Sunday, March 4, 2012

Focus On : Shankly "The Story Of A Soccer Legend"

   Sur sa statue, à l'ombre du Kop d'Anfield, aucune date, pas la moindre trace de palmarès, juste ces quelques mots : « Bill Shankly. He made the people happy.» Si Shankly a rendu heureux le peuple de Liverpool et si, trente ans après sa mort, son mythe n'a pas pris une ride, c'est qu'il a changé à jamais la vie des Reds. Autrement dit, bouleversé leur destin, décuplé leur ambition, transformé leur mentalité, chamboulé leurs méthodes de travail et surtout métamorphosé leur rapport aux gens. Phil Thompson, ancien défenseur et entraîneur du club, nous racontait un jour: « Shanks était un homme du peuple. Et, dans les années 60, ses joueurs aussi. Ils étaient juste des prolos qui avaient mieux réussi que les autres. L'équipe incarnait donc les mêmes valeurs que ses supporters, et ça les a soudainement rapprochés d'elle. » Lorsque cet ancien international écossais, fils de mineur et rouge pur et dur, accoste sur la Mersey, le 1e décembre 1959, sa notoriété ne s'étend pas encore au-delà du nord de l'Angleterre. C'est là, sur le tas, qu'il a appris son métier d'entraîneur depuis dix ans dans les divisions inférieures et les combats féroces. 

 Là, qu'il a forgé ses convictions, affirmé ses principes et cultivé sa passion pour le jeu, en écumant la région et tous ses noms qui respirent la classe ouvrière et lui ressemblent tant: Carlisle, Grimsby, Workington, Huddersfield. Que de l'authentique, de la sueur, de la solidarité, de la simplicité, de l'humilité, plus une bonne dose de convivialité et d'humour. À l'époque, Liverpool est redevenu un club ordinaire de Deuxième Division, mais Shankly décèle en lui un vrai potentiel, y renifle une terre de promesses et découvre vite la ferveur incomparable de son public. Thompson, toujours : « Les Beatles n'allaient pas tarder à conquérir le monde, la musique avait envahi les rues, le port et les docks étaient prospères, et cette ville, dure, ouvrière, à la mauvaise réputation, était devenue soudainement un endroit qui dégageait une énergie et une créativité incroyables. La révolution était en route...» Pour créer le monstre qu'il a déjà en tête, construire ce bloc indestructible, et lui dessiner un avenir qu'il veut européen, Shankly bouscule les habitudes. Il commence par faire ravaler Melwood, le centre d'entraînement tombé en lambeaux, et offrir à ses joueurs un outil de travail moderne. Il invente le concept d'«équipe derrière l'équipe» et s'appuie dorénavant sur un staff technique, sorte de garde rapprochée, avec lequel il échafaude ses stratégies dans la boot room. Il invente chaque jour des jeux différents et de nouveaux exercices, même s'il ne jure que par les 5-5. Il bannit les tableaux noirs, les schémas qu'on y dessine, et leur préfère le parler vrai et les causeries où l'adversaire est systématiquement dénigré ou balayé en quelques mots. 

Surtout, il inculque aux Reds un style résolument collectif et novateur en Angleterre, dont les trois fondamentaux sont: « Pass, move, receive the Bail ». Traduction donner, se déplacer, libérer l'espace, en créer un autre, donner en permanence du mouvement, offrir une nouvelle solution de passe et recevoir à nouveau la balle. Il ne reste plus alors qu'à trouver la matière première pour épouser sa cause et animer cette philosophie, à base de possession et de maîtrise. Car Shankly a aussi ses exigences. Il aime les joueurs fins, techniques et inventifs. Il les adore également solides, durs au mal, responsables, capables de prendre les bonnes décisions, et s'ils ne possèdent pas le caractère et la mentalité désirées, ils ne les calculent même pas. En clair, il ne signe que des Nordistes ou des compatriotes. Ses deux premières recrues majeures, deux Écossais comme lui, disent tout de ses goûts. D'un côté, lan st John, un avant-centre acheté à Motherwell qui allie talent et malice. De l'autre, Ron Yeats, un colosse venu de Dundee qui a travaillé aux abattoirs, combine puissance et vitesse, et devient son capitaine et le patron de sa défense. En 1962, un an plus tard, Liverpool remonte, en 1964, il est champion, en 1965, il découvre la Coupe  . d'Europe et remporte sa première Cup. L'équipe joue tout en rouge, le Kop a adopté pour hymne You'll never walk alone, les adversaires tremblent en passant sous le panneau «This is Anfield» qui orne le bas des marches débouchant sur la pelouse. La légende Shankly est en marche...







VHS Rip :

Cover Scan brut:
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   A tribute to Bill Shankly, the man who brought Liverpool  Football Team into the First Division and stayed their manager for  fifteen years. Includes the best highlights from FA and UEFA Cup Finals. 
There had been whispers circulating Merseyside for a month predicting Phil Taylor's departure, the rumour adding that there was little doubt who would succeed him Bill Shankly, the manager of Huddersfield Town. The Liverpool Echo had his name top of their list but also reckoned the club were thinking about Harry Catterick, Jimmy Hagan and Jimmy Murphy. Even Billy Liddell was said to be under consideration along with two other backroom boys, Reuben Bennett and interestingly, Bob Paisley. Shankly had applied once before for the manager's job at Anfield when Phil Taylor was selected but this time it was the club which approached him. Liverpool chairman Tom Williams and director, Harry Latham had travelled over the Pennines to Huddersfield in mid-October to watch Town taking on Cardiff City in a Division Two match. It was not the game they had come to see. After the match, the two approached Shankly and asked him bluntly if he would like to manage Liverpool. Although he was inclined to accept immediately he bided his time until Taylor had formally resigned. Three weeks later on Tuesday 1 December 1959, following a board meeting, forty-six-year-old Bill Shankly was appointed manager of Liverpool with an annual salary of £2,500.
William Shankly had been born in 1913 in the coalmining village of Glenbuck, a stone's throw away from the racecourse at Ayr. One of ten children, he was brought up with coalmining and football in his blood, all five sons later playing professional soccer. He was spotted playing football while still a teenager and was snapped up by Carlisle United where he spent a frustrating season in the reserves. In 1933 Preston North End, then struggling in the Second Division, signed him and he began a long association with the north Lancashire club as their right half. He played in two successive Cup finals helping Preston to a win in 1938 and in the same year won the first of his five Scottish caps. But war interrupted his career, stealing him from what might have been a distinguished international spell. He played after the War for a few years and even captained Preston but then in 1949 he was offered the manager's job back at Carlisle. He leaped at the opportunity and after a short spell on the Borders moved to Grimsby, Workington and Huddersfield in fairly quick succession, learning the managerial ropes on the way. When he arrived at Anfield, however, it was with potential rather than reputation. What he found was hardly to his liking. He later wrote that 'the ground was an eyesore. It needed renovating and cleaning up. It was not good enough for the public of Liverpool and the team was not good enough for the public of Liverpool.
But he did start on one positive note. He told the backroom staff that the new manager would not be introducing any new assistants. He would be loyal to those already on the staff but in return expected loyalty from them. It was a valuable beginning and a lesson that has carried on through the years. Changes among the backroom staff may not have been necessary but after Liverpool's first game when Cardiff City won 4-0 it was quickly apparent that changes on the field were vital. Shankly jotted down the names of twenty-four of the club's long list of players and within a year all twenty-four had moved on. N'ew blood was needed and the Liverpool Echo was soon speculating that Dennis Law might be the first signing from his old club but Law's price was already escalating way out of Liverpool's reach. Instead Shankly tried first to sign Jack Charlton from Leeds United but Leeds wanted more than the £18,000 Liverpool were prepared to pay. Results picked up in the New Year with only one defeat in ten matches and the team slowly began to climb from mid-table towards the top. They also had a fine run at the end of the season but with Aston Villa and Cardiff so far ahead there was never any chance of promotion. Instead they finished third yet again, eight points behind the Welshmen. The attack had knocked in a creditable ninety goals, thanks mainly to a young lad called Roger Hunt who had just been introduced to League football. He scored twenty-one goals but the main problem lay with the defence which had conceded sixty-six goals. It was clear where the first priority lay in the transfer market. In the Cup they faced Leyton Orient in the opening round and comfortably beat them 2—1 only to draw glamorous Manchester United at Anfield in the next round. United won by three goals to one but Liverpool put up a spirited performance against Matt Busby's side. Seventeen-year-old Ian Callaghan was plucked from among the club's apprentices and thrown into the Second Division performing well enough to hang on to his place for the next eighteen years. But these were only just the beginnings. There was still much more to do and it would take more than a season or two before the rich promise could be fulfilled.



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