Moving away from London this week for our construction theme, we head up to the land where you can never walk alone as we look ahead to this weekends’ tasty derby in the red half of Merseyside.
North by North West
In 1893, Liverpool stormed to win the Second Division title, going unbeaten all season. In the very early days of the Football League, this meant they had to play a one-off match against the bottom side from the First Division to confirm promotion. This side happened to be Newton Heath, who in 1902 changed their name – and ground – to become Manchester United. Liverpool won the match 2-0 to officially seal promotion. It would only get worse for Newton Heath when they faced Liverpool for the first official league meeting in the First Division at Anfield the following season – Liverpool won 7-1.
At 12:30 on Saturday 14 October, Anfield will once again play host to one of the most fiercely contested derbies in the country. Known as the North West derby, it will be the 199th time the two teams have faced one another in all competitions. At the time of writing, this fixture has produced 79 United wins, 54 draws and 65 Liverpool wins.
The historic Anfield has been home to Liverpool since 1892. It was actually home to Merseyside rivals Everton for 7 years prior to that, before they were turfed out over a rent dispute. Everton moved to Goodison Park and paved the way for the red side of the city to form.
Anfield has gone on to be one of the most iconic grounds in the world. Over the years, it’s had a lot of changes (most notably, the removal of standing terraces and the change to being an all-seater stadium following the post-Hillsborough Disaster Taylor Report) but the ground has never moved and it’s hard to imagine Liverpool playing anywhere else – as is the case with Manchester United.
The most recent change was completed in September 2016, with a second and third tier of over 8,500 seats being added to the Main Stand. This huge Anfield construction project was completed in a particularly clever way that resulted in no disruption to the supporters still using the original stand. In 2014, houses behind the stand were demolished and by early next year, the first steel girders were in place. All of the proceeding work was completed behind the stand as supporters continued to use it every match as if nothing were happening.
Even the massive roof supports were erected as games were ongoing. At the end of the 2015/16 season, work began to complete the attachment between the upper tiers and the original lower tier. The original roof was removed and the final signs of the existence of the stand were gone.
The stand was officially opened on 8 September 2016. The Premier League fixture list was altered so Liverpool played their first three league fixtures away to allow for construction to be completed. Their first opponent? Then-Premier League title holders Leicester City, who they beat 4-1.
Kane is Able
With no fixtures last weekend due to the round of World Cup qualifiers, there were no changes in the Morson League. The last round of fixtures saw Harry Kane once again prove why he’s England’s best hope at any major international tournament with another brace, this time against Huddersfield. He’s now the most transferred player in the Fantasy Premier League, as woefully under-performing teams, such as this writers’, try desperately to stop the rot.
Still no goals and certainly no points since the start of the season for the Premier Leagues’ bottom club. It’s curious that Crystal Palace should be so unsuccessful right now – they only seem to have one player who has Scottish genes.