If you believe in the aims and aspirations of City of Liverpool Football Club, you can become a member, which provides you with the means to shape the future of the club.
The club that has now become City of Liverpool FC had hovered just beneath the surface for six years before an angry “call to arms” email was sent out to 10 likeminded people in October of 2014.
A meeting was hastily arranged, and a four-hour discussion ensued between six people, although it could rightly be called “putting the world to rights” as much as it could be called a meeting. Not much came out of that first meeting other than a general consensus that we would all meet again soon and keep talking.
The next meeting got cancelled at very late notice when two people couldn’t attend and by the time we met again in November, our numbers were down to three people only; Paul Manning, Peter Furmedge and Martin Jones but that meeting in November 2014 was a crucial milestone in the history of the club.
At that meeting the question was asked “When is this Football Club going to play football” and the process began that concluded with our successful appeal at Wembley on 08 June 2016. We all agreed that August 2016 was when we should be playing football, giving ourselves a generous 21 months to achieve our dream.
Once we agreed the target date, we worked backwards trying to work out the milestones and hurdles we would have to get over to be playing in what was then the Hallmark Security Football League Division One.
By early 2015, the executive committee grew to four with the addition of Stuart Fitzgerald but nothing much was happening generally – we had given ourselves too much time, so we gently nudged and prodded away at politicians and people who we felt could help.
The website and social media were launched in May 2015, and interest began to build.
In addition to being the Finance Director, Peter Furmedge was also the resident expert on the legalities of a supporter owned football club and as such he called our very first public meeting for 21 September 2015, in order to legally form the club as a Community Benefit Society, owned by its members.
Around 50 people attended that first meeting at the Quakers meetings rooms, we gained the support of the crowd to form the club. Peter worked with Supporters Direct and confirmation duly arrived – We were a supporter owned football club!
As a new club, our application to join the NWCFL had to be in by 31 December 2015, so given the Christmas period we had roughly 8 weeks to secure a ground share or shelve our plans for another 12 months, which bearing in mind we had already been working for a year and had built a decent following and groundswell of opinion, was not an option.
So, the search began for a ground share. We emailed literally every club or facility that could host Step 6 football within a 35-mile radius and got few replies. None of the other local non-league clubs seemed to want to help us play football!
Then a breakthrough came towards the end of November when Neil Prince put us in touch with Bootle FC.
Calls were made and emails flew and literally within a matter of 10 days we had our ground share agreement to play at the Delta Taxis Stadium – what a relief – and so our application to join the NWCFL was submitted in plenty of time before the deadline.
Our first member’s meeting took place at Jack Jones House and was well supported.
We appointed Simon Burton as First Team Manager and the club had just taken another massive step forward. We now had a Hallmark Security League Premier League ground and a Hallmark Security League Premier League manager.
In order for a new club to join the National League Pyramid at Step 6, the club had to show exceptional circumstances and so on 20 April 2016 our three-man delegation travelled down to Wembley to make our case.
We were confident and after maybe an hour and a half, we came out of a meeting with a four man committee from the FA, satisfied that we had made our case and given ourselves the best opportunity to succeed, if indeed there was a space in the league – which was by no means certain at this point.
Subsequently, we were notified that we had not been placed in the Hallmark Security League but instead been placed in the Liverpool County Premier League – Phone calls fly, emails too, the phone is red hot, no-one can believe it, but we are not in.
But a Hallmark Security League press release gives us hope, Northwich Manchester Villa have resigned from the league at the last minute, there is now a space and the FA confirm we have leave to appeal.
08 June, Wembley again. three-man FA appeal panel, Paul Manning and Peter Furmedge arguing against the decision of the FA leagues committee, who are also present to defend their original decision to place us at Step 7.
Several hours later and we had the decision that we had worked so long and hard for and the relief was palpable. We had achieved our dream of being placed in the NWCFL for Season 2016/17.
We played our first ever match away at Prestatyn, winning 3-2 and our first season of football was quickly upon us.
Over the course of that season we played through peaks and troughs and built 2 or 3 “new” teams as we maintained focus on our seasonal goal of winning promotion.
Going into the Easter fixtures, we knew that if we won all of our games, we would finish at least second, but it was not to be as a damaging draw against St Helens and a defeat at home to Cheadle Town crushed those hopes.
01 May 2016 saw us lift our first silverware, winning the Reusch Cup by beating Sandbach United 1-0, the goal scored by Jamie McDonald. The league season eventually drew to a close with a creditable 4th place giving us a home Play-Off Semi-Final against Whitchurch Alport, which we eventually came through 1-0 with Michael Roberts getting the all-important goal and putting us into the Final against Litherland REMYCA.
A 2-0 away win at Chadderton saw us take the Macron Cup Semi Final to penalties with Stephen Longrigg the hero as we went through to the Final 4-3, where we would face Premier Division Barnoldswick Town.
With one trophy already in the bag, we went looking for history and found it with a 3-0 victory in the Play-off Final and yet another heart stopping penalty shootout win in the Macron Final 3-2, playing over 60 minutes with 10 men and then 75 minutes (including extra-time) with just 9 men. Again, Longrigg was the hero with two penalty saves. We had won an unprecedented treble in our first season of competitive football!!
Once again, our seasonal goal was to win promotion as we entered season 2017/18 in the NWCFL Premier Division. We quickly added the Champions Cup to our trophy cabinet with yet another 9-man penalty shootout victory, this time over Atherton Collieries.
The season was a topsy-turvy affair, decimated by atrocious weather that saw us leave our ourselves too much to do to secure promotion, but a 17-game unbeaten run saw us gradually move from 11th in the table in March, to a very healthy 4th place finish.
The close season saw us part company with manager Simon Burton by mutual consent and appoint Craig Robinson as player-manager, which has proved to be an inspired decision.
Season 2018/19 was virtually perfect as we despite being handed a very difficult start, 2 away wins at the Northwich teams (6-3 and 2-1) respectively, got us out of the gates and sent a message to the rest of the league – we meant business!
We hit the top of the league on 27 September 2018 and were unbeaten (just 2 draws as well) until a trip to second placed Congleton Town in mid-December. A 3-0 reverse and a subsequent 1-1 draw at home to 1874 Northwich slowed our momentum a bit.
A 2-0 reverse to Bootle on Boxing Day showed we were human after all, but an early 2019 home win over title rivals Congleton Town got us back on the straight and narrow as we set off to win our first league title.
Damaging and avoidable defeats to Silsden and Runcorn Town brought the chasing pack closer in the form of Landlords Bootle who were on an incredible winning run, until eventually with just four games to go each we drew away at Whitchurch Alport and the lead was down to 3 points, with Bootle now on an 18 game winning streak.
Routine victories for each of us set up what was billed as “the title decider” on Easter Bank Holiday Monday as a record league crowd of 1300+ filled TDP Stadium to the rafters. A win for us and we were Champions. A draw meant that we could also draw in our last game at Irlam. A win for Bootle and they would go top of the league on goal difference with just one game to play.
Bootle grabbed an early goal and in a dour affair on a very bumpy pitch, few chances were created until injury time and the ball dropped to crack marksman and leading goal-scorer Craig Cairns 6 yards out – he must score!!!! He blazed over and all of a sudden, the league title had slipped out of our grasp and into Bootle’s, after 7 months at the top and with just one game to play.
Off we went to Irlam in torrential rain with hope rather than expectation. Bootle had now won an incredible 20 games on the bounce and were at home to battle hardened Northwich Victoria.
An early goal from Tom Peterson settled our nerves a bit and news soon filtered through that Victoria had also taken the lead at Bootle. It’s on!!
Into the second half and Bootle equalize with a penalty and Purple hearts sink. Surely this was the trigger for Bootle to go and smash the league title, but the minutes tick on and its still 1-1. Time was going so slowly. The Purps go into a bit of defensive mode trying to protect the 1-0 lead. Cairns pops up and slams the ball home and it’s a massive relief for everyone as our 3 points are now surely secured. As it stands; we are the Champions.
Our game finishes and it doesn’t take long for news to filter through that the game at Bootle has ended 1-1 WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS and the celebrations begin in earnest and don’t stop for a week, by which time we are in the Macron Cup Final again, this time going for the double against an 1874 Northwich side we demolished 6-3 away on the opening day of the season.
This is a much tighter affair and 1874 have the edge throughout, with a scrambled 88th minute winner, securing the trophy for them and Purple hopes of a double are dashed, but nobody is too concerned, we all just went on the ale again!!
We also had our best FA Cup run, beating Silsden, Glossop North End in a replay and Squires Gate, before eventually losing 4-0 away at Chester FC in front of massive crowd of 1800+.
As season 2019/20 begins, we gain some semblance of revenge on 1874 Northwich with a 2-1 win in the Reusch Champions Cup, to bring our trophy hall in the NWCFL to a record equaling 6, achieved in just three seasons and now look ahead to our first season at Step 4 in the BetVictor NPL North West League.