Anfield has hosted football since the ground was rented to Everton FC in 1884. Ground capacity in the early days was officially 20,000 spectators. Everton won the league championship in the 1890-91 season but efforts by the club to purchase the ground led to a dispute. The end result came quickly in 1892 when Everton FC moved to occupy a new ground at Mere Green field which became Goodison Park.
The departure of Everton left John Houlding, the owner of Anfield, without a tenant for his ground. Liverpool FC was formed in 1892 after the FA wouldn’t allow them to name the club Everton Athletic. The club started in the Lancashire League but their application to join the Football League was accepted for the 1893-94 season when they joined Division Two.
Famed engineer Archibald Leitch was hired in 1906 to design a new West Stand for the ground and move the existing stand to the the east side where it became the Kemlyn Road Stand. The new stand was the first in the UK to be constructed using reinforced concrete and forms the lower level of the current Main Stand.
The most famous stand at Anfield is The Kop, which at its peak capacity held 30,000 supporters. The name is derived from the battle of Spion Kop during the Second Boer War when the expansion of terraced embankments at football grounds led to the press dubbing such stands as some derivation of “the Kop.”
The current capacity of Anfield is 45,276 but the highest attendance for a football match was 61,905 for a match against Wolverhampton in 1952.
The previous owners of Liverpool FC made plans to build a new stadium a short distance away from the current site but financial problems following the 2008 economic crisis led to the plans being put on hold. The takeover of the club by the Fenway Sports Group led to the cancellation of the new stadium and the decision to renovate Anfield and raise the capacity to 59,000 supporters.
Aside from Everton & Liverpool, Manchester United have also played a home match at Anfield after a stadium ban at the beginning of the 1971-72 season. United beat the previous season’s League and FA Cup Double winners 3-1.
Like most football grounds Anfield has seen a wide range of events from concerts, international football, rugby league, boxing title fights and in 1958 a basketball game featuring the Harlem Globetrotters.
Anfield has been a very difficult location for opponents to take the points. Liverpool did not lose a match at Anfield from January 1978 until January 1981, a stretch of 85 matches.
Anfield has been home to the League Champions on 18 occasions, the FA Cup winners on 7 occasions in addition to 8 League Cups, 5 European Cups/ Champions League titles and 3 UEFA Cup titles.
June 11th, 2015
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