Sensation as Shankly resigns

Sensation as Shankly resigns12 July 1974

Stunned silence.

There is perhaps no better way to sum up the reaction of a packed Anfield press conference on hearing the news of Bill Shankly's decision to resign as manager of Liverpool Football Club.

It was the end of an era. A shock announcement that not only left the media present in a state of shock, but also the entire football world.

The charismatic Scot was synonymous with Liverpool; a man whose love for the team and its supporters had been more than reciprocated by his loyal charges and the passionate followers in the stand.

But now, after 15 years at the helm, he had decided to lower the curtain on what had been an incredible footballing journey.

As reporters huddled inside Anfield in expectation of the unveiling of the club's new record signing from Arsenal, Ray Kennedy, they were left shell-shocked when chairman John Smith sat down and announced the news no Reds fan had expected to hear.

"It is with great regret that I have to inform you that Mr Shankly has intimated to me that he wishes to retire from active participation in League football, and that the board has - with extreme reluctance - accepted his decision," said Hall.

"I would like to place on record the board's great appreciation for Mr Shankly's magnificent achievements over the period of his managership. Meanwhile he has agreed to give every assistance to the club for as long as necessary."

After several moments of awkward silence, one reporter composed himself enough to ask a clearly saddened Shanks, why he was bowing out just weeks after leading the club to their second FA Cup success.

"It was the most difficult decision I've ever had to make," he said. "And when I went in to see the chairman it was like walking to the electric chair."

The news sent tremors across Europe and inevitably made the front page of every national newspaper. The signing of Kennedy paled in comparison to the enormity of such a strange and mysterious decision.

Where would Liverpool go from here? How could they ever replace the club's messiah?

Kopites need not have worried. For the answer to those questions would lie within the Anfield bootroom itself, in the form of Shankly's taciturn number two, Bob Paisley.