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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.
"It was 1977 and Liverpool had reached their first European Cup Final. I was working for the BBC and had this idea of filming the mass Liverpudlian exodus to Rome. In his own words Bob thought it 'was a bloody good idea'. I then expanded and explained how the BBC was forking out £3,000 worth of expenditure on the project and in return it would be good if we could film in the dressing room. 'There's no problem with that,' was his reply. My only problem now was the Italian FA, who refused me entry into the stadium. 'Just leave it to me,' said Bob. 'Kevin Keegan can carry the cameras, Emlyn Hughes the lights and Phil Neal whatever else. You put on a tracksuit and wear the number 14 shirt underneath.'
So off we went on the team coach to the Olympic Stadium and into the marble floored dressing room. It was not long though before the Italian officials began to smell a rat and so to put them off the scent Bob ordered me to take a walk around the pitch with the rest of the players and wave to the fans! When the time arrived for the team to walk out I followed them in single file out of the tunnel and onto the pitch. I then took my place alongside Bob, Ronnie Moran and the Liverpool subs on the bench, having to pinch myself that this was really happening. Watching such a momentous match as that from the touchline next to Bob was an unbelievable experience."
Stuart Hall - esteemed TV and radio journalist