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Club who folded in 1991 hoping to return to Non League system

A club who folded back in 1991 are hoping to return to the Non League system 30 years after they were in the Northern Premier League.

Before WWII, South Liverpool were a team regarded as the best non-league side in the country, but after folding, and then coming back as a phoenix club, they eye promotion to the highest level since re-forming.

They are currently a member of the West Cheshire League Division One; with the team playing their home matches at Jericho Lane in the Otterspool area of Aigburth. The club’s colours are white shirts, black shorts, and red socks.

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For the 2020/21 season, they were the league leaders, picking up 28 points from 10 games played, then the campaign was abandoned. They had just got their ground-grading sorted too.

A lot of decisions still need to be made on who and whether promotion and relegation will go ahead for those down at this level of football – especially when you take into account the re-structuring which sees positions needing to be filled.

West Cheshire League have changed up their tables, deciding that all teams will play each other once and that if team’s have played home and away then scores are combined to make up the results and then the points – meaning South Liverpool have 5 games to aim for the title.

Commercial manager Gary Johansen said: “We can only focus on the things in our hands.

“We’ve now been given this opportunity to continue our season, our management team, Martin Ryan, Steve Wrad and Dave Cringle have done a fantastic job. We haven’t lost a match for 12 months.

“South Liverpool’s plan, hope and dream is to get back to the Non League pyramid (includes six tiers below League Two).

“It’s 30 years, May 4 1991, was the last game South Liverpool played in the Northern Premier League before they folded.

“Anytime would be fantastic to get back into the Non League pyramid, but there’s just a nice ring to 30 years after you left, you’ve been able to reclaim your place.

“People seem to want restructure to happen, but even if that doesn’t happen, there is still talk of at least filling the gaps.

“That is out of our hands, we have no influence over that. We can only do what we can do, and, as a club, we’ve been given a great opportunity to finish our season.”

The campaign resumes on the 3rd of April and Johansen reckons it can be of benefit to all clubs in some way.

“We’ve got five games left to play to win the league, and we’re also in a divisional cup final held over from 2019-20.

“So potentially we’ve got six games for a league and cup double. But it’s not just about us, it’s that all of the teams in the West Cheshire League to have the opportunity to continue the season.

“Let’s not have a second successive season where we see no recognition for the input and hard work over the last two years.

“Let’s play it out to a conclusion, it’s an excellent decision from the West Cheshire League.”

Speaking in 2020 at the new The Jericho Lane Sports Hub, Jim Stanway, club secretary, said: “There is a story told by a lot of South fans, that Adolf Hilter has an awful lot to answer for.

“Before the Second World War, South were almost the best club outside the football league.

“And we were within a hair’s breadth of getting to the league before the war. We’d won everything. We even won the Welsh cup.

“A lot of the young men were at war…and we never quite achieved that kind of preeminence again.”

Management committee member, Gary Johansen said: “South Liverpool was a massive name in the 80s, you know with John Aldrige and Jimmy Case, absolutely massive club.

“It’s been in the doldrums for a while but now it’s gradually moving up the lower leagues.

“When this opened [the new sports hub] it was ‘wow we have got a real opportunity to push forward and try and get back into the non-league pyramid.'”


The first South Liverpool FC was founded in the late-1890s when a club called Africa Royal changed its name, under the influence of W.J. Sawyer, and relocated to Dingle, just south of the city centre and then became New Brighton A.F.C. in 1921.

The second South Liverpool FC was formed in 1935, and joined the Lancashire Combination with immediate impact, winning it three years running, in 1937, 1938 and 1939.

During the 1930s, South Liverpool applied regularly for election to the Football League. The idea was to have another leading club in the Liverpool area. In 1939, however, after South Liverpool won four trophies, the club only attracted 5 votes at the Football League AGM election – behind the two re-elected Third Division North clubs, Accrington Stanley (29) and Hartlepools (38). Wigan Athletic was also part of the that, though got zero votes. In all, South Liverpool applied to join the Football League on ten occasions, always without success. Ah what could have been ay?

South Liverpool gave the city football legends such as John Aldridge and Jimmy Case, and in the club’s golden years at Holly Park, they won several trophies including three Lancashire Combination titles, three Lancashire Junior Cups, the Liverpool Challenge Cup, the Lancashire Combination Cup and the Welsh Cup. They also just missed out on getting into the Football League.

The club were in the Northern Premier League until financial problems forced the limited company, South Liverpool Athletic & Association Football Club Co. Ltd., to fold after the 1990–91 season. A committee formed itself in the summer of 1991 and took over the name “South Liverpool AFC”

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For 1992–93 the senior side merged with Cheshire Lines. The new team, Cheshire Lines South Liverpool, played in the Second Division of the Liverpool County Combination, gaining promotion in their first season. After a successful first season in the First Division, the clubs took the decision to split.

Back under the name South Liverpool although having been the football club had to join the Second Division of the Liverpool County Combination in 1995 and gained promotion at the first attempt. Until the end of the 2005–06 season, the club remained in the County Combination.

They went steadily up from the West Cheshire League Third Division in 2012 to the First Division. But, without floodlights at their North Field home, further progression was impossible.

South Liverpool were invited in as a key tenant of the new Jericho Lane Sports Hub, played their first matches there in January 2019 and immediately saw the possibilities.

They contacted the North West Counties League and applied to join for 2020-21, though ground upgrades couldn’t be done with the country going into lockdown and the season was deemed null and void.

South Liverpool were unbeaten and eight points clear of Mossley Hill Athletic, who had two games in hand. With non-league restructuring, they only needed to finish fifth, as long as they were above Ashville, who were 16 points behind.

Had the Football Association opted to add a current points per game (PPG) average to the remaining games of the season, as many expected, South Liverpool would have been the West Cheshire League champions for a fourth season out of six and heading for the NWCL.

Now they wait to find out what happens for the 2021-21 campaign. Is this finally the year they go up?

Read a more details history of South Liverpool by clicking HERE.

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