In my short life of just 29-years, I have been watching Liverpool week in week out since my treasured season ticket arrived at my front door on June 11th 1993 at the tender age of 11, a date i will never forget. Whilst i only experienced the Kop for season when it was then turned to an all seated stand in 1994, I have the greatest memories of Liverpool FC home. Steeped in over a hundred years of tradition, the famous stands which surround the hallowed turf of L4 have seen some of the greatest sights known to man:
From the goalkeeping heroics of:
Elisha Scott (Liverpool’s longest serving player), Clemence, Grobbelaar and Reina.
To the tough tackling defenders:
Raisbeck, Hansen, Lawrenson, Thommo, Nicol, Jones, Hyypia and Carragher.
The conveyor belt of midfielders:
Callaghan, Hall, Case, McDermott, Kennedys, Hughes, Souness, Molby, Beardsley, Barnes, Redknapp, Hamann and Gerrard.
We must not forget the boys who put the ball in the onion bag:
Liddell, St John, Toshack, Keegan, Heighway, Fairclough, Dalglish, Rush, Fowler, Owen, Torres and Sean Dundee (only messing with the last name, least said the better).
Anfield has seen it all, from the highs of Fairclough against St Etienne and Gerrard against Olympiakos, Redknapp against Dalglish’s Blackburn, to the lows of losing 9-1 at home against Birmingham in 1954, removal of the boot room in its original existence, Northampton (last season) and seeing the flowers of 1989 (YNWA 96).
With the modern world evolving as it is, I believe we can no longer continue within the current walls of Anfield unless one of the two obvious permutations occurs:
1: We redevelop Anfield.
Anfield as beautiful as it is now begins to show signs of ageing as modern sports stadium constructions show the endless possibilities available. From sky high stands to underground car parks, retail outlets and restaurants all within the walls of a football stadium. From what I have read, the maximum we could extend to would be 60,000 seats, done so by developing the Main and Anfield road stands. By doing this we keep the history, the name, what represents us, what makes away teams scared, the small confined and intimidating corridors, the infamous This is Anfield sign, the ascending steps to the plush green carpet as the third from top step delivers an ear piercing roar as the teams arrive on to the pitch, the noise is so at 45000, imagine it at 60000. The cost of such development would be a third of the cost for a new stadium, though this cost would have to be generated by Liverpool FC as we have already been told that renaming Anfield is out of the question. But the limitation is at 60000, we could fill it to a higher capacity than that.
2: We build.
Imagine the possibilities; we have all seen the architect’s drawings of how the new stadium would look in its new position in Stanley Park, fresh, definitive, eye catching, a monumental stadium to wow the world, something to rival the stadiums built for USA 94. We would have better access both walking and driving; there is talk of an underground train link, better parking, and all round better accessibility. Promise of state of the art shopping, dining and match day experience. We would build it with 60000 in mind but the possibility of 85000 factored in. Foundations would be laid to increase from 60000 + at any point. I would however be reluctant to sell the naming rights which appears to be the way we will go forward. Selling the rights means we as a club will bear no cost of the development but to have to stop saying Anfield and call LFC’s home , The Adidas arena (catchy), Santander Stadium, Nike arena or Caldbury playing field is something that is not sitting well with me.
Football is now a business and the less cost to LFC the more money we have to develop the playing staff. I really can’t decide which way to vote.
If I ruled the world both politically and financially, I would redevelop Anfield, update its current structure inside and out.
To dream is to believe.