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MERSEYSIDE-based club City of Liverpool FC have entered a period of exclusivity with Liverpool City Council on a site for their proposed new stadium.
Founded in 2015, the supporter-owned club began life in North West Counties League Division One for the 2016-17 season, and achieved promotion via the playoffs.
Their aim was to play home games at a stadium within the Liverpool city boundary and this move takes them closer to realising this. Even though the proposed site is on the border of Liverpool and Knowsley, it would be a big step forward for the club.
City of Liverpool FC currently play their home fixtures at the stadium of fellow non-league side Bootle FC, in the borough of Sefton. Fans often refer to their current ground affectionately as Estadio Bootelio.
In search of their own home and, after initially looking at existing sport, leisure and green field sites in the city, the club turned their focus to potential regeneration sides, working with the City Council.
They have now settled on a site on the former Fazakerley Playing Fields and initial signs have been that this would be well received by all concerned.
“There are still some major hurdles for the club to overcome, and a lot of hard work to be undertaken before the site can be assigned to COLFC,” the club said in a statement, released on Tuesday.
“Nevertheless, we are delighted that we have this opportunity to secure the long-term future of the Club.”
The club are the antithesis of many at the top level and are owned by fans who can purchase a share in the club each year. Money from memberships goes back into the club and to the community in which it resides.
Despite the heavy focus on the local Liverpool area and the grassroots football and communities within it, one of their supporters’ clubs, Brigade Internacional, boasts members from across the globe, including Europe, Australia and North America.
This international element is typical of the city and is evident in the make-up of the club’s support.
“We are a socialist-oriented, supporter-owned football club that exists to win success on the football field for the people of Liverpool, and to provide community outreach to the less fortunate people in our City,” reads one of the pages on the club’s website.
They also have support from the Liverpool Walton Constituency Labour Party, who stated following a recent constituency meeting that: “Liverpool Walton Constituency Labour Party believes that football is for everyone, commends Jeremy Corbyn’s call for more of Premier League football’s wealth to be reinvested in the grassroots of the game and believes that this will help to restore faith in the sport as a game which is inclusive and accessible to diverse and working-class communities.
“We welcome the work being done by both of our great Premier League clubs in Liverpool Walton through their community outreach programmes, Red Neighbours and EFC in the community.
“We proudly support City of Liverpool FC, our local and co-operatively owned socialist football club, and commend the work of the coaches, players, staff, volunteers and fans.”
City of Liverpool will consult with residents, fans, members and shareholders in the coming months, as they attempt to move forward off the pitch as well as on it.
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