July 26, 1974
End of a great era
It was an occasion for acclaim, for standing ovations and yet, through it all, a feeling of immense sadness that an unforgettable and probably unrepeatable era was nearing its end.
The annual meeting last night of the Liverpool club was, as chairman John Smith aptly said, unique. Before a packed gathering of shareholders, it signalled the end of the Bill Shankly era after 14 years of glorious success at Anfield and marked the start of the Bob Paisley regime.
As expected, Mr. Smith announced “with very great pleasure” that the Board had unanimously agreed to appoint Bob Paisley, Mr. Shankly’s right hand man for all those years, as his successor as team manager.
And at that Mr. Paisley rose from his seat in the hall which he occupied as a shareholder and walked, to a standing ovation, to a top table seat alongside Mr. Shankly, the first to shake his hand.
Mr. Shankly, who received a tremendous reception said: “It is a very sad occasion for me. I clearly remember my first annual meeting and since then much water has gone under the bridge – but it has been clear water.
“It has been a terrible decision to make about retiring. It has felt like going to the electric chair. But after I had told the chairman, I told him to be careful about bringing in someone from the outside to do the job, because there was a competent staff inside who, in 14 years with me, had laid down a plan of training and playing which some fancy dan from outside could break up.
“Our way is successful, and I told them that there was a man at Anfield already who could do the job – and that man is Bob Paisley.”
Mr. Paisley, clearly moved by the ovation he received and his chief’s comments, said it was the proudest day of his career. “I hope I can justify the faith you have placed in me,” he said.
Mr. Solly Isenwater, chairman of the Shareholders Association, in a well-chosen speech, expressed the thanks of the shareholders to Mr. Shankly. Ex-alderman Louis Caplan, a former Lord Mayor, proposed that a resolution should go to the city council from the meeting hoping that the city Fathers will pay their due tribute to Mr. Shankly for what he has done for the city.
I understand that the Board will not be making any more staff appointments – yet. But there are indications that there could be some strengthening among the coaching staff in time as Mr. Paisley’s promotion leaves a vacancy.
After last night’s meeting, Mr. John Smith was re-elected chairman by the directors for the next 12 months.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: July 27, 1974; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited
Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley.