Perhaps it’s me, but we don’t seem to get the manager characters that we used to get in the past. No Clough, No Tommy Docherty , no Joe Mercer, no Bill Shankly, no Jock Stein. But saying that no manager from the 60s or 70s ever head butted an opposing player as did Pardew in 2014.
Shankly had a hard early life and like other Scottish born managers Stein and Matt Busby of Manchester United worked in the pits of the Ayrshire/ Lanarkshire Coalfields. The experience made him into a lifelong Socialist
On the 15th May 1968 the last game of the season Shankly was in town with Liverpool. He had been manager of Liverpool since 1959 and had transformed the club into a major force in British football by the time he stood down in 1974.
1968 was a transitional time for Liverpool with some of the players who had won them promotion in 1962 coming to the end of their careers. It also must have stuck in the throat of many a Liverpool fan in1968 as Manchester United won the European Cup that year. Stoke who went up the following year had a problem season as they struggled against relegation, only being sure of survival in beating Leeds a few weeks before. It was a curious season with Stoke beating the top clubs like Manchester City who won the league that year and Leeds and losing to the bottom clubs like Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday.
Liverpool had bought the highly related Tony Hateley for a club record. But a gangly player who did not suit the high tempo game of Liverpool. He was good in the air but his passing was somewhat awry causing another manager Tommy Docherty to call Hateley’s poor passing technique as a case of “To whom it may concern”. The newspaper report of the game indicated that Hateley had another poor game and that Bloor had him in his pocket
The “Sentinel” reported that the game’s outcome – a Stoke victory- must have made Shankly regret selling one of the exceptional players that night another Scot Willie Stevenson to Stoke.
Conroy on the wing gave Liverpool full back Lawler a torrid time and it was his cross that was met by Dobing to head home. Dobing had been a transformative figure in the last months of the campaign. He more than any Stoke player had worked a magician’s role in keeping Stoke in the top flight.
Hunt equalised on the 58th minute drawing Banks out before placing the ball home. Liverpool switched off and began easing off playing with their thoughts on the beach. Stoke made a substitution shortly afterwards bringing on Mahoney for a tiring Roy Vernon.
(Vernon strikes me as a character a compulsive smoker; he smoked in the player’s tunnel, as well as apparently the shower after the game)
With 9 minutes left Mahoney got the winner heading home a Burrows cross.
An interesting time on reflection was May 68. In a revolutionary year in May 68 Paris was at the height of student unrest, Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech was still causing repercussions a month after it was made, the Vietnam War was increasing in intensity and Robert Kennedy’s assassination occurred in early June.
And just to inject some levity into this grim time Dick Emery was playing in Hanley.
All right, this is the plan. We get in there and get wrecked, then we'll eat a pork pie, then we'll drop a couple of Surmontil-50's each. That means we'll miss out Monday but come up smiling Tuesday morning.
God knows about other games around this time but I do remember this one. You know, the thing about remembering things from the 60s is that it reminds you of your own mortality!
Peter Dobing only ever really played every game or so depending on whether or not his first pass was a good one, but John Mahoney really became a good one for us. I'm pretty sure it was after this game that my dad took me to his pot bank and pushed me round on a trolley through the area designated for fettling. You'll need to look it up if you don't know what that means.
In the corner of the butler street ( next to the boothern) sitting on the wall. Progressed to the Boothern next season to the left of the right hand post, first barrier down from the entrance level (pillar C to my right with the oversized speaker on LOL! )