Bill Shankly Quotes

When Bill Shankly became manager of Liverpool FC, he laid the foundations for all future Liverpool teams to build from, on and off the pitch. He instilled a philosophy into the club which reflected the city of Liverpool, the people in it, and the values they hold – transferring these to the style of play and the attitudes of the players on the football pitch. The players and the football are an extension of the city’s culture and ideals.

This page contains a list of his most memorable quotes and sayings.

Bill Shankly in a red jacket pointing, with players in the background.

“The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It’s the way I see football, the way I see life”

“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

“Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and of making yourself available to receive a pass. It is terribly simple. ”

“If you are first you are first. If you are second you are nothing.”

“The trouble with referees is that they know the rules, but they don’t know the game. ”

“Son, you’ll do well here as long as you remember two things. Don’t over-eat and don’t lose your accent. ” – to Ian St John when he signed for Liverpool.

Talking about Roger Hunt – “Yes Roger Hunt misses a few, but he gets in the right place to miss them. ”

“I know this is a sad occasion, but I think that Dixie would be amazed to know that even in death he could draw a bigger crowd to Goodison than Everton on a Saturday afternoon. ” – speaking at the funeral of Everton legend Dixie Dean

“If Everton were playing at the bottom of the garden, I’d pull the curtains. ”

“Sickness would not have kept me away from this one. If I’d been dead, I would have had them bring the casket to the ground, prop it up in the stands, and cut a hole in the lid. ” – after beating Everton in the 1971 FA Cup semi-final.

Addressing the Liverpool fans who turned up in their thousands to welcome the team home despite losing to Arsenal in the 1971 FA Cup final – “Chairman Mao has never seen a greater show of red strength. ”

After signing Ron Yeats – “With him in defence, we could play Arthur Askey in goal. ”

To Alan Ball after he “d signed for Everton – “Never mind Alan, at least you’ll be able to play next to a great team. ”

To Tommy Smith after he’d turned up for training with a bandaged knee – “Take that poof bandage off, and what do you mean your knee? It’s Liverpool’s knee! ”

To Ian St John – “If you “re not sure what to do with the ball, just pop it in the net and we’ll discuss your options afterwards. ”

“In my time at Anfield we always said we had the best two teams on Merseyside – Liverpool and Liverpool reserves. ”

About the ‘This is Anfield’ plaque – “This is to remind our lads who they’re playing for, and to remind the opposition who they’re playing against. ”

“Of course I didn’t take my wife to see Rochdale as an anniversary present. It was her birthday and would I have got married during the football season? Anyway, it was Rochdale reserves. ”

Shankly to the Brussels hotel clerk who queried his signing ‘Anfield’ as his address on the hotel register – “But that’s where I live. ”

Shankly explaining rotation to a reporter – “Laddie, I never drop players, I only make changes. ”

Comparing the Anfield pitch to other grounds – “It’s great grass at Anfield, professional grass! ”

“The difference between Everton and the Queen Mary is that Everton carry more passengers! ”

To a local barber, who in 1968 had asked “Anything off the top? Shanks retorted – “Aye, Everton! ”

On awaiting Everton “s arrival for a derby game at Anfield, Shankly gave a box of toilet rolls to the doorman and said – “Give them these when they arrive – they’ll need them! ”

“I always look in the Sunday paper to see where Everton are in the league – starting, of course, from the bottom up. ”

To Tommy Smith during training – “You son, could start a riot in a graveyard. ”

“Tommy Smith wasn’t born, he was quarried.”

“There’s Man. Utd and Man. City at the bottom of Division 1, and by God they’ll take some shifting. ”

“It “s a 90 minute game for sure. In fact I used to train for a 190 minute game so that when the whistle blew at the end of the match I could have played another 90 minutes. ”

Talking about Tommy Smith – “If he isn “t named Footballer of the Year, football should be stopped and the men who picked any other player should be sent to the Kremlin. ”

To a translator, when being surrounded by gesticulating Italian journalists – “Just tell them I completely disagree with everything they say! ”

Shankly on boardroom meetings – “At a football club, there’s a holy trinity – the players, the manager and the supporters. Directors don’t come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques. ”

Talking about the Liverpool fans – “I’m just one of the people who stands on the kop. They think the same as I do, and I think the same as they do. It’s a kind of marriage of people who like each other. ”

“If a player is not interfering with play or seeking to gain an advantage, then he should be. ”

“I was only in the game for the love of football – and I wanted to bring back happiness to the people of Liverpool. ”

“If you can’t make decisions in life, you “re a bloody menace. You’d be better becoming an MP! ”

“Fire in your belly comes from pride and passion in wearing the red shirt. We don’t need to motivate players because each of them is responsible for the performance of the team as a whole. The status of Liverpool’s players keeps them motivated. ”

On the leaving of Liverpool – “It was the most difficult thing in the world, when I went to tell the chairman. It was like walking to the electric chair. That “s the way it felt. ”

Some of the above quotes are taken from this page on the official site.