Location : Liverpool, Merseyside, England
Coordinates : 53° 25′ 50.95″ N, 2° 57′ 38.98″ W
Opened : 1884
Owner : Liverpool F.C.
Operator : Liverpool F.C.
Surface : Grass
Capacity : 45,362
Field dimensions : 111 yards (101 m) by 74 yards (68 m)
Tenants : Liverpool F.C. (1892–present)
Anfield is an all-seater association football stadium in the district of Anfield
in Liverpool, England. The stadium was built in 1884 and was originally the
home of Everton F.C.. The club played at the ground until 1892, when they
left after a rent dispute. Since then the stadium has been home to Liverpool
F.C., who were formed as a result of Everton leaving Anfield. It is a Union of
European Football Associations (UEFA) 4-star rated stadium, and has hosted
many international matches at the senior level, including England matches.
The ground was also used as a venue during Euro 96. Earlier in its history the
stadium was also used as a venue for different events, such as boxing and
The stadium currently comprises four stands; Spion Kop, Main Stand,
Centenary Stand and Anfield Road, giving a total capacity of 45,362. The
record attendance at the stadium is 61,905 which was set in a Football
Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup) tie between Liverpool and Wolverham-
pton Wanderers in 1952. This happened before the ground was converted to
an all-seater stadium in 1994, a change which greatly reduced its capacity.
Each of its four stands now have an all-seater layout following the recom-
mendations of the Taylor Report. Notable features of the stadium include two
gates named after former Liverpool managers: the Bob Paisley Gate and the
Bill Shankly gate. In addition, a statue of Shankly is situated outside
Anfield’s public transport links include rail and bus services but it lacks
dedicated parking facilities. There are plans to replace Anfield with a new
stadium in Stanley Park which would hold around 25,000 more spectators
than Anfield’s current capacity. The site is near the current stadium and its
construction would lead to Anfield’s demolition. The opening of the new
stadium is scheduled for 2011 but the state of the financial market and
disagreement between the club’s American co-owners makes this doubtful.
Opened in 1884, Anfield was originally owned by John Orrell, a brewer and
friend of John Houlding; the leaseholder of Anfield. Everton, who had
recently been banned from playing in Stanley Park, were in need of a new
venue to play at and Orrell let the land to the club for a small fee. The first
game played at Anfield was between Everton and Earlstown on 28 September
1884, which Everton won 5–0. During Everton’s tenure at the stadium, a small
stand was erected for some of the 8,000 spectators regularly attending
games. Anfield’s first league match was played on 8 September 1888,
between Everton and, Lancashire team, Accrington Stanley F.C. Everton
quickly improved as a team and three years later in the 1890–1891 football
season they became Anfield’s first league champions. However, this success
was not without its drawbacks. Following the league win, Houlding
purchased the ground outright from Orrell in 1891, and proposed increasing
the rent from £100 to £250 per year. Everton refused to meet his demands,
and moved 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
Association Football Club, and their first match at Anfield was played on 1
September 1892, against Rotherham Town, which they won 7–0.
Liverpool’s first league match at Anfield was played on 9 September 1893,
against Lincoln City, with Liverpool winning 4–0 in front of 5,000 spectators.
A new stand was constructed in 1895, capable of seating 3,000 spectators,
and was built on the site of the present Main Stand. The stand had a distinc-
tive 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 local 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 seat 30,000 spectators, with a roof erected as
well. Many stadiums 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.
In 1957 floodlights were installed and on 30 October of that year they were
switched on for the first time for a match against Everton, to commemorate
the 75-year anniversary of the Liverpool County FA. In 1963 the old Kemlyn
Road stand was replaced by a cantilevered stand, able to seat 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
ripped down 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. In 1989, after the Hillsborough disaster, the Taylor Report recom-
mended that all grounds in the country should be converted into all-seater
grounds by May 1994. In 1992, a second tier was added to the Kemlyn Road
stand, 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, but two elderly residents living in Kemlyn Road re-
fused to move out of their house and the plans were put on hold. When one
of the residents died the other decided to move out and 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 signifi-
cantly reduced to 12,390.
On 4 December 1997, a statue of Bill Shankly, created from bronze, was un-
veiled 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
and in a familiar pose he adopted when receiving applause from fans. The
Hillsborough memorial is situated alongside the Shankly Gates, and is always
decorated with flowers and tributes to the 96 people who died at Hills-
borough. 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 redevelop-
ment. At the beginning of the 1999–2000 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 stan-
chions were inserted the executive seating area was expanded by two rows
in the main stand, lowering the capacity for seating in the paddock.
Structures and facilities
The pitch is surrounded by four all-seater stands, the Anfield Road end, the
Centenary Stand, the Kop and the Main Stand, all of which are covered. The
Anfield Road end and Centenary Stand are multi-tiered, whilst the Kop and
Main Stand are single-tiered. Entry to the stadium is gained by radio-
frequency identification (RFID) smart cards rather than the traditional manned
turnstile. This system, used in all 80 turnstiles around Anfield, was
introduced in 2005.
The Centenary Stand was originally named the Kemlyn Road stand before the
addition of a second tier. After the expansion was complete, the stand was
renamed to mark the club’s hundredth anniversary. The capacity of the stand
is 11,762, with 4,600 spaces on the upper tier and 6,814 on the lower tier,
while 348 spaces are also available in the executive boxes within the stand.
The Anfield Road stand is used to house the away fans during matches.
Originally a simple single-tier stand with multi-coloured seats, a second tier
has been added to the original stand, increasing the capacity to 9,074, con-
sisting of 2,654 spaces on the upper tier, 6,391 on the lower tier and 29
spaces for disabled persons.
The Kop was originally built as an uncovered terrace capable of holding
30,000 spectators, although a roof was added in 1928. However, following
the Hillsborough disaster and the subsequent Taylor Report, a new all-seater
Kop was constructed with a capacity of 12,409, with nine disabled spaces. It
is currently the largest single tier stand in Europe. The Main stand houses the
directors box and the players dressing rooms. The capacity of the stand is
12,277 seats consisting of 9,597 main stand seats, 2,409 available in the pad
dock, 177 in the directors box, 54 for the press box, and 40 disabled spaces.
There are 32 total spaces available to accommodate wheelchair users; 22
spaces are available for general sale, eight spaces are allocated to the away
supporters, and another two spaces are kept unused for emergency circum-
stances. There are 36 spaces available for the visually impaired, which are
situated in the paddock area of the Main stand, with space for one personal
assistant. A headset with full commentary is also provided.
Above the stairs that lead down to the pitch hangs a sign stating “THIS IS
ANFIELD”. Its purpose is to both intimidate the opposition and to bring those
who touch it good luck. Accordingly, Liverpool players and coaching staff
reach up and place one or both hands on it as they pass underneath.
The stadium also features tributes to two of the club’s most successful
managers: the Paisley Gates, in tribute of Bob Paisley, who guided Liverpool
to three European Cups and six League Championships in the 1970s and 80s
and Shankly Gates, in tribute of Bill Shankly, Paisley’s predecessor between
1959 and 1974. There is another tribute to Shankly, a statue of him is
located at the visitors’ centre in front of the Kop.
The dimensions of the pitch at Anfield are 111 yards (101 m) by 74 yards
(68 m), which is just above the FA’s recommended pitch dimensions of 110
yards (101 m) by 70 yards (64 m). The pitch at Anfield is cut two times a
week during the football season and four times a week during the close sea
son. The grass is one inch during the football season, and two inches high
at any other time. Under-soil heating was introduced in 1982. During a
matchday the groundsman are assisted by staff from the club’s training
ground—Melwood. They assist by filling in divots at half-time, and usually
restore the pitch for two hours after full-time. There are 400 to 420
stewards in attendance during matchday and in addition to this 65 police
officers, along with a doctor, two paramedic teams and 40 St. John Ambu-
lance officers are also present. Safety is paramount at the ground, as it
features an in house police station, a fire warning system linked to
Merseyside fire brigade, electronic exit gates, Closed-circuit television
cameras in and outside the ground, four fully equipped first aid rooms
and three ambulances.
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