Film recalls Douglas Valley origins of football legend

editorial image

Although his legacy in Liverpool is assured, legendary football manager Bill Shankly’s origins in the Douglas Valley coalfield are often overlooked.

To put that right, a timely reminder in film of his early life in the now largely-vanished mining village of Glenbuck is about to receive its premiere at next month’s Liverpool International Film Festival.

The documentary Making Shankly has been made by director and producer Simon Thornton, and the 23-year-old could hardly have a more appropriate background, being a Lesmahagow man with Liverpudlian parents.

Said Simon this week: “I’m just ecstatic that the film is being screened in Liverpool.

“It’s a film that most – if not all – Liverpool fans will learn something from and hopefully enjoy.

“I grew up near Glenbuck, which much of the film focuses on, and not a lot of people know about what happened in Glenbuck and how much the village affected football, so to be able to tell that story has been an amazing opportunity.”

The film recalls Shankly’s early career playing for Glenbuck Cherrypickers, the village team that became known as a nursery for senior Scottish football in the pre-Second World War era.

Shankly is the best known of those players to gain fame far from the hamlet, being credited as the manager who transformed Liverpool into giants of European soccer.