When City of Liverpool FC first put a team on a football pitch, in a behind closed doors fixture at Stockport Town in the summer of 2016, it was the culmination of almost two years work. In order to achieve that 90 minutes the founder members had worked hard to bring together a community around the idea of a football club that represented the civic, social and cultural identity of Liverpool.
It was the coalescence of the founding group around core values of democratic ownership, equality and diversity that enabled the club’s birth as a Community Benefit Society in October 2015.
It was these values that attracted an influx of over 1000 members, many already active in football supporters’ organisations, and the appointment of a top class manager before a ball was kicked or a league position secured. It was these values that enabled us to use a social value approach to organisations like Regenda Homes, who became our main sponsors, and others like reserve team sponsors, Progressive Lifestyle Solutions CIC, and an array of smaller enterprises drawn from the founding group’s networks.
It is these values that, to this day, enable the seven days a week COLFC operation to function and put a team on the pitch on matchday. Every day of every week, COLFC is active. Potential sponsors and partners are met with, community organisations are networked, local councils are engaged in stadium plans, COLFC Community is working with marginalised groups to promote inclusion and social cohesion through football, and our teams at senior, reserve, womens and youth level train or play matches.
While they are the pinnacle of our club’s operations, first team matchdays are but a snapshot of what COLFC does, and has to do, to be a sustainable and successful community owned football club. Without the club’s core founding values, this activity doesn’t take place. Volunteers do not volunteer, partners do not enter partnerships, sponsors do not sponsor, and matchday becomes the accomplishment of this accumulated failure.
This is why we must protect our founding vision of a club in the image of Liverpool’s diverse culture and community. This is why all who value the unique Purps’ matchday, and our ability to field trophy winning, table topping teams, must defend the very thing that underpins it all – our core values. To be blunt, it is why we cannot afford to give any leeway whatsoever to those who would seek to exclude, or create a hostile environment for, sections of our community on the basis of racist, homophobic or sectarian politics and bigotry.
It cannot be a case of the club adopting a position of passive neutrality when forces are at work who would threaten the very basis of our reason for being, the foundation that underpins every single element of our success to date. Those who would turn a blind eye to far right elements in the name of “neutrality” and “keeping politics out of the game” must recognise that such apparent “neutrality” allows prejudice to fester and excludes those that the club was founded to include. It undermines, and will ultimately be terminal for, literally everything COLFC does - including putting a successful team on the pitch.
Those tempted by the arguments for this type of “neutrality” would do well to visit the website of Borussia Dortmund. The Bundesliga club has worked hard to remove neo-nazi elements from its Sudtribune “Yellow Wall” and offers guidance on popular slogans used by the hard right in their quest to regain a presence on the famous terrace: https://www.bvb.de/Fans/Fanabteilung/Kein-Bier-fuer-Rassisten BVB provides excellent take downs of these populist and deceitful slogans, a number of which have become staples of football orientated fascists throughout Europe:
Further evidence of the dangers of a passive approach to a hard right presence in football has emerged at New York City. Both the MSL and the club have adopted a hands-off approach to fascism in pursuing an “apolitical” policy towards the club’s support. As FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) has tweeted, this has led to a violent white supremacist element gaining a foothold within the club’s fan base:
COLFC’s constitution prohibits party political affiliation, this must always remain so. Similarly, the commitment to being an inclusive, democratically owned football club, representing Liverpool’s civic, social and cultural identity, remains crucial to the club’s every day, and matchday, existence. Just as it did when this commitment was articulated in the business plan submitted to the FA in support of our application to enter the non-league football pyramid.
To remain inclusive, to provide a community venue where nobody feels threatened because of, for example, their ethnic origin or minority culture, we must use every tool at our disposal to repel those who seek to exclude and discriminate. To this end, the club’s AGM will vote on resolutions intended to provide robust governance measures, including banning the far right Football Lads Alliance, Democratic Football Lads Alliance and any derivative or associated groups from the club.
These measures will protect the values at the core of the club’s operation, enhancing our ability to be the inclusive club that we must be if we are to succeed in representing our great, diverse, city. By necessity, our inclusion cannot be extended to, and abused by, those who would seek to exclude.
Why did we do the COLFC thing the way we did?
COLFC was officially formed at an open meeting in September 2015. But this wasn’t the start, it was the end of the start, the end of over a year of meetings, planning and not a small amount of serious thought. Why would a group of people with lifelong, and deep, allegiances to Everton and Liverpool decide to spend the foreseeable future traversing the non-league grounds of the north, while trying to raise god knows how much to build a community stadium on god knows what site?
The broad vision that brought the founding members together was one of a football club that was owned by our community and represented the community’s civic, social and cultural identity. By any definition, Liverpool is identified as something of a rebel city, a place that stands up for itself and for each other. The city has long been, and will continue to be, one of diverse cultures. A port city that has become home to many people, from many lands, who now identify proudly as “scouse”.
To best enable us to represent this identity, the club was formed as a Community Benefit Society. This is a form of co-operative society that is governed on the basis of one member one vote and with an “asset lock” that prevents the club’s assets being sold and the proceeds being used for anything other than furthering the objects of the club. As a Community Benefit Society we pursue a common purpose, for the common good, to deliver common wealth. The growth of COLFC doesn’t end up on a balance sheet on another continent. It remains asset locked in our common ownership.
The pursuit of the vision of a club representing Liverpool’s civic, social and cultural identity, and taking a legal form that places COLFC in common community ownership, has seen us set out our stall through a range of actions that some may brand “political”. The COLFC Community initiative organises “Football for Everyone” Sunday football sessions, involving club members alongside asylum seekers and refugees (as well as walking football for us “less athletic” types!). COLFC Community’s “Partisan” events bring together stellar panels to lead conversations covering issues like “inclusion through football” and “mental health and sport”, with the talking followed by live music and DJs. The COLFC Foodbank has been instrumental in the growth of Fans Supporting Foodbanks into a national initiative spanning every level of the game, while the club’s work with charities sees many local groups use our matchdays as a fund raising and awareness raising platform.
COLFC’s vision is what we use to “sell” the social value of supporting the club to our sponsors and partners. These relationships, which enable the club to pay for the use of a ground and put a good team on the pitch, have not emerged from nowhere and have not resulted from organisations and businesses wanting to just hand money over to a non-league club. These relationships have developed and endured because of shared values and goals for our community. Values of inclusion, equality and community benefit, free from prejudice or discrimination, lie at the heart of COLFC’s “commercial” offer.
The club is not party political, it cannot be. But we did the COLFC thing the way we did, reflecting the left leaning community of Liverpool that COLFC was born out of and seeks to represent in the football arena, because there is an underlying philosophy that drives our values. It is a philosophy that we share with a man who came to this city and built a football dynasty, a man who transcended football rivalries in Liverpool, Bill Shankly. In his own words:
“The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It’s the way I see football, it’s the way I see life.”
Yesterday's 1-1 home draw with 1874 Northwich drew a very good attendance of 463, bolstered by something like 80 supporters from Northwich, which is always nice to see at our home games.
The attendance of 463 was the 4th biggest attendance in the Hallmark Security League this season and was the 24th biggest home crowd in our history.
8 of the top 10 attendances in the Hallmark Security League this season have involved COLFC, including all of the top 5 and 13 of the top 20 include us too. The top 20 attendances so far this season are:
|1||649||COL v RT|
|2||513||COL v Remy|
|3||505||COL v WA|
|4||463||COL v 1874|
|5||433||1874 v COL|
|6||409||WDC v Remy|
|7||406||COL v IRL|
|8||404||COL v Bur|
|9||401||COL v CR|
|10||371||1874 v NVI|
|11||364||WDC v COL|
|12||364||WDC v 1874|
|13||346||COL v WDC|
|14||336||PAD v COL|
|15||328||WDC v NVI|
|16||313||CON v COL|
|17||308||COL v AH|
|18||308||WYA v MAI|
|19||305||WDC v WU|
|20||305||WA v CR|
West Didsbury & Chorlton feature 6 times in the list, 1874 Northwich 4 times, Northwich Victoria, Whitcurch Alport, Litherland Remyca and Charnock Richard all feature twice.
One game from outside the Premier Division features, Withenshawe Amatuers v Maine Road drawing an excllent crowd of 308 in the 1st Division South.
Overall our average attendance this season now stands at 423, as compared with 430 (season One) and a whopping 484 (season Two) after 14 home games of each season.
Season One's final average home attendance was 472 and Season Two's was 458 (we lost approximately 11% in Season Two on Season One) so although we are currently slightly down on Season One ( 7 on the respective averages) we are very hopeful that with what could be a very exciting end to Season Three, it could see us eclipse the 472 average record, but of course there a lot of factors to take into account.
With having played 7 games this season we have learnt a lot about ourselves as a team with every opponent faced being different. We started with a tough game away to FC Pilchy where we were minutes away from a win but fell just short and lost the game 5-3 after a crazy last 10 minutes.
We felt extremely hard done by in our second game of the season, even though we had secured our first point of the season. We drew 2-2 with BRNESC Reserves, one of whose goals came when they scored through the sidenetting, however we missed plenty of our own chances and the positives we did come away from this with were that we were finally creating chances and now dominating the game.
Next up was a cup game against Page Celtic's First Team where we started the game extremely poorly which ultimately proved fatal for us. We found ourselves 2-0 down however we fought back and scored thanks to Liam Evens and then also hit the cross bar and the post late on. The biggest encouragement to take away was the fight shown by us against a very experienced and solid team.
Lower Breck Reserves were our next opponents and they are a well established side. We again created loads of chances however we didn’t take them, a few individual errors probably cost us the game against a Lower Breck side who were more clincal than us. The mistake came from us playing high up the pitch pressing to get back in the game but with stepping up a division this season we had been punished by Lower Breck and from this we had to learn some pretty harsh lessons.
Our fifth game saw us with a tremedous win of 7-2 against Edge HIll BCOB where everything just seemed to click. Every ball that left the players feet went perfectly and Sharkey, Nicholl and Peet controlled the game for us. From previous weeks it felt like a result like this was only a matter of time in coming, but in terms of morale it was much needed and gave the players confidence a big boost. This game was an important milestone because last season it took till January for our first home win, and this season it happened within in the first month which is a big positive for myself and Danielle.
Our sixth game against Liver Academy turned out to be a wake up call as we played an extremely experienced and talented squad, but yet again it was individual errors throughout the game, from all over the pitch which duly cost us the game. The final score was an 8-2 defeat however we did learn massively from this game and we knew our performance that day was simply not acceptable.
Our latest game was a pleasure to watch and without doubt our best game of the season so far - and not just because of the score line of 9-0 - but the fact that we had taken everything we had been working on in training and brought it into the game. The highlight of the match was a move involving 26 passes before it was finished of with a goal from Craig Atkinson! Our first away win and clean sheet of the season was a moment to savour and a really big positive because we didn't keep a single clean sheet last season.
On reflection we have many positives to take forward from the first seven games so far in which we have scored 25 goals coming from pretty much every different position.
We have a young squad of players who are learning and improving each and every week (our average age is between 21-22 years old) but the young lads are fighting and playing fantastic football.
We know that every game will be a challenge in this league which is definitely why we stepped up, in order to fully test ourselves, and I firmly believe we belong in this higher division and will defintetly shock teams on the pitch this season. So keep an eye on our fixtures in the Purple Diary and try and get down to cheer on the Purps Reserves for some great entertaining football this season!
As Season 2018/19 is now well and truly underway with a very demanding opening week's fixtures taken care of and a chance now to take a little breather, I wanted to send a message to everyone associated with the club.
What we have learned in our first two seasons in the Hallmark Security League is that while success can be achieved on the pitch, distractions off the pitch can affect the players on it.
At this level of football there are so many off the field issues that occur that can rock the boat and affect on the field performance and one of the keys to our achieving our targets for this season is to limit these off the field distractions.
These distractions can also cost time and money to the club and time is the most valuable commodity of all in a volunteer led organisation, as well as causing the players to lose focus on what they are there for; to win football matches.
We have created an Equality & Inclusion policy whcih you can read here by scrolling down, along with our Respect Code of Conduct and Safeguarding policies. We expect everybody associated with the club to abide by these directives.
In volunteering news Mark Howard has stepped forward to become Volunteer Co-Ordinator, managing matchday operations, which is a great help to the club and we wish him well in his new role, starting on Saturday at the home game v Irlam.
As you will know Gary Johansen resigned as a Director in early July. We wish him good luck in his new role on the League Management Commitee and thank him for his efforts on behalf of COLFC.
There was some great purplisation this week with the Purple Helmets donating £50 so that the first 50 kids wouldn't have to pay in the FA cup game and then Ed Rimmer turned up with a box full of T-Shirts which he donated to the club and which Sue Roberts promptly sold on the merchandise table!! Brilliant stuff, with people wanting to give something back to "the club".
We also thank all of the volunteers who gave up thier own time to operate the matchday, so that 600+ other people could come along and have a good time. Well done everyone.
On the playing side we got off to an almost perfect start, with the rampant 6-3 defeat of 1874 Northwich displaying the exciting attacking options we now have at the club.
In midweek, we put on a slightly different kind of performance to again win away, again in Mid-Cheshire beating title hopefuls Northwich Victoria 2-1, with a brilliant second half effort seeing us over the line.
On Saturday we were good winners over a Silsden side that gave us a bit of a shock in the second half, and credit to them they battled right to the very end and showed that they weill be a force to be reckoned with this season, in a game that had everything, but we are through to the Preliminary round of the FA Cup and that is all that matters, where we will face Glossop North End of the Evostick League.
It's a long season and there will be ups and downs along the way. People and players will come and go. By all means let's enjoy every victory but be prepared for defeats as well, this is football after all!
In the meantime, i'd like to congratulate Craig Robinson on his first week in charge of the team - 3 very tough wins in the bag and a dressing room that is both happy and united under his leadership.
We look like we have got an exciting season ahead of us, so strap in, put your crash helmet on and get ready for yet another Purple rollercoaster. We go again today on Saturday against Irlam who are a very tough nut to crack. We hope to see as many of you as we did on Saturday and this time we can also have a bevvy pitchside!!
COLFC has been selected to participate in the Aviva Community Fund. Very simply if we get enough votes we will reach the final competition, where a judging panel will decide if we can be awarded upto £25,000, so if you don't mind Purps, please start voting!
Follow this link to register to vote https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/17-1152
Below, Peter Furmedge sets out what we will use the Comminuty fund for:
In early 2017, City of Liverpool FC commissioned a report by MBA students from the University of Liverpool to analyse the geographical spread of the club's membership, highlight areas where
membership density was low and make recommendations as to how this may be addressed.
This report highlighted lower membership density in areas that were also Liverpool's most deprived. Given this strong correlation between lower levels of club membership and higher indices of multiple deprivation, we have resolved to better resource our COLlective initiative, seeking to reach out more effectively into Liverpool's most deprived neighbourhoods and enable more community organisations to provide their members and service users with access to our matches and other activities.
COLlective partners community groups, charities and social enterprises each with one of the club's commercial partners. This enables those organisations particpating in COLlective to benefit from the same package of match tickets and hospitality as their partner business. Through this project we wish to expand COLlective to include at least 20 organisations, and at least 100 participants.
Through COLLective, our matchdays become platforms for community organisations to showcase their work and raise awareness of their causes. In addition to website and social media features, COLLective offers space in the matchday programme and use of space in the clubhouse to for community engagement, promotion, networking and fund raising collections. We believe that the development of social capital in this way is mutually beneficial to the club, participating organisations and our commercial partners alike.
Through this grant, we will appoint a Community Outreach Worker to take COLlective out to Liverpool's most deprived neighbourhoods and establish an accessible Community Outreach point that will raise awareness and enable effective community engagement.
Register to vote now https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/17-1152
The Fans Supporting Foodbanks scheme is run by Everton and Liverpool fan groups Everton Supporters Trust and the Spirit of Shankly. The green van is seen at the home games of either club and there are drop off points situated around the grounds for fans to donate food.
It all started around two years ago with Dave Kelly and Ian Byrne returning from a meeting with the Premier League regarding ticket pricing, The Twenty’s Plenty campaign involving the Football Supporters Federation (FSF). On the train back from London, the idea of what football fans could achieve together was the topic with the ticket concessions for away games a recent victory, they mooted the idea of fans as an untapped resource for alleviating food poverty. With both men having a strong trade union background and a wealth of connections they went about putting the idea to the test.
Over the next two years they went about on a mission to bring both the Merseyside clubs and Liverpool City Council aboard, ironing out logistical problems and building a strong working relationship with the clubs, local community groups and securing a warehouse from Liverpool City Council.
The donations support many food banks and homeless shelters around Merseyside who need non-perishable food items, clothing and toiletries, charities who are facing increasing demands on their networks due to a myriad of factors that stem from the austerity of recent times.
The tentacles of this project led to a tie up with Newcastle United Supporters Group and the community arm of Celtic FC, these being the standout clubs in the growing network of clubs affiliated.
With the Fans Supporting Foodbanks team already stretched covering the home games of the city’s Premier League clubs and expanding their network, a small group of volunteers at COLFC who seen the Fans Supporting Foodbanks work and seen the tie in with the community led ethos of their own club offered to carry out collections at COLFC home games.
The collections at COLFC home games have been well supported from everyone associated with the club, from the board, the players and the fans. There have been donations from officials and other clubs starting with Whitchurch Alport and others followed.
24 months on from the initial idea, there was the first national Fans Supporting Foodbanks national meeting held at St James Park, backed by the Football Supporters Federation (FSF). The meeting room and catering kindly covered by NUFC and the transport by Everton. With representatives from several clubs plus the Trussell Group and local MPs present, COLFC was there flying the flag for the non-league scene at this Football Supporters Federation event.
The Scouse contingent consisted of Reds, Blues and Purps, trade unionists, food bank coordinators, a local MP and a representative from the Abdullah Quilliam mosque who attended the meeting on the 13th October. The aims of the meeting were to evaluate the progress so far, share experiences and establish best practice as well as make plans for future initiatives.
Representatives of the Trussell Group gave us a presentation painting the picture of what we are up against and how food bank usage has increased in recent years and the upcoming change in how benefits are paid has already increased referrals to food banks.
Fans Supporting Foodbanks are not ready to rest on their laurels, the fight has only just begun. There is a drive to recruit more clubs to the cause, to create a toolkit to support those who wish to come aboard, to create an online forum to share ideas, to increase awareness of food poverty and this is all with the backing of the FSF.
So what does this mean for COLFC? The collections have been well supported and we are grateful for all those who have donated but we will need to keep the donations of non-perishables and toiletries going. The rise of food bank usage in recent years is well documented and this is only set to rise with the roll out of Universal Credit in the coming months. The teething problems of this government policy have already increased food bank referrals. Hopefully we can continue our good work and do our bit to help.
So if anyone wants to help with a donation or arrange a collection through their community groups or workplace, then get in touch with the COLFC Food Bank and we can make this happen.
We don't know much about The Queen and the Royal Family, but we have heard it said that she has two birthdays, One for her actual birthday and another one for something else that only crazed, Southern geriatrics and the BBC care about.
Well City of Liverpool FC has 5 birthdays in theory and we can't decide which one to make as our official Birthday and as each of the dates is coming up soon, so we thought we would write a blog about it and get the opinions of members and supporters.
First of all is the email sent on 30th October 2014 to 7 people inviting them to meet to talk about the formation of a scouse football club. If this is the club's birthday, then we are almost 3 years old.
Next up was the 1st ever meeting of what at that point had a working title of "Community Football Club for Liverpool" which took place on 6th November 2014.
On 1st May 2015 after several informal meetings, the first official meeting was convened and the 1st Board of Directors of COLFC was formed. From this point on actual club operations began as we launched a website, social media platforms and began gathering data from prospective supporters of the club.
The next date that could be considered as our birthday is 21st September 2015 on which date our 1st Public Open Meeting took place and "the community" agreed to form a Supporter Owned Football Club.
The actual legal formation of a supporter owned football club called City of Liverpool FC occurred on the 29th October 2015. Is this our birthday?
There is nothing stopping us from having 5 birthdays I don't suppose but its a bit self indulgent like!
In all seriousness, all 5 dates are important in the history of the club but we should really decide upon which date should be considered as our actual Birthday.
This Saturday marks the real start to the season as we kiss goodbye to the meaningless friendlies... although in true Purps style we still won a trophy!
With crowds at these friendlies bigger than most of our rivals get in league games, the Partisans have already been Flokking their way up this season's new look Partisan List.
Nearly 200 Purps have already joined the new system and those on the Partisan List will be at the head of the queue when it comes to tickets for any limited capacity cup exploits this season (or games against Barnoldswick Town)!
If you dont want to miss out on any future games with restricted tickets (or just the fun) and haven't signed up yet then you can join at any time:
- just download the Flok app
- join the City of Liverpool club
- and simply use it to scan the barcode on display at any First team, Reserves or Ladies games home or away!
It really is simple to use and is saving our knackered out volunteers a lot of time and effort maintaining the list manually.
Just contact Paul Squires on PartisanList@colfc.co.uk for any help or further info.
If you can’t download the app or don’t want to use the system then you can still take part by emailing Paul Squires after each game and you’ll be added to the list - even those anti-establishment types amongst you who refuse to get into the 21st century are capable of sending an email.
On the eve of the season starting, with 8 friendly games played, the Partisan List is lead by Father & Son duo Graham and Adam May and Club Secretary Peter Manning who have scanned the barcode at all 8 games!
There are 5 just one game behind on 7, with Chairmao all on his own on 6 games (incl 1 reserve fixture). A total of 36 Partisans have registered at 4 games or more.
They are all well on their way towards hitting the 15 game target to become a silver level Partisan and bag themselves a limited edition silver club badge.
Further exclusive rewards are on offer to those who hit 25 and 50 games - details are on the app!
The Purple Partisan award for attending most games last season went to Glyn Jones who had a 100% attendance record, but who is boycotting the Flok app this season because it includes the Reserves and Ladies, so the title is up for grabs this coming season. Who will be crowned Purple Partisan this season??
Partisan List League Table
As of Thursday 3rd August
Peter Manning 8
Graham May 8
Adam May 8
Gary Johansen 7
Dean Jones 7
Stuart Wilson 7
Lee Thwaite 7
Ryan Worrall 7
Paul Manning 6
Andy Hudson 5
Tony Mutch 5
John McDermott 5
Bill Sheppard 5
Stephen Johnston 5
Belinda Cooke 5
Ruth May 5
Matt Comber 4
Paul Squires 4
Andrew Lavin 4
Lee Myers 4
John Joe Waring 4
Mike Caulfield 4
Colin Pierce 4
Terry Lally 4
Joe Dainty 4
Evie McDermott 4
Paul McGrady 4
Cosmin Mocan 4
Mark Willis 4
John Lavin 4
Peter Higham 4
Keith Murphy 4
Ryan Mapstone 4
Mark Howard 4
Ian O’Leary 4
Sarah Comber 4
10 People 3
29 People 2
Great news received last night; attendances in the NWCFL rose by 44% last season, presumably based on the attendance figures from the season before last.
At a meeting of the National Leagues Committee, representatives of the NWCFL league Management Committee presented this fact to the FA with evidence from member clubs West Didsbury & Chorlton, AFC Liverpool and Ashton Town to illustrate the kind of work being done by these clubs around matchdays, to illustrate this massive leap in attendances.
It got us thinking about attendances last season and so we carried out a bit of research.
The Purps had the highest actual attendance last season and the highest average attendance last season, the highest league attendance (v Charnock Richard) and the highest Cup attendance (v Litherland REMYCA) but we also found that matches involving ourselves were the 7 best attended games involving NWCFL sides last season and indeed 11 of the top 14 involved COLFC. Here is the attendance league table for Season 2016/17 (only games involving NWCFL sides with attendances above 600):-
1. Litherland REMYCA v COLFC (Play Off Final) 1303
2. Sandbach Utd v COLFC (Reusch Cup Final) 1263
3. Barnoldswick Town v COLFC (Macron Cup Final) 749
4. COLFC v Whitchurch Alport (PlayOff Semi Final) 747
5. COLFC v Charnock Richard 723
6. COLFC v Litherland REMYCA (FA Vase) 711
7. COLFC v Cheadle Town 691
8. West Didsbury & Chorlton v Maine Road 674
9. Whitchurch Alport v Litherland REMYCA 670
10. Runcorn Linnets v Runcorn Town 655
11. COLFC v Silsden 648
12. Whitchurch Alport v COLFC 634
13. COLFC v Litherland REMYCA 628
14. COLFC v St Helens Town 608
We were also involved in 5 matches with attendances over 500 and 7 matches with attendances over 400. We went above 300 in 9 matches, 200 in 8 matches, in 15 matches the attendance was 100+ (but only 1 of these was at home!) and in only 1 game did we fail to reach the 100 mark, with an attendance of 87 away at Holker OB in September.
In total our matches in Season 2016/17 were watched by over 20,000 spectators.
Below is the attendance league table for Season 2015/16:
1. Runcorn Town v Runcorn Linnets 625
2. Runcorn Linnets v Runcorn Town 580
3. Atherton Collieries v Runcorn Linnets 570
4. Barnton v Bacup Borough (Play off Final) 554
5. 1874 Northwich v Colne 539
6. Runcorn Linnets v 1874 Northwich 456
7. 1874 Northwich v Runcorn Linnets 435
8. Atherton Collieries v Atherton LR (FA Vase) 429
9. Colne v Nelson 415
10. West Didsbury & Chorlton v Maine Road 405
11. Atherton Collieries v Colne (Challenge Cup) 385
12. Nelson v Colne 375
13. Runcorn Linnets v Winsford United 370
14. Padiham v Colne 369
As can be seen, only 1 game from the 2015/16 season would have made it into the table for 2017/18 and that into 13th position only (Runcorn Town v Runcorn Linnets 625).
The game involving West Didsbury & Chorlton v Maine Road's attendance rose by approximately 50% from 2015/16 to 2016/17, which is a great stat, so well played to all involved in that attendance. Whitchurch Alport also deserve a mention for their attendances, as they feature on the list 3 times and Litherland Remyca feature 4 times!
So in conclusion, there was a massive leap in attendances in the NWCFL last season and to be quite honest, the majority of the reason why can be summed up in 5 letters:
C O L F C
So in a kind of reverse fake news story about COLFC, we have not been mentioned as a factor in why the attendances in the NWCFL have risen 44% on the season before last, so we thought we would mention us ourselves and save everybody else the trouble in ignoring us.
Last season we calculated that our league travels would take us 975 miles to get to and speculated as to how many of us (if any) would get to each and every away game.
As it turned out, only 1 supporter attended every single game we played last season, Glynn Jones, but I have a sneaking feeling that there will be more this coming season, especially with the travel being so much shorter this season, almost 300 miles shorter.
So here is the list of our journeys this season, noting that we will be travelling to 3 stadiums twice during the league campagin, as Barnton are hosting Northwich Victoria and Winsford United and 1874 Northwich also share a stadium, plus of course our own home ground at Vesty Road as we visit our Landlords Bootle.
Bootle - 6 miles (from the Rocket)
AFC Liverpool - 9
Widnes - 10
Runcorn Town - 14
Ashton Atheltic - 16
Runcorn Linnets - 17
Barnton - 22
Northwich Victoria - 22
Burscough - 24
Irlam - 25
Northwich 1874 - 30
Winsford Utd - 30
West Didsbury & Chorlton - 31
Maine Road - 31
Charnock Richard - 32
Abbey Hey - 33
Congleton Town - 42
AFC Darwen - 48
Hanley Town - 54
Padiham - 55
Barnoldswick Town - 66
Total Miles - 689
Average - 31
Just over a year ago was the very darkest night in our club's short history.
Peter Furmedge received an email at around 5pm from the FA National Leagues Committee which read:
I am writing following on from your recent interview with The FA in relation to the possibility of entering the National League System at higher than Step 7.
The Leagues Committee meet today, Thursday 12 May 2016, where the matter was further discussed.
It is the decision of the Leagues Committee that you should be placed at Step 7 in the National League System and not be placed at a higher level. It is the view of the panel that you should be placed in the Liverpool County Premier League.
Any appeals as to the allocation of league/division can be made, in accordance with FA Regulations, to the Judicial Services department within 14 days of this communication by emailing discipline@TheFA.com and making payment of the necessary appeal fee.
To say we were gutted would be a massive understatement. We spent that Thursday night on the phone to each other trying to make sense of the decision. We also spoke to Gary Langley who had been instrumental in getting us to this point in the process, we spoke to John Deal who had also been supportive as had the entire League Management Committee.
Our heads were spinning. Nearly ywo years on from the initial meeting to the form the club, all of the hundreds of hours of work that had gone into the club up to that point and we had failed in our goal to play in the (then) North West Counties Football League.
But there was hope. At the very last minute Northwich Manchester Villa had resigned from the league and there was therefore a space available as the league wanted a 22 club division for the 1st time in over two decades.
We also had to tell manager Simon Burton that he could be back managing at Step 7, 7 seasons after he had got his Runcorn Town team promoted to Step 6 and then to Step 5. That was not a nice conversation, but credit to the man he took the news in his stride and said he didn't care - he believed in the club and was staying with us no matter what.
So we appealled the decision.
The rest as they say is history!
It seems impossible that a year has flown by, as it only seems like a matter of weeks ago but time does fly when you are having fun.
Abbey Hulton United will have had a similar experience today, getting confirmation that they have achieved their goals and we want to wish them all the best today as they begin the journey that we undertook a year ago, the best year of our lives.
Yesterday's victory at Bacup brought to a close what has been a tremendous first league campaign for the club.
Since that drizzly day in July 2016 at Prestatyn, we have been on a massive rollercoaster ride of emotions, massive highs and some lows but on the whole everyone associated with the club can be rightly proud of what we have achieved together and most of all the laughs we have had along the way.
This club was formed to make people happy at Football again and I think in that regard we have definatly achieved our target.
With the league campaign closing, I wanted to pay tribute to Simon Burton and his staff and players who have given us a team that we can all enjoy watching and for meeting the target we set for him at the start of the Season, which was to get into the Play-Offs at least.
Simon has achieved that target and more besides with the two Cup Finals coming up, starting tomorrow against Sandbach United at Millbank Stadium.
The sense of anticipation and excitement that is in the air surrounding this game is palpable and we want everyone to come along and have a great time and hopefully see the Purps lifting the first peice of silverware in our short history.
Sandbach are a friendly, family orientated club and with us having the vast majority of the crowd, I know that our supporters will be conscious that there will be lots of women and children present and we not only want to be coming out of this game with the Reusch Cup in our hands, but also with our reputation in tact too.
So if you see your mate swearing his head off or over-reacting to a decision or whatever, whilst we all understand that its passion for our club, you have a quiet word with him. If we self police as we have done, we will be fine.
It is a Cup Final and everybody wants to win, but lets make sure its enjoyable for everybody please and no matter what happens on the day, we can all head back to the club's end of season party and know that we've still got a very exciting May to look forward to.
A couple of months back Peter Carter a member of COLFC in Perth, Western Australia asked the board if he could contact all of the BI members across the world and see if they could all do something more to help the club.
Of course we said, no problem.
When Peter reported back that 10 members of BI had agreed to each spend £100 buying Adult season tickets for next season, to allow local under-priveleged familes to be able to bring kids to our home games for free, we thought the very least we could do is creat the BI members their own badge based upon our club badge.
So we asked club graphic artist Dave Marsh to create something, and the badge above is what he came up with and he sent it onto Chairmao in Huyton.
Chairmao sent it onto Peter Carter in Perth ( Liverpool - Perth 9114 miles).
Peter sent it round to all the BI members for use and one of them Owen Serjeant in Houston, Texas ( Perth - Houston 10, 578 miles) thought "I know I'll get my mate John Joynt to put that on a T-Shirt" and sent the logo to John Joynt in Huyton, (Houston - Liverpool 4685 miles) who duly began producing t-shirts with the logo on.
Chairmao and Joynty live about 2 miles apart at either end of Knowsley Lane, but the BI logo actually travelled 24,377 miles to pass between the two of them!
To some he is Docker, the King of the Cafe Crew, to others he is Son of a Docker, or Ron or Ron Docker.
Known to have been a trained killer in a secretive Black Ops unit of the British Army, Ron Docker is now a mild mannered visionary who spends his time following both Liverpool FC and COLFC.
Member #92 and Season Ticket holder #2 (beaten to the punch only by Williebob), he is now sent on secret missions "through the curtains" by Chairmao and Furmao to bamboozle and distract the committee members of other clubs and Hallmark Security League itself.
He is a world class food and sanitation critic and is equally as adepts discussing Shitty Sausages on Netherfield Road as he is range, depth and acceptable water levels of the toilets in the new Main Stand at Anfield.
Docker's specialist subject however is not Coq au Vin or Twyfords Adamant, but the strange lure and power of Magentic North and its secretive power source on Earth - The Great Pyramids of Giza and thier supernatural power to suck in the Purple goals at the Meadow End of the DTS.
The great Pyramids of Giza are thought to have been built in c2450 BC to house the remains of great Pharaohs of Egypt, just outside the city of Cairo.
It is of course a great mystery to many as to how such a primitive society could have lugged all those Concrete blocks up a big hill and placed them all in such a pleasant dispoition as a series of big triangles and a giant Cat's head, but to Ron Docker there is no mystery.
Named by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the only one still remaining, Ron Docker of Walton Vale concurs with this evaluation and suggests that the fact that all the pyramids are orientated to North- South and East-West is a power source feeding Magnetic North and here is the Purple kicker...........
Ron Docker states unequivocally that The Delta Taxis Stadium is also orientated North-South and East-West leading to Magnetic North being situated within the width of the Goal at the Meadow End of the DTS and it is therefore Magentic North sucking the goals in for the Mighty Purps.
He has a point - We have scored only 17 goals all season at the Dodge Kop End but a whopping 31 at the Meadow End.
So it is not Michael Roberts, Kevin McEllin, John Connolly et al who we have to thank for feeding the passes into messrs Peterson, Forbes and Woods, but Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure for facing the right way when they got buried.
Next Week - The Colossus of Rhodes and his role in an attacking 433 formation.
In what is really only an excuse to post a brilliant photograph of the Shed from Saturday's match courtesy of John Middleton, we couldn't help but notice that with the Partisans in what looks like fine voice, there appears to be 1 miserable Purp, remaining tight lipped amongst all the fun & frivolity. Who is this mystery purp? Why is he so glum? Is he normally a happy go lucky fella and this photo catches him at just the wrong moment?
The first person to name (and in the process shame) this specatator, will win a Purple Partisan Mug. Answers on Twitter only please!
You should be able to see the Purple Arrow just above Joe Camozzi's head.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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