How Bill Shankly changed Anfield

6 Sep


“We were strong on psychology – we even had a plaque that was put over the tunnel that takes the players from the dressing rooms to the pitch,” said Shankly.

“Our maintenance foreman, Bert Johnson, had it painted, with letters on a red background: This is Anfield. It was a form of intimidation.”

When Shankly arrived at Anfield in December 1959, he found the stadium in pretty much the same state as the club’s training ground, Melwood – it was falling to pieces.

The place was an eyesore and when Shankly asked the groundsman about his watering equipment, the reply came: “We don’t have equipment, because there is no water.”

So one of the first things the Scot put in place was to shell out the £3,000 that would install adequate watering facilities, but he knew the ground was neither big enough nor good enough for the public of Liverpool.

Stephen Done, Liverpool FC’s museum curator, explained: “Anfield was in a very bad way. Shankly even called the place a pigsty and he was quite clear: he thought the place was shocking. So he immediately started the first proper rebuilding process since 1906.

“Post 1906, a roof had been put on the Kop in 1927, but that was it. Nothing else had happened apart from the floodlights being put in place in 1957.

“The designs that were set in place in 1906 basically laid the foundations for the Kop and the new stadium. So you can imagine it was probably looking a bit dated and decrepit.”

The Kemlyn Road stand, which is now called the Centenary Stand, was demolished after Shankly’s side won promotion to the top flight at the end of the 1961-62 season…


“Shankly didn’t touch the Kop,” said Done. “He knew it was excellent for its purpose. So otherwise, what Shankly set in place served Liverpool up until Lord Justice Taylor’s report in 1994.

“He was the instigator of all that work – he demanded that it was done. You can imagine the boardroom battles Shankly undertook to get them to try and spend that money…| How Bill Shankly changed Anfield

Story first appeared in the official Liverpool FC site on 06 September 2013

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