Ian Callaghan has paid a heartfelt tribute to the man who took him under his wing during the first 14 years of what would become a record-breaking Anfield career.

When Bill Shankly arrived at Liverpool in December 1959, Cally was an apprentice.

Shankly offered him his first contract, helped nurture him as a player and inspired the lad from Toxteth to go on and rack up 857 appearances - more than any other Red.

"Shankly promised my mum and dad that he would look after me when I signed professional - and he did," Callaghan told Liverpoolfc.com.

"I had 14 fantastic seasons with him. I really did.

"When I first met him and spoke to him, he was such a larger-than-life character. When he came out of his office into the corridor, you stood to attention. He was this type of man.

"I was a little bit afraid to begin with, to be honest, but then I got to know he was such a lovely man.

"It's hard to describe him. You wouldn't believe how many people at the game this weekend came up to me and said, 'I wish I could have met this man'. Even Evertonians - they came up to me and said they wished they could have met Bill.

"He was that type of character. I pinch myself because I was lucky enough to have known him for 14 years. This man is Liverpool Football Club."

Callaghan can still be seen blending into the crowds outside Anfield on matchday, stopping to sign every autograph before cheering the Reds on from the stands.

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"When I come to the ground on matchday and walk through the Shankly Gates, which are named after Bill, I think to myself: 'This is what this football club is all about'.

"Liverpool is a world club today, but this is the guy who started it all. He came here in 1959 when the Reds weren't going anywhere and he took this club by the scruff of the neck.

"Not only did he build successful teams, he changed the buildings. Melwood got better and training facilities got better. Anfield got a lot better; the dressing rooms and everything else. He changed the whole thing.

"I know it was a long time ago when he managed, but he was very progressive and he was ahead of his time."

Shankly laid the foundations for Liverpool to go on and conquer Europe under his successor Bob Paisley. The Scot also won his share of trophies - three league titles, two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup.

But it was his affinity with and dedication to the fans that marked Shankly out as the most iconic figure in Liverpool's history.

"He loved people," said Callaghan. "He'd spend a lot of time with the people, talking to them and signing autographs. He was a people's guy.

"He fell in love with Liverpool people and they instantly fell in love with him because he made promises and he kept them. When you walked into a room or he walked into a room, he lit the place up.

"He had this charisma about him and his enthusiasm for the game, for life was just unbelievable."