100 years ago today Joseph Francis Fagan was born, he was born in Walton 12/3/1921
He was brought up in the Litherland & Scotland Rd areas, after leaving school he signed for Earlestown Bohemians, known as the Bohs in the Liverpool county combination league, a strong amateur league which included the ‘A’ sides of both Liverpool & Everton,
He had a trial and a contract offer with Liverpool under manager George Kay but declined as he thought first team opportunities would be limited, he signed for Man City in 1938, predominantly a right half Joe could also play at centre half, he played mainly for the A & reserve sides up until season 39-40 when the season was suspended due to the war,
In 1958 Joe accepted a coaching role offer from then Liverpool manager Phil Taylor, and moved into a house near Anfield which became the family home, in 1959 Bill Shankly became manager, he was delighted to see Joe because he tried to sign when manager at Grimsby in early’50’s, on his first day in charge Shankly held a meeting with his coaching staff which included Joe, Bob Paisley & Rueben Bennett, and that he wanted work with them and not bring in his own coaches, and so keep their jobs,
Joe was reserve team coach and Shanks set up a training strategy that they must all work together with absolute loyalty to each other and the club(sound familiar?)
As reserve team coach Joe helped nurture youngsters like Roger Hunt, Ian Callaghan & Tommy Smith, Joe is also credited for converting a storage area at Anfield into a common room for coaches, and it becam the legendary’Boot Room’, Shanks held daily meetings in there with Joe, Bob & Reuben to discuss tactics training & players,
In 1971 Joe was promoted to first team coach to work alongside Shankly, and when Shanks retired in 1974 Joe remained first team coach with Bob Paisley becoming manager, Bob himself retired in 1983 with him recommending to the board that Joe take over the reins,
In the 1983/84 season Joe’s first, Liverpool became the first club to win a treble, the league Championship, the European cup, and the league cup, Joe won manager of the year that season too,
1984/85 was a barren year for Liverpool, first time in ten years without a trophy, finishing second behind Everton, losing semi finalists in the FA cup, and the tragedy of the European cup final(Heysel)
Joe retired at the end of that season handling over the reins to Kenny.
Joe Fagan was one of us, a jovial character was always smiling and as ‘Liverpudlian as the Liver birds’, honest and straight forward and staying humble, he used to walk to Anfield on a match day as if he was just going to work, he doesn’t get the praise or adulation he deserves, but again, that was Joe Fagan, he liked it like that.
Happy Birthday Joe. RIP. YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE