20 years ago today marks one of the most historic days in English football. No trophies were won on 30th April 1994, nor were any records broken, but arguably the most famous terrace in English football closed its doors after one last hurrah.
With the Taylor report following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 recommending all-seater stadia, The Kop stood for the last time as Liverpool took on Norwich City in the Reds’ last Premier League home match of the 1993/94 season. It was a game where a Jeremy Goss goal gave all three points to the visitors.
A terrace that was envied by many for the noise it made. It had played its part in some of the memorable Anfield European nights including Inter Milan in the European Cup semi-final of 1965, and the 1977 European Cup quarter-final against St Etienne when a late David Fairclough goal put Liverpool through in the season when the club claimed its first European Cup. Some say that was the loudest the Kop, and Anfield had ever been.
But 20 years ago was a day of celebration for the old terrace, decorated in flags, scarves and plenty of singing for good measure as legends of the club were paraded before the crowd before the game. Anyone that was there that day will remember it fondly despite the result – and when it became apparent that it wasn’t going to be Liverpool’s day on the pitch, chants of ‘you’re supposed to let us win’ were aired and people stayed long after the final whistle.
Why was it so special and the most talked about terrace than most others in football? Possibly for its colour and the passion that came from it. There was even a Panorama documentary on the Kop in the 1960s, showing people waited for hours singing songs that weren’t necessarily football related, plenty of them were from the charts at the time – so predictably there were a few Beatles numbers in there.
It’s doubtful we will see anything like that again in football, though there are those campaigning for standing to return to English football grounds on the continent – which by all accounts, having stood on a German football terrace myself, are far safer than any of the older style terraces from this country.
The current Kop at Anfield still has its special moments, it still has its colour and atmosphere – which a lot of credit must go to fan group Spion Kop 1906 for their flag making and efforts which make it look an incredible spectacle today – as it does resemble something like the historic terrace even though it’s now all-seater.
There has become an appetite for standing to return in a safer format than before the bulldozers rolled in in 1994. Fans stand at away games, and tend to at big home matches. Whether we will see the likes of the old terrace again remains to be seen, if we did the chances are they would be significantly different to back then.