Bob Paisley

Bob Paisley

Robert (Bob) Paisley was born in Hetton-le-Hole on 23rd January 1919. He played football for Bishop Aukland and in 1938 he was a member of the team that won the FA Amateur Cup.

George Kay, the manager of Liverpool, signed Paisley as a professional in May 1939. The captain of the team at the time was Matt Busby.

Paisley's football career was interrupted by the Second World War. He served in the However, he served in England and played as a guest for Bristol City during the conflict.

Paisley made his debut for Liverpool against Chester City in the FA Cup in January 1946. George Kay had developed an excellent team by the time football resumed after the war. Matt Busby had been forced into retirement but Kay had acquired players of the quality of Billy Liddell, Jack Balmer and Albert Stubbins.

Liverpool won the First Division championship in the 1946-47 season. Bob Paisley claimed that George Kay "took Liverpool through the War to come out a bit like West Ham did after the First War ...He was one of the people who laid the ground for the way Liverpool teams would play in the future ...keeping the ball on the ground and passing it well ...but being strong on the ball as well." The club owed a great deal to Jack Balmer and Albert Stubbins who ended up joint top-scorers with 24 goals each. Liverpool also reached the semi-final of the FA Cup, but was unfortunately beaten by Burnley 1-0.

Tony Matthews in Who's Who of Liverpool described Paisley as: "A dour tackling left-half, determined and pugnacious, he was blessed with an indefatigable spirit and scored a vital goal in the FA Cup semi-final clash with Everton in 1950 but was then left out of the final team against Arsenal. He was also a long-throw expert and many goals were scored from his deliveries which dropped deep into the danger zone."

Paisley retired from playing football in July 1954. He had scored 13 goals in 278 appearances. He remained on the staff as physiotherapist and in 1957 became chief trainer.

In December 1959, Bill Shankly became manager of Liverpool, another Second Division club trying to get promotion to the top league. Shankly got them into 3rd place in 1959-60. He repeated this in 1960-61, but the following year won the championship with 62 points.

Liverpool finished in a respectable 8th place in their first season back in the First Division. The following season (1963-64) they won the league with their arch-rivals, Everton, finishing in 3rd place. Over the next ten years Liverpool won the league on two more occasions: 1965-66 and 1972-73. They also won the FA Cup in 1971 and 1974.

In July, 1974, Bill Shankly, now 60 years old, decided to retire. He later commented: "It was the most difficult thing in the world, when I went to tell the chairman. It was like walking to the electric chair."

Paisley now became the new manager. He was even more successful than Bill Shankly winning six First Division championships (1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982 and 1983), three League Cup finals (1981, 1982 and 1983) and three European Championship's Cup finals (1977, 1978 and 1981). He was also voted "Manager of the Year" a record six times between 1976 and 1983.

Paisley retired as manager in June 1983, but continued as a director and adviser until he retired from ill-health in 1992.

Bob Paisley died in Liverpool on 14th February 1996.