Groundshare Update

When the FA announced that Season 2020/21 was to be curtailed, it brought about the end of our groundshare agreement with Bootle FC after 5 highly successful years.

Relations between the two clubs had frayed against the backdrop of the pandemic and by their actions Bootle made it abundantly clear that we had outstayed our welcome, but prior to this the two clubs had enjoyed good relations off the field and a healthy football rivalry.

The feeling was largely mutual as a significant amount of our supporters and volunteers expressed a desire to leave Vesty Road. Consequently, we never opened discussions for a renewal of the agreement and Bootle never offered terms.

We had 5 great years there and have made memories that will last a lifetime and we will be reminiscing about the good times over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, we wish Bootle FC the best of luck in their future endeavors and with an FA re-organisation looming, it looks like the promotion to the NPL that had eluded them these last few seasons will come to fruition and we will be seeing them again sooner rather than later!

In November 2020, discussions began with Prescot Cables about the potential for us groundsharing there for season 2021/22. The discussions were cordial and positive, and we moved forward into the New Year thinking that we would be playing at Hope Street next Season.

All clubs in the National League System must have what is known as “security of tenure” in place for the following season by 31st March of the current year. In our case currently this means a Groundshare Agreement.

We continually touched base with Cables to assess the position and were never given any cause to think there was a problem. On the 8th February we received an e-mail offering terms for a Groundshare for Season 2021/22. These terms were accepted by us immediately.

With the curtailment of the season in February, Bootle FC announced publicly on the 3rd March that our Groundshare Agreement had ended. At 9pm that same night we received a phone call from Prescot Cables informing us that they had had a change of heart and had now decided that the Reserves team would be playing on the pitch instead.

We were both astonished and angry at this turn of events, which left us with 28 days to secure a groundshare agreement with the suitable grading for the NPL or be relegated. The timing of this phone call / decision has left a very sour taste in our mouths.

There are only 5 grounds at our level locally that have that ground grading, 4 of which are Marine (who already have a tenant), Bootle (see above!), Prescot Cables (see above!) and Runcorn Linnets. We had a cordial if uninspiring meeting with Linnets to discuss the possibility of going there, but it was clear to us that there was no appetite for us playing there. We left Runcorn certain that we needed to keep looking.

We discussed Melwood with Torus Housing Association (not possible), Prenton Park with Tranmere Rovers (out of our league financially!!) and Walton Hall Park with Everton Ladies, which after some positivity from Everton sadly couldn’t come to fruition.

We also spoke to several clubs in and around the area whose grounds “might” have the required grading and held discussions with them, but 1 by 1 each of these options came to naught.

However, the 5th facility in our area that we were certain had the grading was Vauxhall Sports & Social Club near Ellesmere Port. It is a National League level ground and facility and, after speaking to the Chairman Tony Woodley, we knew we had someone who we would enjoy working with.

In a little over a week, we had viewed the facility, agreed a deal, had a ground gradings visit and signed a 2-year Groundshare Agreement and in doing so maintained our place in the Northern Premier League, which was our key strategic goal.

Having earned our position in the NPL the hard way (by winning the NWCFL Premier Division) we were determined not to lose this status.

Vauxhall Sports & Social is an outstanding football facility and is 11 miles from the Pier Head along the A41, although we appreciate that there is a big River to get across as well!!

Arrangements are already in place to provide a shuttle bus service from the City Centre to ensure our supporters can continue enjoying The Purps and watching Michael Ellison’s exciting new squad follow on from its good start in this curtailed season.

We have supporters all across the City Region and appreciate that this move will be further away for some and closer for others, but we know that all Purps will understand the predicament we were placed in and will get behind the club, for what is hopefully 1 season (more on this to come shortly).

We’d like to go on record in thanking each and every club who took the time to speak to us and explore the possibility of us groundsharing with them, as well as the representatives of the NPL who worked with us every step of the way to ensure our continued membership of the league.

Thank you most of all to Mr Woodley and Vauxhall Sports & Social Club. We are looking forward to playing at your excellent facility!


COVID Update – 04/01/2021

For the notice of members/supporters who may not already be aware, the NPL is currently suspended with fixtures up to and including 12th January 2021 postponed.

Discussions with all stakeholders and relevant parties will be ongoing and the Club will keep supporters informed as and when any further communications are released.

Members/Supporters can visit or @NorthernPremLge on Twitter to view the latest league communications regarding the suspension/postponements.


RIP Mr Bootle

The news of the passing of Frank Doran has saddened everyone connected with City of Liverpool FC. On behalf of all connected with the club, the Directors pass on deepest condolences to the Doran family at this most difficult of times.

We are especially thinking of Lena, Joseph and Olivia, who we know personally, on the loss of their Dad and Grandad. We also extend sincere sympathies to Frank’s extended football family at his beloved Bootle FC and beyond.

Football can divide us, but the game also has a massive ability to unite us. It is through football, and his position right at the heart of the game’s community in Merseyside, that most of us have had the honour and pleasure of getting to know Frank.

To our older supporters, young at heart like Frank, he is the Langton player. For most of us, he is the unmistakeable and ever-present figure laughing, joking and winding us up whenever we entered Bootle’s ground.

It is common knowledge that we have experienced a strong footballing rivalry with Bootle FC. That is how it should be, we are both local clubs competing to go as far as we can in non-league football. Frank, as the embodiment of Bootle Football Club, played a massive part in that rivalry and he carried it off with a wit and an authority that made all who met him respect him to the full.

We didn’t know Frank as long as other people, obviously, but in the 5 or 6 years we did know him, we found him to be an absolutely great feller.

The City of Liverpool FC twitter feed praised Frank as a “a man’s man in the truest sense of the word”.  He could always be found in our volunteers’ hut before our home games. Frank would take a seat, settle in, get his cup of tea, then would have us in stitches as he tore us apart for just about everything.

Laughing about one of our defeats or writing off one of our wins as “lucky”, reminding us “you haven’t even got a ground” and ending with “when are you moving out?” Week after week for four seasons! We will miss those pre-match visits and those laughs.

Literally any day you turned up at Bootle’s ground, be it a matchday or any other day of the week, Frank would be there, pottering around doing a variety of jobs. He still travelled to most, if not all, of Bootle’s away games and standing around waiting for his lift in the Car Park (usually meaning a Purps’ home game) was yet another opportunity to give and take some stick with the great man.

Frank would take our abuse of his beloved Bootle FC on the chin, chuckling away, before shooting back with something else about COLFC – he was sharp as a needle, even at his advanced years. We should all pray that we are in his kind of physical and mental shape into our 9th decade – he was unbelievable.

Frank told us about his difficult start in life growing up in Huyton and his days as a Docker, as well as of the run-ins he’d had with every individual or football club he come up against in his 70 years in football. He was no fan of league or match officials either, he let them have it with both barrels when he felt it necessary. By comparison, COLFC got off lightly!

Of course, while the whole of Merseyside football will mourn and miss Frank Doran, this is a devastating loss for the Doran family. We hope it is of comfort to them to know that Frank will be fondly remembered as a legendary figure in the local amateur and Non-League football scene and will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.

With Love From City of Liverpool Football Club


The visitors took the points as City of Liverpool hosted Marine in a keenly contested derby at Vesty Road.

Michael Ellison made two changes from the rout against Pontefract Collieries, with Nathan Burke and Louis Corrigan replacing Tony Gray and Zac Aley. Jordan Barrow and Kai Shorrock also returned to the squad after missing the Colls match.

The match started in a cagey fashion, with both sides happy to figure each other out in the opening minutes. The first chance of the match came when veteran Mariners striker Niall Cummins glanced a header from close range into the grateful arms of Theo Roberts.

Marine then gained an early foothold in the game and had a succession of corners on their right hand side after a number of passages of play between Solomon-Davies and Kengni forced Purps intervention at the dead-ball line.

The Mariners took full advantage and obtained lead in a goalmouth scramble after a deep corner from Barrigan was directed against the post from close range. Tom Stephens then cleared the ball off the line before Anthony Miley stabbed home the rebound.

The Purps rallied and saw Marine keeper Bayleigh Passant brilliantly push Stephen Rigby’s fierce left footed effort against the bar when it looked for all the world he was about to score. 

The hoses should have had a penalty when David Raven poleaxed Stephen Rigby in the box just before half time. The Purps attacker beat the veteran defender to the ball only to barged to the ground, however the referee to somewhat astonishingly did not point to the spot. The Purps could also have had a spot kick when skipper Jay McCarten was pushed to the deck when challenging for a header, but again the match officials were alarmingly unmoved. 

HALF TIME: City of Liverpool 0-1 Marine.

After the interval City of Liverpool came out with greater purpose and were much the better side in the opening exchanges. Jack Hazlehurst who had been largely nullified during the first period by a combination of cynical fouls and three men marking each time he got the ball, suddenly found more space and influence within the game.

The Purps had a deserved equaliser when Hazlehurst whipped in a devilish right footed free kick from the left wing, centre back Jack Hinnigan rose unchallenged to glance a majestic header beyond Bayleigh Passant. It was no more than Michael Ellison’s side deserved after a bright start to the second period.



Marine were indebted to Bayleigh Passant who did well to push Nathan Burke’s rasping 30 yard effort around the post. He then reacted instinctively to claw out Tony Gray’s angled drive as the hosts pushed for a winner. 

At the other end Marine looked dangerous on the counter attack and Ryan Wignall twice fired straight at Theo Roberts when well placed in the area. The lively winger was a constant outlet on the left but ought to have done better after the Mariners cleverly worked a number over overlaps to play him in. 

Marine snatched the winner with 13 minutes left to play when Neil Kengni turned in the Purps box and hammered a low left footed effort past Roberts from just inside the area.

The Purps tried to stage a late fight back but a combination of good defending and brave goalkeeping saw Marine hold out to take a valuable three points.

FULL TIME: City of Liverpool 1-2 Marine.

City of Liverpool: Theo Roberts, Louis Corrigan (Tony Gray ’55), Jack Hinnigan, Jay McCarten (c), Tom Stephens, Ethan Devine, Stephen Rigby (Zac Aley ’57), Nathan Burke, Mitch Bryant, Dom Reid (Morgan Homson-Smith ’83)

Subs not used: Kai Shorrock, Jordan Barrow.

Man of the Match: Ethan Devine. The former Marine midfielder had a fine game in the middle of the park for the Purps, putting in some crunching challenges and offering a constant option on the ball. Didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.

Photo Gallery:

Preview: Pontefract Colleries


City of Liverpool v Pontefract Colleries


Saturday 19th Dec. 3PM KO



If you are showing symptoms of Covid or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive then don’t come the match. That’s just common sense.

In order for non-league football to be back playing regularly we have rules we have to adhere to concerning Covid-19. Capacity is limited to 400 and it is an ALL TICKET MATCH. If you haven’t bought a ticket online please don’t turn up as there is no cash turnstile and you will be refused entry. Tickets can be purchased via Skiddle and supporters are encouraged to buy their tickets as early as possible.

Unfortunately due to local Covid restrictions no away fans can attend so Pontefract fans please do not travel down as you will be refused entry.

Please be respectful of our volunteers who will be trying to ensure people stick to the guidelines. It is important for everyone’s health that these are adhered to, particularly as we don’t want to contribute to a rise in cases. and so we can all keep watching the Purps in as safe an environment as possible.

As at previous home fixtures, there will be a one way system in place around the ground, and temperature checking will take place at the turnstiles. It is compulsory for all supporters attending the match to adhere to social distancing and attendees must also wear a face mask.

There is no clubhouse/bar facilities for this fixture. Spectators are allowed to bring their own refreshments but please take all litter away with you.

It’s the responsibility of all visitors to the stadium to adhere to the guidance and follow the advice of our volunteers at all times, which is essential if we are to continue to host matches in front of supporters.




So the Purps FA Trophy run came to an end on Wednesday night with a 2-0 loss away at Darlington. Despite the 2 league difference, Michael Ellison team put in a phenomenal performance and created numerous chances on the night. They were probably a little bit unfortunate to go in 1-0 down at the break and it was only over the course of the 2nd half that Darlington quality and experience began to show. They rounded off the win with a second goal 15 minutes before the end then seen out the game.

Highlights of this game have been included in the match report on this website and can be viewed through Darlington YouTube page.

To reach the FA Trophy 2nd Round is an outstanding achievement by Michael Ellison squad. 3 away fixtures all at higher placed opposition and in all 3 games the team hasn’t looked out of place. They have given a good account of themselves and can be proud of their achievement.

Due to the second national lockdown and the postponement of the league season this will be the Purps 1st league fixture in almost 2 months. You have to cast your minds back to Saturday 24th October for our last league outing and a 4-2 away defeat to high flying Colne. One of the Purps goals that day was scored by Jaime McDonald in his last outing for the club before signing for Conference side Altrincham.


It will also only be the 2nd Home game that Michael Ellison has been in charge of due to Covid related disruptions, postponements and rearranging fixtures. We hope to see as many of you as possible down at the Berry Street Garage Stadium to cheer on the lads!


Despite the long journey I’m sure Pontefract are just greatful to have a game! Their last competition fixture was nearly 6 weeks ago on 3rd November, a 3-2 away victory against Pickering Town. They are currently 17th in the division having amassed 5 points from their opening 7 games (1W, 2D). I think their position in the league is somewhat deceptive and not a true indication of the quality of their squad as their opening fixture list has probably been the hardest in the league. They have had to face Runcorn Linnets, Colne, Markse and Ramsbottom with a game against Workington in the FA Trophy and FC United of Manchester in the FA Cup thrown in for good measure.

But as we have seen so far at this level there is no such thing as an easy game.

Past Meetings

Despite being in the same league for 18 months this will be the first ever meeting between City of Liverpool and Pontefract Colleries.



For tickets please follow the link to the event page on Skiddle:







Match Report: Purps bow out of FA Trophy


Darlington 2-0 City of Liverpool

FA Trophy 2nd Round


City of Liverpool exited the FA Trophy last night despite a spirited performance away at Conference North side Darlington. Michael Ellison kept faith with the same lineup that started in the previous round at Buxton- a 4-2-3-1 formation when the Purps went forward which could change to a 4-5-1 when out of possession.

The Purps started on the front foot and created a couple of good early chances. Mitch Bryant snapshot was straight at Darlington keeper Melvin Minter and Dom Reid deflected effort from the edge of the area inches past the post.

Darlington took the lead on 12 minutes. A loose ball falling to Luke Charman 25 yards out, he took a touch then lashed a shot over Theo Roberts into the top corner. It was a lovely strike from the Quakers striker.

It didnt rattle the Purps who stuck to their game plan and had the better chances. Jack Hazlehurst wriggled free to fire an effort from 25 yards was straight at Minter. Kai Shorrock, who had been dealing expertly with the threat of Erico Sousa on the left, created the Purps best chance. A lung busting overlap run, he was slid in behind from Rigbys through ball, Kai burst into box and fired a cross right across the 6 yard box that was just begging to be turned home. Dom Reid threw himself at it and was millimetres from connecting. Fine margins that could prove to be the difference.

Darlington stand out chance after their opening goal was a 25 yard free kick from McMahon that Theo Roberts had to turn over the bar one-handed as it curled toward the top corner.

HALF TIME: Darlington 1-0 COLFC

As even as the 1st half was the 2nd half in truth was all Darlington. They pressed high up the pitch disrupting City of Liverpool patient buildup play and forcing the Purps to look for long balls into Bryant. As well as Bryant led the line he was up against two ex-pro centre halves, one of which who had played nearly 150 games for Sam Allardyce at Bolton. Between the two of them they began to deal with the threat, one going man-to-man in Bryant whilst the other was aware for the 2nd ball.

Darlington where creating chances with the lively Sousa just denied a tap in at the back post by Kai Shorrock timely intervention. 15 minutes of sustained pressure and Ello adapted the shape to better cope with the threat. Jack Hinnighan coming on at centre back as the Purps reverted to a 5-3-2, pushing Dom Reid up alongside Bryant in attack as the Purps tried to find an equaliser. Rivers was in behind 1 on 1 and instead  of shooting, squared a pass to Sousa who looked sure to score but Hinnighan was back on the line to keep the Purps in the game.

The Purps had their own effort cleared off the line. A Jack Hazlehurst corner right into the mixer took a deflection off a Darlington player but Sousa was back on the line to hack the ball clear.

It was to be Sousa who wrapped up the victory for Darlington. Breaking away into the box, cutting back past McCarten and firing low past Theo Roberts.


FINAL SCORE: Darlington 2-0 COLFC


City of Liverpool XI: Theo Roberts, Kai Shorrock, Jay McCarten (c), Jordan Barrow (Tom Stephens ’77), Louis Corrigan (Jack Hinnegan ’59), Ethan Devine, Nathan Burke, Stephen Rigby (Zach Aley ’72), Dom Reid, Jack Hazlehurst, Mitchell Bryant

Subs not used: McEllin

Man of the Match: Kai Shorrock. The young right back was given a real test by tricky winger Erico Sousa but he more than held his own. Not content with just defending he was a real outlet down the right looking to get forward at every opportunity and create chances.



We have been made aware of an FA investigation into the club’s recent FA Trophy fixture, away to Atherton Collieries, played on Wednesday 4th November.

Ahead of the game several bookmakers had COLFC listed at prices ranging from 33-1 to 50-1 to win the match outright. As a club, we thought that this was clearly a computer malfunction or some other type of error.

Naturally, in a “two-horse race” odds of that size will attract betting and we assume, given the outrageously large odds, that lots of our supporters and many other people risked a small bet on the outcome of the game.

However, all of our club directors, staff and playing squad, together with everybody else involved in Non-League football, are aware that they are not allowed to bet on football and absolutely not to bet on matches in which they are participating.

On the night, COLFC were worthy 0 – 3 winners in a very competitive game between opponents who are both proud and successful football clubs. Indeed, the previous meeting between the clubs was the NWCFL Champions Challenge Cup Final in 2017 in which we were successful, after both clubs had enjoyed trophy winning seasons and both clubs have gone to gain more silverware since.

City of Liverpool FC will be co-operating fully with the FA investigation.

FA Trophy Match Postponed

City of Liverpool FC Vs Cleethorpes Town

Saturday 17th October 2020, 3pm, Berry Street Garage Stadium, L30 1NY


Following detailed communication between City of Liverpool FC, Cleethorpes Town FC, Sefton Council and the Football Association, the club received confirmation this afternoon that this fixture would take place as scheduled.

Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) guidance is that semi-professional players are permitted to travel into and out of Tier 3 areas for the purposes of fulfilling National League System or FA Competition fixtures. Therefore, The FA’s view was that this match should be played as scheduled, unless Sefton Council determined that it should not be played (which Sefton Council has not done).

Further to this, The FA stipulated that away supporters should not be permitted to attend this match and, following further discussion with Sefton Council, City of Liverpool FC agreed that people resident outside of the Liverpool City Region Tier 3 area would also not be permitted to attend this match.

Having considered this guidance, Cleethorpes Town FC has taken the decision not to travel to Merseyside for the match and will, therefore, forfeit the tie.

Supporters who have purchased tickets for this match will be refunded via Skiddle.

With regard to future fixtures, the guidance is such that supporters who are resident within the Liverpool City Region Tier 3 area should not travel to matches taking place outside of the City Region. For clarification, the Liverpool City Region comprises the following council areas:






St Helens

We are sorry that Saturday’s match will not take place and that supporters will no longer be able to travel to matches outside of the Liverpool City Region. However, public health and the wellbeing of each and every one of us is paramount and City of Liverpool FC will continue to work alongside local public health officials to ensure our community is as safe as possible during this crisis.

Thank you for you support and Up The Purps.

Purps Announce Dunne Departure

City of Liverpool FC can confirm that long serving assistant manager Tony Dunne has left the club following the departure of Craig Robinson and appointment of a new management team.

Dunney was involved in the Purps from the very start, initially signing for Simon Burton as a player and playing in our first ever fixture at Prestatyn Town on 9th July 2016. In total Tony made 9 appearances for the club before moving to be part of Burton’s backroom staff.

As a coach Dunney has been part of an unprecedented period of success for the club, contributing to that incredible 2016-17 season where the Purps won the Reusch Cup, Macron Cup and NWCFL Division 1 Play Off Final.

After the departure of Simon Burton, Tony was retained by new manager Craig Robinson and was an integral part of the backroom team which oversaw our dramatic NWCFL Premier Division title win, and promotion to the Northern Premier League.

Dunney departs the Purps having been an ever-present member of the joint most successful club in NWCFL history!

The club wishes to place on record it’s thanks to Tony for his service over the past five years, and we wish him the very best for his future in the game.

Although we are losing Tony, the backroom link to our first ever game at Prestatyn continues through Michael Ellison’s appointment of Chris Lawton to the new management team.

Lawton actually played at centre-back for the Purps in our first ever fixture, and was signed by Simon Burton as a player coach before leaving and being replaced in the role by…. Tony Dunne!

Chris is joined in Michael Ellison’s backroom team by Matt Cross and we are sure all Purps will join us in welcoming both Chris and Matt to the club.

Ellison appointed first team manager.

City of Liverpool FC is delighted to announce the appointment of Michael Ellison to the role of First Team Manager.

Following extensive conversations with Michael, the Board of Directors has unanimously agreed to Michael’s appointment and to close the window for applications with immediate effect.

Michael will be present as the existing coaching staff take charge of the team away to Brighouse Town on Saturday.

Club Chairman, Paul Manning, said “Michael has exactly what we are looking for at this point in time for the club. His passion and ambition to win football matches mirrors ours and we are looking forward to seeing our team instilled with Michael’s belief in COLFC’s ability to compete in this league”.

New City of Liverpool FC Manager, Michael Ellison marked his appointment by saying “I’m just delighted to be back in football and to be manager at City of Liverpool FC, a club that shares my ambitions and drive.”

The club would like to thank all those who have applied and shown an intertest in managing our football club. We wish them all the best in their future footballing endeavours

The Directors also wish to thank first team coaches Patrick Byrne, Lee Smith and Tony Dunne for ensuring continuity ahead of the new manager taking the reins.

Welcome to the Purps Michael!