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The 130-year evolution of Anfield: From muddy embankments to 61,000 seats

Anfield has undergone some remarkable changes in the 130 years that it has been the iconic home of Liverpool FC.

Having been built in 1884, Anfield was originally the home of Everton and did not house Liverpool FC until the club’s formation in 1892.

In the 130 years since, the stadium has drastically evolved and remains one of the most legendary grounds in the game.

It’s a special place to millions and will continue to be for many more years to come. Here, we go back in time to see how Anfield has changed throughout the years.

 

The Kop expansion, 1928

Retro Pic: The Spion Kop, Main Stand under construction at Anfield Liverpool FC. 25th August 1928 ((PA / Alamy Media))

When the Kop was originally opened in 1906, it was 100 concrete steps, measuring 394 feet long, 135 feet wide and 50 feet in height.

In 1928, a significant expansion took place to allow for a roof and 30,000 fans to stand and watch the Reds.

 

Shankly’s arrival

The year 1959 saw the appointment of the great Bill Shankly, a few years before Anfield would undergo another makeover.

Between 1963 and 1973, the Kemlyn Road Stand, now known as the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand, and the Main Stand both underwent redevelopment.

 

The old Boot Room

Liverpool manager Bob Paisley hands over the reins to his successor Joe Fagan (Picture by: PA Photos / PA Archive/Press Association Images)

The departure of Shankly saw Bob Paisley assume the top job in 1974, where a new era of illustrious success was to follow.

From the 1960s to 1990s, the Boot Room was a meeting place where the Liverpool coaching staff would meet to discuss the team, tactics and ways of defeating their next opponent.

 

This Is Anfield

Bob Paisley at Anfield after taking over as Liverpool manager following the resignation of Bill Shankly. 26th July 1974. (PA / Alamy)

The famous This Is Anfield sign in the stadium’s tunnel holds a special place in the club’s history. The one seen here behind Paisley was the second version to take its place and remained in place until 1998.

It would not be seen until 2012 after a third version took its place, but it’s now back where it belongs – although the tunnel has certainly changed following the Main Stand redevelopment.

 

Flagpole Corner, 1980

EWTP43 Exterior of Anfield football stadium, home to Liverpool Football Club, Merseyside. 19th May 1980.

Flagpole Corner has been an Anfield meeting point for generations of Liverpool supporters.

Situated at the Walton Breck Road/Kemlyn Road junction (now the corner of the Kop and Kenny Dalglish stands), the flagpole usually sees a Liver Bird flag flying high in the sky.

 

Shankly Gates

Anfield, Shankly Gates, general (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In 1982, the Shankly Gates came to be. They were formally unlocked by his widow, Ness, 11 months after he passed away.

They did move location following on from the Main Stand construction in 2016, moving further down Anfield Road to the entrance to the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand car park.

 

Anfield from above, 1989

Aerial pictures of homecoming victory parade for Liverpool FC players, after winning the FA Cup Final, pictured 21st May 1989. (PA / Alamy)

You may notice the coloured block of seats at the Anfield Road End, this was Paisley’s doing.

He watched the reserves at the ground and found the red shirts would get lost in the red seats around the stadium and felt having an array of colours would help see the players better!

 

Kemlyn/Centenary, 1992

G98EFW KEMLYN ROAD STAND, LIVERPOOL. ground stadium

In the 1991/92 season, it was time to add a second-tier onto the Kemlyn Road Stand, later known as the Centenary Stand – it officially opened in September 1992.

It would later become the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, October 13, 2017: Former Liverpool player and manager and current non-executive director Kenny Dalglish gives a speech as the club's Centenary Stand is renamed the Kenny Dalglish Stand. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A tribute to the king.

 

Final day of the Kop, 1994

The Kop last stand, Anfield: LIverpool vs Norwich, 1994 (PA Images)

The Kop, of course, underwent a significant change after the Taylor Report called for football stadiums’ standing terraces to be replaced with all-seater stadiums following the tragic events at Hillsborough.

The 1993/94 campaign would be its last and the occasion was marked with an emotional send-off.

Liverpool, England - Wednesday, November 27th, 1996: A view of Anfield from the Spion Kop before the 4th Round of the League Cup at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As you can see, above, in 1996, the Kop would now be an all-seater.

 

Anfield Road End changes, 1997

The Anfield Road stand general view. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In 1997, an upper tier would be added to the Anfield Road End in a boost to capacity.

It has remained in place for over 20 years and will be expanded as part of the ongoing Anfield Road End redevelopment.

 

Rebuilding the Main Stand, 2015

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JULY 24: The Main Stand Roof Truss is attached to the stand at Anfield on July 24, 2015 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

After owners FSG decided to remain at Anfield instead of building a new stadium in Stanley Park, work started on demolishing the old Main Stand in favour of a new three-tier stand.

The end product was simply stunning, increasing the stadium’s capacity to just over 54,000.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 25, 2016: A general view of Liverpool's Anfield stadium an new Main Stand before the Football League Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 6, 2017: An exterior view of the new Main Stand before the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool FC and FC Spartak Moscow at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 28, 2018: The new Main Stand at Anfield pictured before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Stoke City FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A move from FSG that reflected Liverpool’s on-field ambitions with those off it.

 

The new tunnel, 2016

The famous "This Is Anfield" sign above the players' tunnel at Anfield, home of Liverpool Football Club. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This Is Anfield tunnel sign (Photo: Sven Hoppe/dpa)

The redevelopment of the Main Stand also saw a freshening up for the famous Anfield tunnel.

Previously a tight space with steps down, and then up to the pitch, the tunnel area is now on the same level as the playing surface and a lot more spacious.

The famous This Is Anfield sign remains above the main entrance to the pitch.

 

Anfield Road End expansion

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, June 29, 2022: An aerial view of Anfield, the home stadium of Liverpool Football Club. The image shows the ongoing construction of the Anfield Road stand which will add an aditional 7,000 seats to boost the overall Anfield capacity to 61,000. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The current stadium dominates the skyline and will continue to do so with the new Anfield Road expansion due to be completed for the 2023/24 season.

Anfield’s capacity will rise to 61,000 and will look something like this. A sight to behold.

Anfield Road Stand vision (Liverpool FC/PA handout)

130 years of incredible memories and so many more to come. We really are blessed to be able to call Anfield home.

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