In an interview with @theshanklyway18 grandson of the great Bill Shankly @ShanksGrandson talks to us about his hotel that he runs in Liverpool that captures the essence of his grand dad, when he realised how revered Bill was amongst the Liverpool faithful, whether his grand dad made up with the club before his sad passing and what he has in future for the hotel.
We started off by asking Chris at what age did you realise how revered your granddad was in Liverpool?
Probably when I was in Junior school so about 7 or 8. My full name is Christopher William Shankly Carline, as my mum was Bill’s daughter and she of course married my Dad hence the Carline as my surname. It was in the class register like that and back then in school you had register monitors who would take the register down to the school office after it had been called. One of them looked through the register and saw my names and of course the Shankly and came back and asked me quite excitedly was I related to THE Bill Shankly. I told them it was my granddad and it ended up going round the school by first break! It was then I realised how revered he was!
Did Bill and Liverpool make up before he sadly passed away?
They didn’t exactly fall out to be honest. He states in his book that he felt aggrieved by the way he wasn’t asked to be a director of the club; as this would have given him the fix of football he so desperately missed post retirement at the club he loved. It’s also well documented that he didn’t get on with John Smith also, but in terms of ‘making-up’ he always loved the club and the fans, that never changed.
When did the idea for the hotel come to fruition?
I had the idea for the hotel going back maybe six or seven years. Like with any idea you go through the motions as to whether it really is a good idea or not and whether you can make it happen. I go home and away with Liverpool and I’d stand and look at the support Liverpool have on a global scale and then look at the ‘offer’ for the these fans when they came to Liverpool, and my opinion was that it was poor in terms of things for them to do, see or go on their visit. I’d then see clubs like Chelsea, clubs that aren’t even half the size of Liverpool globally; yet they had bars, hotels and restaurants etc for fans to go to and I just thought that we should have something like that. Additionally, the memorabilia we had as a family belonging to my granddad was quite astounding. My nan, Nessie had literally kept everything and I just thought we needed to have a place to display it where fans could come and see it. Things like handwritten scout notes and tactics, telegrams including one from the Beatles wishing him good luck for the 1965 FA Cup Final, and of course his medals. The list is endless. People needed to see it. All those factors combined made me think the hotel was a great option. I searched for a while to find the right partner to do the project with. It was important for me and the family that the hotel was about HIM. His achievements and what he stood for and that it didn’t turn into a Liverpool FC hotel. He was renowned for being a socialist and a man of the people and was friendly with all clubs, managers and players. With that in mind the hotel HAD to reflect this and be welcoming for fans of all teams and importantly, somewhere that non-football fans also felt happy staying. I was introduced to the owners of Signature Living; Lawrence and Katie Kenwright about three years ago. I’d heard what they were doing in Liverpool with their Signature brand and accommodation. It is unique and special and tailored round the guest and the guest experience. To me, that was completely ‘Shankly-esque’ and when I met with them; I knew straight away that they were the people to do the project with. I’d had offers from countless developers and hoteliers but nothing that was as right for the project as Signature and Katie and Lawrence. We were literally finishing each others sentences and we pretty much agreed in that first meeting we were going to do it. Three years on, here we are with a the number one rated hotel in Liverpool!
Does having a famous surname help when it comes to attracting ex –players to the hotel?
It doesn’t hinder! Many of the players have a huge respect for my granddad and they absolutely love what we have done with the hotel. We really look after them when they come in as we do every guest that stays here so they have been more than willing to come along to support events. I was sat with Kenny Dalglish last week and he said to me; “There wouldn’t be a Liverpool Football Club without your granddad.” When the King says that it pretty much sums it all up.
Whats the plan for the hotel for the future?
To retain our number one rating and to keep improving. To keep offering guests a unique experience when they stay in our amazing City and quite simply, to make our guests come back. We’ve got loads of exciting additions to come, including more memorabilia; we’re about to launch a really exciting Shankly Tour of the City; merchandise and much more. The hotel will also have another two floors to come online with another bar and restaurant and conferencing and wedding facilities. It is so exciting. You can keep up to date with it all on shanklyhotel.com or our Facebook page (search The Shankly Hotel) or Twitter @ShanklyHotel