Video: Bill Shankly remembered 50 years onDate: 24 November 2009
Interest in the return of The Shankly Show to Liverpool is building with a new promotional video giving audiences a flavour of what to expect.
Written by Andrew Sherlock, the one-man show embraces the myth, emotion and epic stature of Shankly as well as displaying his wit, hard pitman’s background, politics and famous footballing genius.
Scottish actor Alexander West reprises the role of Shanks in this 50th anniversary year since the iconic football manager of Liverpool FC first took charge of the club.
The Shankly Show appears at the Liverpool BT Convention Centre for two nights on Thursday 17 December and Friday 18 December.
For tickets, which are priced £25-£35, call the box office on 0844 8000 400. A commemorative book and a DVD are also being released to honour the sporting legend.
To watch the YouTube promotional video, click here
Meanwhile, one of Liverpool FC’s all time greats is preparing for an emotional night at Liverpool’s Empire theatre on the exact date his former boss first took charge of the club 50 years ago.
Chris Lawler, whose 61 goals for Liverpool without the aid of penalties or free kicks is a record for a top flight full back, is a member of the cast of The Bill Shankly Story which appears as special anniversary production at the Lime Street-based theatre on Monday evening, 14 December.
He said: “I can't quite believe that we'll be doing the Empire show exactly 50 years since Shanks arrived at Anfield. It's going to be an emotional night for all of us and, knowing the people of Merseyside, I'm sure the atmosphere will be amazing.”
Lawler will be joined on stage by his fellow Kop legends Ian St John, Ron Yeats and Ian Callaghan, actor Steve Hazlehurst and the show's writer and producer John Keith, who speaks Shankly's words.
The two-and-a-half hour show, which premiered in 2006 and has played to sold out venues at home and abroad also features performances from singer Gerry Murphy, including his own composition, ‘Shankly's Song’.
Lawler adds: “Ian and Ron were great signings by Shanks because they were bedrocks of the success we had while Cally was an amateur when Shanks arrived. He soon signed professional and his consistency over so many years was just incredible. Shanks laid the foundation for all that followed at Liverpool. Without him the club wouldn't have the stature it has today.”
The recollections and anecdotes of Lawler along with those of former captain of the club Yeats, Shankly’s fellow Scottish star St John and the Liverpool FC's 857-match appearance record holder Callaghan, weaved into a narrative of Shankly's life and career, provide a unique insight into one of the most charismatic managers English football has known.
His memory will live on forever for Lawler. He said: "I had just turned 16 and was on the club's ground staff, doing odd jobs like cleaning, painting and brushing up, when I bumped into Bill Shankly in the corridor. It was his first day in the job and people were scared of him.
"But when I told him my name he knew who I was. Considering he'd only just come to Anfield it made me realise right away how incredibly thorough he was. He asked me how often I trained. I told him I did two nights a week training with the amateurs. 'Right, son,' he said. ‘From now on you train with the seniors every day.’
“And that was it. Next day I reported for training at Melwood along with players like the great Billy Liddell, Jimmy Melia, Dave Hickson, Bobby Campbell and an up-and-coming Roger Hunt, who'd broken through into the first team earlier that season.
“That was the start of my career. I progressed into the reserves, under the watchful eye of Joe Fagan, and eventually into the first team. I made my debut in 1962-63, the club's first season back in the top flight. I started as a centre half but after Ron Yeats arrived it meant that I switched to full back. From then on I was proud to be part of Liverpool's great success under Bill Shankly and, later, under Bob Paisley.”
Tickets for The Bill Shankly Story cost £12-£15. For more details or to book in advance, click here
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