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St Luke’s Church

Goodison Park is unique in the sense that a church, St Luke’s, protrudes into the site between the Goodison Road Stand and the Gwladys Street Stand only yards from the corner flag. Everton do not play early kick-offs on Sundays in order to permit Sunday services at the church.[49] The church is synonymous with the football club and a wooden church structure was in place when Goodison Park was originally built. Former Everton players such as Brian Harris have had their funeral service held there.[50] 

The church can be seen from the Park End and Bullens Road and has featured prominently over the years as a backdrop during live televised matches. It is also the home to the Everton Former Players’ Foundation of which the Reverend is a trustee.[51] 

The church has over the years curtailed development of the ground. Everton did attempt to pay for its removal in order to gain extra space for a larger capacity.[29] One of two jumbotron screens (both installed in 2000) has been installed between the Goodison Road stand and Gwladys Street stand[29] partially obscuring the church from view. The other is situated between the Bullens Road and Park End.[52] 

Imaginative spectators would climb the church and watch a football game from the rooftop however they have now been deterred from doing so with the installation of security measures such as barbed wire and anti-climb paint. In addition, the introduction of the ‘all-seater’ ruling following the Taylor Report has meant that spectators no longer resort to climbing nearby buildings for a glimpse of the event as a seat is guaranteed with a purchased ticket. 

Wartime 

In September 1939, Goodison Park was commandeered by military, the club’s minutes read: “The Chairman reported that our ground has been commandeered as an anti-aircraft (Balloon Barrage section), post.”[143] During World War Two, an American forces baseball league was based at Goodison Park.[144] In addition, a baseball game between two Army Air Force nines watched by over 8,000 spectators raised over $3,000 for British Red Cross and St. John’s Ambulance fund.[145] 

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