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Football and the First World War

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Bob Paisley

"Mind you, I wasn't only here for the good years. One year, we came second."

Bob Paisley is Liverpool most successful manager. Born in Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham (now Tyne and Wear), Paisley joined Liverpool from non-League Bishop Auckland in May 1939 only to have his Liverpool debut delayed by the Second World War. In the first full season after the war, 1946-47, Bob helped Liverpool to their 1st league title in 24 years, making 34 appearances in the 42 match season. Bob eventually amassed a total of 278 appearances for the reds whilst scoring 13 goals.  His most disappointing event of his reds playing career was being dropped for the 1950 cup final which Liverpool lost.

After retiring as a player in 1954 he joined the back room staff and quickly gained a reputation for being able to diagnose a player’s injury by looking at them. He later became a coach for the reserves. Bob later became Bill Shankly’s right hand man as the club’s fortunes revived. Together they won three league titles, two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup during the next fifteen years.

In July 1974 Shankly stunned the footballing world by announcing his retirement from the game. He suggested Bob Paisley as his successor and the board supported his recommendation. Paisley won virtually every honour on offer to the club game, most notably guiding the club to three European Cup wins in 1977, 1978 and 1981.

Paisley retired in 1983 as manager but became a director at the club and notably helped Kenny Dalglish in his early days of football management.

His record of six league titles, three league cups, three European cups, one UEFA cup, one European super-cup, five Charity Shields and six Manager of the Year awards is unsurpassed.

Bob Paisley was awarded the freedom of the city of Liverpool and also received an OBE for his services to football. He died in 1996. Paisley’s approach can be summed up in a comment he once made about his ideal footballer: ‘The sort of lad I’m looking for here is a kid who’ll try to nutmeg Kevin Keegan in a training match…but then step aside for him in the corridor’.