A ‘Topping Out’ ceremony was held at Anfield today - marking a significant milestone in the expansion of the iconic stadium.
The expansion project will see the Main Stand transformed into one of the largest all-seater single stands in European football, while incorporating an additional 8,500 fans and state-of-the-art facilities.
Topping Out, a tradition in the construction industry to bestow good luck on a new building, is held when a structure has reached its maximum height. The expanded Main Stand now stands at more than double the height of the existing stand – after a year of construction work at Anfield.
Liverpool FC’s chief executive officer, Ian Ayre, joined first-team manager Jürgen Klopp, non-executive director Kenny Dalglish and a host of Liverpool legends to mark the occasion with construction workers on site.
The highlight of the event saw the group joined by the 10 legends including Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler, Gary McAllister, Jamie Carragher, John Barnes, Ian St John, Phil Neal, Alan Kennedy, Ian Callaghan and Roger Hunt to sign a piece of structural steel, which will later be lifted and secured into the Main Stand’s new roof. The roof has been specially designed to project the noise from fans down onto the pitch, protecting the unique Anfield atmosphere.
The signatures will remain on the steel for the life of the building.
Ayre said: “We have today reached another important milestone in this fantastic project. We are absolutely delighted with the progress and are looking forward to having even more fans supporting the team at Anfield when the Main Stand opens next season.
“The expansion provides us with the opportunity to ensure that the rich history and traditions that make this stadium so special can continue for many years to come – none of which would have been possible without the incredible support we’ve received from our fans, partners, sponsors and the local community.”
All the legends were given a tour of the Main Stand and a chance to see the development first-hand and the impressive city views from inside the building.
Carillion director, Mark Nicholson, said: “We are delighted to have reached another milestone in the progress of the Main Stand extension. This project to create new world-class facilities at Anfield has also benefited local businesses and people through opportunities of work and training through apprenticeships.”
The club announced the redevelopment of Anfield in December 2014 and plans to take the Main Stand capacity to over 20,000, increasing the overall capacity of Anfield to around 54,000. Carillion arrived on site later that month, with construction work getting underway in January 2015.
The Main Stand expansion project is on target for completion later this year, with the redeveloped stand set to comprise three tiers and the existing lower tier re-profiled to accommodate a widened player tunnel, new team benches, media platform and wheelchair viewing positions.
Main Stand milestones
- December 4, 2014: Liverpool FC confirms the redevelopment of Anfield stadium.
- January 5, 2015: Carillion begin construction work.
- January 6, 2015: Hillsborough Memorial placed in safe storage and a specially commissioned temporary memorial is erected at the entrance to the Centenary Stand.
- February 24, 2015: Iconic Shankly Gates placed in safe storage.
- March 9, 2015: First steel erected at Anfield.
- June 5, 2015: The Main Stand’s new 650-tonne truss is assembled on site.
- July 9, 2015: UK’s largest cranes start to arrive at Anfield ahead of lifting the truss above the Main Stand.
- July 24, 2015: Historic milestone as the truss is lifted above Anfield stadium, in a complex operation taking several hours.
- September 3, 2015: First sections of concrete terracing is installed on the new upper tier.
- September 4, 2015: First bricks are laid on the Main Stand’s new podium level which will eventually provide fan access into the stand.
- November 2, 2015: First roof rafter is installed beneath the truss.
- January 4, 2016: The upper tier concrete terrace is complete.
- January 25, 2016: First glazing installed.