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Robert 'Bob' Paisley OBE

Sportsman and Manger (Liverpool FC)

OBE (born 23rd January 1919, died 14th February, 1996) was an English football player who became best known for being one of the most successful managers ever in English football whilst managing his only team Liverpool Football Club in the 1970s and 1980s.

Bob Paisley is without doubt the most successful English football manager of all time. His association with Liverpool FC was to span more than half a century and his contribution to the club, firstly as a player, then as a physiotherapist and coach, and finally as manager, is without parallel in the game. In nine glorious years as manager between 1974 and 1983, he was to take Liverpool to six League Championships, three European Cups, one UEFA Cup and three League Cups.

Life and playing career

Born Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham, England, Paisley joined Liverpool from non-League Bishop Auckland F.C. in May 1939. the outbreak of World War ll curtailed Bob's career for 6 years and prevented him from making his debut a lot sooner than he did. He eventually made his long overdue debut on the 5th January 1946 in Liverpool's first post-war competitive match which was a F.A Cup 3rd round 1st leg match at Sealand Road, Chester City were the hosts but couldn't prevent the Reds winning 2-0 with the goals coming from Willie Fagan and fellow debutant, the great Billy Liddell, Paisley first goal didn't come until the 1st May 1948 in a league game at Anfield, Wolverhampton Wanderers were the visitors and 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, Bob helped Liverpool to their 1st league title in 24 years, he made 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. The 49/50 proved to a season of both high's and low's for Paisley, having scored the opening goal of a 2-0 F.A Cup semi-final win over Merseyside rivals Everton he was surprisingly dropped for the Final against Arsenal, it was the Reds first ever appearance at Wembley to make matter worse. Bob Actually said that the experience stood him in good stead when it came to telling players they were not going to play in big games, stating he could tell them he knew how they felt and they knew he did.

He became club captain the following season. After retiring as a player in 1954 he joined the back room staff as self taught Physiotherapist Paisley had a knack of being able to diognose a players injury just by looking at them, he then became a coach for the reserves. The arrival of Bill Shankly as manager in December 1959 transformed the fortunes of the club. Paisley became Shankly's right hand man and the partnership blossomed as three league titles, two FA Cups and one UEFA Cup were won over the next fifteen years would prove.

In July 1974 the man who rebuilt Liverpool, Bill Shankly, rocked the very foundations that Anfield is built upon when out of the blue he announced his retirement, like thousands of Koppites, the directors of Liverpool pondered on who to appoint as the great man's successor, as a man they turned to the unassuming Paisley who, reluctantly, took on the mountainous task of following Shankly.

Follow him he did, he led the team for nine seasons, winning at least one trophy in eight of those. Disappointed by finishing second in his first season as manager, they went one better the following year, winning the title. This was the start of Liverpool's dominance of the game in England - in Paisley's nine seasons in charge, Liverpool won six League titles and finished second twice, 3 League Cups the first time that Liverpool had won the trophy, 1 UEFA Cup, 1 European Super Cup, 5 Charity Shields and most significantly they won the club's first 3 European Cups. He remains the only man in history to coach 3 European Cup winning sides. On a more personal note he won 6 manager of the year awards.

Paisley retired in 1983 after spending 44 unbroken years at the club, be was replaced by Joe Fagan, another of the Boot Room old boys. He continued to serve Liverpool as a director, until he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 1992. After his death in 1996, he was honoured by the club with the opening of the Paisley Gates at one of the entrances to Anfield, complementing the existing Shankly Gates.

Paisley was made an Inaugural Inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his impact on the English game as a manager.

Career details

As a player

    * Liverpool F.C (1939 - 1954)†


    * 1946/47 League Championship (Level 1) medal

Bob's career was curtailed by 6 years due to the Second World War


    * F.A Cup (1950)  was awarded a medal even though he didn't appear in the final.

Honours As Manager

    * Liverpool F.C (1974 - 1983)


    * 1974/75 Charity Shield : First prize of his managerial career
    * 1975/76 League Championship (Division 1) : First major trophy of his managerial career
    * 1975/76 UEFA Cup : His first European trophy and Liverpool's second
    * 1976/77 Charity Shield : His second Charity Shield
    * 1976/77 League Championship (Division 1) : His second league title
    * 1976/77 European Cup : Liverpool's first European Cup - club would have ended season as treble winners had it not been for an F.A Cup final defeat to Manchester United
    * 1977/78 Charity Shield Shared : Shared with Manchester United, who beat them in the previous season's cup final
    * 1977/78 European Super Cup : Liverpool's first Super Cup
    * 1977/78 European Cup : Retained European Cup from the previous year
    * 1978/79 League Championship (Division 1) : Third title in four years
    * 1979/80 Charity Shield : His fourth charity shield
    * 1979/80 League Championship (Division 1) : Fourth title in five years
    * 1980/81 League Cup : Liverpool's first ever League Cup
    * 1980/81 European Cup : European Cup number 3
    * 1981/82 League Cup : Retained League Cup
    * 1981/82 League Championship (Division 1) : Fifth title in seven years
    * 1982/83 Charity Shield : Charity shield number 5
    * 1982/83 League Cup : Third successive League Cup
    * 1982/83 League Championship (Division 1) : 21st and final managerial prize

Runner Up

    * 1974/75 League Championship (Division 1)
    * 1976/77 FA Cup
    * 1977/78 League Cup
    * 1977/78 League Championship (Division 1)
    * 1978/79 European Super Cup
    * 1981/82 Intercontinental Cup
    * 1983/84 Charity Shield

Personal Honours

    * Liverpool F.C (1974 - 1983)

    * 1975/76 Manager of the year award
    * 1976/77 Manager of the year award
    * 1978/79 Manager of the year award
    * 1979/80 Manager of the year award
    * 1981/82 Manager of the year award
    * 1982/83 Manager of the year award
    * 2002 Inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame