December 1 2019 marks the 60th anniversary of Bill Shankly agreeing to become manager of Liverpool FC. He took over two weeks later on December 14.
To commemorate this anniversary and the great man’s legacy Spirit of Shankly and East Ayrshire Council are thrilled to announce the launch of the Spirit of Shankly Cup.
A juniors tournament, it will bring together eight teams, four from Liverpool and four from East Ayrshire, where Shankly was born in the mining village Glenbuck in 1913.
The inaugural event will be played in June 2020 in one of East Ayrshire’s excellent footballing facilities.
Douglas Reid, leader of East Ayrshire Council, said: “Football has featured in the lives of East Ayrshire’s mining communities for generations. Bill Shankly and his five brothers all played professional football. In total, some 50 members of Glenbuck’s, famous Cherrypickers, progressed to professional teams. That incredible legacy continues today with our hugely talented and successful local junior teams.
“The Sprit of Shankly Cup will build on this, strengthening the bond between Liverpool and East Ayrshire giving local teams from both sides a unique opportunity to compete for something special, in the memory of one of the world’s greatest football managers.
“In September this year, we unveiled the restored site of Glenbuck Heritage Villa. We look forward to welcoming players and supporters to Glenbuck and East Ayrshire as part of the tournament arrangements.”
Tournament organiser Dave MacDiarmid said: “We are honoured to be part of this great project. It’s amazing that Shankly’s legacy lives on and the youngsters will get to see where it all began and how his values in life are as strong as ever.”
When Shankly arrived, Liverpool were languishing in the Second Division. The club was well supported, but its infrastructure was second-rate: Anfield and the training ground at Melwood were dilapidated; directors regularly meddled in team selections; funds for transfers were rarely forthcoming.
Through his leadership, dedication, motivation and commitment, Shankly’s promise to make Liverpool a bastion of invincibility was realised.
SOS’s Stephen Monaghan said: “It’s a personal honour to be involved in the Spirit of Shankly Cup. It’s a fantastic, fitting tribute to the great man that will see youngsters from Liverpool and Ayrshire brought together under his name.”
Karen Gill, Bill Shankly’s granddaughter added: “It’s a brilliant tribute to my grandad’s legacy that Spirit of Shankly have helped arrange this tournament. This is something special that will help honour his memory in a fitting manner. Playing in Ayr, makes it doubly special.”
After The tournament there will be a visit to Glebuck and the SOS plaque. Lifelong Liverpool fan Jimmy Flowers, who arrange the first organised fan trip and plaque at Glenbuck said: “Credit to both Spirit of Shankly and East Ayrshire Council, a massive well done for all the hard work.”