South Liverpool Football Club History
The name of South Liverpool FC first came about in the late 19th century. But it was when African Royal changed its name in the early years of the twentieth century (December 1910) that South Liverpool FC first became a local name of importance. That club, which bears no connection, bar the name with the current club, enjoyed success in its Dingle Lane home before the First World War but saw its fortunes change and by 1921 it had ceased and its remnants merged with New Brighton F.C.
One of its leading lights Mr W J Sawyer went on to be involevd in both Everton FC and New Brighton FC. Interestingly our Clubman of the Year Trophy awarded annually is the WJ Sawyer Trophy kindly donated by the Sawyer family.
The current club was founded in April 1935 to respond to the increasing south-end population and began playing in the 1935/36 season in the Lancashire Combination at Holly Park. Success was immediate and by the outbreak of the Second World War the Lancashire Combination had been won three times in succession as had the Lancashire Challenge Trophy and most impressively South defeated Cardiff City 2-1 in the Welsh Cup final at Wrexham in 1939. As that great conflict began South had moved in 1940 to link with the Cheshire League before hostilities drew a close to fully organised league football.
The post war resumption saw South in the Cheshire League, winning the League Cup in 1948 but it was never to bear the fruit pre war years had. In 1952 South went back to the Lancashire Combination with the reserves operating in the Liverpool County Combination, winning the George Mahon Cup in 1958/59. The mid sixties saw success under manager Alan Hampson sufficient to qualify by right for the new Northern Premier League. South would always struggle against the wealthier and well supported clubs at this standard such as Wigan Athletic and Macclesfield Town.
In 1983/84 South enjoyed their best post war season initially under John King and George Rooney then in mid seaosn under Brian Griffiths. South annexed the NPL League Cup, the Lancashire Challenge Trophy and the Liverpool Senior Cup. However South’s success was not built upon and while two more Liverpool Senior Cup wins followed along with the NPL Presidents Cup, Holly Park was lost in 1989 and a move to be tenants of Bootle FC at Bucks Park before the team stopped playing in 1991 and the limited company went through the liquidation process, being expunged in 1992.
Holly Park was left derelict before finally being converted to the impressive Liverpool South Parkway station. Unfortunately no trace of our home now exists on the site.
South supporters had already formed a committee to take over the football club but given its late demise they were unable to immediately play senior football, keeping its youth arm operating as its only playing team for one season and started in 1992 in the Liverpool County Combination, the Liverpool Junior Cup being won in 1997.
A nomadic home was South’s main issue moving from Cheshire Lines to Saint John Almond in Garston and on to Hale Bank and Pavilions in Weston Point, Runcorn before at the dawn of the Millennium securing its home at the North Field on Jericho Lane, Otterspool.
The club would regularly be in the top quadrant of their league and challenging for cup honours. The highest Liverpool County league placing was fourth in 2004/2005. A late season slip saw a 10th position finish in 2006 and South were placed in the First Division of the new Liverpool County Premier League, immediately won that division. South finished fourth in the Premier Division in 2008/09 and fifth in 2009/10 but in 2010/11 finished 14th. South’s reserve team won promotion from the second division of the County FA Premier League. The youth team won the West Cheshire League Youth Division in 2009/10 having won the Youth League Plate in 2008/09.
2011/12 was all change as Souths first team moved into the West Cheshire League staring in the third division and won the division impressively winning every league away game (a club record). The reserves took the Second Divison Zingari Combination title and were elected to the West Cheshire League while the under 18 Youth team were third in the West Cheshire League Youth division.
This was supported by the newly expanded youth set up where South put out teams in the Belle Vale and Merseyside & Halewood youth leagues. Mark Eyres leading the set up.
South continue its well organised development. Pitch barriers were installed for the start of 2011/12 and dugouts followed along with hard standing making it way round the barriers. Much to locals relief the top end of the ground is used for parking reducing the traffic issues and loss of wing mirrors that occur on Jericho Lane on match days.
South won the Second Division title of the West Cheshire League in May 2013, the youth team won the West Cheshire Youth Division title and the club retained the West Cheshire League George Law Club Award. 2013/14 saw South in the final of Liverpool County FA Challenge Cup but a late season dip saw us finish 4th in our first season in the First Division while the reserves finished 3rd in Divsion Three.
Shirt sponsors, Hill Dickinson Solicitors, showed tremendous support having their name on the club shirt for fifteen years. Our new home shirt sponsors are Coeus Insurance Management of Liverpool and our away strip is sponsored by the Big House (The Grapes) on Lime Street.
2013/14 also saw the club formally link with South Liverpool Ladies who play at the North Field on a Sunday in the Liverpool County FA Womens League.
2014/15 saw South take the First Division West Cheshire League title, the reserves gain promotion from Division Three. The youth team under Mark Eyres were magificent winning the West Cheshire League title, the West Cheshire League Youth Plate and for the first time in over 40 years South won the Liverpool County FA Youth Cup.
South Liverpool boast a number of well known ex players including Jimmy Case and John Aldridge who both started their careers at South.
Manager Martin Ryman has been in charge since August 2001 having been in charge for over 500 games (having also played for South from 1992 & 1999). Assistant since 2003 is Kenny Deakin who also managed at Mossley Hill has a prior South connection having played for South in the 1984/5 in the NPL. Stephen Ward is the first team coach having played in goal for South over 400 times and been with the club since 1995.
South’s current team number long standing players with Kevin Martin over 300 and Gary Dunning over 200.
South Liverpool F.C. Club Badge
Our official club badge is of our city's liver bird and for our version it normally sits within a football.
The Liver Bird has been our emblem since the early 1960's. We can trace its definite use to 1968 when the Supporters Club used it on the dark red crest shaped metal badge which was brought out for the start of the Northern Premier League in August 1968. The liver bird being in gold underneath the motto "Advance".
Our other emblem is an S and L interwoven which was first used in 1968 on our new club pennant as well as being the 1971 programme front we belive inspired by then club director, Malcolm Bullock. This arked back to the 1950's badge of the letters in two halves of a shield seprated by red diagonal band. (see 1950's team picture page for example)
The Motto "Advance" was first used by the Football Club Chairman Hariold Arrowsmith in the late 1940's as South pushed to recruit fans from the develoeping South end area after the war years. The supporters club would then pick up its use in the dawning of the NPL in 1968. It is no longer used by the club. Paul Webster has also found that back in the 1930's we first used another motto - "Well Centred" - although we can fnd no use of it by the club after the Second World War.