Liverpool’s Everton FC have been around for longer than the English Football League – 139 years as of 2017, being founded in 1878, and founding members of the EFL in 1888. They have played in the top division for a record length of 114 seasons, many of those seasons played at The Grand Old Lady, Goodison Park.
Before Goodison Park – Stanley Park and Anfield
Originally, however, Everton played in a corner of Stanley Park, the same park where Liverpool FC would later propose to build a stadium. Everton played in Stanley Park from 1879 until 1884, when the landowner asked them to leave because their crowds had simply become too big for the location.
Everton then played at Anfield, now Liverpool FC’s home, until 1892, when they decided to move due to constant rent and land use disputes with the landowner. In September 1892, Everton moved to Goodison Park.
History of Goodison Park
Goodison Park was the UK’s first purpose-built football ground, costing £8090, just under £1 million in today’s money, with enough seating for 10,000 fans. The first FA cup final hosted at Goodison was in 1894, with a crowd of 37,000. By 1895, Everton had raised enough money to buy Goodison Park, which had by this time been incorporated into the city of Liverpool.
Improvements to the stadium continued at an incredible rate, with the existing stands being roofed and new stands being constructed in 1895, and a new two-tier stand built in 1906 along Goodison Avenue at a cost of £13,000. By 1926, the Paddock, a steel framed two-level stand, had been constructed, and all stands were made two-tier by 1938.
In 1940, Goodison Park suffered damage when Liverpool was bombed during the blitz. Bombs landed near to the stadium, putting multiple holes in the stand roofs, damaging pipework, and destroying all glass in the park.
The first major post-war change came in 1957, alongside the new strip from their football kit suppliers, when the first floodlit match was played at Goodison, with Everton hosting Liverpool to a crowd of almost 58,000. For more on Everton’s kit changes, check out a kit supplier such as https://www.kitking.co.uk/.
Goodison Park today has a capacity of 39,572, but it is certain that The Grand Old Lady has a great deal of history yet to come.