, especially now in times of Covid where things can be rushed through that maybe aren’t in supporters’ interest.

“He’s like a lighthouse, someone we can look to, to remind us of where we’re going and not to lose track of what football is all about. With players’ wages being so high and ticket prices being so high, for example, it’s important to remember what football is all about – the people.”

With the pandemic in mind, and football being hit hard, namely financially, by its effects, how would Shankly have viewed the beautiful game now?




Peter Hooton, Spirit of Shankly committee member, commented: “When Covid came, I think Shankly would’ve been organising the food banks and the food pantries, we know that, that’s why Spirit of Shankly carry on that work. We always think, what would Bill Shankly do? And act upon that accordingly.

"During the Covid response we sent food parcels to people in need. We’re sure that if Shankly had been alive, he would’ve been driving the vans. He was a man of the people.” 

He continued: “The modern day club only exists as it is because of Bill Shankly, it’s as simple as that. His principles, his integrity, his attitude, I think that comes from his upbringing in Glenbuck as that’s how people all worked together, they shared things, and that’s what he wanted out of his team.

“When Bill Shankly came in December 1959, Liverpool was in the doldrums. They got relegated in ‘53/54 and spent five years trying to get out the second division which they hadn’t done. It was only when Shankly arrived. He talked about natural enthusiasm and it was his obsession with football that swept Liverpool as a club and a city really along.

“Shankly said, 'Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool.' He became an honorary scouser but his background and the way he was quoted, the way he was photographed, the way he spoke, it all contributed to it. You can’t overestimate his effect on the city. He was a cultural icon.”

Today also marks two years since the opening of Glenbuck Heritage Centre which was created to preserve the site's rich history.

Barbara Alexander, Shankly’s niece, explained: "We want further developments at the site such as a plaque for the two boys who came from Glenbuck, Sandy Brown and Tait, who played for Tottenham Hotspur and won the FA Cup in 1901. Things are at a standstill at the moment, though, and there’s nothing we can do although we know what we want to do.

“Saying that, we got more than we ever expected. We never expected this. We’re so happy that we’ve got what we've got.”