This Is Anfield –
The Official Illustrated History of Liverpool FC’s Legendary Stadium
By Mark Platt with William Hughes
Carlton Books – £25.00
It’s there to remind our lads who they’re playing for and to remind the opposition who they’re playing against.
With Liverpool FC at the top of the league for the first time in a while, it does have to be said, German manager, Jorgen Klopp, is clearly doing something (exceedingly) right. There again, when I lived in Berlin, he did win the Bundesliga back to back with Borussia Dortmund in 2011 and 2012.
So all told, he’s a more than qualified, and lest it be said, rather feisty manager to lead one of the finest teams in the land to some sort of silverware.
It’s just a shame his star wasn’t/hasn’t fundamentally been brought to bear in This Is Anfield – The Official Illustrated History of Liverpool FC’s Legendary Stadium. A fine and altogether lavish, coffee table book, which charts the development of Liverpool’s football ground from its initial establishment in 1884 (as the home of Merseyside rivals, Everton Football Club) right through to it being something of a Red fortress. A place where the teams of Shankly, Paisley and Dalglish developed Liverpool FC into one of the finest of premier clubs in world football.
Replete with more than 150 historic, rare photographs, This Is Anfield explores the football ground’s rich and eventful history, as well as a range of iconic themes forever linked to the stadium. Among them: the famous Boot Room, the Shankly Gates, the legendary Kop – not to mention of course, many a fabled, European night.
Its ten chapters – along with a section aptly entitled, ‘A Timeline of Anfield’s Significant Changes, Moments and Games ‘ – more than qualifies this robust book as being the real deal.
The Introduction alone, sets the record straight nigh immediately: ”From humble origins it has gradually risen and now looms large over the surrounding rows of back-to-back terraced houses that have been there as long as the ground itself. The towering stands dominate the local skyline and it’s become as much a symbol of the city as the Liver Buildings or St. George’s Hall […]. A swaying Kop singing along to songs by The Beatles in the mid-1960s and a portly policeman laughing out loud as the ecstasy of another title erupts around him a couple of years later.”
In fact, it reads more like a celebration of Anfield’s existence, rather than a mere literary nod to its existence. So much so, I’m convinced each of its 188 pages will undoubtedly bring something special to each and every fan; a book where there’s many a drop-quote-deliberation (which many might not actually know):
When the Kop start singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ my eyes start to water. There have been times when I’ve actually been crying while I’ve been playing.
There’s not one club in Europe with an anthem like ‘You’ll never Walk Alone.’ There’s not one club in the world so united with the fans.
Gerry [Marsden] told me that they used to play the top 10 records before kick-off at Anfield but when YNWA fell out of the chart, lots of people complained. So it carried on being played and just snowballed from there.
Anfield announcer George Sephton
Suffice to say, if there’s ONE name that is and shall forever be synonymous with Anfield, it is surely that of the legendary Liverpool manager, Bill Shankly. So it’s only right he should claim and be credited with the majority of quotes:
”We have great grass at Anfield… Professional grass!”
”The very word ‘Anfield’ means more to me than I can describe.”
”Anfield isn’t a football ground, it’s a sort of shrine. These people are not simply fans, they’re more like members of one extended family.”