How Similar is Klopp to Shankly?
Comparing Two of Liverpool's Most Iconic Managers
The fans of Liverpool FC takes its managers to their heart like few other clubs’. We revere them. We sing about them. We make banners of them, their images waving and fluttering on the Kop like religious icons. They span generations. They achieve immortality.
Well the best of them do anyway. Maybe we won’t dwell on any former Reds and England managers here. Not when we have heroes to discuss.
Our cult of manager-as-leader, as hero, began, like most of the story of the modern Liverpool FC, on the pitch and off it, with Bill Shankly. Shankly was – is – the talismanic messianic, iconic leader to rule them all.
When Shankly first arrived at Anfield, in December 1959, from Huddersfield Town, he took over a Division 2 club – albeit one that had been league champions five times already – and found a mess. Rigid managerial structures, fixed thinking, a crumbling stadium and training facilities not much better than a parks team’s.
But that’s not what he saw. He saw not what it was but what it could be. What he would make it be. From the smoking ruins, he saw an empire rising. This half-filled Anfield stadium would become, to use his characteristically colourful phrase, ‘a bastion of invincibility’.
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