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Double Bill: The Spurs and Liverpool bosses who put their clubs on the map | UK News

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They were both called Bill, both revered at their clubs, and both would have loved the prospect of a Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur final to decide who would be champions of Europe.

In the 1960s, Bill Shankly built the foundations for decades of success at Anfield, while in north London Bill Nicholson guided Spurs to the League and Cup double in 1961 and two years later was the first to lead a British team to victory in a major European final.

They are the legends at their respective clubs and both were given big emotional send-offs when they passed away.

Lucas Moura of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his team's third goal with Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur at the Johan Cruyff Arena on May 08, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Lucas Moura celebrates the goal that sent Spurs through to the Champions League final
Wijnaldum is mobbed by his teammates after levelling the tie
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Liverpool beat Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals

Nicholson wasn’t a Londoner, but a Yorkshireman from Scarborough.

To his nephew Paul, who still lives in the seaside resort, he was always just “uncle Bill”, who would often return home to the Yorkshire coast and would hardly mention his soaring success at White Hart Lane.

Paul said: “He is Mr Tottenham, isn’t he?

“He would take us all out playing tennis, golf, football on the beach, horse riding at Filey – he was the archetypal uncle, it’s as if he switched off from Tottenham on the A64.

“There’s not many people from Scarborough that have achieved such credit and it is credit as well as the ability to succeed, he did it without the airs and graces you see one or two managers and players with in today’s game.

“He was a tremendous local guy made good.”

Paul Nicholson is hoping Spurs triumph in Madrid
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Paul Nicholson is hoping Spurs triumph in Madrid

Some of Shankly’s family have opened a hotel in Liverpool that bears the family name – another is planned in Preston to celebrate his connections with Preston North End.

His grandson Chris Carline, who is a season ticket holder at Anfield, told Sky News: “The one that always mattered for him was pointing out to the players that you are going out there and you are playing for those fans and you are playing for those people back in Liverpool to use that kind of raucous support.”

Chris Carline is rooting for Liverpool
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Chris Carline is rooting for Liverpool

Both men are full of admiration for the two current managers, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino.

Mr Nicholson said: “He would have the upmost admiration for Pochettino for the way he plays football and the way he manages his teams, because it is a big family looking from the outside in – it is a big family, Tottenham.

“Pochettino would be an absolute hero to Bill, the way he is doing things now.”

Mr Carline is equally as impressed by Klopp, who guided Liverpool to 97 points in the Premier League this season – narrowly missing out on the title.

He believes the defeat in the Champions League final last season to Real Madrid will help them this time round.

He said: “If the unthinkable happens and he doesn’t win it, we certainly aren’t going to think any differently of him.

“He has done an absolutely phenomenal job here and he just fits with Liverpool Football Club.”

Manager Mauricio Pochettino and his players celebrate the win
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Mauricio Pochettino is aiming to win his first trophy as Spurs boss

Both clubs conjured up extraordinary comebacks to win their semi-finals in this year’s Champions League.

Tottenham scored in the last minute to knock out Ajax, and Liverpool turned around a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 on aggregate against Barcelona.

Although German, Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp 'gets' the club
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Jurgen Klopp has reached Champions League finals with Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund

Mr Carline said: “The history of this football club is built on nights and results like that.

“It’s not the first time we have done it, and I’m forever saying it – there is something about this football club and its history, its mystique, that allows us to go and do things like that. I don’t think any other team in Europe could have done what we did there that night.”

With a grin, Mr Nicholson added: “I feel sorry for Liverpool because they have gone right through this season only losing one league game and they are going to lose on Saturday, but they have got a tremendous team there and I enjoy watching them.”

He said that his late uncle would have impressed on the current squad the importance of rising to the occasion.

“Don’t leave anything on the pitch – come off the pitch knowing that you have done everything,” he said.

“The only thing he would advise is go and do your best. Seriously, enjoy it because you have got to come back with a memory, and that memory has got to be winning.”

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