“A brilliant day”

The second version of the Shankly Cup took place on Saturday 8 June as eight Under-15 teams from Liverpool and East Ayrshire played for the title at The Barony Campus in Cumnock. 

Two coaches left Liverpool early morning, stopping off at the Glenbuck Heritage site en route to pay respects to the great man and to meet the Shankly family. Barbara Alexander, Bill Shankly’s niece, welcomed everyone, emphasising how much Shankly would have approved of and loved the idea.  

Then it was on to the sports site and the games.

Auchinleck Talbot, Bonnyton Thistle, Cumnock Juniors and Stewarton Annick pulled on their boots to represent East Ayrshire against Liverpool’s Dynamo Childwall, Kingsthorne Warriors, Parkview Colts and Thomas Lane Tigers.

The tournament was split, Champions league style, into two groups of four, with teams playing three games each. The two top teams from each group then played for the Shankly Cup, and the third and fourth teams for the Shankly Shield.

After two competitive semi-finals, including all four Liverpool teams Dynamo Childwall won the Shankly Cup and The Shankly Shield went to Thomas Lane Tigers.

This year’s occasion also had a special guest with former LFC forward and Shankly signing Bobby Graham making the trip, with his son Robert, and handing out the medals.  

More than just a football competition, the event is an occasion for celebration and forging links, with a true sense of camaraderie and friendship.

It was originally the idea of Stephen Monaghan from SOS, who said: “Shankly’s legacy has created an unbreakable bond between communities in East Ayrshire and Liverpool. His values are as important today as they were 65 years ago and this tournament is an amazing tribute to him. Everyone who came along had a brilliant day.”

SOS patron and Shankly’s granddaughter Karen Gill echoed the thoughts and said, “When I go to Glenbuck and the Heritage Village and see these young teams from Liverpool walk where he walked, where he lived – it is very emotional for me, and if my granddad was alive that would mean everything to him, more than any other accolade.”

Following the success of this year’s tournament, we hope it will become an annual affair and plans are already underway for 2025. Next year, it will be staged in Liverpool and along with teams from East Ayshire, we are aiming to go international and will invite sides from across Europe and beyond. We’ll keep you posted.

We would like to say a special thank-you to all at the Barony in Cumnock for hosting, Adam Strain from East Aryshire Council, all the volunteers – from team managers to caterers to supporters – and to Grace Merritt @gracemerritt for recording the day with photos and video.

Financed as part of SOS’s community initiatives, a large donation this time was made in memory of LFC fan and Union member Dominic Boyle. Before he passed away, Dom made a substantial donation to SOS, and a couple of MC members were able to visit him and talk about our shared passion for the Reds. 

Dom sadly passed away in June 2021 and rather than flowers at his funeral, his family organised a collection for SOS. 

We feel using this donation for an event linking local youth players and Bill Shankly is a fitting tribute to Dom and one he would have loved. We send our heartflet thanks and continuing thoughts to his family, RIP Dominic Boyle.

Shankly Cup winners 2024 Dynamo Childwall

Glenbuck Heritage Site

Bobby Graham, Robert Graham and Stephen Monaghan

The Shankly Cup statue and pennant