Bobby Campbell was a Liverpool player when Bill Shankly arrived at Anfield to make his managerial debut against Cardiff. He said: ”It was if God had put his hand in the Kop and made him our manager”.
Tales from the Anfield Boot Room, the dressing room, and just about any part of Liverpool that Shankly touched, are legendary. Campbellthen and now he tells BT Sport about some of his favourites that he witnessed first hand.
The 76-year-old Campbell, an ex-Arsenal and Chelsea manager who is now a part of the backroom team at Stamford Bridge, told me: “Shanks was football mad and Liverpool mad.
"I am sure he would have achieved exactly the same if he had gone to another club - we were so lucky that he came to Liverpool."
Campbell explained: “I was there when he arrived, he took over from Phil Taylor and we were in the Second Division - and so were Cardiff.
“One day in training he bellowed ‘Christ boys, you don’t know how lucky you are playing for one of the greatest teams in the world, and you are also at the greatest place in the world as you have Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpool reserves and fights!
“The fights took place every other Thursday in the boxing stadium, and they were wonderful occasions. But for Shanks Liverpool was the only thing that mattered, he was a raving mad Liverpool football fan.
“He came to the club when we had some wonderful players but we just couldn’t get over the line and missed out on promotion to the old First Division twice - once on goal average, the next time by just one point.
“We were playing good football, and so too were Cardiff, but we needed someone like Shanks to take us to the next level. At that time clubs like Cardiff, Swansea, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland and Newcastle were top teams.
“But Shanks took Liverpool to the very top of the game, and we played the sort of football everyone raves about now. Possession football, pass and move, we played it that way all those years ago. When the opposition had the ball we pressed them high and hunted in packs and defended from the half-way line.
“We had good players who could pull it off. Good defenders like big Ron Yeats and we always had good goalies.”
Campbell also loved the way Shankley would prowl around when the opposition arrived. He would always have something to say about them.
Campbell said: “He loved picking on West Ham. He would say, ‘The West Ham boys are here, its no contest, just look at their pasty faces, thats the night club tan!’"
It was Shanks' way of winding up his players. While the Liverpool team slogged away on the training ground, he was making the point that the 'southern softies' were spending their time in night clubs. Shanks played mind games before Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex ever thought of the idea.
Sometimes he would tell his players they were facing the best side in the land and that they would need to be at their best to beat them. After Liverpool beat them, he would say that he always thought they were a poor side.
When Campbell left Anfield as a player he moved into coaching and management. He was coach to Bertie Mee’s Arsenal and would always return to Merseyside and spend a few days each week with Shanks on the training pitch.
He recalls: “I would return ‘home’ for two or three days a week and Shanks would invite me along to train with his players. Liverpool had a phenomenal right back in those days, Chris Lawler, who scored 50 goals in his career without ever taking a penalty.
“He was one of the best right backs of all time, he would overlap, but on the inside so found himself in the opposition penalty box all the time. But in all the time he was at Liverpool he was one of the quietest lads you’d ever come across. In fact he hardly said two words.
“Bill loved to join in the training and he loved five-a-sides, but proper games, and the staff team would play the ‘big heads’ (the first team).
“There were no nets, so you would judge a goal by your own eye sight. But Shanks refused to leave the field until his side had won. He hated losing and simply wouldn’t accept it.
“This day the staff team were playing the youth team, and one of the kids hit a shot from 15 yards that clearly went in. But Bill said it went wide. The ‘big heads’ had finished by now but Shanks insisted his game went on - of course until his side won.
“So he was not going to let it rest, as he insisted this shot went wide, when clearly it went in.
“The ‘big heads’ passed by but stopped at the side of the pitch to watch Shanks game and listen to the argument.
“Shanks said to the kid: ‘It went side, son’, and then spotted Chris Lawyer. ‘It went wide son, didn’t it?'
“'No,' said Chris, ‘It went in!' Shanks turned on him and said ‘you need to get your eyes seen to, son!'
“Then Shanks added, ‘You’ve been here two years now, son, and you don’t say a word, and the first thing you say, you tell a lie!'”
Campbell has been in the south for some considerable time now, and is more associated with Chelsea than any other club, but his roots remain with Liverpool. When you're part of the Anfield club, it never leaves you, as Campbell explained.
“You can take the boy out of Liverpool, but you cannot take Liverpool out of the boy."