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The Merseyside Morning Star Supporters Group were out in force at the home of City of Liverpool FC in Bootle this weekend, as match sponsors for the team’s Challenge Cup 3rd round tie against Burscough.
The message of peace and socialism was delivered at a club which embodies the spirit of this newspaper, and even the dour weather conditions didn’t dampen an afternoon of football and socialism.
There was plenty happening off the pitch throughout the afternoon, and on the pitch the players didn’t disappoint either, serving up an entertaining incident-filled game.
City of Liverpool play an attractive style of football under new manager Craig Robinson who is building on foundations laid by previous manager Simon Burton.
Those in attendance on Saturday witnessed eight goals in a 6-2 win for the Purps, including one own goal and the sending off of the visiting goalkeeper. There were five different scorers for the home side, with Anthony Brown, Jack Hazlehurst, Luke Denson, Thomas Peterson and Craig Cairns getting their names on the scoresheet.
They look strong going into quarter-finals and will be hoping to repeat at least some of their inaugural season trophy haul by lifting this cup for the second time in their short history.
Deputy chair Peter Furmedge spoke to the Morning Star about the club’s ethos and their aims for the rest of their third season.
“What we wanted to do was to show how supporter ownership and community ownership can provide a proper expression of community,” explained Furmedge.
“Everton FC in the community do a lot of good stuff and Liverpool FC have started doing a lot of good stuff with Red Neighbours, but what we wanted to do is tangibly own it.”
“This belongs to the people who come [to games], and to the wider community as well. That’s what we wanted to show: that it wasn’t about the capitalist investment model, it was more about common purpose, common ownership, common wealth. The benefits that accrue are shared between all of us.”
While Liverpool and Everton are admirably ramping up their efforts to help the city's food banks in preparation for the roll-out of Universal Credit, which will increase demand for such services, City of Liverpool been active in this area for some time, holding collections for food banks at matches since their very first game back in 2016.
“The lads who run the food banks come here too. As well as being Everton and Liverpool supporters, they’re also City of Liverpool supporters,” adds Furmedge.
“We built on an already active supporters union with Spirit of Shankly, The Blue Union, and groups like that, and have given them an expression outside of the big clubs.”
Success on the pitch will only increase the profile of the messages the club are looking to send out and, despite having only existed for a few years, they have made great strides.
“We’re doing really well: clear top of the [North West Counties] Premier Division,” says Furmedge.
“Last year we sort of stumbled along a bit in mid-season and ended up finishing fourth in the Premier Division, which people saw as an OK period of consolidation, but really we know we’ve got the potential to do a lot better.”
There is an ambition and drive behind this club to do things differently and to do things better. Any success they have will benefit the fans and the wider community, with financial capital being shared rather than falling into the hands of a few already wealthy owners.
City of Liverpool's next home game is a top of the table clash with Congleton Town at 3pm this Saturday.
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