Close season is busiest for Bill Shankly


June 8, 1961
Liverpool manager, Bill Shankly, says he’s busier in summer than in the playing season. He’s already made three trips to Scotland – and will make more before the close season ends – with the dual mission of getting further young players for the ground staff and casting around to see whether there are any more stars of Ian St. John calibre to bring to Anfield. The report that Liverpool have been sounding Blackburn about wing half-back Ronnie Clayton is wide of the mark, but the Liverpool manager has interest in all players he considers would do his side good – when and if they come up for transfer.

Bill Shankly sees nothing but harm to the game in Britain from the exodus of stars to Italy. “And don’t forget,” he adds, “that the Italians only want our best. They are not interested in some players who may think they are entitled to draw Italian rates.”

One wonders whether Jimmy Greaves, Joe Baker, Denis Law and company will make the grade in their new sphere as John Charles did. One wonders also whether, like Charles they will soon have a sneaking desire to come home and continue their British careers where they left off.

I am told that Italian fans can be much more cruel to players off form than spectators here and that some of their players can get a little hot-headed when they are made to look “cheap” by expensive British football exports. We shall see. But I agree with Shankly that the milking of talent from Britain can do only harm to the status and standard of football in this country.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: June 8, 1961)

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