Sunday, January 23, 2011

23 January 1919 - Liverpool's Other Greatest Manager

On 23 January 1919, Liverpool legend Bob Paisley was born in Sunderland, England. Although Bill Shankly is widely--and correctly--recognized as Liverpool's greatest manager, Paisley actually produced a better record and more silverware than his former boss.

Paisley joined the club as a half-back in May 1939, making the move from non-League side Bishop Auckland FC. But World War II intervened, so he did not make his first appearance until January 1946, almost 7 years later. Despite the delay, he quickly established himself as a regular in the first team, making 253 League appearance before his retirement in 1954, winning both the 1947 League title and the 1950 FA Cup (Paisley did not play in the Cup final, but played in enough matches to earn a winner's medal).

After hanging up his boots, he remained with the club as a staff member, first as a physiotherapist, then as a reserve coach. He was there when Shankly arrived in December 1959 and helped the new boss guide the Reds to unparalleled heights, winning three League titles, two FA Cups, one UEFA Cup, and one European Cup Winners' Cup. When Shankly retired unexpectedly after the 1973-74 season, Paisley took up the reins.

Under Paisley, Liverpool amassed a monumental silverware collection, including 6 League titles, 3 European Cups, one UEFA Cup, 3 League Cups, one European Super Cup, and one Intercontinental Cup. Paisley himself won 6 Manager of the Year Awards. When discussing his amazing run of success, Paisley once quipped "Mind you, I've been here during the bad times, too. One year we came second."

He retired in 1983, after winning that 6th League title. All told, he had spent 44 years at Anfield. He died in 1996 at the age of 77.

See a video tribute to Paisley here.

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