Anfield is one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world. It has hosted numerous historic matches since it was built in the late 1800s and is deeply interwoven into the fabric of footballing folklore.
But it has changed a lot since it was first erected. With a growing fan base, Liverpool FC has needed to increase the number of seats available over the years. Success brings fans, and Liverpool is not short of fans around the world.
By expanding the stadium, the owners are looking to allow more people to attend games both locally and internationally. So, what exactly is happening with Liverpool’s stadium expansion, and when can we expect to see the finished product?
Anfield Stadium is named after the area it was built in. Originally, it was home to Merseyside rivals Everton FC. They moved there from Priory Road because they needed a larger place to play games.
Everton left Anfield after disagreements with the landlord and he subsequently went on to form Liverpool FC. Liverpool went on to become one of the most successful clubs in world football, with a massive fan base.
In the past, the stadium has undergone various expansions in order to meet the demands of its growing audience. In the 1920s the ground was extended to hold 30,000 spectators.
The streets of Anfield are full of rich history to behold. Relics such as the topmast of an old ship named the SS Great Eastern can be spotted billowing in the wind alongside the world-famous Spion Kop stand, which was itself named after a renowned battle.
Anfield currently holds 53,394 fans. It is famous for its atmosphere, which undoubtedly comes to life on European nights. So, why is there a demand for more seats and what will the expansion include?
This stadium expansion was originally planned to take place at an earlier date but was delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It is now expected to be finished by summer 2023. This gives us around a year and a half to wait until the new seats are opened to the public.
Overall, Anfield is getting around 7,000 new seats added. This will take the stadium's capacity to 61,000, making it even more formidable than before.
With an added 7,000 fans, you can bet the sound of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” will be even more powerful than it currently is, and that’s saying something.
Despite this, the journey to expand the stadium hasn’t been the smoothest. Many residents in the local area were opposed to this and their voices shouldn’t be ignored.
It’s also worth considering that not everyone who lives close to Anfield actually supports Liverpool FC, with many Evertonians living in the area too.
Similar opposition was posed when it was announced that Everton was building a new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock, but due to this area being derelict, there are no nearby homes that would be disrupted by such a project.
The council gave approval to the stadium expansion and it is now set to go ahead. This follows a previous expansion that was completed in 2016.
The latest expansion will increase the stadium capacity but will also include new hospitality areas. Areas such as this offer fans the chance to experience more than just what happens on the pitch.
Many hospitality areas give people the option of luxury, with various food and drink served, but it is unclear exactly what the new areas will feature at this point.
Andy Hughes, the managing director at Liverpool FC said: “This is a huge milestone in our journey towards bringing more supporters into Anfield.”
Clearly, the priority from a business standpoint is making more money than before, and with such a high demand for Liverpool tickets, it is easy to see why they would be keen to increase capacity.
Hughes went on to add: “We have been clear from the beginning that this expansion would be based on our ability to successfully navigate the complex planning landscape; our ability to gain the cooperation of local residents and the community; and our ability to ensure the project is financially viable”.
This shows that Hughes and the board are aware of the need to deliver satisfactory reasoning to the people who live in Anfield and its surrounding areas.
It has also been revealed that Liverpool FC is interested in providing green energy solutions when building this latest stadium expansion. The club is planning to install solar panels on the roof of this new stand, as well as low-energy lighting and waterless urinals.
This is definitely a step in the right direction and shows that making a profit whilst being environmentally conscious could be possible. Perhaps this sort of thing will pave the way for future contractors to follow.
Solar panels providing energy for certain parts of the stadium is a great idea considering how exposed the stadium is to the sun, standing above all surrounding buildings in the area. In a decade or so, we could see stadiums completely powered by environmentally friendly solutions.
Liverpool’s stadium expansion comes at a time when they are undoubtedly one of the most attractive clubs in world football.
They are currently in a title race with Chelsea FC and Manchester City FC, and if they can win another trophy this year then the stadium expansion will become an even more exciting prospect for fans who are desperate to go and catch the scousers play in the flesh.