Why Did Everton Leave Anfield?

By Andre Moura, FootballPredictions.NET, 11:50 04/10/2020

Why Did Everton Leave Anfield?

For well over 100 years, Everton Football Club has played their home matches at Goodison Park. The famous old stadium is steeped in history and has played host to title triumphs, European adventures, and the occasional relegation battle. However, before the Toffees moved to Goodison Park, they originally played their home matches at Anfield - the home of their greatest rivals, Liverpool. 

Many reasons caused Everton to vacate Anfield and move across Stanley Park. A long-running dispute with board member and owner of the stadium, John Houlding, is cited as the primary reason that the Toffees departed. Due to his political views and constantly raising the price of the rent, Everton felt their relationship with him and the stadium was no longer feasible.  

As a result of their departure, Houlding founded a football club to fill the void left by Everton. That football club, of course, was Liverpool FC, which is now one of world football’s powerhouses.

Due to the close proximity between the two clubs and the dispute over Anfield, Everton and Liverpool share one of the most fierce (and frequently played) derbies in English football. The Reds have arguably been the most successful club out of the two after winning 19 league championships and six European Cups/ Champions Leagues. 

Everton’s Move to Anfield

Before their unamicable split, Houlding was somewhat of a saviour to Everton. 

In 1884, the Toffees were evicted from their first home stadium on Priory Road because they were attracting much larger crowds than their stadium could hold. The future of the club was immediately put into doubt as the costs of building a new stadium proved too large. 

Two of the management committee at the club pleaded with Houlding to buy the club due to his wealth and love for sports. Houlding obliged but offered no guarantees plus a maximum of £100 rent in return.

Constantly Rising Rent

Despite the initial rent agreement of £100, the fee rose to £240 a year up until 1888. In 1891, after Everton had lifted the old First Division title for the first time, a parade was arranged for fans to see the team and the trophy. However, there were rumours of immense financial expenditure needed to fund such an event. 

Around the time, Houlding had stated that he had only received four per cent of the money he had invested in buying Anfield. He also explained how he believed Everton’s flourishing position on the pitch meant he was entitled to raise the price of rent to match the team’s achievements. 

The Everton board members were not pleased with the continual rise in rent price, and the tensions grew stronger with each passing year. 

"Everton F.C. and Athletic Grounds Ltd"

A further dispute between Houlding and the Everton board members resulted in Houlding trying to purchase and gain full control of the football club by registering the company, “Everton F.C. and Athletic Grounds Ltd.” However, the Football Association prevent any such purchase, and Houlding left the club. 

As a form of a rebuttal, Houlding decided to found his own football club to occupy the empty stadium. 

Merseyside Derby

The football match between Everton and Liverpool is titled ‘the Merseyside Derby’ due to the two teams being the primary clubs in the county of Merseyside. 

Initially, matches between the two were known as the ‘friendly derby’ due to their proximity. During the mid-1980s, however, when football hooliganism in Britain was at its peak, the derby intensified as both sets of supporters would often clash. 

Matches between the two have produced more red cards than any other Premier League fixture, and the most recent clash between the two saw the points shared in a 0-0 stalemate at Goodison Park. 

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