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Shankly, Paisley, Fagan and Moran – 21 photos of Liverpool FC’s Boot Room Boys

Liverpool FC is steeped in history and the famed boot room boys have played a significant role in the powerhouse we see today. Here we look back at some of the brilliant photos of their era.

The boot room was Liverpool’s inner sanctum that plotted Liverpool’s incredible rise from the Second Division to Kings of Europe.

The influence was vast from Bill Shankly and his backroom staff of Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Ronnie Moran, Tom Saunders and Reuben Bennett, who are affectionately known as the boot room boys.

The boot room was a small meeting place underneath the Main Stand at Anfield that served as the epicentre of the Reds’ brains trust, where they analysed opponents and shared ideas that would have a long-lasting influence over the club.

The original six members would sit and talk for hours, everything was on the table and they even welcomed opposition coaches who would could then be schmoozed into relaying information.

The Bootroom LFC

Shankly was the catalyst for the lineage of legendary managers that would follow in his footsteps, with his arrival in 1959 triggering an incredible rise and a long sustained period of success.

He oversaw 783 games during his 15 years as manager of Liverpool and led his team to 10 honours, including four league titles, two FA Cups, four Charity Shields and one UEFA Cup.

Bill Shankly, 14-Apr-1964 (Picture by PA PA Archive/PA Images)

Liverpool manager Bill Shankly crouches by the trophies that his team won the previous season, including the League Championship trophy and the FA Charity Shield, as his players line up in the background: (l-r) Ian St John, Ian Callaghan, Roger Hunt, Gordon Milne, Peter Thompson, Ron Yeats, Chris Lawler, Tommy Smith, Geoff Strong, Gerry Byrne, Willie Stevenson, Tommy Lawrence. 1966. ( PA Photos/PA Archive/PA Images)

The man of the people delivered the club’s first ever FA Cup in 1965 and led his formidable side with distinction before announcing his shock decision to retire in 1974.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - 1965: Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankly with the FA Cup trophy and two local journalists.

Liverpool's legendary Bill Shankly. Turning towards the Kop end of Anfield, Shankly gets an ovation from the fans who idolised him when Liverpool became League champions.

Liverpool manager Bill Shankly holds aloft the League Championship trophy at Anfield today, and the joy on the face of the young supporter says it all. Liverpool just clinched the title by drawing 0-0 with Leicester. 1973 (PA Images)

Retiring Liverpool manager Bill Shankly with the victorious team and FA Charity Shield at Wembley after they defeated Leeds United in a penalty kick competition after the match had ended 1-1. 1974 (PA/PA Archive/PA Images)

The great Bob Paisley would pick up from where Shankly left off, a smooth transition that catapulted the Reds to greater heights domestically and in Europe.

From 1974 to 1983, Paisley was the reluctant genius who added 20 trophies to the cabinet in just nine seasons; six league titles, three European Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Cup, one Super Cup and three charity shields.

But long before he became manager, he was a Liverpool player before rising up the ranks off the field and becoming the natural successor to Shankly.

Bob Paisley, Liverpool (S&G/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

Bob Paisley at Anfield after taking over as Liverpool manager following the resignation of Bill Shankly. 26th July 1974. (PA / Alamy)

Manager Bob Paisley (centre), who took over from Bill Shankly in 1974, is flanked by trainer Ronnie Moran (l) and assistant manager Joe Fagan. (Picture by PA PA Archive/PA Images)

An introvert and not one for the spotlight, Paisley soon stepped into the limelight after taking up the manager’s position 35 years after first joining the club.

His first season as manager would end without silverware but it would be the first and last time, headlined by an incredible three European Cups.

Bob Paisley, Liverpool, European Cup, 1977 (Image: Peter Robinson/EMPICS Sport)

Kenny Dalglish, Bob Paisley - archive-181209-3

Bob Paisley - archive-205330-2

Once his time at the helm came to an end in 1983, Paisley had loyally served Liverpool Football Club for 44 years and the baton would then be handed to fellow boot room original, Joe Fagan.

Liverpool manager Bob Paisley hands over the reins to his successor Joe Fagan (Picture by: PA Photos / PA Archive/Press Association Images)

“When I was appointed manager of Liverpool Football Club, it was inevitable that people should pose the question: ‘How can he follow Bob Paisley?’”

It was a fair question from Fagan after some sizeable shoes were left to be filled and while he too was a reluctant successor, his transition was seamless.

JOE FAGAN, LIVERPOOL manager, 1984 (Bildbyran/Press Association Images)

Fagan joined Liverpool as a coach in 1958 and would remain an ever-present at Anfield until 1985, with his 131 games in the top job returning one European Cup, one league title and one League Cup.

And those three trophies arrived as part of a historic treble in his first season in 1983/84, one that could be easily argued as Liverpool’s finest.

(L-R) The Liverpool coaching team of Chris Lawler, Roy Evans, manager Joe Fagan and Ronnie Moran celebrate with the European Cup

Kenny Dalglish would emerge as the first student of the boot room to rise to the top job and continue the fine legacy that had come before him, but there was still one original member that would briefly sit in the hot seat.

When Dalglish had sensationally stood down in 1991, Moran was turned to until a replacement could be found as he was the obvious and trusted choice after being embedded in the club since 1949.

Ronnie Moran, Liverpool ( Barratts/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

He would be in charge for just 10 games before the club decided Graeme Souness would be the next permanent manager, who he then again deputised for when the Scot underwent heart surgery in 1992.

Moran was one of the club’s greatest ever servants.

Ronnie Moran, Roy Evans, , Dalglish. Celebrate winning the title, 1988 (All Action/EMPICS Entertainment)

COVENTRY, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 6, 1996: Liverpool's coach Ronnie Moran against Coventry City during the Premiership match at Highfield Road. Coventry won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

VLADIKAVKAZ, RUSSIA - Monday, September 11, 1995: Liverpool's coach Ronnie Moran training at the Republican Spartak Stadium ahead of the UEFA Cup 1st Round 1st Leg match against FC Alania Spartak Vladikavkaz. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The original boot room legacy from Shankly to Moran lasted an incredible 33 years but their influence extended beyond just their small room at Anfield, but to all those who would follow in their footsteps.

They created the Liverpool way and the spirit that still runs through the club in present day, a legacy and culture that will always be at the heart of Liverpool FC.

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