His incredible record will never be equalled

Ray Clemence gives a personal appreciation of his former manager
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The Independent Online
You would have thought that following Bill Shankly was nigh on impossible, yet Bob Paisley not only managed it but was even more successful than the great man. Thirteen trophies in just nine years. Not bad for a fellow who never wanted the job.

I vividly remember him standing there in the dressing-room in the summer of 1974 on the first day of pre-season training and telling us all: "Shanks has gone, and they've given me the job even though I don't really fancy it. But we've got to carry on and make sure we continue what Shanks has started here."

Everyone rallied behind him and the rest, as they say, is history. Perhaps one of the reasons why he was so successful was that nothing ruffled him, even following in Shanks's footsteps. He was as down to earth as they come. I can see him now on the morning of the European Cup final in 1981 with that massive game against Real Madrid looming before us, and Bob strolling through the foyer of this really plush Parisian hotel in his carpet slippers with a copy of the Daily Mirror sticking out of his pocket.

He wasn't as outgoing as Shankly or as media conscious. He was a more private man. But though the press didn't seek his views as avidly as they did Shankly's or, say, Brian Clough's, he could still be very funny.

He had a dry sense of humour; a typical Geordie who had an answer for everything and everyone.

Like the time Jimmy Adamson, of Burnley, was supposed to have said, after beating us, that his team were in a different league. "At the end of the season they were," said Bob.

Paisley was probably at his funniest - quite unintentionally - at team talks, particularly before big European games, when his pronunciation of the names of foreign players had to be heard to be believed. It would certainly relax us if we were feeling at all uptight.

But Bob Paisley was not a man you could take liberties with. Because of that, he commanded great respect from his players, no less than Shankly had done. There was a warm side to him, however. He could be very compassionate and understanding. If you had a personal problem he would do his utmost to resolve it.

People have said he was not a great communicator, but I found his tactics and judgement to be very sound. He had a very simplistic way of putting across how he wanted you to play in any given match. He was also smart enough to realise that it would be a mistake to change our style.

Anyone who worked at Liverpool during his time there knows how much he did for the club. He didn't take on the position for personal glory, he just saw it as his duty and his incredible record will never be equalled.

Interview: Clive White