When Liverpool FC legend Bill Shankly was hugged at Wembley by Arthur Milton

By Neil Macdonald on Sep 30, 09 03:39 PM in Journalists


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ON THE 28th anniversary of Bill Shankly's death earlier this week, lifelong Liverpool FC supporter Arthur Milton stood in front of an old photograph in his house and paid his own tribute to the great man.

The picture captured the moment at the 1974 Charity Shield when Arthur, now 63 and living in Holland but then a bearded 28-year-old from Fazakerley, ran on to the Wembley pitch in tears to hug the retiring Reds manager, wearing a homemade outfit of specially decorated overalls and an enormous top hat.


Although the picture has been seen by millions of people around the world, he doesn't remember too much about the moment, as he explains.

"On the way to Wembley there used to be a pub called The Torch and I'd had a few pints in there, so I was pretty merry," he said.

"I still don't know to this day how I got onto the pitch, but Shanks had walked up to the supporters to say goodbye and I was very emotional. Somehow I made it on past the policemen and photographers and gave him a hug."

Arthur added: "That is the type of man he was. Like all Liverpool fans, I loved Shanks and that seemed like a good way to show it."

His journey to immortality thanks to the camera of former Liverpool Echo photographer Stephen Shakeshaft had started several months earlier, before Liverpool played Newcastle in the FA Cup final.

Along with his two friends, Ray Buck and Harry Thomas, Arthur decided to make a special outfit for the trip to London, using their work overalls.


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"We drew pictures on the overalls and then my wife spent ages painting them on and sewing on badges," he remembered.

"Ray suggested going down to Melwood to get them signed by the players because in those days you could go in and watch training.

"Well, in we walked and they stopped training. The players couldn't believe it and came over to see what we were wearing. All the squad signed them too.

"Shanks was delighted and said how great they were, especially the hats. It was a great experience for all of us and we wore them for the final with pride."

Arthur and his pals were to wear the outfits one more time - for Shankly's testimonial game at Anfield against a Don Revie select XI in April 1975.

He said: "We usually stood with our mates on the Kop, but we could only get tickets for the corner of the Kemlyn Road for that game.

"Shanks was walking around waving to the crowd when he saw us and stopped in his tracks. He pointed and said 'player's entrance, after the match!' before walking on.

"We went down and Shanks had arranged for us to go in to the players' party. It was amazing.


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"We were talking to him and he said he remembered the overalls and top hat from Melwood, but when he saw me running up to him at Wembley he couldn't believe I was on the pitch. I told him neither could I!"

Arthur's overalls and top hat are now in the Liverpool FC museum on long-term loan - 'I'd give them to the club to keep for a match worn Steven Gerrard shirt' he laughed - but he looks at the photo almost every day.

"Stephen Shakeshaft sent it to me and said it is his favourite photo, and it still brings tears to my eyes," Arthur said.

"The other day I kissed my hand and gave the picture a little pat, because I knew it was the anniversary of Shanks's death.

"That man - even thinking about him brings me out in goosebumps. I know I was lucky to meet him and talk to him and he would always stand and listen to you.

"To spot us at his testimonial and arrange for us to go in and meet him and the players was one of my greatest experiences as a Liverpool fan, and Shanks did that.

"He was a true man of the people and I know that personally."

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