Liverpool’s long wait for the title ends at last

Posted: June 15, 2008 in Supporters' football

June 2008. Written as a press release, which is why I’ve ended up mentioning myself in the third person. I’m not in the photo though.

Liverpool supporters’ long wait to celebrate a league title came to an end this week when iLFC, the Reds’ representatives in the Northern Football Supporters’ League (NFSL), finished eight points clear of city rivals Everton (Bluekipper FC) as champions.

Over a twenty-four game season, iLFC won twenty games,  drawing twice, amassing 62 points and scoring an impressive 118 goals.  Centre forward Chris Trow weighed in with a haul of 47 which made him the league’s top marksman.

Of course this kind of football is about much more than results on the pitch. The NFSL was founded in 2004 to bring together teams of supporters from all levels – non-league, Football League, Championship and Premier League – across the north west of England and north Wales.  It prides itself on being a friendly league and each game is followed by socialising  over food and drinks at the sponsoring pub or club of the home side.  This year’s title was the first for iLFC , sponsored by The Sandon pub near Anfield, since joining the league as founder members in 2004. Previous league winners have been the Accrington Stanley Ultras in the first two seasons of the league, and Morecambe Supporters FC in the third.

Everton finished runners-up in this their inaugural season, but pushed the Reds close until the final weeks of the campaign.  With both Merseyside Premiership clubs in action regularly on Sundays, many NFSL games had to be rearranged and the season was extended in to June.

A bit of history: in April 2005, iLFC represented Liverpool FC supporters at the LFC Academy in the “Friendship” (“Amicizia”) match that was arranged with representatives from Juventus supporters prior to the UEFA Champions league fixture between the two teams. They have also staged three overseas fixtures so far with the supporters of Liverpool’s Champions League rivals, and  this year they played an Inter supporters’ club in Milan on the eve of Liverpool’s match there – the result spookily mirrored the Reds’ 1-0 win, despite fielding a very unfamiliar scratch team in a 90-minute monsoon.

iLFC received their trophy and medals at an NFSL end of season  League Cup competition being held this Sunday in Chester.  Club Captain Nigel Shaw said “After finishing second by a point last year, we’re delighted to have wrapped up our first championship.  All teams in the league bring great credit on their clubs by the way they conduct themselves on and off the pitch.  Our friends from Everton, Bluekipper FC, particularly have been fantastic in their first season.  Reports of the demise of the friendly Merseyside Derby are way off the mark if our experience is anything to go by”.

At this stage the Reds are confident they can retain their title next year but their efforts could be hampered by a lack of facilities.  They currently are without changing rooms or showers, since the Vernon Sangster Sports Centre was demolished to make way for the site of Liverpool FC’s new stadium on Stanley Park.  Player-manager, Phil Riding said “We’re desperate to find a new pitch with facilities.  It’s a bit embarrassing not being able offer our visitors the same level of hospitality as they afford us, but we’ll continue to explore options over the summer”.

STOP PRESS : last Sunday iLFC made it a league and cup double,  triumphing in the Northern Football Supporters’  League Cup competition, winning the final on penalties v. Accrington Stanley Ultras.

Northern Football Supporters’ League, final table 2007-08

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1. Liverpool iLFC 24 20 2 2 118 44 +74 62
2. Everton Bluekipper FC 24 17 3 4 85 27 +58 54
3. Morecambe 24 16 0 8 110 58 +52 48
4. Rhyl Fans FC 23 14 3 6 76 46 +30 45
5. Northwich Victoria ST 24 13 5 6 76 49 +27 44
6. Accrington Stanley Ultras 24 11 2 11 64 56 +8 35
7. FC Celtic of Stalybridge 23 10 3 10 64 69 -5 33
8. Runcorn Linnets 24 10 2 12 66 78 -12 32
9. AFC Wrexham 24 10 1 13 63 86 -23 31
10. AFC Chester 24 8 4 12 72 75 -3 28
11. Forever Bury FC 24 6 3 15 47 87 -40 21
12. Hyde United Supporters 24 3 2 19 47 129 -82 11
13. Blackburn Rovers SFC 24 1 2 21 35 119 -84 5

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