Anfield is a football stadium in the district of Anfield, in Liverpool, England. Built in 1884, the stadium has been home to Liverpool FC since they were formed in 1892 as a result of the original tenants Everton FC leaving the ground.
The stadium currently comprises four stands: Spion Kop, Main Stand, Centenary Stand and Anfield Road, giving a total capacity of 45 276. The record attendance at the stadium is 61 905, which was set in a match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1952.
This record was set prior to the ground's conversion to an all-seater stadium in 1994; the changes, which were a result of the Taylor Report, greatly reduced capacity. 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 the stadium.
Anfield is a Uefa elite 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 tennis matches. The ground is due to host matches during the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with pool matches taking place at the stadium.
There are plans to replace Anfield with a new 60 000-capacity stadium in Stanley Park. The stadium was first planned in May 2002 with a provisional opening date of August 2005, but subsequent problems with securing funding for the project, as well as the state of the financial market since 2008, combined with disagreement between the club's American co-owners, makes it certain as of 2010, that football will continue to be played at Anfield for at least a few more years.
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 September 28, 1884, which Everton won 5–0.
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 FC and Athletic Grounds Ltd, and their first match at Anfield was a friendly played in front of 200 people on September 1,1892, against Rotherham Town, which they won 7–1.
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.
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 August 26, 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.
On December 4,1997, a statue of Bill Shankly, created from bronze, was unveiled at the visitors' centre in front of the Kop. Standing at over 2.4m 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 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 stanchions were inserted, the executive seating area was expanded by two rows in the main stand, lowering the capacity for seating in the paddock.
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.
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.
Anfield has been the venue for many other events, and during the inter-war years boxing matches were regularly held there. During the mid-1920s, Anfield was the finishing line for the city marathon. Liverpool also held an annual race, which started from St George's plateau in the city centre and finished with a lap of Anfield.
In July 1984, the American evangelist Billy Graham preached at Anfield for a week, attracting crowds of over 30 000 a night.
The stadium was used in 1991 for the rugby league World Club Challenge, held between the winners of the Australian NRL and the European Super league. This was held between Wigan and Penrith and was attended by 20 152 people.
Anfield was featured in Liverpool's 2008 European Capital of Culture celebrations. A total of 36 000 people attended a concert on June 1, 2008, featuring bands such as The Zutons, Kaiser Chiefs and Paul McCartney. Anfield has been confirmed as one of the grounds that will host matches during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
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