The Coral Non-League Team of the Season
Non-League football is often overlooked for the bright lights of the Premier League. With over one hundred leagues below the top four, there’s a lot that’s getting missed, too. Beyond the football itself, there are the countless volunteers, fans, and dogs who spend all season supporting teams most of us have never heard of.
There’s a whole culture down there full of chants, in-jokes, and fanzines. So, we thought Non-League deserved some extra attention: today, we announce our Non-League Team of the Season.
City of Liverpool FC
There were plenty of teams in the running for this (with a heavy nod to Lincoln City FC), but in the end City of Liverpool FC, or COLFC, with their incredible performance and proactive and positive ethos, had to take the prize.
They were only founded back in 2015, with the 2016/17 season being their first. What they’ve achieved so quickly is one of the main reasons they’ve been picked. We spoke to the club’s chairman, Paul Manning, about their performance this season:
“On the pitch we asked the Manager Simon Burton to keep the season going until as long as possible, which meant reaching the Play-Offs at least. He has taken that a little bit too literally, as we have now achieved a Play Off place and reached 2 Cup Finals.”
Since we spoke to Paul, they’ve won one of those finals being crowned Reusch First Division Cup winners. As you can see below, the team were pretty ecstatic.
— GJJ (@gary_johansen) May 1, 2017
Those are results you can’t argue with. It’s not easy to start a team from scratch and find yourself filling the trophy case the same season. Just look at the teams up and down these leagues with years of experience who crash down the rankings due to a sudden change in management.
While they’re not the only ones, we think it’s a big plus that COLFC are supporter owned and have been from the off. With no big money to back them up bar scraping out their own wallets and pockets, their achievement has that extra shine. That’s not to mention that the club will ensure it moves forward with a fan-first approach, something many football lovers will appreciate these days.
It’s clearly an important issue for Paul as well. He told us that the “club is here to benefit the people of Liverpool and although anybody is welcome to support the club, they have to realise that it is here to serve the people of the city.” Being supporter-owned goes hand-in-hand with that.
It’s obviously something that’s worked. COLFC have the best supported team not just in their division, but in the entire Hallmark Security League. Their average attendance of 465 puts them above teams well above their league, making them the 80th best supported team in the National League system. They’ve even got a group of supporters who live abroad called the Brigade Internacional.
COLFC has also been making a lot of effort off the pitch. Their community work has been pretty astounding. “There are too many individual examples to list them all,” Paul tells us, “but we have a foodbank collection at every home game, have supported countless charities with access and bucket collections, and we sponsor the COLFC Edge Hill JFL, which is home to around 300 kids.”
So to sum up: an incredible first season performance, supporter-owned, and a genuine dedication to the local community. There’s no way they couldn’t be our Non-League Team of the Season.
We can’t wait to see what the rest of this season and the next one holds for you. In the meantime, we’ll be donating £500 to your chosen charity: Down Syndrome Liverpool.
For any Press Enquiries, please contact John Hill, Coral PR Manager, on +447889645520