The Beautiful game

Patrick was commissioned by Liverpool FC and Liverpool Council to create a new piece of public art for the newly extended Anfield Road Stand. The brief from the club was to find visual ways to connect the history of the club to the surrounding Anfield area, especially the nearby Stanley Park. Particular interest was given to showcasing the Victorian architecture and designs found in the surrounding streets and park. 


The following research was carried out on a visits to Liverpool FC and meeting with Steven Done, curator of the Livepool FC Museum and a walking tour of Stanley Park and the nearby streets adjacent to the club ground.

The club proudly features the date 1892 on it’s club badge, Stanley Park was designed in the 1870s and most of the housing around Anfield was built from 1870-1890s.

I have tried to visually catalogue some of the design features from the 30 years of development of the area.They show Victorian decorative elements and engineering prowess combined with their efforts to build parks and green spaces for the wider community to use.

There are interesting parallels of innovation from this period by the designer of Stanley Park, Edward Kemp, and the designer of the first Liverpool FC stadium Archibald Keir Leitch.

The brief mentioned creating an interface with Stanley Park where sporting history and prowess meets Victorian heritage. I’m eager to celebrate and work with the heritage of both the Club and surrounding communities within this artwork, creating a piece of work that all can be proud of that celebrates their connectivity.

“On my visit to Liverpool FC, Anfield and Stanley Park, I was amazed at how much Victorian decoration there was. The Thresholds theme highlights the spaces between the club, the streets and park. The common thread through all is the Victorian influence especially their ornate decoration which is used within all spaces. This can be used to form connections between all locations”

Anfield Streets

Stanley Park

Liverpool FC

“Some of the most well known features of the Liverpool FC ground are inspired by their Victorian heritage. Most notably are the designs used for the Shankly and Paisley Gates which are decorated with wonderful Victorian elements. These are important to the club and been carried onto the clubs badge which uses them on top of the shield”

“Personally I can think of no other club who’s ground is synonymous with football. The word Anfield is known world wide and conjures up so many images of a place, terraced housing, cheering crowds and a passion that is embedded with the place and history.The victorian design language plays an important part in this since it’s at the forefront of club gates and badge. You can see this influence on the contemporary stands brickwork that reflect the red brick patterns featured in nearby terraced housing.”


After carrying out my research about Victorian Anfield and the heritage and ambitions of Liverpool FC, I have created a visual toolkit of architectural features from the surrounding areas that I could use in the artwork itself. It’s a long process but ultimatley gives a greater insight into a place and I wanted to get this aspect of the project right.
I felt it was important to bring these ingredients together into a work that would emotionally engage with people. The work should connect the footballing heritage of Liverpool FC with Anfield’s wider history and Victorian heritage that surrounds the club’s ground and Stanley Park.


I wanted the artwork to include the various elements of research about the place, but in an immediatly recognisable way that people would have an emotional connection with. The way to do this was to use a human figure to bel the outline shape, a person literally made from their surroundings, made from the component parts of Anfield.


I started to explore what kind of figure this could be: a fan, a footballer or, picking up on the idea of community, a child kicking a football towards Stanley Park. This could emotionally link to the grassroots of football and ‘jumpers for goal posts’


I explored a figure of a footballer. I thought this would have an immediate relevance and connection with its location and its audience. I have found in creating public art that if a piece has an emotional connection with its audience it can then take them on a journey to further explore its many layers.

I wanted the figure to represent the sport and Anfield in general not be a monument to an individual footballer but rather football itself.
The working title I gave the piece was ‘The Beautiful Game’.

This is the same way Gormley’s Angel of the North doesn’t represent an
individual but a concept of the North. This concept represents how a sport is made up from its community and the area around it. The figure will be made from natural and decorative Victorian elements found around the ground and Anfield.


Commission: Liverpool FC/Liverpool Council
Place: Liverpool FC
Year: 2023