William "Bill" Shankly, OBE, lived from 2 September 1913 to 29 September 1981. He was a highly respected football manager best known for leading Liverpool FC to a string of successes in the 1960s and 1970s. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Bill Shankly was born in the remote East Ayrshire mining village of Glenbuck, on the A70 between Douglas and Muirkirk. He was one of a family of 10 children, and four of his older brothers went on to become professional football players, one of whom, Bob Shankly, also later became a football manager, guiding Dundee to the League Championship in 1962. His maternal uncle, Bob Blyth, had been a professional footballer and manager in England. In Glenbuck, football was a way of escaping the day to day realities of life as a coal miner.
In July 1932 Shankly, then aged 18, was spotted by a scout for Carlisle United, and made his debut for them on 31 December 1932. In July 1933, after only 16 appearances for Carlisle, he signed for Preston North End. He played in the Preston side promoted to the First Division in 1934, and also played with them in two FA Cup finals: losing to Sunderland in 1937, but beating Huddersfield Town in 1938. He was also a member of the Preston team that won the 1941 Wartime Cup Final at Wembley. Shankly made his debut for Scotland in a 1-0 win against England in April 1938. He made four further appearances for his country, plus another seven in wartime internationals, and played for a number of different teams during the war, including Liverpool and Arsenal.
Shankly returned to Preston after the war, but retired from playing in March 1949, immediately taking up a post as manager of Carlisle. He moved on to become manager of Grimsby Town in 1951, Workington in 1953, and Huddersfield Town in 1956. At Huddersfield he is primarily remembered for discovering a talented 15 year old called Denis Law. In December 1959 Shankly became manager of Liverpool. What he found was a team propping up the foot of the Second Division with poor quality players and a poor quality stadium and facilities. Under his direction Liverpool were promoted to the First Division at the end of the 1961/2 season, and in 1963/4 they won the League Championship. They went on to win the FA Cup in 1965.
The 1970s saw more success, including winning the UEFA Cup and League Championship, both in 1973, and the FA Cup the following year. Shankly retired at the age of 60 in July 1974 and was succeeded as Liverpool manager by Bob Paisley. He was awarded the OBE later that year. After retirement he continued to live in the terraced house that he and his wife had bought when they moved to Liverpool, and often attended the team's training sessions. He died of a heart attack in September 1981.