Definition of The Kop

When one thinks of the most famous football stands in the world, who are the usual contenders? The Yellow Wall in Dortmund, The North Stand for Boca Juniors, The Stretford End at Old Trafford are all common choices. But what about The Kop at Liverpool's Anfield? That seems like such a strange name for a stand, especially one in England.

The meaning and the origin of the term The Kop is explained.  It is the Liverpool famous stand, of course.The name surprisingly comes from a battlefield in South Africa over a hundred years ago. During the Boer War, a British army fought to capture a hilltop, with 300 men perishing in the attempt. Many of these men came from Lancashire and the city of Liverpool. The hill's name? Spion Kop - or Spioenkop in South African.

When Liverpool FC was building their new stand of cinder and brick in 1906, a local sports editor named Ernest Edwards noted that the new stand looked similar to the battlefield that many local men had died at. Therefore, he named it the Spion Kop. The name was not formally recognised until 1928, when the club extended it to a 27,000 capacity and added a cantilever roof.

Many other teams have their own stands named after the design, such as Leeds United, Notts County, Leicester City, Paris Saint Germain in France, De Graafschap in the Netherlands and others. However, undoubtedly the first, oldest and most famous Kop remains at the home of Liverpool FC.

The design of a 'Kop' stand is usually located behind a goal, is single-tiered, and is occupied by the most vocal supporters. Many in England, including Liverpool's Spion Kop, have had to undergo renovations following the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster.