It’s a long time ago, but as a follower of football for the last 50 years, you have build up a library of good and bad and with the current Premier League situation, you can reflect on how a manager takeover would secure a possible continuity of performances and not a downfall of dimentions.Embed from Getty Images
Today fans are overexaggerating the influence of transfers as they demand things to happen and want new faces to appear and loves the “chop and change” more than probably seeing the team play great football and win trophies as seasons are going over a long period of time and a dip in result could happen, and then the vulture culture appear as lightening.
Especially “social media” and “pundits” are talking in “big letters” as they are often missing the points and with their approach most football clubs would look like a “killing field” and that is not what we would like to see in football, and as Bob Paisley made his transition from coach to manager in a style almost never seen before.
When legendary Bill Shankly walked out after the 1974 FA Cup triumph and left in the open for Bob Paisley to step forward. Shankly made Liverpool great again with Liverpudlian Bob Paisley as one of his men of assistance during the whole era.
Bob Paisley took over a team who had won the FA Cup and ended runners-up in the league. With the legacy of Shankly in the suitcase, it was a “big following” as Paisley was pushed up to take charge. Bill Shankly left the club in good hands and with a squad that had gone a transition since their greats of the 60’s and equipped to win trophies for the next years to come.
We all did see the decline at Leeds United in the same era, Don Revie leaving his desk to take over England with most of the key players being in their 30’s. This was also what happened at Manchester United after Sir Alex Ferguson, who left with most of the key players with their best years behind them and not in front.
Few have looked at this as a factor of success as teams can be in different cycles of change and that is a key factor in many ways as well. Bob also made it clear that everything would be as it was, but probably with a little bit of difference in management style between him and Bill Shankly, though it was a great way to pass thing on as the group had their best and most important players in an age that made them not just part of a great history but also had a lot left to show in the world of fooball.Embed from Getty Images
The big star of the team Kevin Keegan was just 23 years of age with his best years in front of him in football. Goalkeeper Ray Clemence, winger Steve Heighway and England defender Emlyn Hughes were all in their prime with a young Phil Thompson showing his skill and soon to become an England international as well, making his debut at full level at the age of 22. Not to forget John Toshack who had also joined up at Anfield from lower league football and also in his mid 20’s. With the “old and wise” Tommy Smith and Ian Callaghan still around, and that summer addition from Arsenal, Ray Kennedy, marching in, it was really on a platter for Paisley. The transfer of Kennedy was seen as the last made by Bill Shankly as it went over the line in the days of Bill Shankly’s departure, but as we all know, Bob Paisley was the one turning The Gunners forward into a midfielder and later to be, an England international.
The first season under Bob Paisley was a trophy less one, but they were in the race for the league title as they ended 2nd behind Derby County. Liverpool competed in Europe, but was out of the Cup winners cup after round two. Their runs in the FA Cup and League Cup also stopped in the fourth and fifth round, but it was not a big decline as a number of players progressed and the team was just copying the result in the league from the season before.
Owners were happy to see the team qualify for Europe and again being competitive as those younger players got one more season in their body. Little is said about Sir John Smith and his influence as he made it possible for Bob Paisley and his backroom staff to bring this club forward and get back on title winning ways.Embed from Getty Images
The team had evolved as they went into the next season, with Terry McDermott and Phil Neal new faces added from Newcastle United and Northampton Town. Paisley hit “bulls eye” with these two as they had the grit to become Liverpool greats. After the recruitment of the Neal and McDermott, Paisley entered the transfer market and signed Joey Jones from Wrexham. None of these players were stars or finished articles when joining Anfield, and known as the Liverpool way, as they often found talent were others didn’t look, masterclass recruitment. David Fairclough and Jimmy Case was also two young players making their mark as The League and UEFA Cup trophies found their ways to Anfield.
This was so cleverly build up and it went on season in and season out, as the European Cup, more League titles and appearances in the FA Cup and League Cup finals also found it’s way to Anfield. The departure of Kevin Keegan in 1977 was to become a blessing in disguise as Kenny Dalglish became his replacement, building up a new forward partnership with another new arrival David Johnson who had moved back up to join from Ipswich Town.
Graeme Souness and Alan Hansen were later recruited from Middlesbrough and Partick Thistle, cleverly slotted in as players such as John Toshack, Ian Callaghan and Tommy Smith all were moving out, it’s just perfect timing and splended football team building.Embed from Getty Images
During all the years of “Boot Room” manager appointments a certain Sir John Smith had the control as chairman and when he did step down in 1990, you can see what happened at Anfield, and as Bob Paisley made his bow, Joe Fagan was the one stepping up. When Joe took over in 1983, it was again with great finesse as his team had been through a great transition.
Fagan took over a team that had just won the European Cup and the English League title. It was another fantastic football team to take over and of course not to neglect the importance of Joe Fagan, Sir John Smith made the appointment, and he also took the bold decision to appoint player Kenny Dalglish as his successor and then go on to win “The double” in the following season.
When Kenny Dalglish stepped down, Sir John Smith had also moved on and it was “other heads” running the club at the time, but as we all have seen, football management, chairmen work and how to deliver something to the next generators is a key to all success.