New badge, new start for AFC Liverpool

| August 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

A new AFC Liverpool badge for 2012/13 has been introduced by the club, replacing the football at the base of the logo with a Hillsborough flame and the number 96.

It is, of course, a nod to Liverpool FC’s struggle to receive justice for the 96 fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough and is the latest in a series of similarities between the two clubs.

It was, after all, AFC Liverpool that first had the flame on the neck of its kit before the Premiership side followed suit this year.

AFC Liverpool was formed by Liverpool fans, runs out to (the original) You’ll Never Walk Alone and even has the fans draping banners over the imposing stand at Valerie Park.

But – fitting tribute to the Hillsborough victims aside – until this season AFC Liverpool was a novelty club. And novelty clubs do not work.

Ebbsfleet and its fan ownership drifted into obscurity and once cash-rich Truro City, who planned to be the first Cornish Football League club, is facing staggering money issues.

AFC Liverpool was a club set up by Liverpool fans and buoyed by its novelty factor. Gates were impressive for a North West Counties (non league tier six) side and acceptance to the league and a promotion followed.

A season of struggle last year meant the side faced a stark reality – gates of around 100-150 were modest but probably in the top half of the North West Counties Premier (tier five) but results were far from satisfactory.

The club, after an embarrassing run without a win stretching to 16 games last year, survived relegation. But to move on it needs to use the new badge as a final glance towards its illustrious namesake and concentrate on creating its own history.

Last week it was doing just that. Prescot Cables in the FA Cup Preliminary Round was described as the biggest in the club’s history.

 

This was not just because the club, founded in 2008, was facing a team a division above them. It was also because Prescot are the landlords at Valerie Park and this was the first time they have ever played each other.

AFC Liverpool lost the game 1-0, but in doing so there were signs the club has matured as an entity. The Liverpool songs remain, the banners (including a baffling Lazio effort) still flutter from the stand, but on the pitch, the novelty has gone and the hard work has begun.

Last season as AFC Liverpool floundered, manager Paul Moore was a dynamic ball of rage on the touchline. Opposition, his own players and referees were all the unwilling tinder to his easily-lit flame.

Against Cables, a more considered Moore stayed quiet in the dugout, only stepping forward to deliver tactical messages to his players.

It nearly worked. AFC spent 20 first half minutes manfully closing down opposition players  – in particular Prescot’s fullbacks, who barely had time to take a breath before a winger closed down possession and forced a hurried clearance.

Up front, AFC worked hard but it was an all-too-familiar tale of defensive weakness that saw ex-AFC man Thomas nip behind the defence, cleverly lift the ball over the advancing keeper and tap it into the empty net.

Apart from that lapse, AFC looked more solid, favouring a 442 system and working hard to get back in the game.

Without star striker John Lawless, a man who had previously scored seven in six but was suspended for this tie, AFC lacked penetration to get back into the game.

While the high tempo up the pitch neutralised a subdued Cables, it couldn’t last and as AFC tired, Cables took advantage.

But it highlighted a new, more thoughtful and more grown up approach from Moore compared to last season and a maturing for a club that is still less than five years old.

In AFC’s next game they thrashed Runcorn Town 3-1 as the Reds executed Moore’s tactics perfectly.

It was stark contrast to last season, when a shambolic AFC Liverpool display on a rainy Prescot night was the setting for Town ripping them to shreds in a one-sided victory that ended 3-0 but could have been more.

The initial novelty of a Liverpool supporters’-run club is wearing off. Last season it looked as if the project was doomed to failure.

Now the club is making some history of its own. It is treading the line between its Premiership connections with a Hillsborough flame but getting down to the task of forging its own future.

If the dramatic changes to the football team visible against Prescot and Runcorn Town continue, the new badge will herald a new era for AFC. It needs to become a club in its own right to survive – and the green shoots are beginning to show.

Tags: ,

Category: AFC Liverpool, Talk

Leave a Reply