|Full name||Robert Paisley|
|Date of birth||23 January 1919|
|Place of birth||Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham, England|
|Date of death||14 February 1996(aged 77)|
|Place of death||Liverpool, England|
|Playing position||Wing half[nb 1]|
|1959–1974||Liverpool (assistant manager)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Robert "Bob" Paisley OBE (23 January 1919 – 14 February 1996) was an English footballer and manager who spent almost fifty years with Liverpool as a wing half, physiotherapist, coach and manager. His achievements as Liverpool manager have led to Paisley being regarded as one of the greatest football managers of all time, and he remains to date the only manager in football history to have won three European Cups.
Paisley came from a small Durham mining community and, in his youth, played for Bishop Auckland before he signed for Liverpool in 1939. During the Second World War, he served in the British Army and could not make his Liverpool debut until 1946. In the 1946–47 season, he was a member of the Liverpool team that won the First Division title for the first time in 24 years. In 1951, he was made club captain and remained with Liverpool until he retired from playing in 1954.
He stayed with Liverpool and took on two roles as reserve team coach and club physiotherapist. By this time, Liverpool had been relegated to the Second Division and their facilities were in decline. In December 1959, Bill Shankly was appointed Liverpool manager and he promoted Paisley to work alongside him as his assistant in a management/coaching team that included Joe Fagan and Reuben Bennett. Under their leadership, the fortunes of Liverpool turned around dramatically and, in the 1961–62 season, the team gained promotion back to the First Division. Paisley filled an important role as tactician under Shankly's leadership and the team won numerous honours during the next twelve seasons.
In 1974, Shankly retired as manager and, despite Paisley's own initial reluctance, he was appointed as Shankly's successor. He went on to lead Liverpool through a period of unprecedented domestic and European dominance, winning twenty major honours in nine seasons: six League Championships, three League Cups, six Charity Shields, three European Cups, one UEFA Cup and one UEFA Super Cup. He also won the Manager of the Year Award a record six times. He retired from management in 1983 and was succeeded by Joe Fagan. He died in 1996, aged 77.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Bishop Auckland and arrival at Liverpool
- 3 Liverpool playing career
- 4 Coaching career
- 5 Managerial career
- 6 Retirement and death
- 7 Personal life
- 8 Honours
- 9 See also
- 10 Footnotes
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Bob Paisley was born on Thursday, 23 January 1919, in the small County Durham coal mining village of Hetton-le-Hole which is seven miles from Sunderland. Paisley described it as "a close-knit community where coal was king and football was religion". His father Sam was a miner and his mother Emily a housewife. They had four sons: Willie, Bob, Hugh and Alan in age order. On the day Paisley was born, 150,000 miners nationwide went on strike for a shorter working week. Paisley attended a local school until he was thirteen and, like his friends there, had to rely on soup kitchens to supplement a meagre diet. In 1926, during the General Strike when he was seven, he had to scramble over slag heaps to collect coal dust that his parents could mix with water to create a crude fuel. Life was difficult for working class families and, as Paisley recalled: "We lived in a small terraced house, and although we never went short of life's essentials, there was never much money left over by the end of the week".
Paisley was an outstanding footballer at Eppleton Primary School and helped his team win seventeen trophies in a four-year period. Throughout his playing career, he was a wing half.[nb 1] After leaving school at the age of 14, Paisley initially worked alongside his father at the pit and was there when his father suffered an underground accident which rendered him unable to work for five years. The mine was closed down and he trained to become a bricklayer.
Paisley had joined Hetton Football Club after leaving school in 1933 and continued to attract notice as a member of their junior team. He had a boyhood dream of playing for Sunderland but when he was recommended to them by Hetton he was rejected as being "too small". Instead, he signed for Bishop Auckland prior to the 1937–38 season for three shillings and sixpence per match.
Bishop Auckland and arrival at Liverpool
Paisley played for "the Bishops" for two seasons until he was signed by Liverpool in May 1939, a few months after his twentieth birthday. The Bishops were one of the top non-league teams in England and Paisley called them "the Kings of Amateur Football". In Paisley's second season with them, they achieved a treble by winning the Northern League championship, the FA Amateur Cup and the Durham County Challenge Cup. The FA Amateur Cup final was played in Durham at Roker Park where the Bishops defeated Wellington 3–0 after extra time. During the season, Paisley was approached by Liverpool manager George Kay and promised that he would sign for Liverpool at the end of the season. He kept his promise even though Sunderland reconsidered and made another approach.
Paisley's last match for the Bishops was on Saturday, 6 May 1939 in the Durham County Challenge Cup final against South Shields, also played at Roker Park. The following Monday, Paisley travelled by train to Liverpool where he signed his contract and began an association that would last half a century. His signing on fee was £25 and his wages were £8 a week in the season and £6 a week during the summer. He recalled: "I was full of beans that day, but it was very quiet really. I was met at the station and after that long trek up Scotland Road in a tramcar, I found there were only one or two youngsters at the ground – Billy Liddell, Eddie Spicer and Ray Lambert. The rest had been recruited for the territorials".
Following pre-season training, Paisley took part in two reserve team games at the start of the 1939–40 season but all competitions were cancelled after war was declared on 3 September. Paisley had got to know Matt Busby, who was then Liverpool's club captain and was grateful for the advice and encouragement which Busby gave him. Paisley said that Busby was "a man you could look up to and respect".
On 8 September 1939, the British Government advised The Football Association (the FA) that clubs could stage friendly matches outside evacuation areas and Liverpool were able to take part in such matches, constrained by unavailability of players in the services, throughout the war. Liverpool's first wartime friendly was at Sealand Road against Chester on 16 September. Paisley took part in 34 of these matches between 1939 and 1941, scoring ten goals. On 1 April 1940, aged 21, he played at left-half alongside Matt Busby and Billy Liddell in a depleted Liverpool team who "sprang a surprise" when they defeated Everton 3–1 at Goodison Park.
Second World War and aftermath (section to be researched and expanded)
Paisley was posted abroad in 1941 and served with Montgomery's Eighth Army, the so-called "Desert Rats", at the relief of Tobruk and the watershed victory at El Alamein, as an anti-tank gunner. In June 1944 he rode aboard a tank as the Allies liberated Rome. In 1945, shortly before he was demobbed, he met his future wife Jessie on a train outside Maghull and in July the following year the two were married. In the years that followed, Bob and Jessie were to celebrate the birth of two sons, Robert and Graham, and a daughter Christine.
Liverpool playing career
He eventually made his debut on 5 January 1946 in Liverpool's first post-war competitive match, which was an FA Cup 3rd round, 1st leg away match at Sealand Road, the home ground of Chester. Liverpool won the game 2-0. Paisley's first goal didn't come until the 1 May 1948 in a League game at Anfield, against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Paisley's 22nd-minute strike along with a Jack Balmer goal in the 80th were enough to help the Reds win 2-1.
In the first full season after the war, 1946–47, he helped Liverpool to their first league title in 24 years, making 34 appearances in the 42-match season. He remained a fixture in the side, appearing in 30+ matches in 1947/48 and 1948/49 and 28 in 1949/50, a season of both highs and lows for Paisley who scored the opening goal of a 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Merseyside rivals Everton only to be dropped for the Final against Arsenal, the club's first appearance at Wembley. Paisley later said that the experience stood him in good stead when it came to telling players they were not going to play in big games as he knew how they felt. Paisley became club captain the following season.
After retiring as a one-club man in 1954, he joined the back room staff as self-taught Physiotherapist and had a knack of being able to diagnose a player's injury just by looking at them. He later became a coach for the reserves. The arrival of Bill Shankly as manager in December 1959 transformed the fortunes of the club. Shankly utilised The Boot Room for a second purpose, a room for coaches' meetings. Paisley was one of Shankly's founder members of the boot room staff along with Joe Fagan and Reuben Bennett. Under Shankly's management Liverpool won three league titles, two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup over the next fifteen years.
Following victory in the 1974 FA Cup Final, Bill Shankly suddenly announced his retirement. In the wake of the shock announcement, the directors of Liverpool turned to the unassuming Paisley as his replacement, in the hope of maintaining continuity.
Paisley would prove to be a huge success at Liverpool, winning at least one trophy in eight of his nine years as manager. Hugely disappointed by finishing second in his first season as manager, the team went on to win the league title and UEFA Cup in 1976. This period marked the beginning of Liverpool's dominance of English and European football, as the team went on to become Champions on six occasions - finishing second twice - as well as winning three League Cups, one UEFA Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, six Charity Shields and, most significantly, three European Cups. His first season was the only one of his nine as Liverpool manager which ended trophyless, and in six of those seasons he managed Liverpool to two major trophies. Apart from a fifth place finish in 1981, Liverpool never finished lower than runners-up in the league with Paisley as manager.
Liverpool's dominance of the era in English and European football was primarily challenged by Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough, and Aston Villa under Ron Saunders and Tony Barton between 1977 and 1982. There were brief challenges from a number of other clubs, notably Manchester United under Tommy Docherty in 1975-76 and 1976-77, and again in Paisley's final season as Liverpool manager, when United won the FA Cup. However, Liverpool's local rivals Everton failed to make much of an impact in the league or pose a serious threat to Liverpool's dominance during the Paisley era - although they would go on to enjoy four seasons of sustained success immediately after Paisley's retirement.
Paisley remains the only man in history to manage three European Cup-winning sides. He also won an unprecedented six Manager of the Year Awards. The only trophy that Paisley failed to win as manager was the FA Cup, although Liverpool would be runners-up in 1977.
Retirement and death
Paisley retired as Liverpool manager at the end of the 1982-83 season, having spent 44 unbroken years at the club in different capacities. He was replaced by Joe Fagan, his assistant, who would go on to win Liverpool their fourth European Cup.
He worked informally as a consultant and advisor to Kenny Dalglish for two years after the latter's appointment as player-manager in 1985, before being appointed as a club director. In early 1986, then aged 66, he was interviewed by the Football Association of Ireland with a view to taking charge of the Ireland football team. Jack Charlton was eventually given the job instead however.
He continued to serve Liverpool as a director until he retired in early 1992 due to ill health, having been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease, something which had become apparent in his early seventies when he was unable to remember his way home when driving back from Anfield.
He died on 14 February 1996 at the age of 77, and after his death was honoured by the club with the opening of the Paisley Gates at one of the entrances to Anfield, complementing the existing Shankly Gates. He was buried in the churchyard of St Peter's Church in Woolton, Liverpool.
Paisley married his wife Jessie, a school teacher, in 1946, and they had two sons, Robert and Graham, and a daughter, Christine. He lived with his family in Liverpool until his death in 1996. His wife Jessie died in the early hours of 8 February 2012 as the result of a heart infection, aged 96.
As a player
As a manager
- Football League First Division (6): 1975–76, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83
- League Cup (3): 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83
- FA Charity Shield (6): 1974, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982
- European Cup (3): 1976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81
- UEFA Cup (1): 1975–76
- UEFA Super Cup (1): 1977
|Liverpool||26 August 1974||1 July 1983||535||308||131||96||57.57|
As an individual
- Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE): 1983
- Inaugural Inductee to the English Football Hall of Fame: 2002
- Football Manager of the Year Award (6): 1975–76, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83
- List of European Cup and UEFA Champions League winning managers
- List of UEFA Cup and Europa League winning managers
- The position of wing half is now obsolete in football terminology but it was a key role at the time of Paisley's career when teams routinely played in a 2–3–5 formation. The wing halves (right and left) played outside the centre half in the middle three. Although some wing halves were more defensive than creative, Paisley was the equivalent of what is now called an attacking midfielder, his role being to supply and support his forwards, sometimes by shooting for goal himself.
- bobpaisley.com – The Man. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
- bobpaisley.com – The Player. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
- Andrews, pp. 6–26.
- Andrews, p.276.
- "Reuben Bennett". Qosfc.com. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- Galvin, Robert. "Hall of Fame 2006". The National Football Museum. Archived from the original on 23 December 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- "BBC SPORT | LIVERPOOL | Liverpool legend Fagan dies". BBC News. 2001-07-02. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- "Football / Features / Fidelity In Football". Itv-football.co.uk. 2011-05-27. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- Evening Times
- Shea, Julian (2006-05-10). "BBC SPORT | Football | FA Cup | FA Cup flashback". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- Sunday Sun - Bob Paisley - 100 North East Heroes
- "Bob Paisley (1919 - 1996) - Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- Bill Shankly
- Jessie Paisley Liverpool Local News - Liverpool Echo
- Andrews, Gordon (1989). The Datasport Book of Wartime Football 1939–46. Datasport.
- Hughes, Simon (2009). Geoff Twentyman: Secret Diary of a Liverpool Scout. Liverpool: Trinity Mirror Sport Media. ISBN 978-1-906802-00-4.
- Kelly, Stephen F. (1997). Bill Shankly: It's Much More Important Than That. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-7535-0003-5.
- St John, Ian (2005). The Saint: My Autobiography. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-84114-1.
- Shankly, Bill; Roberts, John (1976). Shankly. London: Arthur Barker Ltd. ISBN 0-213-16603-8.
- Smith, Tommy (2008). Anfield Iron. London: Transworld Publishers. ISBN 978-0-593-05958-6.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Bob Paisley|
- Bob Paisley website
- Liverpool FC official profile
- English Football Hall of Fame Profile
- Bob Paisley profile and related articles at LFC Online
- Christine McMahon recalls her father's appearance on This Is Your Life
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