The Paisley Gateway

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On Thursday April 8th 1999, Liverpool Football Club unveiled a new set of commemorative gates in front of the new Kop stand on Walton Breck Road. The 'Paisley Gateway' was a belated but welcome tribute by the club towards one of it's greatest servants, Bob Paisley. Bob's widow, Jessie, had taken an instrumental role in the design of the gates in tandem with architects Atherden Fuller Leng, who also designed the Shankly Gates and the Hillsborough Memorial. Jessie was the guest of honour, uncovering the gates to a wide and appreciative audience.

The gates stand at an imposing four and a half metres in height and weigh over two tons and the foundations beneath them had to be specially strengthened to hold them in place.

Prominent in the design of the gates is the European Cup, appearing in three places across the top archway, one for each of Bob's triumphs in Rome, London and Paris.

The gates themselves feature the crests of Bob's birthplace, Hetton-le-Hole, and the liver bird of his 'adopted' city of Liverpool. The Hetton-le-Hole crest is made up of an eye-catching early steam engine, an acknowledgement of the area's pioneering role in the rail revolution. Four footballs surround each of the crests.

On the brick pillars that flank the gates sit two bronze reliefs, one depicting the man himself and the other detailing the list of honours he brought to Liverpool FC.

Other family members present at the unveiling were Bob and Jessie's sons Robert and Graham and their daughter Christine as well as Bob's brother Hughie and his wife Mary, who had travelled down from Hetton.

Jessie was presented with a ceremonial key to the gates and paid the following moving tribute to her late husband. "If this was an Oscar ceremony I would be expected to fling my arms around, burst into tears and say Bob didn't deserve it. But although the tears aren't far away, I'm not going to say that. If you ask me if Bob deserved it, I say 'Yes, 100 percent'."

And so say all of us.

Sir Bob quote

"Bob was amazing really. He could look at a player and tell you everything about him and his judgement was always spot on. But in other areas of life he was hopeless. We'd be staying in hotels before matches and Bob always had bother in restaurants just trying to open the little packets of butter and so on. He could never open packets. If he did manage to get something open he'd do the wrong end and sauce or whatever would squirt everywhere. He had this thing with peanuts, throwing them up in the air to catch them in his mouth. The only thing was no one ever saw him catch one. They would be bouncing off his nose or his cheek or missing him altogether. Bob knew his football inside out and he loved the horses, of course. He was knowledgeable about both, but in other sports he didn't have a clue. If we were in a hotel watching a bit of snooker on the telly, he would always predict which pocket the player was going for. He'd say, "Blue, bottom left", and the player would pot the pink into the top right. He'd be wrong every time. It was hilarious."

Roy Evans on Bob Paisley

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