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It's Much More Important Than That : Bill Shankly, The biography. [Paperback]

Stephen F Kelly
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Jan 1997

'Football is not just a matter of life and death: it's much more important than that' - Bill Shankly

Bill Shankly was without doubt among the greatest football managers of the post-war era and his life story is an inspiring read for anyone interested in the sport. To football fans everywhere, Bill Shankly was far more than just a manager: he was a folk hero whose legend still dominates the game.

Shankly took Liverpool FC from Second Division obscurity and helped create the legend that became the Anfield of Keegan, Hughes, Toshack and Heighway. With his impertinent questions, blunt observations and appreciation of life, Bill Shankly's wit, down-to-earth wisdom and sheer determination set a standard that holds good to this day. This full and frank biography tells his larger-than-life story and is an inspiring tribute to one of football's most enduring heroes.

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It's Much More Important Than That : Bill Shankly, The biography. + It's Not Your Leg Son: The Book of Shankly + Red or Dead
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books; New Ed edition (16 Jan 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753500035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753500033
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen F Kelly is a writer and broadcaster and the author of more than twenty books. Born in Liverpool he has worked as a political journalist with Tribune, a television producer with Granada TV and an academic. In television he worked on programmes such as World In Action and What The papers Say.
His books include biographies of football legends Bill Shankly, Kenny Dalglish and Alex Ferguson. He is also an oral historian and has published half a dozen oral histories. His most recent books include an oral history of the 1950s (You've Never Had It So Good) and an oral history of the Korean War (British Soldiers Of The Korean War). This book tells the story of the many conscripts who served and died in Korea during the early 1950s in what is very much a forgotten war. The book is published by The History Press. Stephen Kelly is also Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Chester.

Product Description


"Football is not just a matter of life and death: it's much more important than that" (Bill Shankly)

Book Description

The definitive biography of Bill Shankly, one of England's greatest ever football managers

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!! 29 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Shankly may not have won the most trophies, but this book clearly illustrates why he is the greatest British Manager of all time. It shows his insatiable love of the game and gives details of his innovations (i.e. 5-A-Side games in training). The most enjoyable part of the book, is his building of his first great LIVERPOOL team (i.e. Yeats, Hunt & St. John). A must for any football fan!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a newspaper report..... 11 Feb 2002
By A Customer
.....the book for the most part is a player by player and match by match account of every player that moved to or from Liverpool while Shankly was in charge, and every match they played. In amongst all these transfer fees and scorelines there's the occasional quote from Shankly (sometimes repeated...), but not much else. There's very little insight into what he actually did as a manager, from the book it seems his only contribution to Liverpool was to buy players and sell them, and play a bit of five a side. The book contains little that couldn't be found in a book of statistics. Having said that, I read the book with a good deal of interest, as most Liverpool fans will, but I was more interested in the man himself, and there's precious little of him on offer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
A very good book that's hard to put down once started. I was interested in hearing some of the stories of Shankly's antics and mannerisms and I was not disappointed, although there aren't that many until the reader gets to the Liverpool era.
The book conveys the enthusiasm the man had for the game and how it affected the people around him which should make you laugh out loud. I am not a Liverpool fan but found the book very entertaining and was not disappointed when the mystery of the Shankly retirement was explained as this had puzzled me for a long time.
All in all, a good read for football fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unlike the man himself, distant and impersonal 17 Nov 2011
By Egonga
I'll have to admit; I became interested in football a lot later than I should have done. I was a teen in the late 1990's when I began watching Liverpool. As a result, I know very little about the rich history of the club I support other than the names of legends and the number of cups in our cabinets. So when the chance came along to read a book about Shankly, the man who built our club, I was very interested.

Unfortunately I was left a little disappointed by this book. Don't get me wrong, I think it's okay and I enjoyed reading it, but it just felt like the bones of an autobiography without the meat of personal stories to fill it. In a very factual way it explains how much players were signed for, what was expected of them and what they achieved, but it doesn't give you enough anecdotes or stories about Shankly himself. Still, there are some interesting bits - like the foggy night in Europe were a 12th man might have sneaked on, or the fact that Liverpool fans were the first to sing during matches.

If you're a Liverpool fan then I suggest giving it a go, just don't expect a deep understanding of Shankly to follow.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a legend!! Must read for any football fan. 14 Sep 2001
Last night at 7pm, I picked up this book to start reading it. It is now 6am in the morning and I have just finished the book. I didn't move from my chair for a second and I still don't feel tired. This is a dangerous book because you will not put it down!! You don't have to be a Liverpool fan to fall in love with Bill Shankly and his incredible character. Confident, humble, generous, tough, gave so much and simply asked for 100% effort and loyalty from his players and support staff. More importantly, he loved football with a passion and loved all fans who were passionate about the game. I felt sad at the end of this book thinking that maybe Bill Shankly became such a great man, and so endeared and respected, that he became isolated after he resigned from Liverpool. He wouldn't be the first great man to feel that way. This book is very well written and has so many funny anecdotes and yarns that I was repeatedly in stitches from laughing so hard. In the end Bill Shankly was one big kid at heart, with a big heart at that. Buy this book...but please don't start reading it at 7pm in the evening, especially if you have to work the next day. I am supposed to start work in less than 2 hours but I don't feel tired. I am more convinced after having read this book that Bill Shankly, although not the most successful football manager, was certainly the greatest! He turned rubble into gold, converted shaky foundations at LFC into a dynasty, took young, hungry players and made them feel invincible. God Bless Bill Shankly. Long live the King.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting subject. 26 April 2008
While I am not Liverpool fan, I have always been interested in the influence on modern football which the media and (older) football fans have placed on Bill Shankly. He is regarded as a legend and more influential than his (impressive) trophy count demonstrates.
This book is excellent in how it brings to life the 'persona' of Bill Shankley and what he was actually like. It is packed with lots of good, interesting detail and you feel like you are getting to know him. What also comes through is what a revolutionary he is. The research carried out by the author is excellent.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book although sloppy writing lets it down in places - many paragraphs are (almost word-for-word) repeated only a few pages apart; and after many years of struggle and toil to work his way up through the managerial ladder, Bill finally gets to Liverpool, running himself into the ground to make them successful, only half a page is given to the 'title run-in' and the first historic championship.
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