COLFC has had a great Pre-Season so far, a brilliant rollercoaster of emotions from the massive high of the Prestatyn win to the low of the Bootle loss, but I think its safe to say that irrespective of results, its been great to see so many people come along and watch the team play and the support has been brilliant.
The video from the Bootle game (you can see it here if you haven't watched it www.colfc.co.uk) really highlights the fun and enjoyment that people from all walks of life are having by watching football at this level and feeling re-connected to the game and thier freinds once again.
We've played 6 games so far with Prescot Cables away tonight, and having seen so many faces at the match and got to meet new friends, I began compiling a list of attendees at each match from the people I know.
Now at Premier League level this would be called "Loyalty" and you would now be getting bombarded with emails from our chosen Ice Cream Partner or whatever, but for COLFC this is just a bit of fun and recognition of the people who can class themselves as early adopters of the club and who can rightly tell thier grandchildren in the future "I was a part of that!"
Now, if your name is not on the list, its because I don't know your name as yet and being in my late 40's, I recognise faces and maybe not names, but don't feel bad - just email me at email@example.com and tell me your name and the games you have been at, and I'll add you the list, which will be updating as we go along.
In the previous blog, I noted that we had 975 league miles to travel this season, plus Cup games and wondered who would be in the 975 club, but I neglected to count the 131 miles already travelled in Pre-Season, totalling 1106 miles (with cup games to come).
Right now, there is only 3 people who are on target to travel the whole 1106 miles with COLFC this season and as you might expect 2 of them are Board members; Myself and Peter Furmedge have been at every game so far, but only 1 supporter has been at every game and that is member #23 Glynn Jones.
Interestingly Glynn is also Season Ticket holder #1 as well.
This elite group of Purples will be down to just 2 after Saturday's opening league game at Chadderton though as I will absent on an important business trip to Dublin to meet Mr Guiness, so the baton will pass to messrs Furmedge and Jones to maintain a 100% record.
So without further to do here is the Loyalty List so far from the people I know and recognise at the matches
|Paul Manning 6|
|Peter Furmedge 6|
|Glynn Jones 6|
|Martin Stewart 5|
|Peter Manning 4|
John Milburn 2
Chris Maguire 2
Martin Murphy 2
Jay McKenna 4
Ste Quinn 4
Brian Lankertis 3
Daniel Hopwood 3
Patrick Manning 4
Gareth Webster 4
Dave Green 4
Adam Stretch 4
So if you want your name ot show on the loyalty list, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you - the loyalty list might come in handy when we only get given 10,000 tickets to the FA Vase Final in May 2017, and a mad scramble ensues!!
One of the big draws for the club when forming was the thought of away matches. Travelling all around the North West region and beyond to watch a game fo football.
The best days following Liverpool FC or Everton FC are now the away games, spent with your mates in cars, coaches and trains, having a bevvy or a sing song, maybe a glass of wine and cheese, if you are member #93 John Mackin.
Member #407 John Garner organises coach trips following LFC everywhere and his trips are legendary for the diversity of the journey. A 3pm kick off at Stoke, lets head to Chorley for 9am!!
So we have done a little bit of research and worked out the mileage that will be covered by COLFC this coming season, in our odyssey across the Hallmark Security League.
We have only worked out League game mileage so far, but there will be cup games to add into this calculation and also Rochdale Town may yet succeed on appeal and be placed back into the league. But for now here is the list of Divison One clubs that we will be facing this season along with the mileage from the Pier Head:
AFC Blackpool – 55.3m
Alsager Town – 49m
Ashton Town – 18.6m
Atherton LR – 28m
Bacup Borough – 52.5m
Carlisle City – 123m
Chadderton – 44.7m
Charnock Richard – 28.3m
Cheadle Town - 41m
Daisy Hill – 27.8
Eccleshall – 68.6m
Oswestry Town - 54m
Holker OB – 103m
Litherland REMYCA – 6m
Prestwich Heys – 36m
Sandbach United – 46m
Silsden – 70.3m
St Helens Town – 18.3m
Stockport Town – 45.6m
Whitchurch Alport – 46.5m
Widnes Town – 13m
Furthest – Carlisle City 123m
Shortest – Litherland REMYCA 6m
So which supporters will be in the 975 club we wonder? Who will see COLFC at every away ground we visit? Maybe no-one, maybe hundreds of us will.
Paul Manning, 13/6/16
Back in September 2014, a meeting was called to discuss the formation of a new, non-league football club for Liverpool.
At that time, it was merely an idea, it had no name, no kit, no league, no players, no supporters. It had nothing.
There were 5 people at that initial meeting, although 9 were invited and it meandered on in an ungainly way as people spoke at cross purposes and on different subjects, but after about 4 hours, we had gotten a general agreement to move forward and had spoken about a name for the club, but at that time it had a working title of "Community Football Club for Liverpool".
By the time of the next meeting in October we were down to 3 people; with 2 people having pulled out due to work constraints. But this was a crucial meeting because the question was asked; "When will this club start playing football?" The 3 people present all agreed that the club should aim to start playing football for season 2016/17.
Once we had agreed that date, we worked backwards and tried to work out all of the steps that we would need to take in order to realise our dream of having a supporter owned, non-league football club playing st Step 6 in the National League pyramid.
Form the club, Get a ground to play at, Apply to the NWCFL, Meet the FA, Appoint a Football Manager, were the headline matters, but also crucial smaller milestones were noted; decide the name, the team colours, create the logo and website, get on social media.
This process effectively became our Business Plan as we worked through the milestones as the Months went by and we hit each target. There were several large bumps in the road but we never wavered from our Timeline.
After reaching each Milestone we thought "that was hard" but the next Milestone was always harder, culminating in the Appeal hearing at Wembley Stadium last week.
This crucial meeting in October 2014 created the document that laid the foundations for City of Liverpool FC to be formed and to today be proud members of the Hallmark Security League and looking forward to season 2016/17.
“Paul thank you so much for taking Mark to the football today, he had a great time and has actually just described it as the best day ever!”
The above is a text message I received from a grateful mother. I had provided her son with his “best day ever” apparently.
What was this magical, majestical, mythical experience that I provided him with?
A Safari in the wilds of Kenya perhaps?
Maybe a helicopter flight over Manhattan at dusk?
Barcelona v Real Madrid at the Nou Camp?
It was none of these. It was actually 2 hours spent at Pavillions, the home of Runcorn Town, for the game against Atherton Collieries on Saturday.
Now you might be thinking “this is a deprived child, he can’t have much, poor lad” etc etc but nothing could be further from the truth. His dad is very successful, they live in a big house, drive good cars and holiday well.
The comments from the mum have taught me something which I thought I already knew, but it still shocked me to read them.
I went to the match as I was looking for another fix of non-league football with my lad. I took him to Runcorn Linnets a couple of weeks ago and he loved it. I took him to Bootle v AFC Liverpool the other night and he brought his mate along and they loved it.
So this Saturday after our own U11 match (playing a team from Runcorn actually) I took my boy and two of his mates to the nearest NWCFL match I could find that looked exciting, which happened to be Runcorn Town v Atherton Collieries in the Quarter Final of the MEN Cup.
I have to be honest. The lads loving it was not just about the football. They are all 11 now and starting to want a bit of freedom, but knowing that Dad is still around for a bit of security, so upon entering Pavillions on Saturday, they all had £5 in their pockets and were allowed to spend it on what they wanted and so long as they didn’t leave the ground they could do what they wanted.
So we split up. I got a cup of coffee and went around to behind the dugouts as the match started. I stayed there for 15 minutes and then went on a wander to see where they were.
I found them in the stand, watching the match, each with a tray of chips, a drink and a bar of chocolate. Happy as Larry discussing the match. I explained about Battersby the #9 for Atherton with a big goalscoring reputation. Within 2 minutes he had scored and put them ahead with a clinical finish.
They got a bit cold so decided to go off and find some space to play football. I got another cup of coffee. I had one eye on the match and one eye on them as they wandered across the adjacent disused pitch and into the disused stand at Pavillions. Then they wandered a bit further and were out of sight for a bit, except for me seeing the ball up in the air periodically, behind a wall.
I got slightly distracted by a 22 man brawl near Half Time and then they were back cold and hungry again. This time they all bought Bovril.
I wandered off again to watch the match.
After about 20 minutes I went into the clubhouse to go the toilet and found the 3 of them sitting on the couch under the heaters, watching Final Score and eating the free food left on the bar by the steward.
I was skeptical. Free Food? “Yes Dad watch” said Patrick as he casually walked to the bar and picked up a sausage roll.
What a nice touch by Runcorn Town!
Off they went again to play football, I stayed in the bar and watched through the windows, enjoying the warmth.
Runcorn had chances to equalize but eventually went down to 10 men and quickly went 2 goals down after a fine volley. Some of the Atherton supporters were in raptures, but this quickly eased as news filtered through that Bolton Wanderers had squandered a home lead.
It was getting dark and colder so off we went home and there you have it. “The Best Day Ever”.
Three 11 year old mates given a football, a few pounds to spend, a football match to watch, a bit of freedom to explore and roam and being treated with warmth by a friendly football club. They were gutted to have missed the brawl, but you can’t have everything.
There is non-league football all over the country that is massively affordable and available to everyone who dares to take a risk to step away from either Telly Clapping a Super Sunday matchday experience or even in extreme cases like myself, to step away from paying £100 for the once in a lifetime experience of being treated like a battery hen and a criminal at the same time at Anfield.
In going through all of the pain, sacrifice, cost, angst, work, tears, sweat, arguments, drama and policitics required to get to the point we are at in setting up City of Liverpool FC, I knew I was doing my bit, for my lad and his mates and their future, but I guess I had just forgotten that that was the reason. The text message from Mark's mum made me remember why.
My earliest memory of life was sitting on the old crush barriers on The Spion Kop. I was 3 years old. A little of over 12 months later, at the age of 4, Sky Sports introduced Premier League football to the world.
My Dad is a staunch red. A season ticket holder of more than 40 years, he followed Liverpool around the world, mainly on forged documents crafted with a make-up kit and a steady hand! He has forgotten more away day tales than most people will ever know.
I was brought up on these stories. Stories of Liverpool’s, and footballs, glory days.
They captivated me. The truth is, even now, approaching my 28th birthday, they still do.
My dad took me to games home and away, recounting anecdotes from the days he sported a fine moustache and the original Adidas Originals!
From a very young age, I wanted to replicate my dad. I wanted to my own stories to pass down to my own son, when that day finally arrives.
I tried, attending a host of away games from the Rafa Benitez era especially, but that all stopped. It had to. How could I afford it? After months of going the game less and less, the realization hit me that I couldn’t afford to pay for my memories.
I’ve known for a long time that I won’t be able to take my lad to the match. He, like much of his generation, save for a privileged few, will be sober. They won’t be hooked on the same drug as me or my dad.
As much as being priced out of my game, being priced out of my club angers me to the core, there is an overwhelming emotion that I cannot shake. A gut wrenching sadness to know that, in many ways, I will never be able to be to my son what my dad has been to me.
Last year, however, something changed. I read in a local newspaper about City of Liverpool F.C. As a proud Scouser, I was delighted. Even if LFC and EFC cost £20 to get in, this new kid on the block would still have my attention. Why? Because my dad always taught me to be proud of where I am from. Be proud of my city. Our city.
City of Liverpool F.C. is thee club for our city. Not red. Not blue. Purple!
If you want a glimpse into the future at what this club can achieve, look at the 1989 F.A. Cup Final. Red and blue together. A city united as one.
Maybe, in our kids’ lifetimes, City of Liverpool F.C. can grow to become the dominant force in the city? And maybe, just maybe, I can make my own memories, being part of the birth of a new football club. OUR football club.
Sean McGivern, Member