Spion Kop (stadiums)

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The end of a football stadium with th seats painted red.
The Kop at Anfield, the home of Liverpool F.C.

Spion Kop (or Kop for short) is a colloquial name or term for a number of terraces and stands at sports stadiums attended by hardcore fans, particularly in the United Kingdom.

Their steep nature resembles a hill near Ladysmith, South Africa, that was the scene of the Battle of Spion Kop in January 1900 during the Second Boer War.1

History

A steep green hill.
The Spion Kop hill near Ladysmith, South Africa

The first recorded reference to a sports terrace as "Kop" related to Woolwich Arsenal's Manor Ground in 1904.2 A local newsman likened the silhouette of fans standing on a newly raised bank of earth to soldiers standing atop the hill at the Battle of Spion Kop. In 1906 Liverpool Echo sports editor Ernest Edwards noted of a new open-air embankment at Anfield: "This huge wall of earth has been termed 'Spion Kop', and no doubt this apt name will always be used in future in referring to this spot". The name was formally consummated in 1928 upon construction of a roof. It is thought to be the first terrace officially named Spion Kop. Many other English football clubs and some Rugby league clubs (such as Wigan's former home Central Park) applied the same name to stands in later years.

Villa Park's old Holte End was historically the largest of all Kop ends, closely followed by the old South Bank at Molineux, both once regularly holding crowds in excess of 30,000. However in the mid-1980s work was completed on Hillsborough's Kop which, with a capacity of around 22,000, became the largest roofed terrace in Europe.

Composition

There is much conjecture about what type of stand constitutes a Kop. The size and location of the stand in the stadium varies; most are located behind the goal and are occupied by its club's most vocal supporters. It is usually a single-tiered stand and is traditionally terraced. In England, safety regulations brought into effect after the 1989 Hillsborough disaster required many to be made all-seated. A Kop is not necessarily the largest stand in the stadium and does not have to have a particularly large capacity; for example, Chesterfield's former stadium, the Recreation Ground, had a Kop with a capacity of only a few thousand.

Kopites

The supporters who sang on Liverpool's Kop helped make Anfield famous for its atmosphere.3 "Kopites" is a collective name given to the supporters of Liverpool Football Club.4

Kops

The Kop at Meadow Lane
The Kop at St Andrew's
Ground Club Stand
Anfield Liverpool Spion Kop5
Arsenal Stadium Arsenal Spion Kop (replaced by West Stand)6
Central Park Wigan Warriors RLFC The Kop7
Baseball Ground Derby Popside Kop (The Popside)8
Bloomfield Road Blackpool Mortensen Kop9
Bramall Lane Sheffield United The Kop10
County Ground Northampton Town Spion Kop11
Deepdale Preston North End Bill Shankly Kop12
Elland Road Leeds United The Kop13
Filbert Street Leicester City Spion Kop (Double Decker)14
Highfield Road Coventry City The Spion Kop Terrace15
Hillsborough Stadium Sheffield Wednesday Spion Kop16
Home Park Plymouth Argyle Spion Kop (demolished 2001)
Knowsley Road(demolished 2011) St Helens RLFC The Kop (demolished 2011)
Manor Ground Woolwich Arsenal Spion Kop2
Meadow Lane Notts County Spion Kop17
Oakwell Barnsley Spion Kop18
Parc des Princes Paris Saint-Germain Kop of Boulogne19
Prenton Park Tranmere Rovers The Bebington Kop20
Racecourse Ground Wrexham Spion Kop21
Recreation Ground Chesterfield Spion Kop22
St Andrew's Birmingham City Spion Kop23
Valley Parade Bradford City The Kop End24
King Power Stadium Leicester City The Kop, Fosse Stand25
De Vijverberg De Graafschap Spinnekopcitation needed
Windsor Park Linfield / Northern Ireland The Kop26

References

  1. ^ Harvey, Oliver (16 June 2010). "How soccer home stands got Kop name from bloody Boer battle". The Sun (London). Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  2. ^ a b "Showdown in Durban". The Globe And Mail. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  3. ^ Duke, Greg. Football First 11: Stunning stadiums CNN. 29 October 2008.
  4. ^ Augustyn, Adam. The Britannica Guide to Soccer. RES 15 August 2011. "In 1906 Anfield's newly constructed terrace grandstand was christened Spion Kop for its resemblance to a hill where a famous South African War battle had been fought, which led to the well-known "Kopites" nickname for Liverpool's fans."
  5. ^ Pearce, James (23 August 2006). "How Kop tuned in to glory days". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  6. ^ Inglis, Simon (1996). Football Grounds of Britain. p. 19. ISBN 0-00-218426-5. 
  7. ^ Hadfield, Dave (3 September 1999). "Rugby League: Curtain falls on house of fame". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  8. ^ "derbycountyfootballhistory.co.uk". 
  9. ^ "Blackpool". Football Ground Guide. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  10. ^ "Sheffield United". Football Ground Guide. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  11. ^ "County Ground, Northampton". Football Ground Guide. Archived from the original on 25 November 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  12. ^ "Preston North End". Football Ground Guide. Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  13. ^ "ARTISTS IMPRESSIONS – ELLAND ROAD FOR WORLD CUP". Leeds United AFC. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  14. ^ "Filbert Street Leicester City". Football Ground Guide. Archived from the original on 31 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  15. ^ "Highfield Road, Coventry City". Football Ground Guide. Archived from the original on 28 March 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  16. ^ "The ASD Lighting Kop". Sheffield Wednesday F.C. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  17. ^ "Notts County | Club | Meadow Lane | Meadow Lane — The Home Of Notts County FC". Nottscountyfc.premiumtv.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  18. ^ "My best day in 70 years as a fan, says Dickie". London: dailymail.co.uk. 17 February 2008. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  19. ^ Hourcade, Nicolas (January 2007). "Young Parisians". When Saturday Comes. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  20. ^ "Tranmere Rovers". Football Supporters Federation. Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  21. ^ "Wrexham". Football Supporters Federation. Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  22. ^ "Chesterfield". Football Ground Guide. Retrieved 2010-04-20. 
  23. ^ "St Andrew's Stadium Plan". Birmingham City F.C. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  24. ^ "Bradford City". Football Ground Guide. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  25. ^ "The Walkers Stadium". Leicester City F.C. 22 September 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  26. ^ "Alex Russell Stand reverts back to "Kop Stand" name". Linfield F.C. 4 December 2008. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 

Sources

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