Certainly, every proper Liverpool FC fan knows the ups and downs of the amazing moments on the pitch over the team’s 130-year history, but how much do people know about the wonderful stadium itself?
Like the players, manager, and staff, the building has had plenty of triumphs and trials over the years. Being one of the oldest stadiums in the premier league, Anfield is like the history of English football come to life. It reminds fans from all over the world who come to cheer their team on that while there might only be eleven people on the field at one time, there are thousands upon thousands standing right behind them. After all, you’ll never walk alone (or sleep alone) if you visit some Liverpool escorts after the match).
Read on to learn a little bit more about the stadium that has given so many people a whole lot of excitement.
While it may boggle the mind now, Anfield precludes the existence of the football team most associated with its existence. The stadium was built in 1884 for Everton, another team based in Liverpool, and they played there for eight years (even winning the league championship in the 1890-91 season) until there was an argument between John Orrell, who owned the stadium, and John Houlding, the owner of the club.
Houlding wanted to buy Anfield outright (or at least have more control over decisions), and Orrell refused. Everton FC then began playing their games at Goodison Park, and it was out of desperation (and a little bit of spite) that Orrell decided to form his own football team in his now-empty stadium.
This was a shame because Orrell spared no expense in the building of Anfield, as stands could easily hold over 8,000 fans, and the grounds themselves could hold up to 20,000. It easily met the standard for international matches and even hosted the British Home Championship against England and Ireland in 1889.
So it was out of the events described above that Liverpool FC was born in 1892. In their first game on September 1 1892 they crushed Rotherham Town 7-1 (although it was a friendly game).
A Model of Growth
With Liverpool FC’s early success, Orrell expanded the size of the stadium along with it, adding stands that increased the stadium’s capacity by thousands of spectators at a time. The most famous of these was Spion Kop, erected in 1906. It was named after a famous battle during the Boer War, where three hundred British soldiers had died, many of them from Liverpool.
The ‘Kop’ (as it came to be known) was expanded in 1928, being able to hold up to 30,000 people in its massive, standing-only space. It meant that a single section of Anfield could hold more people than many other football stadiums at the time.
Other than floodlights being added in 1957 (to think that before this year all games had to be played during the day), the big expansions didn’t arrive until the sixties and seventies. Older stands along Kemlyn Road and Main Stand were replaced and expanded. Certain standing room areas added seats, which meant the total capacity of the stadium continued to fluctuate up and down.
After the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989, the rule that all stadiums must switch to an all-seat setup meant that further changes to the layout of Anfield. A second tier was added to the Kemlyn Road stand, and The Kop was rebuilt so that it was now a seated section, holding ‘only’ twelve thousand spectators. Heavy redevelopment occurred through the 2015 and 2016 seasons (specifically of the Main stand), and more changes are planned for the near future.
The point to be made through this slightly dull reciting of facts is that by changing only bit by bit over the years, Anfield has not had to change that much at all. There is always plenty of talk about building a fancy new stadium with the very latest technology (typically for a price tag that balloons halfway through development), plastered with subtle and not-so-subtle adverts.
But no matter how many banners and old statutes you transfer over from the old grounds, you can’t deny that a bit of history is lost. This is not the case with Anfield, as it has endured because both the executive, managers, players, and fans all know there is something special in holding onto the glories (and difficulties) of the past. There is history in every brick of this stadium, and you can feel that as you move through the stands on match day.
A Walk Through The Memories
Being over one hundred and twenty years old means Anfield itself is certainly part of the city of Liverpool’s history. The fact that it is a reasonable walk from the city centre and not located out in the suburbs means it’s easy to make it part of the sightseeing if you’re a tourist.
Getting your photo taken under Shankly Gates is practically a must. If you want to enjoy a pint before or after the match, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of options. Although to truly have an amazing experience with Anfield itself, there’s no better option than stadium tours.
It is the best way to see the distant past and recent glories of Liverpool FC since in addition to the club museum you can visit the Trophy Exhibition Room where you can have your photo taken with all four trophies (Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup) at the same time. The tour gives you access to the Home Team dressing room, and you can even walk down through the Players’ Tunnel so you can get a bit of a taste and feel for what Salah and Henderson experience when they step onto the pitch.