Daily Mirror columnist Brian Reade brought out his new book on Friday, charting 43 years of his life as a supporter of Liverpool Football Club.
He’s won awards for his columns, which are always witty and straight to the point, and so his book should be on the must-read list for any Liverpool fan.
He’s called it “43 years with the same bird” and you know which bird he’s talking about.
It’s the bird that has been on the shirt of the captain each time one of the 48 trophies was lifted during those 43 years. Reade talks about his memories of the FA Cup run in 1965, right at the start of the 43 years, and then on through the others, including five European Cups, 12 league titles, the years when Liverpool couldn’t stop winning the League Cup, the FA Cup wins, and of course the times when it didn’t all work out.
He covers the dark days in 1985 and 1989 as you would expect, and covers it from the perspective of somebody who was there.
As you’d expect from Reade, there are obviously going to be funny moments – like the time he found out his son had joined the dark side, and was now an Everton fan. He talks about meeting Bill Shankly, a story that in itself is worth buying the book for.
Actually you can read the Shanks story below, as a taster, but it’s just one of so many tales that make this book into one that it would be hard for a Liverpool fan not to enjoy.
If you do think you’d like to get hold of a copy, you’ll find a link below for buying the book, which includes a discount code you can use for 30% off.
1971 MEETING THE MESSIAH
Bill Shankly’s bare manhood stood three feet away from me. OK, stood is an exaggeration. We were getting on well, but not that well.
Slacks with a crease that could shave a werewolf’s four-day shadow had been removed and placed on a dressing-room hook with his left hand. In his right was a pair of crumpled shorts so old you could smell the Boot Room on them. Then a question: “What school are you from again, son?”
“De La Salle.”
And the shorts, which had made their way to the expectant toes of his left foot, were abruptly pulled away.
“A rugby school?”
Relief. Then animation.
“Thank Christ for that. I hate rugby. I remember turning up at a new Air Force post in Wales and asking for a football. This officer says to me ‘We don’t play football here, only rugby.’ So I says right, give me a rugby ball and I’ll squeeze it intee a fitball.”
He burst into a raucous laugh and began to squeeze an imaginary oval ball into around shape. “Christ, it’s funny what things come back to you. I’d forgotten all about that.”
Let’s get this straight. I’m joshing away with Bill Shankly at Melwood training ground like a groom and best man before a stag night.
I’ve been in his company only five minutes and he’s already told me a story nobody has ever heard before. Granted, in the league table of Shankly anecdotes it’s six points behind Stenhousemuir. But it’s mine to drop casually into conversations for eternity.
As this dawns on me a shiver jolts the blood.
There’s a sigh I have to emit in short bursts for fear of being sucked inside out. Fear drifts from my brain, spreading down to feet doing epileptic taps. It’s a feeling I would experience over the next 30 years of professional life before doing an interview.
But I would never feel the pure rush of pride I felt that June morning, knowing that whatever miserable hand life might deal, my self-esteem would never scrape a barrel’s bottom. I would always be able to look a boss, a foe or a put-down merchant in the eye and tell them that Bill Shankly once shared a unique anecdote with me.
With his pride and joy dangling in my eye-line. At 17, life could only go downhill.
PS: Huge. Obviously.
Get 30% off 43 Years with the Same Bird!
Courtesy of publishers Pan Macmillan, readers of AnfieldRoad.com can get 30% off 43 Years with the Same Bird by Brian Reade until 30th September. To get this discount, simply click here and enter the code below in the discount code box when you get to the shopping basket.
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NB: The book was out of stock when this article was first published, but it is now back in stock again meaning you should be able to take advantage of the 30% discount code.
Alternatively you can order it from Amazon: Brian Reade – 43 years with the same bird. Additionally you may be able to get a copy via Play.com: Brian Reade – 43 years with the same bird.