Archibald Leitch is a name that still resonates amongst football fanatics all over Britain. An architect by profession, the Scotsman gained reputation and fame for being the ‘auteur’ of some of Britain’s most reputed football stadiums, that still hold rank in the modern game.
From Fulham’s Craven Cottage to the legendary Glaswegian home of Rangers FC – the Ibrox – via Manchester’s Old Trafford, his Curriculum Vitae hosts some stellar names. But Liverpool FC’s fans will testify that his greatest design has been none other their cerebral home, that stands at Anfield Rd, Liverpool L4 0TH, United Kingdom, better known as just Anfield.
It is therefore fitting that fans from both sides of the great Merseyside divide – Red and Blue – congregate at the spectacular stadium to appreciate what is billed to be an enticing match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, whilst also paying due deference to one of Leitch’s most hallowed design concepts – the Kop end.
Despite having naming origins to the second Boer war in South Africa, in 1900, the Spion Kop, or just the Kop, is one of football’s most revered stands, being home to over 12,000 zealous Red Liverpudlians on match day. Despite undergoing multiple redesigns to adjust for capacity, the essence of the stand remains undiluted – passion and Adulation for the five-time European champions.
Now, in the midst of another titillating Premier League (PL) campaign, the role of the Kop is ever more enhanced, especially with one of the most fervently expectant matches in the clubs history, on the horizon – the Merseyside derby, contested against bitter rivals and the Blue side of Liverpool, Everton.
Celebrating 125 years of Liverpool, Standard Chartered’s slalom though elements that define Liverpool, this time highlights their heart and soul- the Kop and their ‘Voice’ spearheading match day proceedings, also called the Kop Roar.
Liverpool’s fans ‘have a song for every occasion’ and their spirit is paid homage to by the team’s progress on the field of play. At the centre of attention is the club’s anthem, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, sung with undiluted mettle by all supporters irrespective of caste, creed, religion or age. The Kop end has also famously recorded a decibel level of 135 dB when in 2005, Liverpool beat Chelsea in a tight Uefa Champions League semi-final at Anfield.
The Kop’s Roar will matter most even before the ball is kicked off in the 229th Merseyside Derby and the first of the 2017 campaign. Sam Allardyce will take on the visiting coach’s hot-seat for the first ever time, as he seeks to silence the immutable, just in his second game in charge of the Wayne Rooney-captained team.
It will also be an emotional Saturday for the former Manchester United player, also their record goal scorer, when he faces his arch-nemesis.
Traditionally, Liverpool has remained the most dominant team in the encounter, with 92 wins, while Everton have scalped 66. The match has been drawn 70 times. Form guides point to Jurgen Klopp’s side’s dominance on the front foot that will make the difference, with them scoring 16 goals in just 5 games.
Everton have managed three wins in their last quintuplet of PL matches, despite a managerial upheaval in the recent past. They have a leaky defence and that’s dangerous even when you’re scoring isn’t up to the mark either.
Nonetheless, with maximum capacity within the boundaries of the 66,000 seater melting pot of football brethren that Anfield, is, the Kop’s roar is expected to be the defining point of a tumultuous outing for the Reds.