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Liverpool FC Anfield




The Stadium


Opened in 1884, Anfield was originally owned by a Mr. Orrell, a fellow brewer and friend of John Houlding, president of Everton FC. Everton, who previously played at Priory Road, were in need of a new venue, due to the noise produced from the crowd on match-days. Orrell let the land to the club for a donation to the local hospital. Everton's landlord changed when John Houlding purchased the land from Orrell in 1885 charging direct rent. The first match played at Anfield was between Everton and Earlestown on 28 September 1884, which Everton won 50. During Everton's tenure at the stadium, stands were erected for some of the 8,000 plus spectators regularly attending matches, although the ground was capable of holding around 20,000 spectators and occasionally did. The ground was considered of international standard at the time, playing host to England versus Ireland in 1889. Anfield's first league match was played on 8 September 1888, between Everton and Accrington Everton quickly improved as a team and three years later in the 189091 season became Anfield's first league champions.


A dispute emerged between Houlding and the Everton FC committee, over how the club was to be owned and run. This dispute escalated from the full purchase of the land at Anfield from minor land owner John Orrell, into a disagreement over how the club was run. This culminated with Everton moving to Goodison Park. Houlding was left with an empty stadium, and decided to form a new club to occupy it. The team was called Liverpool F.C and Athletic Grounds Ltd, and their first match at Anfield was a friendly played in front of 200 people on 1 September 1892, against Rotherham Town, which they won 71. Liverpool's first Lancashire League match at Anfield was played on 9 September 1893, against Lincoln City, Liverpool won 40 in front of 5,000 spectators. A new stand was constructed in 1895, capable of holding 3,000 spectators, on the site of the present Main Stand. The stand had a distinctive red and white gable, and was similar to the main stand at Newcastle United's ground St James' Park. Another stand was constructed at the Anfield Road end in 1903, built from timber and corrugated iron. After Liverpool had won their second League championship in 1906, a new stand was built along the Walton Breck Road. Local journalist Ernest Edwards, who was the sports editor of newspapers the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, christened it the Spion Kop; it was named after a famous hill in South Africa where a local regiment had suffered heavy losses during the Boer War in 1900. More than 300 men had died, many of them from Liverpool, as the British army attempted to capture the strategic hilltop. Around the same period a stand was also built along Kemlyn Road. The ground remained much the same until 1928 when the Kop was redesigned and extended to hold 30,000 spectators, all standing, with a roof erected as well. Many stadia in England had stands named after the Spion Kop, however Anfield's was the largest Kop in the country at the time. It was able to hold more supporters than some entire football grounds. The topmast of the SS Great Eastern, one of the first iron ships, was rescued from the ship breaking yard at nearby Rock Ferry, and was hauled up the Everton Valley by a team of horses to be erected alongside the new Kop where it still stands today, serving as a flag pole.


Floodlights were installed and on 30 October 1957, they were switched on for the first time for a match against Everton, to commemorate the 75-year anniversary of the Liverpool County Football Association.[14] In 1963 the old Kemlyn Road stand was replaced by a cantilevered stand, able to hold 6,700 spectators and built at a cost of 350,000. Two years later alterations were made at the Anfield Road end, turning it into a large covered standing area. The biggest redevelopment came in 1973, when the old Main Stand was demolished and a new one was constructed. At the same time, the pylon floodlights were pulled down and new lights installed along the top of the Kemlyn Road and Main Stands. The new stand was officially opened on 10 March 1973, by the Duke of Kent. In the 1980s the paddock in front of the Main Stand was turned into seating, and in 1982 seats were introduced at the Anfield Road end. The Shankly Gates were erected in 1982, a tribute to former manager Bill Shankly; Shankly's widow Nessie unlocked them for the first time on 26 August 1982. Across the Shankly Gates are the words You'll Never Walk Alone, from the Gerry & The Pacemakers' hit song that Liverpool fans adopted as the club's anthem. Coloured seats and a police-room were added to the Kemlyn Road stand in 1987. After the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, the Taylor Report recommended that all grounds in the country should be converted into all-seater grounds by May 1994. A second tier was added to the Kemlyn Road stand in 1992, turning it into a double decker layout. It included executive boxes and function suites as well as 11,000 seating spaces. Plans to expand the stand had been made earlier, with the club buying up houses on Kemlyn Road during the 1970s and 1980s. Plans were put on hold until 1990 because two sisters, Joan and Nora Mason, refused to sell their house. When the club reached an agreement with the sisters in 1990, the expansion plans were put into action. The stand was officially opened on 1 September 1992, by UEFA president Lennart Johansson and re-named the Centenary Stand. The Kop was rebuilt in 1994 after the recommendations of the Taylor Report and became all seated; although it is still a single tier, the capacity was significantly reduced to 12,390.


On 4 December 1997, a statue of Bill Shankly, created from bronze, was unveiled at the visitors' centre in front of the Kop. Standing at over 8 feet (2.4 m) tall, the statue depicts Shankly wearing a fan's scarf around his neck, in a familiar pose he adopted when receiving applause from fans. Inscribed on the statue are the words: "Bill Shankly - He Made the People Happy". The Hillsborough memorial is situated alongside the Shankly Gates, and is always decorated with flowers and tributes to the 96 people who died as a result of the disaster. At the centre of the memorial is an eternal flame, signifying that those who died will never be forgotten. The most recent change to Anfield came in 1998 when the new two-tier Anfield Road end was opened. The stand has however encountered a number of problems since its redevelopment. At the beginning of the 19992000 season a series of support poles and stanchions had to be brought in to give extra stability to the top tier of the stand. During Ronnie Moran's testimonial against Celtic many fans complained of movement of the top tier. At the same time that the stanchions were inserted the executive seating area was expanded by two rows in the main stand, lowering the capacity for seating in the paddock.



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