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The day Bill Shankly turned up at Anfield plotting against Liverpool

Bill Shankly may be regarded as the chief architect of modern Liverpool, the man who dragged the Reds out of their second division doldrums and sent them on the path to becoming the most successful club in English football.

But there was a time when the legend turned up at his old stomping ground working with those looking to put a temporary halt to that bandwagon.

Having sensationally retired in 1974, Shankly was spotted a few years later back at Anfield for a visit from Wolverhampton Wanderers – complete in regalia of the Midlands side.

The story is revealed by Derek Anderton, a matchday steward who spent 40 years working at the stadium and has now published ‘Tunnel Vision Anfield’ to provide insight into life working at one of the world’s biggest clubs.

“I was doing my normal job when along the corridor I spotted this figure and thought ‘that looks like Bill Shankly’ and I did a double take – it WAS Bill Shankly,” recalls Derek.

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“He sauntered towards me and had a Wolverhampton club tie on. I thought that was rather strange, then he shook my hand, said ‘hello’ and walked into the Wolves dressing room.

“I later found out he was there in an advisory role. It was sad to see him like that, because I really thought he should have been finishing his days at Liverpool as he had such an empathy with the club.

“Wolverhampton Wanderers are a prestigious club but not a club Bill had any natural feelings for.”

It is one of many tales told in the book, which contains a foreword from Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler and concentrates largely on the Reds’ glory days of the late 1970s and 1980s.

Derek was appointed matchday photographers’ steward in 1977, which gave him access to a wealth of footballing greats both from Liverpool and visiting teams, along with referees, officials and personalities working in the media.

Untold stories from behind the scenes are littered throughout the book, which features Liverpool managerial legends such as Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Kenny Dalglish and Gerard Houllier.

There are also encounters with the likes of Bobby Robson, trying hard not to upset Sir Alex Ferguson and, of course, attempting not to incur the wrath of Brian Clough.

The cover of Tunnel Vision Anfield, a book by former Liverpool steward Derek Anderton
Cover of Tunnel Vision Anfield, a book by former Liverpool steward Derek Anderton

“When Brian Clough and his Nottingham Forest team turned up, anything and everything could possibly happen,” recalls Derek. “He was eccentric to say the least.”

Among the many stories are seeing Elton John and Rod Stewart loitering around the away dressing room at Anfield and the constant hounding for team news in the days before social media reveals.

The lid is also lifted on sharing sweets with Gareth Southgate, the strange story of getting a signed shirt from Brazil legend Ronaldo, injuring the Everton captain and why a new arrival insisted on greeting everyone with the phrase ‘hello s***head’.

Also included in the book is Derek’s own diary of the 1985/86 season, which ended with Liverpool claiming their first and so far only league and FA Cup double.

‘Tunnel Vision Anfield’ is available on ebay and other online outlets.

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