December 23, 1976
A Liverpool fan last night kicked off a campaign to grant Bill Shankly his Christmas wish – a place on the Anfield board. Sam Leach, a 41 year old estate agent of Woolton, Liverpool, is aiming to get a quarter of a million signatures on a petition in the next few months in a bid to get the former Liverpool boss made a director.
Shankly quit as manager two-and-a-half years ago and has not had a job in football since, although he had kept in close touch with the game.
He is at present considering a consultancy job and possibly a directorship with Derby. But he admitted last night: “A directorship with Liverpool was my aim in the first place. That would be better for me than anything but I would accept anything to do with Liverpool.
“I just want to be recognised by them, which I have not been.
“I go to games, but I don’t feel part of it. I want to be in the official part and to be recognised.”
Shankly is still considering Derby’s offer, but this move could further postpone his decision.
Leach, who started his petition at Liverpool Supporters’ Club last night said: “I’ve been a Liverpool supporter for 36 years and the thing which made me start this now was the danger of Shankly going to Derby.
“Right through the whole club everything that has been done has got his mark on it. I feel he should be offered a directorship, not only as a tribute but as a considerable factor in our continued success. His presence must not be lost to any other club.
“I’m a great admirer of manager Bob Paisley. He’s doing a tremendous job and always has done, but why should Liverpool lose Bill Shankly?
“He wouldn’t over-shadow Paisley – he’s not that type of man.
“But if Paisley ever wanted a second opinion on a tricky decision who better could he go to?”
Leach is planning to collect signatures at Liverpool home match with Stoke on Monday and at all other Anfield games this season. He is also planning to conduct the petition in pubs throughout Merseyside.
“I think this thing will mushroom and I’m hoping to get a quarter million signatures in the next two months,” he added.
Liverpool chairman John Smith was unavailable for comment last night.
(Source: Daily Mirror: December 24, 1976)