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The Dark Side Of Anfield That No One Wants You To See


There’s the Anfield that we all know on TV. The sight of Liverpool supporters waving their scarves as millionaires such as Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard run around the pitch. But directly behind Anfield is something that Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett don’t want you to see. The most deprived neighborhood in Britain.

On a visit to Liverpool in 2006, I was shocked to see the state of the rows of houses literally under the shadow of the Main Stand at Anfield. Even on a bright Sunday morning with no one in the streets, I was scared to walk past the houses by myself. I’d seen poverty before in the States, but this was much worse. The majority of the homes were condemned and boarded with metal doors.


Growing up in the UK, I knew how Liverpool had suffered badly during the harsh economic times of the 1980’s, but I was still shocked to see that level of poverty in 2006. Now though David Conn, the best journalist at The Guardian in my estimation, has written a must-read article about how Liverpool’s American owners are hurting local residents due to their inability to raise enough money to build Liverpool’s new ground at Stanley Park.


After reading Conn’s article, he paints a bleak picture for Liverpool supporters and the community around Anfield. The future doesn’t look too bright for Hicks and Gillett either. The sooner they sell Liverpool FC, the better.

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  1. Paul Blake

    May 14, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Worst article I’ve ever read. Are you English or American? Jeez. Those houses around Anfield are owned by the club. Don’t blame the state of Anfield on the owners.

    Article was beyond a waste of a blog post. Times like this I wish I was still in England. Stick to basketball.

  2. barnsleylad

    March 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    those houses that are boarded up are like that because they’re knocking them all down and building all new houses
    “the dark side of anfield that no one wants you to see?” it right next to anfield, everyone can see it, its not like you’ve gone undercover to get these images?

    • The Gaffer

      March 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      The photos were taken five years ago. When are they planning on knocking them down?

      The Gaffer

  3. scousegit

    October 1, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    What shocks me more than anything is that none of you can spell, know grammar and can’t string a sentence together. It’s like Torres knot tying his boots (that was a joke).

  4. jollyred

    October 1, 2008 at 4:23 am

    the area around the ground is run down, and so is the neighbourhoods reputation, with squatters drug addicts homless alcholics and genral disreputable sorts, scaring away the decent hard working people of the area.

    hicks owns massive debt on the dallas star,s loosing 20 mil a yr, and owes debts on texas rangers and his other holdings as well as LFC the guy is defaulted on numerous loans and with his companies reveunes down almost 50 million pounds a yr, he is in sh– street, if he cant refinance.

  5. Wepiory

    September 11, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Even if this idiot didn't know the houses where bought by the club you think he could have came to the conclusion that nobody wants to live next to a stadium that can reach 130.7dB of noise.

  6. John

    September 11, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Are you a professional?? Another on the Gangster who runs Chelski payroll or Man Ure scouse hater. Get a life.

  7. Si

    September 11, 2008 at 12:52 am

    The Gaffer, more like the Fluffer!!!

    Trying to screen a swipe at Scousers in general behind a p*ss poor attempt at an intelligent piece of reporting… Gobsh*te!!!

    Alan, stop fooking boring us with your pathetic attempt at sounding like some social study expert… Cut and paste doesn't make you a leading expert in the field you tool!!!

  8. Bobhorse

    September 10, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    The very fact that not all the people reading this no the reasons as to why these houses are boarded up which puts even more ownership on you to ensure the facts are written and not rely on other to correct your poor effort at getting a response to a very poor piece of work and if that is the best you can come up with then you will be soon found wanting

  9. Chris

    September 10, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Many of these houses and streets have already been demolished as part of the wider regeneration process.

  10. Noblelox

    September 10, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    I think you will find that these houses are owned by the club. Or is there just a culture of making stuff up on this site??

  11. Noblelox

    September 10, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    So the fact that you are writing for non-residents gives you the right to make rubbish up and class it as factual? So I can write an article for people outside of the US claiming that everyone in America who live below the Mason and Dixon line have six fingers on their hands and sleep with their cousins, and because it's not aimed at you yanks, it makes it legitimate journalism?

    Your writing was wrong in so many ways. There is hardly any poverty in Anfield, yes it's not rich, but it's not as poor as West Everton, around Netherfield Road. Anfield is just working class, apart from the empty houses you showed, many of the other homes in the area are well maintained, with all the roads restricted to RESIDENTIAL PARKING!!! I.E. they all own cars!!!! Hardly poverty. All you've done is looked at the boarded up houses and made your own judgement without a single fact to support you.

  12. Macker

    September 10, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    What piss poor journalism. Have you ever been outside Manhattan and seen the dire poverty that exists in teh States? Shocking, and thrid world. I lived on the south coats until 1982 – i guarantee that parts of Pompey and Southampton are a damned sight more frightening than the rows of houses that LFC actually bought ! get your facts right, divvy….

  13. Noblelox

    September 10, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    I'm sorry, but when did it fall to football clubs to “help the situation” with urban regeneration? What other club has regenerated their local community? many may have sold the old stadium off to house builders, but that's for profit, not to help.

    Quite how you can defend the article beggars belief because from it's sinister title to it's woeful fabrication of rubbish, it is just run of the mill, anti-Liverpool bile My god if you want to see an area that was desperate, you should have gone and had a look at Maine Road while it was the home of Man City, that was a real nasty dive. It made Anfield looks like West Kensington or Knightsbridge!

    Overall I have to laugh at American's trying to come across as authoritative about social issues in Liverpool, I bet none can even find it on a map!

  14. Alan

    September 10, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    The houses are not owned by the club. These are properties which are in the merseyside low demand housing Pathfinder. The same conditions occur in Sandwell (Birmingham), New castle and Gateshead, Sheffield, Hull, Manchester and Salford, Rochdale, Oldham and areas like Pendle. I guess that Liverpool has the misfortune of low demand right by it's world famous stadium where people from all over the world come to see. It's a post industrial phenomenon – once occupied by industrial workers, the closure of industry since the 1950's, increased social mobility and increasing wealth, enabling most people to exercise their choice to move to better accommodation, has led to areas such as Anfield, declining, particularly since the 1980's. Nothing to do with Gillett and hicks I'm afraid !!

  15. Chris

    September 10, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    26%? Can you back up that ridiculous figure?

  16. Martin

    September 10, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I actually live in Anfield; I have a nice house with a garden and close by a huge park. It’s very quite apart from match days but as I'm in the ground thats not a worry. As pointed out the houses shown are awaiting redevelopment, this is a frustration to the residents and to people who could make good use of these solid built houses. The delay in the ground development is holding up the area regeneration, this is not a new thing but been going on for about 10 years now so the club, local government and government agencies are all guilty. The houses shown had families in until not to long ago but as the work grew further and further away people moved out but due to the redevelopment people did not move in and the houses fell in to the state shown here.
    I work all over Europe and I must be honest most cities have areas awaiting redevelopment or have just become a bit run down and unfashionable but normally these are tomorrows up and coming locations.
    If you want to see how the areas is regenerating take a walk down Anfield road to Tancred Road, the houses there are a great example of what happens when people believe in and fund regeneration. A whole street of empty run down houses almost fully rebuilt and now families moving in. This was an expensive scheme but one which shows that people are willing to fight back against their surroundings we just need the people with the money to allow it to happen.
    In conclusion this is a piece that is not new its not even shocking but at best is unbalanced and biased. I am a Liverpool Fan and do feel let down by the Hicks and Gillette empty promses but not just for footballing reasons but also for the further delay to teh creation of what was and could be a great area..

  17. Peter

    September 10, 2008 at 11:19 am

    i live in north wales and support Liverpool the city has good and bad but in general the people are warm and welcoming funny and helpful unlike when you visit Manchester it has in general miserable angry people.

  18. Paul Brosnan

    September 10, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Try walking around around the old Orange Bowl in Miami or even the new American airlines arena in Miami or the L.A coliseum in Los Angeles and the ever famed Yankee stadium in the Bronx, now that shit is enough to make you scared of walking down a street alone and i know first hand, I am born and bred in Liverpool and currently living in Philadelphia and having witnessed the aforementioned stadiums Liverpool has nothing to worry about as the people are what matter most and 99.9% of the people who read this will agree Scousers are the most welcoming and warm hearted you will ever meet.
    My biggest gripe with the article is not the first 30 words but the fact that you choose a first hand experience based on a visit in 2006 ???????????
    Am i the only f*cken idiot who thinks this strange, If your ploy was to gain hit's to your article then i fear you have won, if i come back and read your next attempt at 2 year old journalism then shame on me.

  19. The Gaffer

    September 10, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Billy, don't be a wanker. I took the pictures myself. Here's one of them, which shows the date when the picture was taken: November, 2006:

    The Gaffer

  20. Billy Bullshit

    September 10, 2008 at 10:16 am


    The pictures are taken a lot later than 2006.

  21. John from Lpool

    September 10, 2008 at 10:13 am

    i think I'll write an article about the residents of New Orleans, abandoned by their country and government, because they're poor and predominantly black.

    Who cares if I don't visit and get my facts wrong! I'll still get some hits and feel important!!

    What a joke of a post!

  22. Paul

    September 10, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Liverpool has a self pity attitude that keeps them in the gutter!!!

    If they go out to work and make the most of their life instead of thinking everyone picks on them they would improve the citys image which to be frank is crime ridden, chav and lazy ie 26% unemployment says it all!!!!

  23. Weston

    September 10, 2008 at 9:50 am

    My point exactly – you disagree with that one point but agree with the rest of the article…so what is the problem exactly?

    Like the Gaff said, most of the readers are outsiders like me who otherwise wouldnt have any clue as to the economic environment of Liverpool, so when you say 'tell us something we dont know” , that is exactly what he is doing to the non-british audience here.

  24. redmen

    September 10, 2008 at 9:03 am

    what a pathetic article. do some research in future. prick

  25. Chris

    September 10, 2008 at 8:59 am


    The head line in itself is skewered. Has anyone at Anfield tried to hide these homes from you? Who exactly doesn't want you to see these homes? Your headline is sensationalist. Your article is about two things, a real journalists article, and derelict homes.

    You don't really mention anything constructive of your own opinion, merely jumping on Conn's bandwagon. The only thing you've put across is that you were scared to walk past derelict houses on your own. I don't really understand your point, why are you telling us you were scared? Why didn't you mention that the homes are club-owned for regeneration and safety reasons? Why do you think no one wants you to see the homes? Why do you refer to homes that nobody lives in as a state of poverty?

    You might as well go to Ground Zero and talk about the poverty there, It would be shocking to all us folk who don't live round there.


    Ps. I hope you got someone to walk past the houses with you.

  26. gary

    September 10, 2008 at 8:53 am

    I have been to anfield many times, the area is run down like many other parts of old working class areas in england . Look at other football clubs also in working class areas, you will see the same sort of pictures of boarded up houses and shops. This is not just a liverpool thing. Its a problem all over the world. I have been in many US citys, just look at the areas they have built there, their baseball and basketball stadiumsare also in working class areas but the people who live there would not live anywhere else. So please dont slag off my beloved ANFIELD .gary from Dublin ,Ireland.
    p.s get rid of them 2 american twats.,

  27. The Gaffer

    September 10, 2008 at 8:17 am


    Not all of the people reading this blog happen to live in Liverpool, so to read about the poverty and state of the houses directly behind Anfield will be quite surprising to many readers outside the UK (which are the majority of readers to this site).

    I stand by the headline and the article I wrote. Yes, I know that Liverpool FC own many of the houses but I included a link to David Conn's article which had a lot more detail about the homes.

    The Gaffer

  28. scousenotenglish

    September 10, 2008 at 8:10 am

    West one, if you read the posts it isnt the articles content we disagree about but the lack of investigation the writer has put into the piece. The “one line” you refer to though, if it had been included, would have made the article clearer and more truthful. The “lazy, half arsed attempt at journalism” as I described it came from the headline, a blatant hook to get clicks on this site. Liverpool is a poor city? Tell us something we dont know fer fecks sake.Whisper it quietly but the majority of cities in england have run down areas where, god help us, some houses may be boarded up! The “gaffer” as he ridiculously calls himself would do well to avoid most cities in england as they are similar and we wouldnt want him to get “scared to walk past the houses by myself”. Sensationalist claptrap from a not very bright author.

  29. Joe Cole

    September 10, 2008 at 8:04 am

    ALL SCOUSERS ARE SH*T.. crying about Gillette and Hicks when you should really be crying about Rafa making stupid decisions… G & H are the least of your problems.

  30. Red Barron

    September 10, 2008 at 7:59 am

    Scared to walk down a street where nobody lives? You must be one heck of a coward then! What are you expecting to happen? Some ghost to jump out and attack you?

    We are perfectly happy for this side of Anfield to be shown. It shows that our club has responsibility and integrity. Rahter then living people living in sub-standard conditions, it bought their houses from them, for good market values I should add, and then made them safe to avoid people trying to move into them as squatters or whatever as they are not fit for habitation.

    I have been to America 13 times, many different cities and have lots of American friends. I do not disrespect Americans or their country and still enjoy visiting for holidays. But I can tell you right now, there are places that I would NOT walk through in the daytime let alone at night. Parts of Miami, New York, Chicago, Atlanta…. and many more. They are notorious for their poverty and people resorting to violence to scratch a living. They have people living in tenements that are REALLY unfit for human habitation.

    And we somehow ended up with two American businessmen who do not have a great reputation back home, buying our club with money they haven't got, putting our club into massive debt and now refusing to sell even at a massive profit because they are too arrogant to depart and lose face.

    Liverpool is a city I am proud of despite not now living there due to my work. I visit regularly both to see games and friends and family. It has good and bad like all cities but nothing will ever make me be less proud at being a Scouser from a city that has some of the friendliest people with a terrific sense of humour anywhere in the UK.

    Mike, if you don't like it, nobody is forcing you to stay. Clear off elsewhere and leave it to the people who love it…. nearly all of them!

  31. Ian

    September 10, 2008 at 7:48 am

    As has been said above the boarded up houses surrounding Anfield are indeed owned by Liverpool Football Club having been bought up over the past ten years or so with a view to expanding the existing stadium. The plans to expand the existing stadium eventually proved to be impractical as the club decided to build a brand new stadium directly next door to the old one on the end of Stanley Park.

    Since then the situation has changed still further. The North Liverpool areas of Anfield and Breckfield have become the subject of full scale redevelopment plans of which the New Anfield stadium is the centre piece. As such these plans attract additional money from the EU and some other various public funds. Part of these involve the renovation and restoration of the historic Victorian Stanley Park.

    Also, once the new stadium is built, the old Anfield stadium will be demolished as will the surrounding boarded up houses. These will make way for Anfield Plaza; a space that will compliment the new stadium with shops, bars and hotels. At the centre of the Plaza will be the old pitch.

    All of this is contingent on Liverpool Football Club building and moving into their new stadium. Without the new stadium, nothing can happen. Obviously, the development of Anfield Plaza cannot happen until the old Stadium is removed. But also the other funding will also not be released unless Liverpool FC start building their new stadium.

    So right now, everything depends on George and Tom. They are holding up the whole redevelopment of North Liverpool. The problem is that if they wait too long, the public funds that have been set aside for this will end up being withdrawn and the club will end up having to pay those funds instead if they want their new stadium making everything even more expensive.

    I think Hicks and Gillett have bought into something they just cannot afford. Furthermore, their entire leveraged business model is entirely dependant on the Champions League revenue stream. If they fail to provide sufficient funds to maintain the quality of the playing staff, we will slip out of the Champions League and that major source of revenue will disappear and we will then be unable to meet the interest payments for all the debt that George and Tom have heaped on the club. We can barely meet those payments now, and that's with us being IN the Champions League and before we've borrowed the full amount with which to build the stadium.

    So, there you are. I'm afraid the picture is much darker than a few boarded up houses.

  32. Weston

    September 10, 2008 at 7:46 am

    You are all overreacting to the ONE LINE where he does not include the fact that the properties are LFC-owned. Ok… Understood by Robbies first post, let alone every successive one.

    But that one line aside, the focus of the article – the poor state of the Anfield area and the new owners' failure to help the situation – is dead on and agreed upon by all of you, even though many of you seem to deem this as 'poor journalism' almost as if an involuntary reflex. I understand that the fans feel strongly against the american ownership, and frankly, as an American I dont disagree with you, but try reading the whole article before trying to tear it apart, not the first 30 words.

  33. Craig Mitch

    September 10, 2008 at 6:58 am

    These houses are have been bought up over many years by liverpool FC as previously a expansion and redevelopment of the current stadium was on the cards. This plan has now been shelved for many reasons and as part of the new stadium to be built on stanley park the government has finally given money towards the redevelopment of the area and stanley park, yes it took liverpool spending many millions on a new stadium to encourage the government to part with cash to regenerate the surrounding area. Even as we know now that the stadium plan has been shelved for 12months or so the area is still seeing some regeneraio with the stanley park project well under way. Your comments are way off the mark, dont take something for just for face value do a little more research about the subject matter and you might have a credible argument.


  34. Maureen

    September 10, 2008 at 6:43 am

    to Mike

  35. Karim

    September 10, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Can by the gaffer please stand up and admit that he was wrong?
    im appalled that people outside the club will think badly of us now if they take it for face value
    Many thanks to the locals who have put this idiot in his place. Im putting this guy alongside Mr Comford from Caughtoffside as possibly the two worst internet journalists ever.
    If your from outside liverpool, your not there to see the houses, your there to see 43000 Liverpool fans going mental cheering for their heroes.

  36. Norman

    September 10, 2008 at 6:07 am

    What a stupid attempt at sensationalism . The club owns these empty houses. People don't live in them you dope. Walk around any of the old grounds in England in the cities , they are all surrounded by empty boarded houses.
    Americans are the most clueless xenophobes in the world today, that's why LFC has to shed the two that attached themselves to the club and think again.

    • Edofcourse

      May 6, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      Well, Christopher, never thought I’d be reading the tabloid on a tablet. It did stimulate discussion, eh? But, you may wish to contact Steven Cohen.

      Liverpool supporters and citizens: There is no difference between American, Middle Eastern, or Russian oligarchs. Shankly said its team, manager and supporters that the game is about.

  37. BigDave!

    September 10, 2008 at 5:56 am

    Mike, You sir are a complete idiot.

    I think you will find that 99.9% of Liverpudlians are extremely proud of their city. Its people like you that give our wounderful city and club a bad name.

    Do us all a favour and crawl back under your rock! What gives you the right the flame Liverpool!

  38. King Torres

    September 10, 2008 at 5:37 am

    Robbie who first relied to this completely correct. The boarded up houses are owned by the club and will form part of the redevelopment work. 3 streets down from this are a number of houses currently being redeveloped and on the other side of the satdiume there are 2 streets of terraced houses that have been completely renovated.

    Whilst I do not doubt that the hold up on the stadium is interfering with some of the development work, it worth remembering that £3m of the money granted to LFC for the stadium has now been re-assigned to the community as a result of stadiium delays.

    I despise Tom Hicks, George Gillett, Rick Parry and all the lies that come with them. I love to see bad press against any of these however I feel it should be accurate and true. Something this article, quite simply, is not.

  39. Torres Right Foot

    September 10, 2008 at 5:27 am

    So much for investigative journalism, a quick phone call or chat to anyone in the area would have told you LFC own these houses. Might be worth checking your facts in future before writing your sensational heading

  40. Mike

    September 10, 2008 at 5:23 am

    it's just the same everywhere else round the city. worse in fact in some parts.

    I'm born an bred in liverpool but i hate the city. it's full of self pitying idiots. if there not full of self pity they're full of smack.

    stay away from this city. capital of crap!

    good post!

    • shanklyboy

      June 5, 2009 at 12:37 pm

      I would bet you don’t live there.
      No why would I think that?

  41. scousenotenglish

    September 10, 2008 at 3:23 am

    What a lazy half arsed attempt at journalism with a hook of a headline to draw people in. Most facts have been said below by other posters in that these houses are ear-marked for demolition as part of the regeneration of the Anfield area. The fact that this hasnt begun yet does, as you point out, relate to the two yank tossers moores sold our beautiful club to and their lack of capital. It does amuse me when americans talk of social depravation in our society when the country they live in has areas which have been described as worse than third world, but of course, the writer here would never go near those places and be “scared to walk past the houses”! What is it about a boarded up empty house I wonder?

  42. House of Scouse

    September 10, 2008 at 2:48 am

    I think its quite funny that you 'visited Liverpool in 2006' so of course you are an expert on the state of housing in Liverpool now! hahaha

    Many many streets in Liverpool are like this, its because the Conservative Governments including Thatcher et al never spent a penny on regeneration in Liverpool.

    The area has been deprived of Government funding for decades.

    With the European Capital of Culture Money some good progress is being made albeit just in the City Centre.

    LFC as a club bought and boarded all of those houses up and they have been trying to assist in the regeneration of the area but to claim that it is all LFC's and Tom and Jerry's fault is a bit far (even if I do hate the yanks).

    Scores of Governments at differing times have denied Liverpool regeneration funding, I don't know exactly what the beef is down south but the City has been denied funds for so long, there are still bombed out buildings from the second world war (even in the city you can see this).

    No vitriol or anger at your post but you really should get your facts straight otherwise you will look like a numpty mate.

  43. Mike

    September 10, 2008 at 2:08 am

    Even the poorest people in the UK have access to free healthcare and social insurance. Put that in yer US pipe and smoke it.

  44. Mooki3

    September 10, 2008 at 1:57 am

    Its not that bad, can seem a little shocking at first but you get used to it.

  45. Jim

    September 10, 2008 at 1:42 am

    Thank you for changing the emphasis on the ownership issues at club I love. It is terrible to see those picturs so clearly illustrating the bigger problems for the people of Anfield. Gillett and Hicks must go now, not just because of footballing reasons but mainly because of the social and econimic reasons stifling the lives of people around the stadium. G & H PLEASE LEAVE NOW

  46. trader

    September 10, 2008 at 1:42 am

    Anfield is a very, very poor area but these houses are boarded up because LFC bought them and therefore nobody lives in them. So either you have not researched before writing your article or you are trying to portray a worse image of the area than is actually the case. Either way, very, very poor journalism.

  47. Robbie

    September 10, 2008 at 12:37 am

    i feel i've got to inform you of a few facts before people starting taking your article at fact value.

    firstly, you are correct that anfield is a deprived area of liverpool and that the delay to the new stadium is stopping the re-development work in the area from taking place – hence much of the resentment from liverpool fans towards george gillett and tom hicks.

    however, the houses you saw around the stadium are in fact owned by the club. they were bought by the club from liverpool city council many years ago with the thought of a stadium expansion in mind which has become unworkable since for various reasons. The houses have been kept by the club and boarded up because to let people live in them with the volume of people walking through these streets on match days would be extremely un-safe. The area is not as bad as it looks around anfield as you have to look past the houses directly next to stadium to see

    that said george gillett and tom hicks can get the hell out of our club and our sport! they know nothing about it and were naive enough to think they could afford to invest in a sport they are not successful enough to afford

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