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The legacy of the boot room

_1418010.jpgThe most successful boot room graduate - Bob Paisley

The passing of former Liverpool manager Joe Fagan will sadden the red half of Merseyside. But it will also serve as a reminder of the unofficial institution which influenced football for three decades.

Although Fagan will be rightly remembered as the man who took the Reds to an unprecedented treble in 1984, he was also one of the 'boot room boys'.

The boot room was, depending on who you believed, the place where strategy for future matches was planned or where visiting managers went for a post-match drink.

It was also the place where future Liverpool managers were trained. It was something that became synonymous with Liverpool after the arrival of Bill Shankly on Merseyside.

Aside from Fagan, the venerable Bob Paisley honed his trade in the boot room, an apparently unglamorous part of Anfield, noted mostly for the sly bottles of gin hidden in the cupboard.

In the early days of the boot room, it was Paisley, Reuben Bennett, and Joe Fagan who formed the nucleus of the little meetings that would take place.

That trio brought a fabulous insight into football, simply because of their different backgrounds.

Paisley was steeped in Liverpool, having served as a player and then physiotherapist, before being promoted into first-team affairs.

Although a native of Durham, Paisley understood the passion of Liverpool fans as well as anyone.

Scot Bennett knew Shankly through his family and his experiences as a player of some ability at Dundee gave him valuable experience.

And then of course there was Fagan, who never actually played for the Reds but had played for Manchester City and who Shankly had tried to sign for Grimsby.

_1418012.jpgThe last of the line - Roy Evans

Those three had been entrenched at Anfield before Shankly arrived and formed the backbone of the success that would come to Liverpool in future years.

"Fellows, your jobs are safe. Some managers bring their own people with them. Not me. I have my own system and it will work in co-operation with you," were said to be Shankly's words when he arrived at Liverpool in 1959.

"I will lay down the plans and gradually we will all be on the same wavelength. I demand only one thing: loyalty."

Almost as if to guarantee that loyalty, future members of the boot room would come from within the club.

There would be Ronnie Moran, club captain when Shankly arrived, who soon became the noticeably bald member sitting on the team bench during games.

And in 1974, as Shankly left Liverpool for good, there was the quiet appointment of Roy Evans, a young left-back who was persuaded to give up his dreams of professional football for a career in coaching.

_1418011.jpgShankly demanded only loyalty from his boot room boys

It would be Evans who would resume the boot room story in 1994, before his resignation in November 1998, which signalled the end of the era.

Outsiders often scoffed at the thought of these men sat in a small room after games compiling dossiers on what they had just seen and what they were planning for the next game.

But seven league titles, five league cups, four European cups and one Uefa Cup - the trophies won by Messrs Paisley, Fagan and Evans - suggest they were not wrong often.

Between them, the boot room boys managed the club for nearly 16 years and kept Liverpool near the top for most of that time.

The boot room boys:

Bob Paisley - 1974-83, six league titles, three European Cups, one Uefa cup, three league cups

Joe Fagan - 1983-85, one league title, one league cup, one European Cup

Roy Evans - 1994 - 1998, one league cup

Their like will never be seen again.

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Ronnie Moran: The last of Bill Shankly's original Bootroom Boys

A ROOM in Ronnie Moran's comfortable Crosby bungalow offers a collection of reminders from a 49-year Liverpool career that saw him progress from teenage apprentice to assistant manager.

Adorning the walls are a variety of pictures, from famous league championship and European Cup wins, to a snapshot of Moran shaking hands with Prince Charles.

He uses it as a television room, somewhere to watch the football when his wife of 52 years, Joyce, needs a well-earned break from the second love of his life.

The room doubles up as a spare bedroom where the grandchildren sleep when they stay over. The kids refer to it simply as 'The Boot Room’.

It is an apt title for a place where Moran spends much of his time.

“That's the grandchildren,” he says proudly, pointing to a photograph on a small table beneath a print of another triumphant night at Anfield. “The eldest one, she's got a daughter too, our great- grandaughter. She's three now, a real handful.”

At 75, Moran is the last surviving member of Liverpool's original Boot Room Boys.

Asked by Bill Shankly to take charge of the youth team when his playing days at Anfield were up, Moran was a permanent fixture in the room beneath the Main Stand.

It is the stuff of legend in football circles, an idea says Moran, that was conceived by Shankly and embraced by his trusted lieutenants, Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan.

“Initially Joe and Bob had all their kit in a room that was right down towards the Anfield Road end.

“They started that off as the first Boot Room I suppose. It wasn't an official boot room but that's where the idea came from. It was full of old kit and you had to knock at the door to get in there. It wasn't a big room but you'd sometimes get about 20 to 30 people in there.

“It was a place where people could go and have a good natter. I was in there a lot from when I hung up my boots and started working with the kids.

“Fellas like Reuben Bennett and Tom Saunders would come in occasionally but the original Boot Room was mainly the three of us; Joe, Bob and myself, plus whoever would come in after games.”

After Shankly through to Roy Evans it was pretty much a pre-requisite for the Liverpool manager to have learned his trade under the traditions of the Boot Room. It was perceived as the nerve centre of the club where the so-called Liverpool Way was formulated by those privy to the mysterious goings on that took place within its four walls.

Moran remembers it as a much simpler place, however.

Although Shankly was instrumental in its foundation, the myth of him holding court in the Boot Room, hatching plans for domestic and European domination is quickly dispelled.

“It always gets mentioned with Shanks in mind,” says Moran. “He brought the Boot Room to the club but he didn't actually come in too often after games.

“Even during the week, he'd take people into his office while a few of us would be in the Boot Room.

“Shanks would come in now and again but never after games. Myself, Joe and Bob would always be in there though, even during the week after training. You'd have your lunch and do a bit of work, sorting the kits or whatever. Then we'd sit down and have a natter.”

The Boot Room also became the venue for a post-match drink, a kind of unofficial hospitality lounge, only much smaller. It was a gesture that soon caught on in the game.

“No matter how a match went or what the result, we'd always invite visiting staff to come and have drink in the Boot Room before they left.

“They'd always come down. I remember Cloughie (Brian) being in there a couple of times.

“We used to have all the kit bags in there. They were big straw things back then. Cloughie came in and sat on one of them just listening to what was going on, taking it all in.

“It was like a ritual after each game. Once Joe and Bob started it up, it began happening at most clubs. They may not have had a Boot Room as such but there'd always be somewhere to go after the game. Soon enough, wherever we went people would be asking us in for a drink before we travelled.”

When Anfield was redeveloped in the early ‘90s, the famous Boot Room made way for a new press room to cater for increased media demands.

To many it was a travesty.

What isn't widely known though is that a new Boot Room was created just a few feet across the corridor.

Under the auspices of current assistant manager, Sammy Lee, the spirit lives on. What's more, you're still likely to find Moran in there.

“Since he came back a few years ago Sammy has asked me to look after the Boot Room when I'm at Anfield for a match,” smiles Moran.

“It's great Sammy has kept it going. You need a pass now to get anywhere but Sammy has sorted me out with one.

“You'll still get managers and staff coming in there before and after games. I caught up with Fergie (Alex Ferguson) and Bobby Charlton in there.”

“As they approached the Boot Room I started joking about, bowing to them and saying 'Good afternoon Sirs.' They were having none of it. We had a cup of tea and a good catch up, talking football and what not.”

Just like the old days, he might say.

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Liverpool FC – An Alternative Lesson From History.



The paradoxical trouble with Liverpool’s tradition is that so much of it is very good indeed, (...) The irony is that Liverpool’s proud heritage was not created by keeping things the same from generation to generation, however much some fans seem to think so, but the exact opposite. Most of the club’s successes have in fact come when they’ve broken with tradition and done something differently, (...)

Take for example the domination of Europe in the 1970s and 80s, without doubt one of the proudest parts of the team’s history for all supporters. As many histories of the club and former players have attested, the turning point came following their early elimination from the European Cup by Red Star Belgrade in 1973. Realising that their team had been outplayed, the coaching staff decided that if they wanted to capture the European Cup, changes would have to be made to the playing style.

As Brian Glanville put it in Champions of Europe:

“It was immensely to the credit of Shankly and his Boot Room brains’ trust that they had the courage and initiative to admit to themselves that their traditional, often long-ball, English tactics were never going to gain them what they wanted in Europe, that changes must be made to a more Continental style, with more emphasis on a patient build-up and on ball control.”

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Guest Tweener

Moi c est l entrée de dalglish qui me fou les frissons ....

J ai vu et revu cette vidéo je m en lasserai jamais "a legend to you .... Kenny dalglish " et la foule qui cri comme pour un but en final de champions league , magnifique

Je plussoie. J'en vibre encore.

Kenny :respect: :respect:

Magnifique vidéo :lfcfan:

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Vous confondez la Liverpool Way avec l'histoire de Liverpool. L'une a été bercée avec l'autre, mais pas toujours.

Le but de créer ce topic n'était pas d'en debattre? J'ai posté un lien qui donne le point de vue d'un supporter et il n'y a pas eu de réponses... Dommage pour le débat.

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