Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Bob Paisley of Hetton-le-Hole (NZ351475)

Bob Paisley, the man who was so famously associated with Liverpool FC at the height of their powers a generation ago, was born in Hetton-le-Hole. He was a servant of the club for more than half a century.

Paisley was born in the County Durham village on 23rd January 1919, leaving school in 1933 to become a miner. He later became an apprentice bricklayer, and soon forced his way into the famous Bishop Auckland non-league team – winning the Amateur Cup with them in 1939. Just prior to the outbreak of World War II he was snapped up by Liverpool FC, but had to wait until 1946 to make his full and proper debut for the Merseyside club. He served as a ‘Desert Rat’ during hostilities.

He played for Liverpool until 1954 – for many of those years as club captain – before moving behind the scenes. He was first a physio, then a coach (under Bill Shankly), being finally promoted to the post of first-team manager in 1974.

During his nine-year tenure in charge, Liverpool dominated the sport both at home and abroad. He won six League Championships, three League Cups, one UEFA Cup and, most notably, three European Cups (the latter being a record for a manager). In 1983 he was succeeded by Joe Fagan, though he later returned to work for the club as an advisor and director.

He was married to Jessie (in 1946), with whom he had three children, and finally left the club in 1992. He died in 1996, aged 77. In 2008 a grand memorial was unveiled to him in his home town – see here.

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