Meeting place – Goodison Park

Meeting place – Goodison Park

Foundation prehistory

They rarely tell that outside Merseyside, but will always remember in Liverpool. From 1884 till 1892 Everton FC home arena was… Anfield Road – present-day stadium of their most bitter rivals Liverpool FC. The famous opposition of these two sides started with Anfield. By the way, GoodisonPark is located only 765 meters far from Anfield.

At first Everton played at StanleyPark field located  between two arenas today. The number of fans was increasing and in 1882 the team had more than two thousand fans, so the Toffees moved to the pitch at Priory Road. Still fans weren’t satisfied with that.

In 1884 Everton started featuring at Anfield Road. By 1885 the income from every match increased to 200 pounds. The team played at this stadium till 1892. After they finished second in Football League Anfield owner John Houlding made the rent as big as 250 pounds instead of 100.

That’s why Everton direction decided that the team should move to another stadium and initiated its construction at the northern side of StanleyPark. John Houlding had the empty arena left, so he founded his own club and called it Liverpool as he couldn’t use the name Everton.

Stadium-style settler

Everton new stadium was called GoodisonPark as it was located in front of Goodison Road. It was the first football-only arena in England. Only Scotland had better stadiums at that time. In 1887 Glasgow Rangers opened Ibrox and Celtic presented Celtic Part in 1892.

GoodisonPark official opening ceremony took place on August 24 1892. That day 12 thousands fans came to the stadium. Five days later Everton defeated Bolton there – 4:2. In two years GoodisonPark hosted FA Cup final.

The stadium was being constantly improved, so it was a kind of touchstone. Many European clubs built their arenas on its model. At first two-stage Park End was constructed and in 1909 Main Stand was erected. It had offices, locker rooms for players and special seats for media.

On July 13 1913 the football stadium became the first one in the League history visited by monarch George V and Queen Mary.

In 1931 the Toffees created a kind of cover for coaching staff and substitutes in front of the field. That’s how dug-outs appeared in England.

In 1983 Goodison became the only stadium of the country with four two-stage stands. George VI and Queen Elizabeth were preset at Gwladys Street Stand opening. Soon one of the stands got the third stage.

In October of 1957 lighting system was installed at GoodisonPark. A year later Everton put more than 20 miles of electric wire under the turf which costed the club 16,000 pounds. That let them deal with frost and rain. In 1960 drainage system was installed. In 1971 GoodisonPark became the fist stadium in the world with covered stand.

In 1966 this arena hosted five World Cup matches including the semifinal USSR lost against Germany (1:2).

The attendance record (78,299 fans) record was set on September 18 1948 at Merseyside derby that ended in a draw (1:1).

Modern age and tribute to traditions

TodayGoodisonPark capacity is 39,572 seats. Last time the stadium was reconstructed in 1994.

Everton direction developed the plan of new stadium that was supposed to be located outside Liverpool, in Kirkby. Still fans didn’t support this project and it was scrapped. People love their native GoodisonPark they call Gran Old Lady.

By the way, the stadium is also a memorial complex as funeral urns with ashes of fans, who wanted to stay with their team forever, are buried under the arena.

GoodisonPark is also unique as one can see the wall of Church of St. Luke between two stands. That’s why Everton never play too early on Sundays.

The club works with active supporters offering prior right of buying tickets for away games to those, who attend them a lot.

The Toffees care about young and respectable age fans giving them discounts.

Europa League fixtures aren’t as popular as Premier League matches at GoodisonPark this season.

Ihor Bondarenko

Copyright © 2015 FC Dynamo Kyiv

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