The Art of Anfield
Spion Kop 1906, formed in 2013 to help organise fan displays as one of the unofficial groups who see themselves as some of the current custodians of The Kop. The Kop was built in 1906, and named after a battle in the Boer War in which many Scousers died on a steep hill named Spioenkop, years later Liverpool’s Kop end has grown into a cultural icon all of its own.
We chatted to a member of Spion, Sam Evans about the importance of their iconic banners that have played a key role in the groups identity and sense of purpose. In this Fan Zine you’ll have the chance to gain a window into the history of the group and the passion and commitment that its Members bring to the Kop.
Protecting Tradition & Identity
“We've always had our own identity and been different in that sense. I grew up watching videos of the Kop with my grandad and my uncles on the Kop's last stand. You can see the Kop has always looked the part, and I think it's important that it's being passed down to younger generations, it's Liverpool's unique identity. I think you've got aspects of solipsism, the city itself and politics that tie in together.”
“We take a democratic approach when it comes to designing the banners. It's a group of lads and girls who are all mates, like-minded people. Once a suggestion goes in and you've got a few to agree to the idea then that sets things in motion. So I think we're quite lucky in that aspect.”
“The sense of humor thing's obviously always been a massive part of the Kop’s identity, it's almost what it's most famous for, so it’s important the banners are fun. Mocking your rivals for example, wherever that may be, at home or away.”
“I think important things to think about are that firstly, your banner is catchy. It's got to catch the audience's eye. Secondly, I think it needs to be your own ideas. You don't want to be copying anyone else. It's got to be unique to you and what your club stands for. Thirdly, I think it's got to be handmade, that’s tradition. That’s how they would have done it in the past and so we have to take care of that history.”
Best In Show
“My favorite banner we created was when we played City. It was a big job. It was all four landmarks we've won overseas. To see it get a bit of airtime on the telly and getting good press, was a proud moment for all of us.”
“The relationships with the players and the fans is key. If you make a good connection through the banners with the people -players and other fans -then that’s the best feeling.”
Looking To The Future
“I don’t think Spion Kop 1906 was set up to create an atmosphere or maintain one; I think it was set up to keep the traditions of what Liverpool Football Club stand for alive. It's important that like-minded people like ourselves are all working towards the same goal. I think our job for the Kop is to keep the traditions going, to get young lads and girls in so it doesn't fade away. That’s the future.”