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SL's Top Managers: 5- Bob Paisley

Bob Paisley’s first season in charge of Liverpool ended in failure. They finished second.

"I'll admit, right away, that I am disappointed that we did not have a major trophy to show for our efforts,” he said at the time.

“We were in four and we had a good side, but when you count second place as failure, then standards are becoming fantastically high. We never celebrate second place here." 

Think of it like this: if David Moyes can pick up where Alex Ferguson left off at Manchester United, and then improve the club, he would be like Bob Paisley.

Paisley is the quintessential one-club man. He made his debut as a defender for Liverpool in their first post-war match in 1946, helping them to their first title in 24 years.

After his playing career, he became a member of Liverpool’s coaching staff, and was a founding member of Bill Shankly’s famous ‘boot room’ at Anfield.

Under Shankly, Liverpool became the undisputed kings of English football, going from the Second Division in 1959, to three time First Division champions and Uefa Cup holders by the time he announced his shock retirement in 1974.

It was then that Paisley stepped out of the boot room into the manager’s dugout, and turned Liverpool into one of most relentlessly successful teams football has ever seen.

In nine years as manager at the club, Paisley won 20 major trophies, including six English First Division titles, one Uefa Cup and one Uefa Super Cup, and was voted as English manager of the year a record six times.

But it was his feats in Europe’s most prestigious club competition- the European Cup- that ensured Paisley will forever be recognised as one of football’s best ever managers, and that Liverpool retain a continental pedigree that belies their current struggles.

In 1977, Paisley led Liverpool to their first ever European Cup title, after they beat a powerful Borussia Monchengladbach side 3-1 in the final.

A year later he became the first British manager to retain the European Cup with a win over FC Brugge.

Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest briefly knocked Paisley off his European stride, even though he continued to hoover up domestic trophies.

But in 1981, Paisley became the only manager in history to win the European Cup three times, after Liverpool beat Spanish giants Real Madrid in hard-fought final at the Parc des Princes.

Paisley wasn’t perfect. He was deceptively authoritarian and relied on his gut to make key decisions, meaning he sometimes got things wrong.

But no other manager has ever held the European Cup aloft three times, despite the best efforts of serial winners like Ferguson and Jose Mourinho. And no team has ever seemed so unbeatable in Europe as Bob Paisley’s Liverpool.

And so that is why after 44 years of record breaking success in various guises at Anfield, Liverpool legend Bob Paisley is our fifth-best manager of all-time.

10- Munoz; 9- Clough; 8- Hitzfeld; 7- Guardiola; 6- Mourinho; 5- Paisley

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