As the build-up to Sunday's Carling Cup final at Wembley continues, we countdown five great Cardiff connections this week, starting with Bill Shankly's first game in charge of his beloved Reds.

1. Bill Shankly's first game in charge (19/12/1959)

When you think of Bill Shankly, you see clenched fists on the steps of St George's Hall, or an icon wading through a sea of scarves towards the Kop, thousands of adoring fans singing his name. You think of a man who laid the foundations for a footballing dynasty that would rule England and Europe.

If images of him orchestrating the demolition of Newcastle in the 1974 FA Cup final, in what would be his last meaningful moment as manager, were memorable - his first game in the Liverpool dugout was certainly one to forget.

"Bill Shankly, normally one of soccer's most outspoken characters, was a very subdued man after sitting through his first match as Liverpool manager," proclaimed the News Chronicle and Daily Dispatch as Liverpool were battered 4-0 in front of an angry Anfield crowd.

The opposition? Bill Jones's Cardiff City in a second division clash. The Reds were fourth placed going into the game, Cardiff were 10th.

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It was a far cry from the glory that Shankly's Reds would cover themselves in when they won the club's first ever FA Cup in its 73-year history, some seven years later at Wembley.

The side that Phil Taylor left to Shankly was fragmented, in need of direction and incentive.

Johnny Wheeler, Bobby Campbell, and right-winger Fred Morris all had a night to forget as Derek Tapscott netted twice for the Bluebirds and Johnny Watkins and Joe Bonson added to Shankly's misery.

Only Roger Hunt and Ronnie Moran were able to trouble Cardiff's Graham Vearncombe and the Reds were pulled apart. Their new manager, who had arrived from Huddersfield Town five days earlier, seemingly had a mountain to climb.

"Whatever ideas Shankly has for Liverpool - and I expect drastic action when he takes over the team selection job - glaring weaknesses at wing-half and outside-right must have been apparent to all," continued the Daily Dispatch report.

"Shankly was made to realise the tremendous task that lies ahead of him as this shabby Liverpool team was humbled by a Cardiff side wearing an unmistakable promotion look.

"The final blow for Bill Shankly was hearing the jeers hurled at the directors' box by the disappointed Anfield fans. Still, Shankly has never been afraid of hard work as a manager. I fear he's going to get plenty of it within the next few months."

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Shankly, in characteristic fashion, was bullish and determined.

He said: "Naturally I'm disappointed but it's just as well that I've seen the team give an off-form display in my first match. I've learned quite a few things this way."

So, despite Cardiff handing out a notable Anfield scalp, there was to be a bigger picture beyond this 4-0 defeat.

His work to turn things round began almost immediately. A 3-0 lashing at the hands of Charlton Athletic came the following week but after that Liverpool won 12 of their remaining 21 league games, drawing five.

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They finished third and narrowly missed out on promotion, just as they would the next year. However, in time for the start of the 1962-63 season, they were back in the country's top tier.

By May 1964, they were champions of England for the sixth time.

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