|" If you know your history it's enough to make..............."
A history of the Old Xaverians Football Club from 1892 to 1992 booklet was produced for the Club's centenary season. A few copies are still available to those who are interested. Contact the Club secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A HISTORY OF THE OLD XAVERIANS FOOTBALL CLUB
1892 TO 1992
By Bill Formby
“In the Lancashire Amateur League and Cup Tournament, and likewise in the English Amateur Cup Competition, the Old Xaverians have made a name for themselves, and have a achieved a reputation which is second to none in point of ability.” (1903)
“Probably no club has done more for Amateur Football in Lancashire than the Old Xaverians.” (1920)
Such statements, which appeared in the Sporting Press of the time, present an image of what most Old Xaverians would like to believe their club presents. Allowing for the fact that these comments were made during a period when the Club was acquitting itself well in the Lancashire Amateur League, and allowing that sentiments are a little fulsome, there is a considerable amount of truth in the reports.
In September 1892, when the recently established Old Xaverians Cricket Club proposed a Football Club should be formed, as a winter extension to their activities, few could have imagined the impact that would be made on local Amateur football. The home games would be played at the ground jointly used by the cricketers, at Newsham Park. All the games at this time and, as it turned out, for the subsequent four years, would be on a ‘friendly’ basis. The annual subscription was set at five shillings (25p for the younger readers!).
A quote from the Xaverian Magazine of September 1892 explains,
“This is the only club in connection with the Collegians. Membership is not restricted to Old Xaverians, but is intended for Catholics of any college or institute.”
The rule concerning membership qualification appears to have been revised and re-applied, in varying forms, over the years. The cynic may well allege that these variations have occurred in direct ratio to the suitability and quality of available players, but perhaps not.
The opening game of the Club’s history, on the 7th September 1893, was somewhat unsatisfactory. Stoneyhurst provide the opposition, and comprehensively thrashed Old Xaverians by 5-0. The team captain in this game was E.A. Morton, who acted as Club secretary. More will be written of this gentleman later, but suffice it to say that he was to become a leading figure in the development of the Club, and local Amateur Football in general.
Few details were recorded in the first season due to the fact that, as previously stated, all the games were ‘friendlies’, but the results were:- played 18, won 7, drew 3, lost 8, goals for 32, against 36. At the beginning of the 1894/95 season, the Club moved to play their home games on an enclosed pitch in Balmoral Road, Fairfield. At this stage the Club was still called the Old Xaverians Football and Cricket Club. It is noticeable that at this time, and throughout the lifetime of the Club, even to present times, a significant number of Old Xaverians have involved themselves in some capacity in both the Football and Cricket sections.
The Club performances, and results, continued to fluctuate in spectacular fashion for the next couple of seasons. The reasons for some indifferent results have been recorded as “lack of interest or incentive to play in friendly games”, and even “extremes of weather conditions leading to team shortages”. The latter excuse has a topically familiar ring about it.
It is now that Arthur Morton reappears in our scenario, and makes a significantly important contribution to the future of the Club and local Amateur Football. He arranged a meeting of secretaries of a number of local football clubs in the Liverpool district, to discuss the possible formation of a league. The result of this meeting was the founding of the I. Zingari League. Mr Morton was elected Chairman, and was to hold this position for the next three years. The league would consist of ten teams, and would be played over the season 1884/1885. The Old Xaverians Football Club is now the sole survivors of the original founder members.
The Club made a successful start to its Zingari campaign, beating Birkdale by 3 goals to 2, and, at the end of the season, they finished fifth in the league. In addition to the I. Zingari League games, they continued to play ‘friendlies’.
In April 1896, an annual fixture was created, which, became the source of much pride, to say nothing of competition, between Old Xaverians and a College XI. Although the College won the inaugural game 2-1, the Old Boys were not slow to offer their excuses, as their reporter is quick to point out that they played with only ten men.
The Club finished the 1896/7 season in seventh position, gaining 11 points from 18 games, and in this season they entered the Lancashire Amateur Cup for the first time. An absence of any results in their records probability indicates an early exit from this competition. In preparation for season 1897/8, a second division of the I. Zingari was formed, and the Old Xaverians entered a Second team as members of this. They finished in a creditable fourth position at the end of the campaign. The First Eleven finished second in Division One, and were beaten finalists in the Lancashire Amateur Cup.
Prior to the start of the 1898/9 season, the Old Xaverians Athletic Association was formed, to cater for an even wider choice of sporting activities for College Old Boys. The Football and Cricket sections now became individual units in a parent body, of which Arthur Morton inevitably became one of the joint secretaries. The Club moved to play home games at a new ground in Aigburth, and a third team was entered in the Sefton Park and District League.
By this time the obvious organising abilities of Arthur Morton had been recognised elsewhere, and, following frequent requests from other clubs in Lancashire, he, in conjunction with Leek and Blackburn teams created the Lancashire Amateur League. It is not surprising therefore, that Old Xaverians withdrew the First and Second teams from the I. Zingari League and entered them in the newly formed league, Divisions One and Two, for season 1899/1900. At the conclusion of the season the First Eleven achieved its first major success by winning the Lancashire Amateur League in its inaugural season, with 21 points from a possible 24.
During the next decade, until the Club re-entered the I. Zingari League, considerable success was realised in the Lancashire Amateur League. The quality of play and consistency of good results had, by this time, attracted attention from the Continent. The Old Xaverians had been invited to visit Brussels and Compete in the International Cup, during Easter 1901. Unfortunately, arrangements had already been made to tour Yorkshire during the same period, and the invitation had to be declined. All connected with the O.X.A.A. were very conscious of the honour that had been paid to the Association.
A Continental excursion was merely delayed however, for, in May 1902, there took place what surely must have been one of the earliest, if not the earliest Continental tour by an English Amateur Football Club. An invitation was extended by the Dutch F.A., to tour Holland. Four games were played, resulting in a 7-2 win against Amsterdam F.C., 3-0 and 3-1 defeats by H.B.S. AFC and All Holland AFC respectively, and a 3-3 draw with Eastern Holland. The visitor’s play in the final game was described in the Dutch National Press as, “the finest exhibition of football seen in Holland”.
Perhaps inspired by these glowing words, the players became imbued with wanderlust once more, and a more modest excursion took place during the Easter 1903. This time they paraded their skills in Ireland. However the results of the games against Derry, Belfast and Coleraine, are not known, or at least published for examination. The next year the Club moved its home ground once more, this time to Lance Lane, Wavertree.
At this period, the Club’s playing record was most creditable, and a further invitation to tour was received in 1908. This came from the Belgium club, King’s Club, Brussels, for a four day tournament. The trophy was to be the King of the Belgians Cup. Having just completed a highly successful local campaign, in which they had won the Lancashire Amateur League and the Liverpool Amateur Cup, were joint holders of the Lancashire Amateur League Cup, the twenty players travelled to Belgium, perhaps justifiably in confident mood.
The party was very well received by the host club, and entertained ’munificently’ throughout their stay. Although the first two games were won 2-1 respectively, unfortunately they were eliminated in the semi-finals, 3-2, in what was described as, “an ill-tempered match both on and off the field”.
International recognition of a personal nature came to the Club, when J. Healy was chosen to represent England in an Amateur International against Ireland in 1908/09.
Old Xaverians renewed their association with I. Zingari League for the start of the 1911/12 season. The First Eleven re-entered division One, and the finished fourth, and in 1912/13, the Third Eleven was entered in the newly formed I. Zingari Alliance. The latter league had been created to accommodate teams formed by the Old boys of individual schools.
In May 1913, a further continental tour was embarked upon. This time the destination was Spain, and two games were played which took place before, “huge crowds”, who were charged an entrance fee. In fact, after one of the games had been ‘rained off’, the tourists agreed to extend their stay by an extra day to avoid any financial loss by the hosts. Both games were won by the Club 3-1 and 1-0 respectively.
With the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, during which sixteen Club members were tragically killed in action, the I. Zingari League was suspended. When the League recommenced its post-war activities in 1919, Old Xaverians were in Division One, the sole surviving team of those originally forming the League.
At the beginning of 1920, an invitation was received to make an Italian tour, and compete against teams from Rome, Milan and Genoa. Unhappily, it is not known whether this ever materialised, and certainly, no match results have been recorded.
The Old Xaverians’ reputation at this time was very high, and a most flattering account of its status, ability and reputation was printed in the National Sporting Press. A glowing tribute extracted from this appears at the beginning of this history. In view of this, it is surprising and disappointing to note that successes over the next few seasons were indeed scarce. The First eleven wallowed in the lower reaches of Division one, eventually suffering their inevitable relegation at the end of the 1925/26 season. They continued with their profligate style of play, and, for a couple of seasons, finished in twelfth position out of fourteen in the lower division. They rallied in later seasons, but remained in rather undistinguished positions in Division Two, until 1950. Highlights during this time were reaching the Lancashire Amateur Cup Final in 1922, where they lost to Marine, and winning the Senior Secondary Shield in May 1923.
The year 1923 saw another development in local amateur football, with the creation of the Liverpool Old Boys Amateur Football League of Old Collegians. The remarkable Arthur Morton was involved in the formation and administration of this league also. The Second and third Elevens entered Divisions One and Two of the new league, and, in 1923, the Second XI won the Old boys Junior Cup 1-0, in this competition’s first ever season. Apart from this success, there was nothing remarkable about any of the league performances of the three teams for a number of years, but an additional team, the Fourth Eleven, emerged in 1926, to play non-league games.
Easter 1925 brought an Irish tour. Five matches were played with mixed fortunes. Dundalk and St Mary's College were beaten 1-0, with a 1-1 draw versus Portadown, and defeats by Bangor 3-2 and Shelbourne 3-1. The reporter indicates that the hospitality was “very good”!
The beginning of season 1925/26 saw a further change of home venue. This time to Druid’s Cross, Woolton, where the Club would retain some playing connections until 1963. The following season saw the emergence of another influential Club character to the position of Secretary, Charles D. Connerty. Until his death, in 1954, Charles Connerty would influence, motivate, and support numerous players, and committee men, by example and his persuasive and encouraging approach.
The Club’s fortunes on the playing side wallowed in a rather quiet trough at this stage. Although now fielding four teams, having two pitches at Druid’s cross, the committee appeared to be suffering the trials and tribulations brought about by the bane of all amateur clubs – team shortages, due to players ‘crying off’ at short notice. In the days before substitutes, this could often leave a team a man short.
It was not until 1931, that the next trophy was won, the Second Eleven winning the Liverpool Old Boys Junior Cup. In the same year, Arthur Morton was elected President of the Liverpool Old Boy’s Amateur Football League.
Spring of 1931 saw the collapse of a scheme which had been floated some time earlier, for the establishment of a Sports Ground for all sections of the Old Xaverians to use. A site near Melwood had been chosen for this purpose. A sum of £5,500 had been required, and although contributions from the Football, Cricket and Tennis Sections had been sought, a shortfall of £2,000 prevented the completion of the enterprise. One of the indirect consequences of this failure was the appearance at Druid’s Cross, of the celebrated, and much-derided, Nissen hut, to replace an old bus which had served as a dressing room.
Although the Club entered the First Eleven in four cup competitions in 1932/33 season, progress was very poor, losing 2-1 to Earle in the F.A. Amateur Cup, and experiencing an early exit from each of the others. Four teams were still playing league games, in Division Two of the I. Zingari League, and in Divisions One, Two and Three in the Liverpool Old boys League.
An indifferent spell for all teams for all teams followed, and in 1934/35, the First Eleven moved to play ‘home’ games at Stanley road in Huyton. This relieved pressure on the demand for pitches at Woolton. At the need of the following season, 1935/36, the First Eleven had a close brush with even further relegation, to Division Three. They avoided this fate only by reason of a superior average.
On 23rs April 1937, Arthur Edward Morton died. This remarkable man had been instrumental not only in the creation of the Old Xaverians Football and Cricket sections, and ultimately of the now defunct Old Xaverians Athletic Association, but also the original Old Boys association in 1891. His efforts had brought about the formation of the I. Zingari League, the Lancashire Amateur League, and the Liverpool Old Boys’ Amateur League. For many years, he had served on the Board of the Lancashire Football Association.
To suggest that he could be ‘replaced’ by someone of similar qualities and attitude would be invidious to both parties concerned, let us say, rather, that in the June of that year, Charles Connerty assumed the position of Chairman of the Club. At his instigation, on the morning of the following Boxing Day, a fixture was played for the first time, which was to be a traditional feature of the season, The College First Eleven against C.D. Connerty’s XI. In this inaugural game the Old boys won 8-4. As someone who played for both teams in this annual fixture, the writer can confirm the tremendous atmosphere engendered by these games.
The 1938/39 season opened with the First Eleven playing well. Unfortunately, after promising much, they fell away and finished seventh in the league. They had now decided to play their home games at Broadgreen, preparatory to all four club teams moving there the following season. During the previous season, the teams had shared three different grounds for home fixtures, and this was thought to have led to certain loss of morale within the Club. Dependent upon a pavilion being provided, costing in excess of £110, arrangements were in hand to move operations completely to Thingwall Lane, Broadgreen for the start of the 1939/40 season.
Sadly like a similar expectation earlier, this project was destined never to come to fruition. The advent of the Second World War effectively prevented the move, and the newly erected pavilion was reduced to ashes in a totally accidental fire. So the Club was still functioning at Druid’s Cross when, once again the I. Zingari League was suspended due to hostilities.
When Club activities resumed again, in the winter of 1945/46 Charles Connerty was again Chairman, Tom Powell being Secretary. Due no doubt to the disorganised state of this immediate post-war era, there are no records available for this season.
On the 6th September 1947, three Club Elevens played their first league games for eight years. The trusty Nissen hut had been refurbished in preparation for the new season. Perhaps it was at this stage that the strange urn, from which cups of such dubious content were dispensed for so long, made its appearance.
The Club slumbered on for the next two seasons, but great events were around the corner. The reader is invited to place these in their own particular order of significance. In the 1949/50 season, after 25 years in Division Two of the I. Zingari League, the First Eleven won promotion. In addition, they won the Old Boys Senior Shield. The Third Eleven won the Old Boys’ Junior Cup and were champions of Division Two of the Old Boys’ League. Finally the name of Ossie Kelly first appeared on the Club Committee, as Assistant Secretary. If ever a title gave a false impression of the type and amount of duties assumed by this Old Xaverians, it is yet to be discovered.
The three senior teams did reasonably well in the following season, but by mid-season of 1951/52, the First Eleven were struggling to avoid being relegated, once more, barely escaping at the end of the campaign. The following year they finished eleventh out of fourteen teams but won the Old Boys’ Senior Shield once more. The Third Eleven were again Champions of Division Two of the Liverpool Old Boys’ League
The Club, together with the Cricket Section, suffered a very sad loss on 8th February 1954, when Charles Connerty died suddenly. He had been Secretary since 1928, until taking over as Chairman in 1937. In addition to his valuable work as a Committee man, and officer of the Club, he had always been a most enthusiastic player in his younger days. He was also Chairman the Old Xaverians cricket club, and of the Liverpool Old Boys Shield Committee. Another dedicated Old Xaverian Gus O’Keefe, took over as Chairman.
At the end of the 1953/54 season, after its now annual flirtation with relegation, the First Eleven finished bottom of Division One, but were not relegated, as the Division was a team short. The Third Eleven won the Old Boys’ Division two for the second year in succession, and the third time in four seasons.
In 1955/6, five teams were playing regularly and Phil Seagrave was now Chairman, and Hugh Fearon had taken over from Eric Frane, as Treasurer. A small measure of success was achieved the following year, the Fourth Eleven winning their league and the Third Eleven narrowly missing promotion. The Second Eleven had now re-joined the I. Zingari Combination, a league entirely for reserves sides of I. Zingari League teams, and were playing in Division Two.
The Third Eleven shared the Old Boys’ Junior Cup with Quarry bank Old boys in 1957/58, after a 2-2 draw. The season following, a new trophy was instituted, and presented by the Old Xaverians Football Club, for competition between local Old Boys’ Football clubs. This was the C.D. Connerty Memorial trophy. During the same season, 1958/59, the newly formed Under-21 team won the Old Boys Junior Shield. This season also saw the Second Eleven earning promotion by winning the second Division of the I. Zingari combination. Dennis Coffey had also become Secretary, a post which he held, for the next sixteen years.
In 1959/60, on the resignation of Phil Seagrave, Joe Alston took over as Chairman. The lower teams all had an indifferent season, but the First Eleven had their best for some seasons, finishing in third place in Division One. League representative honours were gained by Peter Sweeney and Brian Hathway in 1960/61, versus the Lancashire Amateur League. In the same season the Fifth Eleven and the recently formed Sixth Eleven each won their respective Old Boys’ leagues.
The Club were now most disturbed by the news that season 1961/62 was to be the last season that they could use Druids Cross. If no private ground could be found, the Club would be forced to withdraw from the I. Zingari League. Happily an extension of one further season was ultimately granted, but a search of great urgency began. The only successful team in this season was the Fourth Eleven who won the Old Boys’ Junior Cup in addition to the Second Division of the Old Boys’ League. The extreme weather conditions of 1962/63 caused the league season to be abandoned, but the First Eleven shared the Old Boys’ Senior Shield with Waterloo Grammar School Old Boys.
The inevitable departure from Druids Cross in 1963, breaking a thirty-eight year connection, when the Club moved its playing activities to Colebrooke Road, Dingle. As there were only two pitches there, one of the six teams was forced to cease operating. By this time John McGlashan had become Chairman. It was mainly due to the efforts of John, Bert Kilburn, Joe Alston and the indefatigable Ossie Kelly, that the Dingle ground had been secured. At this time, when the players were still euphoric about the acquisition of the new ground facilities, it seemed incredible that once they had been subjected to the subsequent difficulties which were experienced at the Dingle, most of them would have gladly returned to the era of the Nissen hut, urn, Tilley lamps and the solitary distant water tap, now abandoned at Woolton.
The solitary honour of this 1963/64 season was the Fifth eleven sharing the C.D. Connerty Trophy with Walton Technical School Old Boys. Poor league form continued for all the Club’s teams into the next season, but the First Eleven had Cup runs, reaching the semi-finals of the Liverpool Amateur Cup and losing in the final of the I. Zingari Cup to Liverpool University.
The 1965/66 season saw the emergence of a new Club force – the Under-21 Eleven. They shared the Old Boys Junior Shield with Old Cathinians, and won it in the following year. Peter Sweeney and Brian Hathway were again chosen to represent the I. Zingari League. All teams were poorly placed in the league, and the Second Eleven were relegated to Division two of the I. Zingari combination. The following season saw them fail, by one point, to be immediately restored to Division One again. Unhappily, the First Eleven ran out of luck, and lost their fight to avoid relegation to Division Two of the I. Zingari League.
It must be said, however, that their form was most capricious! They gained immediate promotion the next season, only to go down again at the end of the following campaign, the 1968/69 season. The original pioneers of the Club had always insisted that it was the contest, rather than the result, which was important, but even they must have looked down and wondered whether the First Eleven players at this period were interpreting this attitude rather too literally!
A noteworthy and most enjoyable event took place on the 10th January 1968, when Old Xaverians Football club celebrated its Seventy-Fifth Anniversary. A dinner was held at the Irish centre, Mount Pleasant, to mark this, under the Chairmanship of John McGlashan. Many changes had taken place since the creation of the Club, but it was still prominent in local football.
In 1968/69, the Under-21s jointly shared the Old Boys’ Junior Shield again, and the Second Eleven finally won promotion to Division One of the I. Zingari Combination the following year. Unfortunately, considerable problems were being experienced at the Dingle ground and, again, more suitable premises were being sought.
By 1972/73 the First Eleven had been restored to Division One, finishing fourth, and reaching the I. Zingari Cup-Final losing to Alsop Old Boys 0-2, losing two goals in the last two minutes. With the Second Eleven, they were now playing all their home games at a new ground in Eastway, Maghull. The sterling work of Bert Kilburn had been chiefly responsible for this move away from the problems experienced at Dingle. To mark Bert’s fifty year association with the Club, as player and committee member the well deserved presentation of a silver salver had been made to him, during this season.
The fortunes of the Club progressed very unspectacularly for a number of years, with a marked lack of success. By 1975, the First eleven had resumed its now familiar liaison with Division two, and Dave Jack had replaced Brian Hathway as Chairman.
In 1976, an ‘unofficial’ Old Xaverian team was formed, playing its fixtures on Sundays on a ground in Formby, and calling themselves Formby Xaverians. It drew most of its players from regular Saturday Old Xaverians players. It was organised mainly by Tony Mulligan with others, and achieved spectacular success in its first season, winning Division Three of the Ormskirk and District Sunday League, remaining unbeaten.
The team continued to compete in this league until 1990, winning Division three again in 1984/85 and earning promotion to Division One the next season. They also reached the Divisional Cup-Final in 1984/85 losing to Melling Vics. Eventually the travelling distances involved, early Sunday morning, caused lack of player interest and so it folded in 1990.
By 1976 all home games for all teams were being played in Maghull, and the eventful but never dull, connection with Colebrooke Road had been severed.
At Easter 1977 the Club undertook a tour to the Isle of Man. The trip was a huge playing and social success. The Old Xaverians beating Union Mills and Braddan convincingly and drawing with Laxey. It was such a success that the tour was repeated for the following nine years.
The solitary success of the following 1977/78 season was the Second Eleven’s promotion to Division One of the I. Zingari combination on goal difference after four years. All the other sides finished in mid-table. For this one and only season the Zingari sides played their home games at the Civil Service ground in Thornton.
On the 17th October 1979, Bert Kilburn died. This statement does not convey the loss experienced, not only by his family, but also by the Club. Bert had played for the Old Xaverians from 1925 until 1950, continuing after this time as an active, cheerful and hard working committee member. His association with the Club spanned three generations. He played at the same time as his own father, and his son Tom played at the same time as himself. His loss was greatly felt, and an annual eight-a-side then a five-a-side competition was inaugurated in his name.
In this season, the Under-21’s beat Old Cathinians 4-3 to win the Old Boys’ Junior Shield. A trophy of a vastly different nature, but one to be no less proud, was won by the First Eleven, the following year. This was the Hugh Latimer Award, in recognition of consistent sportsmanship, the winner being selected as a result of the marks awarded by the referee’s in I. Zingari matches.
At this time, approaches were being made to the College regarding the use of one of the pitches at High Lee. Throughout its long career, one of the consistent features of the Club’s playing activities has been its difficulty in finding suitable pitches to accommodate its various teams. There were now six teams playing regular league matches, and the problem was still evident.
As new personalities emerged to take over the running of the Club, unfortunately some of the older members were inevitably fading from the scene. On the 12th October 1981, one such character died after a period of ill-health which could not prevent his active involvement with Club affairs. Those Old Xaverians who remember Ossie Kelly will appreciate the gap which his death created. I recommend to those members who did not know him, the fine obituary by Peter Furness in the College magazine of autumn 1981. A genuine, and gentle (except to opposing forwards) Old Xaverian, who was sadly missed.
The Under-21’s again showed their expertise in the Old Boys’ Junior Shield, by beating Collegiate Old Boys 2-1 in the Final of 1980/81. The season finished with the by now regular Isle of Man tour at Easter. A fair measure of success was realised in 1981/82. After a seven year absence the First Eleven were promoted back into Division One of the I. Zingari League, whilst the Third Eleven won promotion back into the First Division of the Liverpool Old Boys’ League after eight years.
The only notable feature of the next two seasons was the move, in 1983/84, of the First Eleven to the renamed I. Zingari Premier League, where they finished 12th out of 14. The division had been renamed when the League committee had decided that promotion to the top division was conditional on the standard of the ground. The Club had now been offered, and had gratefully accepted, the use of one of the pitches at the school, by Brother Francis, the Headmaster. With this move the Club pitches at the school, by Brother Francis, the Headmaster. With this move the Club could now boast one of the best playing facilities in the I. Zingari League, and would therefore ensure their continued eligibility for the Premier Division.
It is ironic to consider that the College, by accommodating the Old Xaverians in this way, were returning a reciprocal arrangement of seventy-five years earlier, when the Club made their pitch at Lance Lane available to the College Eleven games, when they themselves were suffering from lack of a playing fields.
This season was also the last as Chairman of Dave Jack, who resigned after many years of invaluable work in this capacity, to be replaced by Vic Welsh. All six teams performed with moderate success, without any particular noteworthy detail.
Mid-way through the following season the Club heard of the death of Joe Alston on the 15th February 1985. During the difficult immediate post-war years, Joe had performed invaluable work in both Football and Cricket sections, before moving away from the area. His youthful enthusiasm inspired many a young player.
The two successes of the 1984/85 season, were the promotion of the Fourth Eleven to the Old Boys’ Division Two, and yet another win in the Final of the Old Boys’ Junior Shield by the Under-21 team. It is pleasant to record that a fixture against a College First Eleven was re-introduced during the season after several years lapse.
The First Eleven continued to struggle during this period, finishing 13th in 1984/85, but were re-elected back to the Premier Division after the resignation of a team. The end of the season saw the resignation of Tony Valerio, as First Team manager, after ten years. He continued to remain a committee member with over thirty years standing. The First Eleven’s re-election to the Premier division was only a stay of execution, and the following season, 1985/86, the team succumbed once more to the temporary indignity of relegation. The ever-consistent Under-21 Eleven, however, refused to allow the season to pass without their now anticipated victory in the Old Boys’ Junior Shield.
By 1986/87, all six teams were playing at High Lee, by the kindness of the College authorities. It is unfortunate that the stability of ground tenure did not reflect itself via results on the pitch, as only moderate playing success was realised, although the First Eleven again won the I. Zingari League Hugh Latimer Sportsmanship Award. The end of the season saw Hugh Fearon step down from the committee. He had continued to play in one of the Club’s league teams until he was fifty, and served as Treasurer for thirty-one years. He had made such an onerous task, in such a large organisation, appear easy. He was replaced by Peter Bentley.
The resilient First Eleven confounded their critics and committee, even individuals who might have been described as members of both groups, by achieving an early return to the I. Zingari Premier Division in 1987/88. The remaining five teams continued to feature in the I. Zingari Combination First Division and in their respective Old Boys’ divisions.
With the opening of the Xaverian Club on the School site in January 1988, the Football Club entered a new era. A social club where the Old Xaverians, and not necessarily footballers, both past, and present could meet, socialise and dissect the afternoon’s every move, had been a long held wish by all the players, throughout the years. What, had at times, only seemed a pipe dream, had now come to fruition, thanks to the hard-work and tenacity, of the Headmaster, Brother Francis Patterson.
The Tom Slade Shield for Fair Play in the Old Boys’ League, was won by the Fifth Eleven in 1989/90, in competition with all the seventy teams of the whole of the Old Boys’ League. They also finished second in the Old Boys’ Division Five. The Second Eleven enjoyed a successful season finishing third in Division One of the I. Zingari Combination. This season also saw the resignation of Dave Reynolds, as secretary, after sixteen years in this position, to concentrate his efforts on improving the Old Xaverians Cricket Club. He continued, though to still serve on the Football Club committee and give of his energy and experience. He was replaced by Ben Mallett.
With the use of the Xaverian Club facilities the Football Club now had some of the best facilities, if not the best for purely amateur clubs, (i.e. they have to pay to play), on Merseyside. Better players were attracted, if not lamentably, many College Old boys. Consequently the results finally started to improve over the next few seasons, after many years in the doldrums. The introduction in 1990/91 of Under-16 and Under-14 teams, proved a popular and rewarding exercise. Their games were played on Sunday mornings, at one of the Merseyside Youth Association Jeffery Humble ground in Long Lane, and the other at the M.Y.A. Heron Eccles ground at Abbotshey Avenue. What, at first started as a trickle of players coming to the Club, became a stream. After only three seasons, this youth policy saw four of these players appear in the First Team.
By the start of the 1991/92 season so many players had signed on that the Club had been able to arrange a complete programme of friendlies for a Seventh Team. This season also saw the Fourth Eleven reach the final of the Northern cup losing to Lodge F.C. from Doncaster, the Under-21’s lose in the Old Boys’ Junior Shield final and the Over-35’s lose the final of the Old Boys’ Senior Cup for Over-35 teams. Ever the bridesmaid!
1992/93, the Club’s Centenary season, saw the Seventh Eleven join the Sixth Division of the Old Boys’ League, with the Sixth Eleven being promoted to Division Five. Only three pitches were available at Beaconsfield Road, so an extra pitch was hired at the Heron Eccles ground in Abbotshey Avenue. To make full use of this pitch an extra team the Eighth Eleven, was introduced, again playing friendlies, or at least non-league games. It is interesting to compare the situation which exists in its Centenary year, with that of the early days of 1892 in Newsham Park.
The original concept of providing a team to take part in friendly fixtures on a casual basis still applies, but the successful administration of eight teams, and two junior sides, all playing regularly, ably demonstrates how much the Club has developed during its proud history.
Those gentlemen who figured prominently in the early and formative years of the Club created and maintained its structure, aims and principles. Their enthusiasm, example and determination in the face of often daunting adversity has ensured that the Club has endured with a proud tradition for one hundred years.
It might be considered a privilege of present, and future, members to ensure that the momentum continues to be maintained. If this happens, an equally long and impressive future can be auspiciously anticipated for the Old Xaverian Football Club.
THE ABOVE HISTORY WAS PARTIALLY FUNDED BY A GIFT FROM THE LIVERPOOL COUNTY FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION.
THE OLD XAVERIANS FOOTBALL CLUB WISH TO THANK THE F.A. FOR THEIR GENEROUS DONATION
THE HISTORY OF THE OLD XAVERIANS FOOTBALL CLUB FROM ITS CENTENARY SEASON UNTIL THE 2006-2007 SEASON
The First Eleven under the Managership of Brian Deakin, and in its centenary season, topped the I. Zingari Premier Division from early October until late February. Therefore, by March, they were in the unusual position, in this period of its history, of being safe from relegation. As part of the 100th season celebrations they played the full I. Zingari League representative side. In a hard fought game the Xavs narrowly lost 3-2. This game showed how far the team had come in such a short space of time. It had been many years since the club had a side capable of holding its own against such quality opposition.
In this, the club’s centenary season, two teams achieved success. Firstly the Fourth team reaching the Northern Cup Final, which was played at Burscough’s ground. Unfortunately they lost to narrowly to Crewe Corinthians. The Sixth Eleven gained promotion from Division Five of the Old Boys league by finishing runners-up.
Several Centenary celebrations took place that season, the highlight of which was the Celebration Dinner held at St Francis Xavier’s School. Representatives of the Liverpool County F.A., the I. Zingari League, the I. Zingari Combination, the Liverpool Old Boys League and 200 players past and present attended it. All enjoyed an excellent evening, of many memories.
Other Centenary representative games were held against the I. Zingari Combination and Old Boys full and Over-35s sides and a Northern Cup side. The I. Zingari League, the I. Zingari Combination and the Liverpool Old Boys League presented silver salvers to the Club after these celebration games. The Football Association also presented the club with an illuminated address to celebrate the Old Xaverians reaching its century. All these mementos are now on display in the trophy cabinet in the Xaverian Club bar.
Sadly, the 1993-1994 season saw the First Eleven relegated after seven years in the I. Zingari Premier League. The season was not all doom and gloom with the Fifth Team, under manager Eric Tocher, winning the League and Cup double. The club was now fielding eight sides in leagues, six of them in the Old Boys League and two youth teams on Sundays, at Under-18 and Under-16 level.
The next season saw some improvement in playing results with six of the sides reaching at least one semi-final, with the Fifth Eleven, now managed by Ian Milligan, doing the League and Cup double for a second season. Most of Jock’s squad of players also formed the Over-35 Eleven that had reached their final before losing on penalties. The Seventh Eleven, managed by Andy Campbell, in his last season in charge, won the Grimshaw Cup. This was a fitting reward for Andy who had run the bottom side for many seasons.
The final accolade for the season was the Third Eleven, playing in Division One of the Old Boys League, winning the Tom Slade Sportsmanship Award. This award is given to the team in the all the Old Boys divisions, nearly 80 sides, who had the best disciplinary and sportsmanship record over the whole season, a trophy to be proud of.
This season only one youth side was fielded, an Under-18 team, which did well to reach the last eight of the L.C.F.A. Youth Cup. The number of youth sides was expanded to two the following year. The Club was now fielding Under-18 and Under-17 sides in the Wavertree Youth Alliance. The under –18 team reached the cup semi-final whilst the Under-17s narrowly lost their cup final.
The First Eleven continued to languish mid table in Division One of the I. Zingari League whilst the fortunes of the Second Eleven began to prosper. Under new manager, Colin Brown, they finished runners up in the I. Zingari Combination Division One and reached the Combination Cup semi-final. Interestingly they only lost this semi-final after a replay(!) against Quarry Bank. This was the club’s highest finishing position in this league since its return to the Combination in 1955. Success was also experienced by the Sixth Eleven. With Phil Carlin, in his first season as manager, finishing second in the Old Boys Division Three and winnning the Connerty Cup 4-2 against Shorefields Old Boys. The Over-35s again reached the final before losing for the second year running, this time to Collegiate O.B.
After the trophy-less 50s, 60s and 70s, the 90s saw a change in fortunes. It culminated in 1996-97 with, for the first time ever, the Club being able to show off six trophies in its newly erected cabinet in The Xaverians Club. The Fifths, under ‘Jock’ Milligan, and the Sixths, under Chris Connor and Robbie Brennan, both achieved their league and cup doubles. The Seventh team, managed by Charlie Summer, won the Grimshaw Cup and were runners up in the league.
Meanwhile the Second Eleven, still managed by Colin Brown, again came runners up in Division One of the Combination but their real success was in reaching the final of the County F.A. Intermediate Cup. Here they narrowly lost after extra time and penalties, in the dark, at Nalgo, against BRNESC Reserves. Of the other teams, all finished mid-table in their respective division with The Fourth Eleven, under Mike White, also reaching the Old Boys Division Two Cup Final. Here they lost to Quarry Bank and only earning the Runners-Up Trophy and the Club’s sixth of the season. 1996/7 season, sadly, the Club fielded no youth team.
The next season, 1997/8, saw the Club fielding three less teams, the previously mentioned youth side and Seventh and Eighth Elevens, all due to lack of personnel to run the sides. This season also saw the sudden death of Tony Valerio. Tony had been a member of the Club for 48 years as player and Committee member. Latterly he had been Vice Chairman who took an active part in all Club activities. He managed the First, Second and Third teams at various stages. Whilst manager of the First Eleven, he had gained promotion to the I. Zingari Premier Division. His First Elevens had twice won the I. Zingari Sportsmanship Award. He himself had played in the 1962/63 Connerty Cup winning side. Tony was always cheerful, making committee meetings a pleasure with a string of jokes which were always funny despite one having heard many of them before annually. He had a word for everyone, whether a Blue like himself or a Red and all players respected his sound common sense and sound advice.
The gloom of Tony’s death was lifted with the promotion of the First Eleven from Division One of the I. Zingari League by finishing level on points with Edge Hill Boys Club Old Boys but with a worse goal difference. With Colin Brown now in his first season in charge of the First Team they also reached the semi-finals of the Zingari Cup. As it was only two days after Tony’s death the side had no stomach for the fight and lost to the bottom side of the Premier Division 2-4. The only other success that season was the Over-35s again winning their Cup Final 7-2 with Robin Lloyd scoring six of them by half time.
The next year saw the First Eleven being run by new manager Billy Birch. In a first for the Club the job had been advertised externally and he had been appointed after an interview of the candidates. This was a position he was to hold for the next nine seasons. Their status in the top division of the I. Zingari League was consolidated with a comfortable mid-table position and a good run in the Lancashire Amateur Cup to reach the quarter-final stage before elimination. The Second Eleven now under Derek O’Hara, who had replaced Charlie Summers, again after interview, finished third in the division. This season also saw the Third team finish mid-table whilst the Fourths ended in third place. The Fifth Eleven, with Paul Bennett as manager and being ably assisted by Mike White, completed the season as the league champions. This was now the fourth season out of six that Division Three of the Old Boys League had been won by the Club, remarkably by three different squads of players. The Sixth Eleven also finished second in their league, whilst the resurrected Seventh Eleven, managed by Chairman Vic Welsh, just avoided relegation from Division Five. Also resurrected, as it turns out for only one season, was an Under-15 XI playing in the South Merseyside League
By now, the straight up and down selection of players had long gone. All six teams consisted of a squad of about sixteen to eighteen players and it was only in times of emergency that players moved between teams. Although some of the older players and some committee members did not approve, it cannot be denied that there had been a drastic improvement in results. Now cups and leagues were being regularly won, particularly by the lower teams. It could be said some players were playing below their standard hence the successes. Sadly the influx of ex-S.F.X. schoolboys had greatly diminished. Rightly, the school did not allow players to turn out for the Old Boys if they had played for the school in the morning. This meant that they had difficulty breaking into the team’s squads during the holidays. After they left school they often went to Universities away from Liverpool. Unsurprisingly, despite constant appeals, few ex-S.F.X. boys came to play for us. This is a situation, which is greatly regretted by the committee. The Under-15 team and the very young Seventh Eleven were attempts to remedy the situation.
The 1999-2000 season, as well as welcoming in the new millennium, also saw a Club first. After 95 years of on and off membership of the I. Zingari Combination, the Second Eleven won the Division One title. In 1995/6 and again 1996/7 we had finished second and third in 1998/99 without threatening to win it. For a large part of the 1970s we had languished in Division Two even applying for re-election having finished in the bottom two positions. The twelve point winning margin now looks like a walk over but it was far from it. To watch the championship trophy being presented on the pitch before the final game was a proud moment for the older members of the Club and the Second Eleven management team of Derek O’Hara and his assistant Dave Knight.
This season saw a new venture for the Club when we entered a second side in the I. Zingari Combination. Previously it had been a league purely for reserve sides but because of falling numbers of clubs and teams playing football, it had now decided to open its boundaries to other teams be they first, second or third teams. It was not an auspicious start in this new league for the previous season’s Seventh Eleven, where they came next to bottom in Division Three. This was also the league position suffered by the Division One Old Boys side. Fortunately they could not be relegated as we had teams in the divisions below. The Old Boys Division Three side were the Club’s next most successful side finishing runners up in both the League and the Connerty Cup. The Seventh Eleven formed the basis of the newly appointed Veterans Cup for Over-40s to replace the Over-35s Cup. This they duly won for the second time in three years. The 1999-2000 season also saw the re-introduction of an Eighth Eleven, eventually managed by Ben Mallett after resignation in late October of the returning Andy Campbell, to play in the Old Boys Division Five. It was principally aimed at producing a squad of good young players. Despite its mid-table position it proved in later years to be a success as several of the side are still playing for the Club and many of the squad went on to play for the First Eleven for a time.
It was in the summer of 1999 a Third team player, Steve Cuddy, suffered a terrible accident whilst on holiday in Greece, which rendered him almost completely immobile. The diagnosis was that he would be wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. To assist his family in financing the necessary alterations to their home the Club set out to raise £4000. After eighteen months contributions had reached £5000, when fund raising had to stop otherwise it would affect his state benefits. Half this sum had been raised inside the Club itself in one season. All these hard efforts in raising funds enabled the committee to see the potential of increasing the Club’s income by a number of means to keep match fees down.
The 2000-2001 season is now acknowledged to have been the wettest on record. In fact the Seventh Eleven did not play for 10 consecutive Saturdays. It could just have easily been a record season for trophies. The Club featured in eight semi-finals and yet won only one cup, this being the Grimshaw Cup won by the Mike Wickham’s Eighth team. Three sides also, at various stages of the season, looked to be running away with their leagues but all fell in the final few games. Only one of these teams even came runners up, that being the Sixth Eleven run by Paul Bennett and Mike White, in Division Three of the Old Boys League. With the Third Eleven coming up on the rails then stumbling at the last fence it was a season of “if onlys”.
With the First Eleven ending mid-table in the Premier Division of the I. Zingari League for the third year, the team’s position in the division was becoming established. To improve the playing facilities, pre-season a barrier had been erected on three sides of the First team pitch together with a new dugout. This had cost the Club £1300 but it now made it one of the best arenas in the league if not the best playing surface. With constant poor weather, all the pitches became very wet and consequently badly uneven. As the season continued into mid May, pitch No. 1 dried out with so many ruts in it that it became dangerous to play on it!
Just as the previous season had been a record for weather so 2001-2002 became a record on the playing field. The First Eleven won the I. Zingari Cup for the first time in the Club’s history and the Fourth Eleven won the Old Boys Division One for the very first time.
Billy Birch was still managing the First Eleven. Mike Wickham had gone from managing the 8th XI to assisting Billy. This management team and squad of players proved to be a very successful one. They reached the semi-final of the Lancashire Amateur Cup before losing to MANWEB from the County Combination. This was played at The Lancs. F.A County ground at Leyland on a very wet February night under floodlights.
With the final three games of the season all to be played in a week, the team could still do the Cup and League double. Three wins would do this. On the Tuesday night they beat Warbreck away 3-1. On the Thursday night was the Cup Final versus arch rivals Quarry Bank at the Liverpool Soccer Centre in Walton Hall Park under floodlights. The game went to extra time without a goal and looked set for penalties when Quarry Bank were awarded a penalty, with two minutes to go, which they duly scored. All looked lost for the Xavs. Then in injury time, centre half Ben Williams; following up an attack prodded a cross into the net, for the equaliser. The first penalties from either side were both missed before Quarry Bank also missed their second. The Xavs never let this advantage slip and went on to successfully complete all their penalties. After 109 years of trying the Club had finally won the I. Zingari Cup.
On to the last game of the season versus Aigburth Peoples Hall at home, with another game to play A.P.H. needed two points to clinch the title whilst the Xavs needed a win to guarantee the championship. In close fought encounter where the Xavs took the lead honours finished even. A.P.H. went on to win their last game and so become champions. The team’s interest in the league had gone beyond the last game. They ended up Cup winners and league title runners up.
The Fourth Eleven now run by Chris Connor were involved in a four horse race for the league title. This was the squad’s first season in the division. Despite this, they proved to be the stronger in the run in. They won the last five games including the double over one of their title rivals. They had now won the Old Boys Division One title for the Club for the first time in its history.
The Sixth Eleven, again run by Paul Bennett and Mike White, went one better than the previous season and won Division Three of the Old Boys League. This season again saw the Club decide to drop two teams because of lack of personnel to run them. Before the season started, one of these teams was reinstated when Brian Deakin, assisted by retiring 3rd XI manager Jock Milligan, stepped forward to run the Seventh Eleven.
The following year the Club returned to a full complement of eight sides. It also heralded a season of success for nearly all the teams. The First Eleven finished fourth losing only four league games all season. They reached the semi-final of the I. Zingari Cup and the quarter-finals of the Lancashire Amateur Cup. The Second Eleven despite only losing two games came runners up in the Combination Division One. Meanwhile, also in the Combination, the Third Eleven, run by Vic Welsh and assisted by Ben Mallett, won Division Three to earn promotion and reached the Cup semi-final.
The Fourth Eleven, after their previous historic success, proceeded to win The Old Boys Division One title again without losing a game. Because of the previous season’s success it had also been decided to enter this side in the L.C.F.A. Junior Cup for the first time but they lost their first game after extra time and penalties. They did reach the final of the Marlborough Cup before again losing after extra time and penalties. They were successful though in the Old Boys Senior Shield, which is for all the first teams of clubs in the League. In a game of high standard football they beat Collegiate 2-1. Under the continued guidance of Chris Connor and Joey Baxter the team was also entered into the Northern Cup. Here they suffered their only 90-minute defeat in the semi-final to an Aspull side containing several ex-semi-pro players. An extremely memorable season for the side.
The Sixth Eleven also won Division Three of the Old Boys for the second consecutive season whilst the Eighth Eleven under Terry Nelligan won Division Five. The Eighth Eleven were also losing finalist in the Grimshaw Cup. The Old Boys League Veterans Cup was also won by the Club’s over-40s. With the Fifths ending up only ninth and Sevenths finishing fourth, but only missing out on the second spot by one point, the club had had an extremely successful season.
Further success was achieved the next season 2003-2004 when the First team won the I. Zingari Premier Division for the first time in the Club’s history after 105 years of trying. With Billy Birch in charge and assisted by Mike Wickham the team led the league table from the very first game. In this historic season, the only league game that was lost was the last of the season when the title had already been won. Considering the Club’s previous lack of success in this division over the years, the championship was won easily by 18 points, winning 20 out 24 games conceding only 20 goals and scoring 87.
For the second year running they reached the quarter-finals of the Lancashire Amateur Cup before losing on penalties. They also reached the quarter-finals of the Liverpool Challenge Cup losing to South Liverpool. One individual achievement stands out in this success. In only his third season playing for the Club, Paul Partington scored his 100th goal for the team, quite an achievement!
Meanwhile the Second team reached the semi-finals of both the Combination Cup and the L.C.F.A. Intermediate Cup. With Fourth Eleven’s surprise decision to play in Division Three of Combination, it was no surprise when they did the League and Cup double. Where they were tested was in the Northern Cup. Again, for the third time in two seasons, the side lost a cup-tie after extra time and penalties. This time it was the Cup Final.
The Fifth team, now run by Terry Nelligan, finished runners up in Division One of the Old Boys League and semi-finalists in the League Cup. Paul Bennett’s Seventh Eleven, after the previous title winning seasons could only finish runners-up in Division Three. The Eighth team, now under the management team of Brian Deakin and Ian Milligan, ran away with Division Four but had to come from 2-0 down in the Bushell Cup Final to complete the double. The Veterans Cup Final, the night following the Bushell Cup Final, proved too much for our Over-40s, who comprised mostly Eighth team players losing 1-0.
Further achievements earned by the Club during this successful season were the I. Zingari Premier Division Sportsmanship Award. This was added to, by Ben Mallett being presented with the I. Zingari League Secretary of the Year Award. This was really an award to the Club for the turnaround in its on-field behaviour and the efficiency of its committee. The previous season the Chairman and Secretary had had to attend a disciplinary committee of the I. Zingari League where the Club had been warned to its behaviour. The Award showed that the Club had heeded the warning. Also as the Club had expanded the duties of the secretary’s were now so large that his tasks had been shared out amongst the Fixture Secretary, Chris Connor, the Assistant Secretary, Mike White, and the other committee members. The Award was recognising the success of this delegation.
The season 2004-2005 began with an invitation to play in a charity match for the Lord Mayor of Liverpool’s Trophy at the County Ground in Walton Hall Park as I. Zingari League champions. We were to play the Liverpool County Combination champions, Waterloo Dock. In a well-attended game the Xavs lost 1-0, in a game dominated by both defences.
After a poor start to their retention of the league title, the season developed into a two horse race between East Villa and ourselves. Towards the end of the season in the return game against Villa, a win would place the championship in our own hands. In an exciting game, where the Villa keeper made three outstanding saves, the game was drawn 3-3. But the topsy-turvy season continued with East Villa losing 6-3 to Hill Athletic in their penultimate game meaning we would be champions again. Unfortunately for us, Hill Athletic were found to have played not one but two ‘ringers’. As per league rules the game was awarded to East Villa hence the I. Zingari League title was awarded to East Villa with ourselves as runners up. Interestingly enough the team gained more points this season than when they had won it the previous one.
Losing the league was the second disappointment of the week. Without too much difficulty the side had reached the Final of the I. Zingari Cup against bitter rivals ROMA. In another exciting match played at the Liverpool Soccer Centre, where the weather got progressively worse, the Xavs ended 2-0 down half way through the second half. As they pressed more and more strongly, the ROMA keeper made some outstanding saves. As our opponents tired, several went down with cramp and other injuries. This resulted in seven(!) minutes of added time. In the second minute of this time the Xavs got a goal back and had one more decent chance before the end. But it was not to be and the team finished the season runners-up in both the league and cup.
With the retirement of Derek O’Hara from management to play again, Chris Connor and Joey Baxter moved up from running the successful Fourth Eleven. With his players moving from Division Three to Division One of the Combination, their final third place could be regarded as success.
Under the new management of Tommy Murphy with assistance from Peter Walker, the Third Eleven did the I. Zingari Combination Division Two League and Cup double. In fact they only lost one game all season and that disappointingly was in the L.C.F.A. Intermediate Cup Final versus I. Zingari League, St Ambrose. For a Third Eleven to reach this prestigious final was a remarkable effort despite the squad system of selection. Incidentally the quarter-final draws for all three County Cups included Old Xaverians, which I think is a first.
The other five sides the club was running were not as successful with none in real contention for their league titles or even reaching cup semi-finals. Even the usually successful Over-40s side were eliminated early on. So the club’s few successes this season were in the higher teams as it should be. The Club still continued to run an Under-16 side on a Sunday, run by Steve Polson, with a few even playing for the adult sides on occasion.
The 2005-2006 season turned out to be a momentous one. The First Eleven won the I. Zingari League for the second time whilst the Second Eleven won both the League and the Cup. These successes in one season are unprecedented. It also saw the Sixth Eleven win the Connerty Cup and finish runners-up in Division Three of the Old Boys whilst the Over-40s were victorious in the Veterans Cup. Sadly it also saw the end of the I.Zingari League
The First Team again managed by Billy Birch, assisted by Mike Wickham and physiotherapist Eddie Howard had now finished first, second, second again and now first in the last four seasons. After four games of the season things did not look hopeful when they had lost 5-0 to Turpins and drawn another game. They did not lose another league game for the rest of the season. After this poor start the cup season started. A run through to the last sixteen of the Liverpool Challenge Cup was experienced before defeat, after extra time 1-0, to Maghull from the North West Counties League. In the Lancashire Amateur Cup the side reached the quarter-finals. Here we were drawn at home to Rochdale St Clements. After going 3-0 down and having a man sent off for two yellow cards the team fought back to 3-3 to take the game into extra time and penalties. To get this far in the game in the circumstances was fantastic but an Istanbul-like win was not to be repeated. Very tired legs and minds were unable to survive the pressure of penalties and they lost 3-1 in the shoot out.
In the I. Zingari Cup the side went one better by reaching the semi-finals against St Ambrose, who had also retained the L.C.F.A. Intermediate Cup. They should have been promoted to the Premier Division the previous season, but the League deemed their ground unsuitable. Consequently, they were still playing in Division One. The Xavs side never got into their stride and against a very physical team they lost 2-0. During their cup runs the team continued to progress in the league, winning every game they played until they were due to play East Villa. Villa had a hundred percent record at this stage, so it was vital that the side did not lose against them if they were to maintain their title challenge. In a game of high skill the Xavs took the lead after missing two one on ones. In the second half, East Villa came at the Xavs strongly and eventually equalised. So the game ended in a draw and honours even.
Whilst the Xavs continued to win all their league games, East Villa lost an important game versus Red Rum. This left the Xavs with a chance of overtaking East Villa if they beat them in the return game at the College. In an exciting game, Villa attacked hard but the Xavs defended well and were looking dangerous on the break. Two good chances fell to Adam Jones, the second of which he managed to convert. In the second half, East Villa pressed even harder bringing out good saves from the keeper Ted Hinnegan. In their desperation to equalise Villa pushed even more men forward leaving gaps at the back. On one of the Xavs breakaways Tom Faulkner was brought down in the box for a blatant penalty. Pat O’Hanlon duly slotted the ball home. The First eleven now led the league table for the first time in the season, by one point. To ensure they won the title they had to win their last two games at home. The first against ROMA was won easily 3-0. The last, against Red Rum, was postponed because at the College because of a waterlogged pitch in May(!). It was finally played on the 22nd May where the Xavs ran out narrow winners by three goals to one. So the Old Xaverians became the last ever winners of the 110-years old I. Zingari League and the League trophy is on permanent exhibition in the Old Xavs trophy cabinet in the Xaverian Club.
As I have previously stated,2005-2006 was also the last ever season of the I. Zingari League because the National F.A. wanted football nationally to be re-structured into a pyramid and also to reduce the number of referee feeder leagues. The Liverpool county F.A. were told that only one feeder league would be allowed in the Liverpool area instead of two. This meant that teams from the Liverpool County Combination and the I. Zingari League, the current feeder league, would be able to apply to the new County Premier League. With great regret the Zingari teams voted to end league’s existence and apply to join the new league to ensure its feeder league status. The new Premier Division of this County Premier League will be at step 7 of the new national football pyramid. Because of the First Eleven final league position they ensured that we would be members of this new Premier Division and so be playing at step 7 in 2006-2007.
The Second Eleven again run by Chris Connor and Joey Baxter reached the finals of the Combination Cup and the Geoff Pye Cup, the league cup. Both of these finals were against Speke. The Combination final was held at the Police ground and was won 2-1 by the Xavs in extra time with a stunning 30-yard strike from Ian McLaughlin. Speke won the second of these finals 2-0. The League title rested on the last game of the season against Speke. A draw and we would win the league whilst a win for Speke would see them be champions. In a nail biting game watched by about 100 people, the Seconds created several excellent chances in the latter stages of the game whilst missed several half chances to score. After seven minutes of added time neither side had managed to score. The Second Eleven season had gone to the very last kick and they had ended up completing the Combination double. This is a feat never before achieved the club’s history.
The Sixth Eleven again run by Paul Bennett and Mike White again reached the Connerty Cup Final. A late equaliser from substitute, Mike White, with his first touch took the game into extra time and penalties. The Xavs won the shoot out by three goals to two. Three further wins in their last three league game also ensured that they finished as runners-up in the league as well.
During the season the Club were awarded F.A. Charter Standard Adult status. A prestigious award, which few adult clubs of our size possess despite having reduced our number of teams to seven from the previous seasons eight. We have a plaque with our name on it down at the County F.A. Headquarters. This now means that we have an F.A, approved constitution, that we adhere to the F.A.’s policies on child protection and on how players, managers, coaches and spectators behave. It also means that we have one F.A. qualified coach per team and that we also have someone for each team with a current Emergency First Aid Certificate. It is hoped that it will also increase our chances of obtaining any grants that are available.
And so to season, 2006-2007, it was one in which several new ventures were embarked upon. As mentioned previously, the First Eleven were now playing in the new Premier Division of the Liverpool County Premier League. Because of move up to Step 7 level in the national pyramid, the Club had to enter the Lancashire Shield. This was done with some reluctance because it ended our 109-year participation in the Lancashire Amateur Cup. The Club were also invited to enter a team in the Liverpool Senior Cup as I. Zingari League winners. This is a floodlit competition in which the likes of Liverpool and Everton Reserves take part. We were drawn against Speke, winners of the Liverpool Challenge Cup, and the County’s representative in the National Cup competition. We were convincingly eliminated at the first round
The Second Team management, with the blessing of the committee, decided to enter the St Helens Combination a completely new venture. It was a decision taken because it was thought at the time that we would be running more teams than leagues to play in. It was hoped to run eight teams in 2006-7 and with no reserve sides allowed in the County Premier league, the I. Zingari Combination being reduced to two divisions and the distinct possibility of the Old Boys League only having four divisions, another League was the only option. As it transpired the Club only ran seven teams this season after the late resignation of a team manager to manage elsewhere. The Second Eleven, fresh from their league and cup double of the previous season, were placed in the second of four divisions. After a slow start, they again did the league and cup double, and will play in the Premier Division of the St Helens League in 2007-2008. With Chris Connor and Joey Baxter still in charge they again reached the quarter-finals of the County Junior Cup and the final of the Northern Cup. Sadly they were again lost to a team they had beaten easily the week before in the league to win the title. They had reached the final, when in unusual step the Xavs had been allowed to enter three teams in the Northern Cup. One had reached the final, another the quarter-finals and the third the last sixteen.
After the successes of recent seasons, this was a moderate one for the First Eleven.This was principally down to the loss of key players through retirement and injury. Their replacements found the going tough in the move up to Step 7 level. The team despite experiencing the unusual situation of fighting against relegation still did well in the George Mahon Cup, for all teams in the County Premier League, reaching the semi-final, losing in the last minute of extra time to Waterloo Dock.
In the Lancashire Shield a first round defeat to eventual finalists, Coppull United after extra time made the team realise the standard they were playing at. Coppull were no better than us in playing strength, in fact we had played all of extra time with nine after having two players sent off and even equalising in this period. What was different was the facilities. They had an enclosed ground with floodlights and a clubhouse and bar. On Merseyside we are twenty years behind other areas of the Country in the facilities that this level of football is played on.
The other successes this season were the Fourth Eleven run by Paul ‘Pez’ McKenzie who did the double of Division Two of the I. Zingari Combination and the Divisional Cup called the Trophy Competition. The over-40s, run by Brian Deakin, again continued to dominate their cup competition and won it for the second year running. There had been several changes in team management at the season’s start. Paul Bennett and Mike White, who had stepped up from running the Sixth Eleven with success, now ran the Third Eleven, in Division One of the I. Zingari Combination. Mickey Thomas had introduced a team of mainly 17 and 18 year olds and it was decided to enter them in the Old Boys Division Four.
REPORT ON SEASON 2007-2008
The season saw the the 1st XI under the new management of ex-captain Ben Williams, assisted by Mike Wickham & ex-manager Billy Birch with additional support from Physiotherapist Eddie Howard. Because of their successes in five Cups they ended playing half their league fixtures in just March, April & May. When their league season had been completed they played 30, won 17, drew 5, lost 8, scoring 62 goals for and conceding only 28, the lowest in the division, earning 56 points and finishing a very creditable 4th out of 16 teams.
In the cups, they were eliminated, very unluckily, in the 4th Round of the Lancashire Shield by eventual finalist Euxton Villa. In the Liverpool Challenge Cup, they were defeated 1-3 by finalists Speke at the Semi-final stage. They also lost in the Quarter-final of the George Mahon Cup to First Division and eventual winners Aigburth P.H. They lost in the first Round of the I. Zingari Cup for Premier Division teams but success was reached in the inaugural season of the North West County FA’s Challenge Cup. Here they defeated Dalton United,from Cumbia, ROMA, East Villa and South Liverpool. In the final, which was played at the Liverpool County F.A. ground in Walton Hall Park, they defeated St Aloysius 1-0 in a very tense game. So after his first season in charge, Ben Williams and his players had won a trophy.
After some discussion, the I. Zingari Combination side was nominated as the reserve team. Managed by Mike White & Paul Bennett, they played in the First Division and ended a very creditable 2nd out of 12 teams. The number of home draws (4) was their downfall. They played 22 league games, won 15, drew 4, lost 3, scoring 64 goals for and conceding only 18, again the lowest in the division, earning 49 points. Losing their first game of the season 3-0, in retrospect, proved to be crucial. They led the table for most of the season but injuries and unavailabilities in the crucial penultimate game against NELTC, the league champions, proved to be the one hurdle they could not overcome, losing 2-1.
In the L.C.F.A. Intermediate Cup they reached the Quarter-finals only losing to their nemesis, NELTC again, after extra time. In the I. Zingari Combination Cup they suffered early elimination at the hands of Polish F.C., who as their name implies consisted of all Polish nationals, most of whom only spoke Polish and so could not give their name to the referee! In the Geoff Pye Cup for First Division teams, the side were eliminated at the semi-final stage after extra time and penalties. So it ended a season of nearly but not quite.
The St Helens Combination side, after their promotion, played in the Premier Division. Again they were managed by Chris Connor, assisted by Joey Baxter with the help of George Lee. Defeat in the second game of the season against East Villa 4-2 looked as if it might be crucial as either side suffered very few defeats throughout the season. But every time the Xavs faltered so did East Villa, until the title deciding end of season game at Villa. A large crowd saw the Xavs the better side and come out winners and champions 4-2. The League and Cup double was on the cards but the final saw them again facing rivals East Villa. This time Villa proved to be the better team. They played 22, won 17, drew 3, and lost only 2, scoring 82 goals for and conceding 28, earning 54 points running out league champions. Congratulations again must go to the management team who have now won five trophies in three seasons.
They also entered the L.C.F.A. Junior Cup and had a successful run beating Alder, East Villa again, after extra time, and Ravenhead Knauf, before losing to Mossley Hill in the Quarter-final in dubious circumstances. For next season, they have been accepted into the Second Division of the Liverpool County F.A. Premier League and have resigned from the St Helens Combination.
The Fourth Eleven with Pez McKenzie in charge moved from their successful season in Division Two of the I. Zingari Combination into the Liverpool Old Boys League Division One, again another step up for the players. It also proved to be a season of nearly but not quite for this side as well. They reached the Semi-final of the three cup competitions they had entered. In the Northern Cup they lost to eventual winners Old Bootleians 1-3, having defeated them in the league the previous Saturday. In the Senior Shield they lost to Alumni and in the Marlborough Cup they were defeated by Cardinal Newman O.B. In the league, they were always in contention until their backlog of fixture caught up with them. Officially they finished 4th out of 12 teams. According to the league they have played 18 games, won 11, drew 4, and lost 3, goals for 48, goals against 25, points 37. As you may notice this leaves four games unaccounted for. Two were declared null & void (?) and two the league said could not be played as we had run out of time to play them. If we had have been able to complete the season as we wanted to, we could have finished runners-up. You may now understand why the team manager is unhappy with this League.
Under Brian Deakin, the Fifth Eleven, in Old Boys Division Two, found themselves with a very unsatisfactory season in that they spent large parts of the middle of the season idle. This was largely a consequence having so many teams having successful cup runs, being drawn at home, and only having three pitches for our six teams. The large number of home midweek games at the end of the season allowed the team to recover from a poor first half of the season to finish mid-table. They played 22 games, won 7, drew 4, lost 11, goals for 39, goals against 46, points 25 finishing 7th out of 12 teams. They were eliminated from their league cup at the second round.
Mickey Thomas continued with his young side in Old Boys Division Four with much more success than the previous one. They were no one’s whipping boys this season, even competing with Quarry Bank O.B. the runaway leaders of the division. Eventually their inability to eliminate silly errors and finish a higher percentage of chances proved crucial. They played 22 games, won 9, drew 4, lost 9, goals for 45, goals against 44, points 31 finishing 6th out of 12 teams. They also were eliminated from their league cup at the second round.
For the first time in several seasons, we able to enter a competitive side in the Old Boys Junior Shield for players under-21. We ran out winners of this cup defeating Kingsford 2-1 in the final. It was a truly representative side with players from the 1st, 4th & 6th XIs and they were managed by Ben Williams with help from Pez McKenzie, Mike Wickham & Mickey Thomas.
Sadly, the usually successful Veterans Eleven were eliminated for playing, in error, an unsigned on player, in the first round. Amazingly one of aforesaid managers had not signed an Old boys form. Also on the playing side, the I. Zingari Combination side were selected by the league to represent them in their annual game versus the Old Boys League. This was a welcome honour and the team, with the help of some NELTC players, acquitted themselves well in a very competitive and high standard game.
Off the field, regular committee meetings were held where several interesting developments took place. Firstly a regular club programme was produced for the home games which brought in some sponsorship. A new club website was set up, which has developed considerable interest outside the club. The address is http//www.oldxaveriansfc.com.
Two Sportsman Dinners were held, the second of which proved to be very financially successful. An end of season presentation night held was also held. Here, player of the season awards were presented to
First Eleven David Maloney
I. Zingari Comb. Side Colin Knox
St Helens Comb. Side Sam Siddall
Fourth Eleven Michael Billington
Fifth Eleven Steve Wareing
Sixth Eleven John Mathews
Manager of the Year Ben Williams
Club Player of the Year Tony Healy
Young player of the year (top three teams) Paddy Doolan
Young player of the year (Old Boys teams) Dean Boaks
Clubman of the Year Eric Tocher
Pictures of the presentations can be found on the photos page of the website
Another the issue the committee is trying to resolve is the fact that from February 2007 the club’s discipline has been dealt with by Lancashire F.A. and not Liverpool as it previously always had been. We have written to the National F.A. to ask them to allow us to just affiliate with Liverpool County F.A. The matter we are told is being considered by a working party. After only two meetings in twelve month, we appear to be no further advanced although I have been told privately by Senior Lancashire F.A. officials that we will eventually get our way.
For the first time in four seasons, close season work on the pitches was undertaken on all the school pitches at the Club’s expense in summer 2007. This is to be repeated again this season. After much discussion, the committee has decided that any improvement to the facilities at S.F.X. will have to be at the Football Club’s expense with some help from the Cricket section. Repairs to the barrier on the First team pitch were made in the close season but the work was of such a quality that it was easily vandalised and is now in a sorry state of disrepair. The new committee will be giving serious thought on how this can be remedied.
REPORT ON SEASON 2008-2009
With the resignation of three of the Club’s managers and another squad moving up to play in a higher standard, season 2008-2009 necessarily became one of consolidation. Despite this, two teams experienced successful league winning and promotion seasons.
With the First Eleven losing their first game of the season to East Villa, after possibly the best organised pre-season they have ever had, prospects did not look well for improving on the previous season’s success. By the end of the season the team had an outside chance of winning the league if they had have beaten champions, Waterloo Dock, twice. Still they improved on their 4th place finish of last season by one place and reached the quarter-final stage of the Lancashire Shield and Liverpool Challenge Cup losing to the eventual winners in each case. In the Lancashire Shield they played Norcross & Warbreck from Blackpool and Haslingden St Mary’s before losing to Rochdale Sacred Heart. In the Liverpool Challenge Cup they beat Mossley Hill, and Crosfield/Rylands and Sacre Coeur Former Pupils before being eliminated by Waterloo Dock. The County F.A.s Cup which we won last season was not played for this season due to fixture congestion, so we are still the current holders.
The side was, again, ably managed by Ben Williams assisted by Mike Wickham and physiotherapist Eddie Howard. Overall their league playing record was played 28, won 17, drew 8, losing only 5 games, scoring 66 goals and conceding 35 achieving 53 points finishing in third place out of 15 teams. In the end, too many draws prevented the side finishing runners up in the County F.A. Premier League, Premier Division. The side is still improving and with a little more consistency in performance, continued success is not far away.
With the resignation Chris Connor to run Collegiate Old Boys’ County F.A. Premier League side much concern was expressed by your committee. We had committed the club to resigning from the St Helens Combination and fielding our reserve side in the Second Division of the County F.A. Premier League. Fortunately Pez McKenzie, after also initially resigning, agreed to carry on and run our Reserves, a step up in standard from the Old Boys Division One, for most of the players. His squad of very young but talented players allied to some experienced one’s struggled at first losing their first two games in high scoring matches. As it turned out, these teams ended up first and second in the league. The side eventually ended comfortably 7th out of 15 teams in the division. They were sadly eliminated in early rounds of the Junior Cup and the Lord Wavertree Divisional Cup. Overall they played 28, won 15, drew 4, losing 9 games, scoring 74 goals and conceding 64 achieving 49 points. Congratulations must go to Pez for despite his own health scares and domestic difficulties he saw the season out, which many with less character would not have completed.
The Third Eleven continued to play in the I. Zingari Combination Division One under the management team of Mike White assisted by Paul Bennett. They had been willing to step up to run the Reserve side for the benefit of the Club but had preferred to continue in the Combination. The committee obviously made the right decision as they ran out the I. Zingari Combination Champions and Geoff Pye divisional Cup winners. They were prevented from a clean sweep of trophies by a shock 1-0 defeat by Collegiate Old Boys in the Semi Final of the I. Zingari Combination Cup.
Their rivals through the season had been Mossley Hill and 1-2 defeat in only the fourth league game made their title chase very difficult. A 100 percent away record ensured that victory in the last game of the season, curiously enough against Collegiate Old Boys, would give the side the league title. In a close game, the side ran out winners 3-2 coming from behind.
The season had several turning points. One of these was the return game against Mossley Hill which was won easily 5-0, possibly the team’s performance of the season. Another was against third placed club Leyfield, in a mid week game. The Xavs had been outplayed but were hanging on for a draw. The Leyfield full back played the ball back to his keeper for him to clear down field. He proceeded to let the ball go underneath his foot into the net, ensuring an undeserved victory. Despite this stroke of fortunate, the team never gave up and won quite a few games with late goals demonstrating their perseverance and determination. Their league playing record was played 20, won 16, drew 2, losing only 2 games, scoring 47 goals and conceding 20, achieving 50 points. Congratulations to Mike, Paul and the players for the successes and may it continue next season.
They team also played in the Liverpool County F.A. Intermediate Cup reaching the quarter-finals after beating Warbreck Reserves, Stapleton Rovers, Old Cathinians, Bankfield O.B. Waterloo G.S.O.B. before losing to eventual winners Mosscroft from St Helens. They also won the I. Zingari Combination Division One League Cup in a close game against a skilful but ill-disciplined Leyfield side 1-0.
With the promotion of Pez McKenzie from running the Fourth Eleven to managing the Reserves, Mick Kilkie volunteered to run the Fourth Eleven. He was given the option of playing in Division One or Two of the Liverpool Old Boys League. He opted to consolidate in Division Two in his first ever season in management. He proved to a very welcome addition to the committee. Unfortunately, Mick was nearly suicidal after his first two games ended in defeat. Results then turned around and he won the next five league games. These two early season defeats always left this side which too much to do. Then one or two disappointing results late in the season resulted in the team finishing 4th in the league out of 12 teams. After last week’s Old Boys A.G.M. the side will be playing their football in Division One next season after several resignations from that division. The moral is that the season is never over until the last ball is kicked so always try and finish as high as you can in the league.
In the Cups, the side lost heavily to a Roby College side from Division Five in the Senior Shield who eventually only lost narrowly in the final. The team also reached the Semi-final of the League Cup before losing out Heygreen, the League and Cup winners. Their league playing record was played 20, won 11, drew 2, losing 7 games, scoring 51 goals and conceding 36 achieving 35 points.
With the resignation of Brian Deakin, Joe Grant volunteered to run the Fifth Eleven in the Fourth Division of the Old Boys League. After a first game defeat, results improved so much that promotion was ensured with three games to go. This was an excellent start to Joe’s Old Xavs’ managing career. Many games were close but the side always got the vital goal at the right time in game. Their playing record was played 22, won 16, drew 3, losing 3 games, scoring 68 goals and conceding 38 achieving 51 points. Disappointingly they lost in early rounds of both the Northern Cup and in the League Cup. Congratulations must go to the manager and his team, most of whom were new to the Old Xavs set up. They fitted in really well and are now an established part of the Club.
With the resignation of Mickey Thomas from managerial responsibilities to help Mick Kilkie this left a vital gap in the Club’s structure. After much committee discussion it was finally agreed to run an Over 35s team in the I Zingari Combination Veterans Division Two. The committee were reluctant field a side of this age group because this is the age group where future Club managers and assistants come from. But overtures from the senior members of the Club persuaded the committee. Simon Ventre volunteered to give up refereeing and run this team.
A 7-0 thumping in the first mid week game made people think if the right decision had been made. Things recovered because this was followed by four consecutive victories. Results, though, continued to be inconsistent through the season. The team lost 9-2 and 8-0 in games and yet in their final game they delayed Aintree Villa winning the league by winning 2-1. In the Cups they fell at the second hurdle in the County F.A. Veterans Cup and at the first in the Combination Veterans Cup. Their league record was played 26, an inordinate amount for a veteran’s team. They won 9, drew 5, losing 12, scoring 34 and conceding 55 achieving 32 points and finishing 8th out of 14 teams.
For next season, the team will be competing in an over 40s division which I think will better suit their aging bodies. At the moment it is uncertain how many teams will be in the division but it is definitely viable and will go ahead. This season there were just too many games to play and with nothing to play for, for most of the season, their organisation started to creak. This team also represented the Club in the Old Boys over 40s Cup but fell again at the first hurdle.
The under 21s, of whom much was expected this season, also fell at the first hurdle having taken the lead against Waterloo G.S.O.B.
2009 also saw the addition of an Under 9s team play under the Old Xaverians banner. Organised by Mark Clinton and managed by John O’Boyle, they played in the Mossley Hill League on a Saturday and in the Belle Vale League on a Sunday. The season ended with success in the Valley Cup with much joy on everyone’s part. For photos of their success look at the photos page of the website. They were entirely self funded this season and will continue to do so for the future. For next season, Mark has introduced an Under 12s, team as well as an Under 10s to play under the Old Xaverians name. Attempts were also made by the committee to have a youth team playing for us next season but our efforts failed. If anyone knows of a side who is willing play under our name next season or the season after please let the committee know. Our attempts to have a young side playing for us next season who have just come out of youth football was also thwarted through no fault of the committee but because of outside forces over which we had no control.
Off the field, one very successful and one less successful Sportsman’s Dinners were held in the College canteen. These raised nearly £5000. When decorated properly this provides an excellent venue for our requirements. Our Annual Presentation Night was also held here.
The profits from these function is entirely spent on improving the playing facilities at S.F.X. Twice a year the pitches are verti-drained to improve grass growth. Essential repair and maintenance work has also been carried out on the pitches. I think most of you will agree that the pitches looked the best they have for many a season. At the start of the season they were in superb condition. Drainage work has also been done on pitch No.2 (the square pitch) to the boggy parts. Whilst talking about pitches, the barrier around pitch No.1 was in such a state of repair, after vandalism by the pupils, that it had to be removed. So during the second half of the season the pitch had to manually roped off, and dismantled, for each First Eleven game which is real pain in the neck. The committee would welcome any reasonable priced alternatives which may be viable now that pupils do not have access to the fields during the day since the new fence was erected.
As I mentioned in last year’s AGM report the committee were in dispute with the Lancashire F.A. over the Club’s parent association. They were claiming the Old Xaverians as being first affiliated to them. This meant for us, that our discipline was dealt with by Lancashire F.A. After appealing to the National F.A., Mike White and Ben Mallett attended a Board of Enquiry in Manchester. When they came out of the meeting they were quite gloomy about the outcome but further research at the Liverpool County F.A. headquarters unearthed evidence which helped us win our case. The outcome is that for season 2009-2010 we will only be affiliated with Liverpool County F.A. and therefore our discipline will be dealt with by Liverpool as it has been since March. This also means that we will not be allowed to enter the Lancashire Shield or Amateur Cups as we are not first affiliated with them. This will mean the end of the Club’s over hundred plus years association with Lancashire F.A. and it is sad that it had to end so bitterly.
Your committee continues to meet weekly and their hard work ensures that things go smoothly on a Saturday. As the Club continue to expand and be forward-looking to ensure its continued existence and playing success, more and more jobs are being created. The burden of all this is far too much for the current committee members. We need other members to help with fund-raising and ideas for fund-raising. We someone to update the website on a weekly basis, at the most an hour’s work a week. We also need someone to produce either a weekly programme, or as a minimum, a web based monthly newsletter to keep the players aware of what is happening in the club. Without volunteers to take on these tasks they will not happen.
With all the upheaval last season, proper words of appreciation were not given to the retiring managers. Firstly, thanks to Brian Deakin, for all the hard work he has done for the Club over the years. He has played and managed in the Club at all levels including the First Eleven. He has been involved with the Club for many years and he still supports the teams on a Saturday. After all his years of work for the Club he decided to have a rest all be it for one year. Thanks also goes to Mickey Thomas who stood down from the committee but who has never really stopped doing behind the scenes work for the Club, assisting Mick Kilkie with the Fourth Eleven.
Next, Ian Milligan, who has also played and managed teams in the Club, decided to stand down from the committee. In recent years, Ian, through his hard work and dedication, has raised thousands of pounds for the Club funds. Despite standing down he still does useful work behind the scenes including driving the First Eleven in a minibus to distant away games and who stood in for the last four games to manage the Reserves in the absence of Pez McKenzie due to domestic circumstances. He will replace Pez as the Reserves manager for season 2009-2010. I would like to give him heartfelt thanks for his efforts. Finally, the Club would also like to thank Chris Connor, who after 15 years with the club, as a player and a manager, decided to try pastures new. He held several positions on the committee including the onerous one of fixture secretary.
REPORT ON SEASON 2009-2010
The First Eleven continued to play in the Liverpool County F.A. Premier League, Premier Division and was again managed by Ben Williams with strong support from Mike Wickham and physio. Eddie Howard. Brian Deakin joined the team later in the season to add further support. After a good pre-season of structured training and established friendlies, the First team results started well with three consecutive victories. This was the team’s best start to a season since becoming part of the County Premier League. Results then stuttered with inconsistent performances. Two heavy defeats to champions Waterloo Dock and runners up St Aloysius appeared to put paid to hopes the team had of winning the league. This poor spell also resulted in early exit from both the LCFA Challenge Cup and the George Mahon Cup. Then, from late January the results improved dramatically. The team went twelve games without defeat, which included ten victories. Amazingly Carl Gargan scored in ten of these twelve games. Carl had a fantastic season with his 29 goals which left him runner-up in the league's Golden Boot award as top scorer.
This successful run saw the team topping the table. Then in April, two teams resigned resulting in their records being expunged and the Xavs losing twelve points. As other teams played their games in hand, the side dropped down the division to end up fifth out of fourteen. Overall, it was a frustrating season. They did win the Division’s Award for the team with best discipline.
The Reserves started the season with Ian (Jock) Milligan in charge after the resignation of Pez McKenzie, after five seasons of management. Pre-season commitment by players failed to come to fruition and poor availability resulted in inconsistent results. With the new teams coming into Division Two of the County Premier League, the division comprised of eighteen teams. It was decided to split this division into North and South divisions of nine teams each. To increase the number of games a subsidiary cup, called the John Gregson Cup, was introduced. This was played on a World Cup basis of mini leagues of six teams to produce four semi-finalists. This turned out to be unsatisfactory, with us playing several teams four times in the season.
The sudden resignation of Ian Milligan, just before Christmas, because of he was unable to commit the time required to the job, caused problems in the Club’s organization. As Ben Mallett had been helping the Jock with the team, he took over the reins whilst the job was advertised in the Echo. Disappointing no suitable candidate was found who was able to take over Ian’s role mid-season and who also knew how the Club worked. Paul Bennett, joint third team manager and Vice Chairman, then volunteered to step into the breach until the end of the season. He was helped by Ben and Colin Windever, one of the applicants for the job.
At the same time, the side lost eight players for a variety of reasons. Paul was left with a very small nucleus of players and had to find a squad from those not being selected by other teams. Gradually a committed group of player came together but not necessarily of the right standard. In the fourteen games the new squad played they only won once but they were only defeated heavily once. They gave the opposition a game in every other game. Despite their lack of results they did not end up bottom of their division in either the League South or the John Gregson League which is credit to them.
After much soul searching, Paul Bennett has decided to return to the Third Eleven for next season. He will take the better players from this squad with him to strengthen this squad with him. To reward the players who stuck with the club and worked really hard at a standard higher than their ability, it has been decided to enter another team into the Old Boys League in Division Four. Here they should achieve the success their effort’s deserved. All the other teams will move up in the Club’s hierarchy but continue to play in the same leagues.
The Third Eleven continued to play in Division One of the I. Zingari Combination Division One. It was again managed jointly by Mike White and Paul Bennett until Christmas. Alan Jackson stepped in to help Mike when Paul took on the Reserve team. After last season’s successes a poor start seriously hampered their challenge for the title. Two defeats in their first two games, one to, eventual champions, MANWEB and one to Edge Hill left a lot for them to do. Favorable results with the odd set back saw them climb up the table to half way by Christmas.
Despite the disappointing league form steady progress was made in both the I. Zingari Combination Cup and the Liverpool Intermediate Cup. Wins over Holy Name (10-1), Formby Athletic, Mosscroft, last season’s finalists, and Avon Athletic saw them reach the quarter-final of the Intermediate Cup. Sadly, in a closely fought game, they lost 1-2 to Old Cathinians, the eventual finalists. In the Combination Cup they reached the semi-final before losing to the winners Park Brow at the semi-final stage. The side also lost out at the semi-final stage in the Geoff Pye Cup, the Division Cup, to Sacre Coeur, after extra time and penalties.
Steady progress was continued to be made, when with five games to go they found that they could win the league if they won all five games. Surprisingly, in the third game against a mid-table Collegiate side they found themselves 3-0 down after 20 minutes. Despite creating chance after chance they could only draw 3-3. The next game against, now champions MANWEB also ended in a draw. Their third place, despite being so disappointing, can be regarded as a success after their poor start. Mention should be made also of James (Macca) McDonald’s 31 goals during the season, many of these being vital ones.
With Mick Kilkie in charge, assisted by Mickey Thomas, the Fourth Team had been promoted to Division One of the Old Boys League. Consolidation in the division was Mike’s main aim and after the first six games he appeared to be achieving this. They won two, drew two and lost two to be nicely middle of the table. There they remained for the rest of the season, occasionally producing some outstanding performances. They reached the quarter-finals of the Senior Shield and the semi-finals of the Marlborough Cup, the divisional cup.
The most successful team in the Club was the Fifth Eleven who won the Connerty Cup and narrowly failed to win their division, Division Three of the Old Boys League. They were managed by Joe Grant who was assisted by Tom Morris. Like both the Third Eleven and the Vets, the side played the eventual title winners in the very first game of the season. A narrow defeat to South Mersey did not augur well for the rest of the season with having just been promoted from the division below. Five consecutive wins considerably altered their prospects. A surprise defeat to Waterloo halted this progress. From then, mid October, they only suffered one more league defeat all season. By the final game versus De La Salle Old Boys, a win would ensure the title for them. Also a win for De La Salle would mean they won the league, whilst a draw would give the title to the South Mersey team watching on the line. By half time the Xavs appeared to coasting leading 3-0. In the second half De La Salle fought back well to level the scores by the end of the game. This draw gave the title to the watching South Mersey side. It also meant that we ended up third on goal difference with all three teams on the same number of points. This was the end to a really exciting season for the Fifth Eleven, with it going down to the last kick.
The side also reached the Connerty Cup final by beating South Mersey in the semi-final 3-2. In the final, the side should have won easily but failed to take their chances thus allowing Cardinal Newman to equalize with a penalty from one of their few attacks. Sean Butterworth got his second goal of the game to ensure victory for the Xavs 2-1. The side also had a good run in the Northern Cup before being eliminated at the quarter-final stage by Manor Villa, with a last minute penalty. The side’s goals came mainly from Danny Costello and Sean Butterworth with a handy contribution from Pat O’Hanlon at the end of the season.
The Veterans with Simon Ventre continuing as manager, began a new venture by playing in the newly formed Over-40s Division of the I. Zingari Combination Veterans League. As there were only nine teams in the division each team played each other three times in the season. As stated previously the Vets began their campaign at, eventual league winners, Dingle, with a 1-4 defeat. They then went on to win their next twelve games. The return game to Dingle now became a vital one. Sadly the Xavs Vets had a man sent off and lost 2-4 making their job of winning the league very difficult. Defeat to Nalgo Vets in the next game made their task virtually impossible. The third game against Dingle, a few weeks later, ended in a 1-1 draw thus giving the title to worthy winners Dingle Vets with the Xavs Vets runners up. During this incredible season Colin Knox, who scored 23 goals achieved the remarkable feat of scoring in nine consecutive games, which even at this level is a very unusual occurrence.
At the end of the season the Old Boys League hold a knock out competition for Under-21 teams. We again reached the final versus Waterloo Grammar School Old Boys. In a game worthy of the County Premier League Xavs won 3-2 after extra time coming back from 2-0 down. Some fine players for the future were on display. The game was a credit to both sides.
Another fine achievement for an individual of the Club was that of Simon Grant. He captained the Liverpool County F.A. Premier League representative side to the final of the National competition for Step Seven leagues. Sadly they lost to the Guernsey Senior League in Guernsey, who now go on to represent England in a European competition next season in Croatia. It could so nearly have been Simon and the League side. Congratulations to him and the rest of the squad.
Off the field, there were some changes in the committee with long-standing Chairman, Vic Welsh, resigning due to family commitments. Eric Tocher took on the role of Chairman and as well as Treasurer. With the resignation mid-season of Billy Birch, Ben Mallett had to take on the role of Fixture Secretary as well as Secretary. He also had to keep the successful Club’s website up to date. All this is very time consuming. On top of this, Eric Tocher who is both Chairman and Treasurer is also the principal organizer of the two successful Sportsman’s evenings the Club have held this season. The Club is in desperate need of committee to lighten the burden on its current hard working members. Together the Sportsman’s nights raised over £4000, which has been earmarked to pay for the close season pitch renovation and pitch No.1 drainage work. Unfortunately, the pitch renovation is an annual cost which is shared between the school, the cricket club and us. It still cost us thousands of pounds each year which we as a club have to find. This season drainage work was done close season on pitch No. 2, the square pitch. This seems to have helped greatly. A successful presentation night was held in May, where Neil Maquire received the prestigious Club Player of the Year Award. He was awarded it in recognition of his contribution to the 1st XI and also his contribution to the Club particularly his support of the fledgling Junior Section.
Another good feature of the season was the further development of the Junior section. With help from some of the Club’s current playing members, a very successful Summer Soccer School was held over Whit school holiday at Hope College to encourage under 7s to 9s to join the club. This is following on from the success of the Under 10s who won the League and Cup double in a very competitive Belle Vale Sunday Junior League. This season the Junior section ran teams at Under 12s, who were runners up in the Knowsley International Tournament, Under 10s and Under 7s. For season 2010-2011 the Club will have an Under-18 team playing in the South Liverpool & District County Junior League on Saturday mornings, an under 11s team playing Saturday and Sunday mornings, two under-10s teams playing on Sunday morning, two under 8s team playing Sunday mornings and an Under 7s also played Sunday morning. The Saturday mornings will be in the Mossley Hill Junior League and Sunday mornings will be in the Halewood and Merseyside Junior League.
Through much hard work by Mark Clinton, the Junior section organizer, our Charter Standard status has been renewed and there will an effort next season to try and achieve Development status. This will give us more sway when we apply for grants. Also together with the website, it will help bring more sponsorship money into the Club. Currently, our junior section is also in the process of formalizing the club’s partnership with local primary schools as well as the College. This will, among other things, allow College PE students to get involved with training sessions for junior teams, gaining valuable experience for their coaching development.
With the previously mentioned contraction of numbers on the main Club committee it meant our manpower resources were severely stretched. It resulted in costly administrative errors, with both the First Eleven and Reserves losing points during the season. I would like to appeal for anyone who has the good of the club at heart, to volunteer for the committee and take on one of the many administrative or fund raising tasks that have to be done for us to play.
As you can see a lot of hard work is being done behind the scenes on your behalf to develop the Club so that is survives on into the future. Several major clubs have folded in the last few years because they do not think beyond the current season. Even the mighty Waterloo Dock are under threat. We are three years into our five year development plan and we are well ahead of target. All this is achieved through the hard work of a few individuals but they need help and support if the club is to survive and progress. All on the committee would all be grateful for any help and support you are able to give. There are vacancies on the committee for just ordinary committee members to help out in a general capacity. The committee is desperately looking for volunteers.
As always the Club is on the lookout for talented footballers both old and new. If you would like to play for the Club see the contacts page for details.
REPORT ON SEASON
I am happy to report on another successful season for the Club with one league title and four cup final appearances in the Adult section and a championship and a cup final in the Junior section. It is in fact the Junior Section that the most progress has been made with the Club fielding one Saturday side and seven sides on a Sunday. More of this later.
The First team after a poor start to the season recovered tremendously well to finish in second place in the Liverpool County F.A. Premier League Premier Division to champions Waterloo Dock. This is our highest placed finish since the County Combination and I. Zingari League were combined five years ago. After picking up only one point to the three promoted teams in the first four games it looked like it would be a disappointing if not struggling season. This impression continued with two further wins and two draws followed by three consecutive league defeats. This left the side in the unusual position of being in the bottom half of the table by mid October.
A decent run in the Liverpool Challenge Cup saw the side reach the quarter-final stage before losing to Southport Trinity. At this stage of the season, crucial errors and were being punished severely for them as is expected at this level. They also suffered early exits from the George Mahon Cup and the I. Zingari Cup, the Divisional Cup. After Christmas, the number of these errors decreased so much so, that from mid February until mid April, the side went undefeated, a total of eleven games or a third of the season. Credit must go to the players and the management team of Ben Williams assisted by Mike Wickham Snr for this really fine achievement at this level. Overall they played 30 league games winning 15 drawing 7 and losing 8, scoring 66 and conceding 45 achieving 52 points.
The most successful team in the Club though, without doubt, was the Second Eleven who won the I. Zingari Division One title for only the third time in the Club’s history. Under the management team of Mike White and Paul Bennett they gathered together a squad of young and experienced players that challenged throughout the season and also reached two Cup finals. The second game of their season turned out to be the most crucial. Because their opponents, Park Brow, had failed to pay their County F.A. affiliation fees or even their League fees, their fixtures had been suspended by the County. Consequently, the game and points were awarded to the Old Xaverians. These three points were vital as the side won the league by only two points from Park Brow. The moral is that a successful side needs good organization as well as good players.
Despite a slow start, the team topped the table from the first games but success in the LCFA Junior Cup saw them fall behind in fixtures so much so that they had six games in hand of Park Brow and were 16 points behind by the time the midweek fixtures started at the end of the season. This meant they had to win the last 12 games of the season to win the title as Park Brow had a superior goal difference. Even one draw would have seen them lose the title. With the extremely dry weather causing rock hard pitches with the consequent possible risk of injury, the squad did fantastically well to maintain their challenge right to the end. Their last game was against Alder away, where tremendous club support was given. After a nervous first half, the Xavs eventually ran out comfortable 4-1 winners. Joyous scenes were witnessed that night in the Club Bar.
After a fantastic run in the L.C.F.A. Junior Cup, where they reached the quarter- finals, they also were very successful in the I. Zingari Combination Cup and the Geoff Pye Divisional Cup. They reached the finals of both these cup competitions where, sadly, nerves caused them to underperform, losing to Leyfield and Park Brow respectively. In the League they played 22 games winning 19, drawing 1, and losing only 2, scoring 68 and conceding 23 achieving 58 points.
The Third Eleven continued to be managed by Mick Kilkie with assistance from Mike Wickham Jnr. and Paul Formby, after he had hung up his boots mid-season. They played 18, won 9, drew 2, and lost 7 scoring goals 38, conceding 29, gaining 29 points finishing fifth out of ten teams. After starting the season with three wins, a defeat to eventual champions Roby College O.B. started a miserable run for the team. They picked up only one more league point until mid January. This period also included an early exit from the Divisional Marlborough Cup. To counter this they began a good run in the L.C.F.A. Intermediate Cup with victories over Orford, Vale Madrid and Digmoor. Having reached the quarter-final stage, they finally met their match in King Charles F.C. in a narrow 1-0 defeat.
By now, several players had transferred back to the Club from South Liverpool. The return of these good young players greatly improved the squad’s strength. Results gradually improved as these players settled into the side. Progress started to be made in both the league and the Senior Shield, a cup for all the first teams in the Old Boys League. Their season ended with an unbeaten league run of five victories and a draw. They also progressed through to the Senior Shield Final, against Old Cathinians; sadly they lost 2-1 after taking the lead. The main contributing factor was the mistaken dismissal of a Xav’s player. The opposition player involved who should have been sent off went on to score the late winning goal. Overall the finish to the season augurs well for next season if the squad start fit and prepared.
The majority of this side had also played in the Old Boys Junior Shield, the Under-21s final, the previous week. After battering the opposition, also Old Cathinians, they failed to score. With amazing opportunism, Old Caths took a 3-0 lead before the Xavs started to whittle away at their lead but eventually running out of time to see them lose 3-2.
After the previous season’s promotion into the Second Division, the Fourth Eleven were looking to consolidate and maintain their place in the division. They did more than this, finishing second out of eleven teams. Under manage,r Joe Grant, and assistant Tom Morris, this was tremendous progress. The season started inauspiciously with two wins and two draws before two defeats in three games seemed to indicate a mid table season. An early exit in the Alan Brown Trophy was compensated for with a good run in the Northern Cup where they reached the quarter final stage. A final league run in of six wins and two draws and only one defeat, where they struggled to field an eligible side midweek, saw them consolidate second place. It is interesting to note that of their three league defeats two were against mid table side, Liverpool Medics and they were only six points behind champions Quarry Bank O.B. at the end. Next season the side will be run by Tom Morris as Joe Grant is unable to be there every Saturday because of work commitments but he will still be involved.
With the restructuring of Club by changing the leagues that each team were to play in, meant that last season’s County Premier Division Two side was disbanded. The few players still with the club from this side went to form the experienced members of the Fifth Eleven squad, who were entered into Division Four of the Old Boys League. The side was managed by father and son team of Mick and Dan Thomas. With the large majority of the players under twenty-one the season was going to be a steep learning curve. This opinion continued when they only had one win and one draw out of the first five games. Their form suddenly changed with a run of four consecutive wins which took them up to Christmas. Two more wins out of the first three games after the holiday period saw them high in the league table. Sadly four consecutive defeats placed them mid-table again. An early exit from the Cup also dashed their cup hopes. The season finished on a winning note with two more wins out of the last three matches. They finished seventh out of twelve teams, a creditable performance for such a young team in their first season together. They played 22 games winning 9, drawing 2 losing 11 scoring 37 goals and conceding 43 with a points tally of 29.
The Veterans, under a new management team of John Bendon and Dave Mather, continued to play in the I. Zingari Combination Over 40s Division. With three defeats in the seven league games, their hopes of improving on last season’s second place disappeared. Early exit from their two Veterans Cups put paid their hopes of success. Injuries, unavailabilities and late cry-offs greatly contributed to these disappointing results. So much so, that next season they have decided to enter the Over 35 division to increase the number of available players. Indifferent results continued for the rest of the season so that they ended third in an eight team division. They played 21, won 10, drew 4, and lost 7 scoring 43 goals and conceding 40, gaining 34 points.
For the 2010-11 season, it was decided to take a team of Under 17s under our wing. A couple of the squad were sons of ex-players. The side was run By Jimmy Taylor and Tony Foulkes. It was decided to play them in the South Liverpool & District Junior League Under 18 Division, which was supported by the County FA by them providing linesmen free of charge, for each game. Things did not start well when they had an abandoned game in a pre-season competition after a pitch invasion. For this they were rather unfairly thrown out of the competition. When the league matches started proper, they set off rapidly winning the first three games to top the league. Sadly results started to deteriorate when players failed to turn up or became unavailable due to work commitments. So much so that having reached the quarter-finals of the LCFA Youth Cup only nine players turned up which included two goal keepers and resulting in a heavy defeat. In the league they played 14 games, winning 8, drawing 1, losing 5, with 47 goals for and 42 goals against, achieving 25 points finishing fifth out of eight teams on goal difference and only three point off winning the league.
Next season, even though all of the squad is eligible for the Under 18 division again and the league is being taken over by the Liverpool County Premier League, it was decided that an early Saturday morning kick-off would cause the same problems as this. It has been decided to strengthen the squad with older players and to enter them in Division Five of the Old Boys League.
This season the Junior Section were able to field seven sides on a Sunday morning in the Merseyside & District Junior League at ages from Under 7s through to Under 11s, fielding two sides at Under 7s and Under 9s. One side was also fielded at Under 9 in the Mossley Hill Junior League of a Saturday morning. This was an increase from three sides the previous season. The driving force behind this was Mark Clinton, through whose work we were able to achieve full Charter Standard Status this season and go on to apply for Community Status. This would require us to have to include a female team! We have nearly reached this stage but a lot more work needs to be done. Through Mark’s and the Junior Section’s committee hard efforts, and with help from the County F.A., two Soccer Skills weeks have been held and a third is planned for the Whit week. The aim of these weeks is to recruit players for a new Under 7s team, so that we are able to field sides at Under 7s through to Under 12s next season.
Some playing success was experienced by this section with the Old Xaverians Juniors winning the Under 7s Conference and reaching the final of the Under 9s Conference Cup and finishing third in the Under 9s Conference. Congratulations to the players and the managers of all the teams for keeping the whole thing going so efficiently but especially to those who experienced some success. You can see the website for more details on the Junior Section.
Off the field, the Adult committee continued to work hard. The dressing rooms were painted close season although you would not think it now. Drainage work was also done on the First Eleven pitch, a sizable junk paid for by Club. The results were plain to see mid and late season with so much grass on the pitches and fewer games being called off despite the wet winter. Training facilities were also set up at Knowsley Hey for several teams and most people agree this is a magnificent facility. For next season, it has been arranged for us to have four half pitches for an hour each spread over Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7th June.
Several successful fund raising events were organized during the season including a Race Night, our usual Sportsman’s night and a Cheese and Wine Evening as well as our annual presentation day. The Sportsman’s Night was a huge success financially raising nearly £5000. A £1000 was also raised by our first venture at a Cheese and Wine Evening. This turned out to the most entertaining event in many years so that we are certain to organize another for next season. Money raised at these functions will go on the annual maintenance work on the pitches as well the dressing facilities. Eric Tocher and Paul Bennett have done sterling work behind the scenes so that it is highly likely that some time next season we will have portacabin dressing rooms attached to the cricket pavilion with showers and toilets.
As some of you now know, I am standing down as Club secretary after twenty seasons doing the job. I still hope to be involved as a committee member but the club has become so large now that we need more and more contributing members. I will be around to assist the new secretary but volunteers, to make a contribution to committee work are urgently needed. Currently, several committee members are doing two and three jobs when their life would be much easier if they only had to do one. If you can find the time please volunteer your services.
Report on Season 2011/12
Whilst it wasn’t our most successful year in terms of trophies and titles, season 2011/12 was our 120th year in existence, and this was a magnificent achievement in itself. We fielded 7 open age teams in the 3 main Saturday Leagues in Liverpool and had another 8 junior teams competing across the weekend in Junior Leagues and development/friendly games. Our full range of teams contributed to what the club’s about and what we all do it for, playing for enjoyment, developing the club and players, being competitive, and for the social side.
All senior teams competed well in their Leagues, some with strong starts which couldn’t be sustained, others with slow starts which improved over the season. We reached 6 semi finals, competing well but in all cases losing, mostly by the odd goal.
The admin side of the club was again strong, meeting all the regular and challenging deadlines for submission of documents, fines, reports, teamsheets, charter standard accreditations, etc. thanks very much to Ben Mallett for all his help with this, accrued over a near 50 year association with the club.
The demanding role of arranging 7 weekly fixtures and even more with midweeks in the latter stage of the season fell to Fixture Secretary Micky Thomas, his first full season in the role. Micky did a perfect job, absolutely no issues with fixtures this year despite the usual difficult opponents and demanding League Secretaries round about FA Cup Final time. He rightly picked up a thoroughly deserved Clubman of the Year last Saturday night, and I’m very relieved he’s agreed to stay on in the role next year.
So while we generally do things well, we need some more volunteers and committee members. Some examples, it’s hit and miss who locks up during games on a Saturday, who co-ordinates the clearing up, who does the fundraising tickets, who organises and works at the social do’s. It tends to be the same few faces, some of whom should be concentrating on the teams they manage, a full time job in itself. So a perennial general plea, more help please!!
Discipline and Fines
The admin side of the club is strong, but we spend far too much time (and money) on dealing with and paying for disciplinary matters. Over £1,500 paid out in fines by the Club, with only 60% (£900) recovered so far. This can’t go on, it’s a waste of all our valuable time, resource and money, when we should be devoting time (and money) to strengthening our teams, seeking sponsorship and funding to improve our changing and playing facilities, and moving the club forward.
The club has to and will take a stronger line on player indiscipline in the future, and will ensure all fines incurred so far this season are paid, or will take action in accordance with sanctioned FA guidelines.
1st Team (4th in Liverpool County FA Premier League, Premier Division)
Successfully managed as we’ve come to expect over recent years by Ben Williams and Mike Wickham, assisted by Brian Deakin, physio Mark Doyle and Barry’s willing band of supporters. Finished 4th in the top amateur division in Liverpool. What an achievement for our club this is, Ben and Mike’s team being the flagship of our multi-faceted club competing at the highest level of amateur football in Liverpool, against strong clubs who devote all their energies to their single team. Maybe a lesson for us, but also demonstrates our high level of performance and the whole point of OXFC.
7 wins in the first 11 games gave the team a solid start, and a first ever double over reigning champions Waterloo Dock gave us real hope of the League. This was supplemented by an excellent LCFA Challenge cup run which ended in a tight quarter final at Croxteth. A run of only 1 defeat in the next 8 League games moved us to the top of the table, but crucial late defeats to REMYCA , Warbreck and new champions APH left us in 4th place.
Full Record – P35 W21 D 2 L12 F79 A24. League Position 4th of 15. Top Scorer Carl Gargan – 19
Players Player of Year – Jon Steen. Managers Player of Year – Neil Maguire
2nd Team (4th in Zingari Combination, Div One)
It was never going to be easy to defend last year’s title, particularly after the loss of such experience like Neill Melia, Matty Kearney and Mark Radcliffe. But magnificent performances from youngsters, new and “old” led us to a run of 15 wins and 1 draw in the first 18 games (League and Cup), leaving us placed to chase long time league leaders Liver Academy and in 2 semi finals, Zingari Challenge Cup and the LCFA Junior Cup.
We lost both semi finals 3-2 in epic games, vs Liver Academy and Allerton respectively, both of whom went on to win those cups. A disastrous March saw us lose 3 league games on the bounce, 1 to eventual champions Liver Academy which handed them the initiative. 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats in the last 6 games meant a 4th placed finish, but lots of positives with the development of excellent youngsters Jake Sedgwick, Matty Thornberry, Ben Melia and Ryan Molloy amongst others.
A big step up to LPL Div 2 next year, and the team will need strengthening. Managers Paul Bennett and Mike White remain well up for it.
Full Record – P32 W20 D3 L9 F113 A48. League Position 4th of 12.
Top Scorer James McDonald 29. Player of Year – Jamie Stewart
3rd Team (5th in Liverpool Old Boys League, Div One)
Managed again by Mick Kilkie, a slow start in the League meant they were always chasing the leaders. Stability came about through an excellent LCFA Intermediate cup run, with some big wins. They came up against a strong Rainhill Town Res in the 5th round, losing 4-2 in a great game. An unbeaten League run of 7 games saw a late season surge, but a last game defeat to Quarrybank meant a 5th placed finish in a strong division. They were also beaten Quarrybank 1-0 in the semi final of the divisional cup.
Excellent seasons from Steve Waring, Billy Jones, Mike McStein and Connor Murphy amongst others. Mick was assisted by a variety of people over the season, but without real stability. As ever, help required, please apply through Committee!
Full Record – P27 W15 D1 L11 F 81 A47 – League Position 5th of 11.
Top Scorer & Player of Year – Connor Murphy (26 goals). OXFC Club Player of Year – Steve Waring
4th Team (3rd in LOBAL Div 2)
Managed by Tommy Morris (Manager of Year) assisted by Joe Grant, the experienced team had an excellent season competing for honours until the very last game. This turned out to be a pulsating Northern Cup semi final against a strong Billinge Reserves side’ losing 2-1 to a late goal. Billinge went on to win the Northern Cup final and also ended up as champions of the Cheshire League Reserve, a high standard of football.
In the League, the team started off the season well with 2 straight wins, but then a succession of drawn games saw them playing catch-up to eventual winners Waterloo. A run of 6 successive wins from Dec to February gave them fresh hopes but late defeats to Quarrybank and St Mary’s saw them finish 3rd. A successful season, and once again an improvement in the strength of squad and results.
Full Record - P25 W15 D3 L7 F61 A38 League Position – 3rd of 11
Joint Top Scorers – Shaun Butterworth & Jay Hargreaves (12) Player of Year – Darren Partington
5th Team (4th in LOBAL Div 4)
The 2nd season in this division saw the development predicted for Danny Thomas’s young side, and their 4th place finish was only one point and one goal (difference) behind champions Sacre Coeur.
They started great with a draw and 4 wins before 2 defeats to eventual champions Sacre Coeur in October, which would prove crucial in the long run. A run of 6 consecutive victories from January rekindled their title hopes but a Cup semi final defeat by Collegiate and a reverse to CivServ ended their quest for honours in March.
A great season, massive strides forward since their inaugural year, and a move to the Zingari Combination next season, where they will represent the Club with honour.
Full Record – P21 W13 D3 L5 F73 A34 League position 4th of 11
Player of Year – John Welsh. OXFC Young Player of Year and Top Scorer – Jordan Lockett (23 goals)
6th Team (8th in LOBAL Div 5)
Jimmy Taylor’s 6th team suffered a traumatic start to their first season in open age football, experiencing defeats in their first 7 matches. A win at Rockville got them back on track and they then went on a 6 game unbeaten run, and reached the semi final of their divisional cup, losing out to eventual champions, the strong Quarrybank side. They consolidated their League position to finish 8th.
An encouraging first season for Jimmy’s lads, some of whom made guest appearances for higher teams at the end of the season and performed very well, Steve Kearney amongst others. There’s some cracking young players in this side, and hopefully they will all be with the club for a long time to come.
Full record - P20 W7 D2 L12 F39 A51 – League Position 8th of 10 – Top Scorer – Carl Doherty (7)
Player of Year – Jack Tune
Over 35s (5th in Zingari Combination Vets Div 2)
Dave Mather took over the reins from John Bendon and took the seniors into the higher age group. They started the season off great, winning 6 and drawing 1 of their first 8 games. 3 consecutive losses then affected them, including defeats in both cups, and they then remained behind the leaders, and this may have affected spirit as the reliability of certain players dropped off.
They finished 5th eventually, but all enjoyed it at the higher level and Dave and his crew certainly enjoyed the social side of the season to the full.
Full Record – P21 W9 D2 L10 F48 A51 League position – 5th of 11. top Scorer – Jon Vidamour (9)
Player of Year – Billy Ashley
The hugely successful Junior Section has been co-ordinated by Mark Clinton, who is due a huge debt of gratitude for his efforts. I believe that children are our future, and it’s essential that we maintain and develop the links between our growing and thriving Junior section, and I will be concentrating on that as Hon Sec over the next 12 months.
The Club plan to enter an Under 18 team into the County FA Premier League Saturday Youth Division next season, under the management of Billy Kay. The team played in the Halewood & District Under 17s league last season.
Charter Standard Community Status
Achieved last year, with massive help and input from Mark Clinton, and important to our future development. Recently updated, a major administrative exercise but vital to our future, and will hopefully assist with future grant applications.
A development grant to improve our facilities has been applied for and the outcome is still awaited. The plan is to upgrade the facilities on the ground floor of the “cricket” pavilion into 2 dressing rooms which meet the Step 7 standards. It is anticipated that these facilities will be used by all teams over the season, and will give us breathing space to develop other facilities on site.
A hugely successful Christmas Wine Tasting evening was held, thanks to Dave Mather’s efforts, and Norman Whiteside entertained us at the Sportsman’s Dinners in April. Both events brought in much needed funds for our plans to improve the changing facilities at SFX. Again more ideas and help needed for future events.
SFX School 1st Team
Congratulations to SFX school Under 19s team who last week won both the prestigious Liverpool Schools FA Senior Shield, and the Bill Murphy Play Off Final. Managed by Pat Kelly, and Andy Murphy, and captained by Tom O’Driscoll who’s in the 2nd Team Old Xavs squad. OXFC will make a small presentation to the team at a friendly game being staged tomorrow afternoon at SFX.
Neil Maguire and Carl Gargan had the honour of playing for the County FA Premier League Representative side, including a bizarre game in the Isle of Man. Mike and Paul managed the Zingari Combination rep side, consisting mostly of 2nd team players plus some from MANWEB. They lost 3-0 to the Old Boys League, who had Xavs Mike McStein and Billy Vaughan in their line-up, amongst others.
Thanks to all on the Committee for their help and support, in particular on the regular admin side of things done by Eric, Ben and Micky. Also to all the others, the managers, all our players, our many supporters and our sponsors.
We move towards our 125th anniversary, and will continue to keep fielding teams who play good football, and pick up some trophies along the way.
24 May 2012
Report on Season 2012/13
Another hugely successful season for Old Xaverians FC, both on and off the field, with major forward strides taken. Highlights on the field included – the Under 18s wining the County Premier League Youth Division in their 1st season; Jimmy Taylor’s 6th Team doing their League and Cup double; the Reserves finishing Runners Up in their 1st season in LCPL Div 2; the 1st Team reaching the LCFA Challenge Cup Final for the 1st time in the Club’s long history; the 5th team finishing Runners up in Div 2 OB, and reaching the Northern Cup semi final. And our Juniors section continues to thrive under the leadership of Mark Clinton.
Off the field, we applied for and received a Football Foundation Grant to refurbish dressing rooms in the “new pavilion”, which were opened in March 2013. We held a good Sportsmans Evening in November and a legendary Wine Tasting evening in March, both excellent on the social and finance fronts. Our Presentation Day took a new format this year, with the inaugural Gill Tocher Trophy being competed for in a club 7-a-side Tournament, (which was a huge success) followed by traditional award presentations. Thanks to Danny Thomas for his planning, and to the whole Thomas family, Tommy Morris (and all the other refs) for their help on the day.
Our full range of teams contributed to what the club’s about and what we all do it for, playing for enjoyment, developing the club and players, being competitive, and for the social side.
The admin side of the club remains strong, meeting all the regular and challenging deadlines for submission of documents, fines, reports, teamsheets, charter standard accreditations, etc. thanks very much to Ben Mallett for all his help with this, accrued over a near 50 year association with the club.
The demanding role of arranging all the weekly fixtures and even more with midweeks in the latter stage of the season fell to Fixture Secretary Micky Thomas, his 2nd season in the role. Micky did a perfect job, absolutely no issues with fixtures this year despite the usual difficult opponents and demanding League Secretaries. Unfortunately Micky has decided to step down for the coming season, they will be very big boots to fill.
So while we generally do things well, we need some more volunteers and committee members particularly if we want to develop the Club. Some examples, it’s hit and miss who locks up during games on a Saturday, who co-ordinates the clearing up, who does the fundraising tickets, who organises and works at the social do’s. It tends to be the same few faces, some of whom should be concentrating on the teams they manage, a full time job in itself. So a perennial general plea, more help please!!
We also lost a few games in the Committee rooms this year through player ineligibility, and while sometimes unavoidable in valiant attempts to field sides, this is an area the club will be looking to improve on in future.
Discipline and Fines
The admin side of the club is strong, but we spend far too much time (and money) on dealing with and paying for disciplinary matters. Over £1,000 paid out in fines by the Club, with only 70% (£750) recovered so far. This can’t go on, it’s a waste of all our valuable time, resource and money, when we should be devoting time (and money) to strengthening our teams, seeking sponsorship and funding to improve our changing and playing facilities, and moving the club forward.
The club has to and will take a stronger line on player indiscipline in the future, and will ensure all fines incurred so far this season are paid, or will take action in accordance with sanctioned FA guidelines. Having said that, discipline in the Club is generally very good, with most of our teams near the top of their respective Fair Play tables.
1st Team (4th in Liverpool County FA Premier League, Premier Division)
Once again, successfully managed by Ben Williams and Mike Wickham, assisted by Brian Deakin, physio Mark Doyle, MW Junior and Barry’s willing band of supporters. An impressive late run of League results saw them clinch 4th place in the last game of a very long, hard and demanding season. Successful cup runs meant we were inevitably playing catch up, so what an achievement for our club this is.
We reached the LCFA Challenge Cup Final after a hard fought semi final victory over Rylands in Warrington. On the night, we played all the football against a physical South Sefton Borough, even when reduced to 10 men after a sending off for 2 technical offences. SSB got the benefit of a highly contentious penalty decision in extra time, and capitalised on it. When we were awarded a penalty a few minutes later, their keeper saved it, so we lost 1-0, despite being the better side all night. Just proves how hard it is to win things, and the fine margins between victory and defeat. We lost 1-0 to East Villa in the quarter final of the Zingari Cup, and 2-1 to the same opponents in the semi-final of the George Mahon Cup.
Very promising for the future with young players coming through, like Bobby Evans, and Jamie Harkness, with established players like Jon Weights, Dave Speed, Ian Gargan having great seasons and Carl Gargan maintaining his phenomenal scoring record. Downsides were serious injuries to Ryan Morgan and Neil Maguire, and the news that Ryan Becks is moving away in the summer.
Full Record – P36 W22 D5 L9 F92 A48. League Position 4th of 13. Top Scorer Carl Gargan – 21
Players Player of Year – Tommy Falconer. Managers Player of Year – Tommy Falconer
OXFC Club Player of Year – Tommy Falconer. OXFC Young Player of Year – Bobby Evans
Reserves Team (Runners Up in Liverpool County Premier League, Div Two)
We took the step-up to the County Premier League and it has proved a huge success. It took us a while to find our feet, but we kept in the hunt up to Christmas and our form since then was very consistent, winning 10 and drawing 2 of our last 15 League games. This saw us finish Runners Up, 4 points behind one-time runaway leaders, Famous Grapes, and only sealed in the last minute of the last game with an Adam Edwards penalty at Eli Lilly. Our run extended to the 2 League Cups, losing one semi-final narrowly and reaching the John Gregson Cup Final, only to lose on pens to Waterloo from Div 1. Our one disappointment was the 1st round exit in the LCFA Junior Cup, a bad day all round when Phil Murphy badly broke his leg.
Some great young players coming through, Tom Beesley, Sean Keely, Jonny Cattrall and Eden Heron, and some of our other young players now established, Jamie Stewart, Max Burns, Phil Hughes, Adam Edwards, Colin Thomas, etc.
Another big step up to LPL Div 1 next year, and the team will need strengthening again. Managers Paul Bennett and Mike White remain well up for it.
Full Record – P30 W17 D4 L9 F44 A34. League Position Runners Up of 13.
Top Scorer James McDonald/Adam Edwards 7. Player of Year – Colin Thomas
3rd Team (9th in Zingari Combination Div One)
The 1st season in this League proved challenging for the 3rd Team, though Danny Thomas’s young side held their own in the Division until late season until 2 late defeats meant they finished in 9th place. This was compounded by a squad implosion which saw them barely able to field a side for a Cup semi-final, and an inevitable defeat. A disappointing end to their Zingari campaign.
Full Record – P24 W8 D2 L14 F47 A61 League position 9th of 10
Player of Year – Jordan Lockett. Top Scorer – Jordan Lockett (8 goals)
4th Team (6th in Liverpool Old Boys League, Div One)
Manager Mick Kilkie resigned a month into the new season, leaving the Club with a big gap to fill. Thankfully John Bendon agreed to step into the breach and did a fantastic job galvanising the squad into a competitive outfit, when the team were in grave danger of folding. The team achieved some notable victories against table toping sides, but were eliminated from one Cup on a technicality. But the team are lloking forward to next season under John’s management, and he is already recruiting new players.
Full Record – P22 W10 D1 L10 F 45 A39 – League Position 6th of 11.
Top Scorer – Matty Thornberry 6. Player of Year – Phil Denton.
5th Team (Runners Up in LOBAL Div 2)
Managed by Tommy Morris assisted by Joe Grant, the experienced team had another excellent season competing for honours until their very last game. They lost out in the League to their nemesis, an equally experienced Quarrybank side, who didn’t always strictly honour the League rules, and also lost to them in the League Cup. Excellent League form saw them lose only 2 all season, but the late defeat to Quarry decided the title.
The team had another excellent Northern Cup run up, losing out to the same Quarrybank side yet again! This was on penalties after a pulsating 0-0 draw. All of Tommy’s experienced lads did him proud, and they will miss the experience of Simon Grant from next season after his recent move to USA.
Full Record - P20 W13 D3 L4 F53 A27 League Position – Runners Up of 9
Top Scorers – Jay Hargreaves (16) Player of Year – Simon Grant
6th Team (Double Winners in LOBAL Div 5!!)
What a turnaround for Jimmy Taylor’s 6th team after their 1st season last year. They started like a train and never stopped, winning games by bucketloads of goals (115 in total) and not losing all season, League or Cup. Rivals Sacre Coeur matched them all the way, and it all boiled down to the last 2 League games of the season, both against Sacre Coeur, with Xavs needing at least one win. Needless to say, both were won, and the League was won by a comfortable margin of 9 points. By this time they had already won the Grimshaw Cup with a 2-0 victory over CivServ in the Final.
Great season for all the lads, but special mention to Dean Johnson who weighed in with 38 goals, an incredible feat. Ryan Milner also scored 19. The team are looking to advance up the OB League next season, and some of their players are well capable of playing higher in the Club.
Full record - P26 W24 D2 L0 F115 A29 – League Position Champions & Cup Winners.
Top Scorer – Dean Johnson (38) Player of Year – TBC
Over 35s (4th in Zingari Combination Vets Div 2)
Dave Mather led the team to another successful season of playing drinking and eating. They finished 4th in the ever competitive Div 2 of the Over 35s section. Even the advent of photo id’s didn’t put them off their stride. They started well but found the top teams of Allerton and Stoneycroft too strong, although they remained competitive in those games.
They disappointed in the Cups again though, suffering their usual early exits. But they seem to have found a reliable goalscorer in Gary Parr, who ended the season on 17 goals.
Full Record – P21 W10 D5 L6 F48 A46 League position – 4th of 11. Top Scorer – Gary Parr (17)
Player of Year – Neil Martin
Under 18s (Champions of LCPL Under 18s Sat Youth Division)
The Under 18s also had an excellent 1st season in the Club. Playing in the highly competitive Saturday Youth Division of the Liverpool County Premier League, their season went right down to the wire. In their last game they needed a win, and hope close rivals Dunlops didn’t win by 5 more goals. During play word came through that Dunlops had postponed their game. Anyway the Xavs Youth got a winner with virtually the last kick of the game to win 3-2, and await the League’s decision on Dunlop. They were eventually awarded their game, but with no goals so we won the League on goal difference!
A hugely satisfying outcome for the Under 18s and their impreesive management team of Dom Farrell, Billy Kay and Paul Stanton. Their organisation and playing style has been superb all year, and they have been a credit to the Club. We are now making plans to assimilate them into the Club next season
Full Record - P24 W16 D2 L6 F74 A 40 – League Position Champions
Top Scorer – Emerson Hunter (16) – Player of Year - TBC
The hugely successful Junior Section has been co-ordinated once again by Mark Clinton, who is due a huge debt of gratitude for his efforts. I believe that children are our future, and it’s essential that we maintain and develop the links between our growing and thriving Junior section.
Charter Standard Community Status
Achieved last year, with massive help and input from Mark Clinton, and important to our future development. Recently updated, a major administrative exercise but vital to our future, and will hopefully assist with future grant applications.
A development grant to improve our facilities was received and the resulting new facilities are very impressive, and have led to our Step 7 full status being restored, as well as the Liv County Premier League’s. This is great news. However, the old facilities are now causing a problem and need to be fixed.
Jimmy Case was the guest speaker at our Sportsman’s Evening in November 12, and in March another hugely successful Wine Tasting evening was held, which was so good no-one can remember it!. Thanks again to Dave Mather and John Bendon for their efforts in organising the night, probably one of the best social nights in our history. End of season Presentation Day included a Club 7-a-side Tournament, where the Gill Tocher Trophy was competed for for the first time – it is hoped this will become an annual event, as the whole day and evening was a huge success.
Neil Maguire and Carl Gargan had the honour of playing for the County FA Premier League Representative side. Tommy Morris managed the old Boys League Representative side, consisting mostly of Old Xavs and beat the I Zingari Combination side 4-1 in the annual fixture.
Thanks to all on the Committee for their help and support, in particular on the regular admin side of things done by Eric, Ben and Micky. A special mention this year to Dave Reynolds for all the work he puts in on the grounds, the pitches have been excellent this year, and also for his liaison work with the school. Also to all the others, the managers, all our players, our many supporters and our sponsors.
We move towards our 125th anniversary, and will continue to keep fielding teams who play good football, and pick up some trophies along the way.
Report on Season 2013/14
Another good season for Old Xaverians FC both on and off the field, as we edge towards our 125th Anniversary in 2017. We experienced all the emotions of grassroots football nowadays, inconsistent facilities, multiple postponements due to no-shows and withdrawals, abandonments due to indiscipline, poor winter weather, but we conducted ourselves well, competed to the end in all our Leagues, welcomed a successful new side into the Club, reached a couple of Cup Finals, managed the OB Representative side, and even managed to win a League! This last accolade went to John Harkin and Tom Edwards' Division 4 Old Boys side, ending up League Champions in their 1st season with the Xavs, also losing narrowly in their Cup Final, and earning John the Manager of the Season award. The 1st Team competed well in the top League in the city, finishing 4th, and reaching the semi final of the LCFA Challenge Cup. And our successful Juniors Section continues to thrive under the leadership of Colin Barratt and his Committee.
Off the field we held successful social nights with the ever popular "Wine Tasting" evening in the autumn and a successful Race Night in the spring, both raising significant funds for the Club. We departed from the Sportsman's Evenings this year, although may return to them, and we contributed funds and practical help to the refurbishment of the Xaverian Club, with footballers Steve Waring and Rob Kyle taking major parts in the project, aided by countless others from all sections of the Club. The results are there for all to see, the Club is looking tons better, and this should be supported by all taking out individual memberships where possible. Our recent presentation day continued last year's successful 7-a-side tournament, the Gill Tocher Trophy being won by the Japan team, including Andy Edmondson, Darren Partington, Steve Linder, and several others, worthy winners. Season Awards were then presented in the Club, a great night. Thanks go to Tommy Morris, Joe Grant, Eric Tocher, Ben Mallett, Micky Thomas (and lads), Jimmy Taylor (and family) and Steve Stewart and his team of referees for all their help on the day, and all who contributed by helping and participating.
Our full range of teams contributed to what the club's all about and what we do it for, playing for enjoyment, developing the club and players, being competitive, and having a great time on the social side. Our senior playing structure this year began as follows:
1st Team - Premier Division, Liverpool County Premier League - managed by Ben Williams &+
Reserves - 1st Division, LCPL (promoted from Div 2) - Paul Bennett and Mike White
3rd Team - 1st Division, Zingari Combination - taken over by John Bendon and Paul Formby
4th Team - 1st Division Liverpool Old Boys League - taken over by tommy Morris and Joe Grant (from Div 2)
5th Team - 2nd Division LOBAL - taken over by Jimmy Taylor and Tony Foulkes after their team won Div 5.
6th Team - 2nd Division LCPL - Paul Stanton after his team won the LCPL Under 18s Division
7th Team - 4th Division LOBAL - new team run by John Harkin and Tom Edwards
Over 35s - 2nd Division, Zingari Combination Vets League - Dave Mather and Phil Lundy.
The admin side of the Club remains remains strong, and this becomes increasingly important as we see longstanding opponents struggling to continue through poor administration, lack of finance, lack of players and indiscipline. Once again we met all our deadlines for fines, reports, teamsheets, accreditations etc, and once again Ben Mallett played a major part in this, keeping all the procedures in good order, and providing vital information on Registrations, eligibilities, etc. - the club would seriously struggle without Ben's attention to detail, and we are all very grateful for it.
Paul Formby took on the role of Fixture Secretary and did us proud against the usual backdrop of difficult disorganised opponents, (some of whom couldn't be bothered turning up to games they'd never confirmed), demanding League Secretaries, and late postponements for weather or whatever. Paul obviously had a difficult year with the 3rd team but we hope he can be persuaded to stay on in the role of Fixture Sec - and he was unanimously voted Clubman of the Year.
We are also well represented on the Committees of all the Leagues we compete in - Eric Tocher (Old Boys); Dave Reynolds (Zingari Combination); and Ben Mallett (County Premier League) all holding senior positions on their Committees.
But as usual we need more volunteers, or the future may be as inevitable as some of the other famous names which have gone by the wayside this year, Old Holts, Allerton, Kingsley, Pinewoods, amongst others. Never in the field of amateur football has so much been owed by so many to so few - our small committee which runs the biggest amateur club on Merseyside, sorting pitches, teams, kits, equipment, leagues, social do's, etc etc ad infinitum. More help greatly appreciated, volunteers always accepted.
Our playing administration has been much improved this year, with hardly any fines or complaints re ineligible players, poor discipline, etc. However we did fail to fulfil one fixture, which I view as a major lapse, and when we have in excess of 200 players signed on is serious and is viewed unsympathetically by the Leagues, and hopefully not a sign of things to come.
Discipline and Fines
Much improved this season, and better payment of the lower fines we did incur. However, we were involved in one of the most serious cases of indiscipline, with opponents taking things way beyond limits and incurring serious personal injury and damage to the Club's structure by way of significant resignations and the mid-season folding of one of our teams, in the Zingari Combination. A serious situation, and our only response can be to ensure we maintain our good behaviour and discipline throughout all teams in the Club.
1st Team (4th in Liverpool County FA Premier League, Premier Division)
Once again successfully managed by Ben Williams and Mike Wickham, assisted by Brian Deakin, physio Mike Kilkie, and MW Junior. Ben lost a host of players from last season, notably the Gargans, Ryan Becks, Tommy Falconer, and keeper Jon weights for most of the season. However, they remained in the top half all season and the return of Jonny Quirk and Ryan Morgan and the introduction of Anthony Lyons, James Anderson, Chris Brady and Liam Kavanagh were major positives. They finished 4th in the League for the 2nd season in a row, displaying remarkable consistency in the highest standard in the city, competing against single-team established clubs.
In the Cups, the 1sts were eliminated from the Zingari Challenge Cup early by Liverpool North Warbreck on penalties after finishing 2-2 AET, but a glorious cup run took us to the semi-final of the LCFA Challenge Cup. Another epic semi vs South Liverpool ended in undeserved defeat, 4-3 after extra time, but no disgrace. We reached the quarters of the George Mahon Cup, but lost 2-0 to an energetic Collegiate side who had just been promoted to the Premier Division,
Overall, it was a positive season of consolidation and transition, and suggesting a future of real promise if we keep this young side together. We all know the management team of Ben, Mike & Brian will be well up for it!
Full record - P34 W20 D3 L11 F81 A57, League Position 4th of 15. Top Scorer Anthony Lyons - 23
Players Player of Year (PPY) - Sean Irving. Managers Player of Year (MPY)- David Speed
OXFC Club Player of Year - Sean Irving
Reserves Team (11th in Liverpool County Premier League, Division 1)
A tough season in our first at the highest level this team could possibly play in the city. The magnificent achievement of 1st season promotion last year was brought into focus by the sharp increase in playing standard, exacerbated by the loss of some of our best players from the promotion season. These included Player of Year and Captain Colin Thomas, and the influential pair of Max Burns and Phil Hughes. However, we got plenty of new players in, and never needed numbers, just a bit more quality. We held our own in the League until a mauling by South Liverpool Res in the LCFA Junior Cup quarter final in November - this was a watershed for some players we never saw again, and we struggled through the winter. Some notable wins and draws meant we avoided the ignominy of relegation, and we reached the quarter final of the John Gregson cup but lost 2-1 to Litherland Remyca Res.
So a tough season after several successful ones for this team, having finished in the top 4 in various Leagues for each of the last 9 seasons, inc several titles. So all we can do is learn, put it right and get better next year. We'll be up for it.
Full Record - P29, W8, D4. L17, F54, A71 League Position - 11th of 14 Top Scorer - James McDonald 24
PPY - James McDonald. MPY - Jamie Stewart OXFC Young Player of the Year – Jake Sedgwick
3rd Team (Zingari Combination Div One - resigned Dec 2013)
Under the new management team of John Bendon and Paul Formby, this team started the season well and were going well in the LCFA Intermediate Cup when they suffered from a serious incident in a game against Alder in November. No need to record the details all over again, but the seriousness of the incident and injuries suffered led to the resignation of the managerial pair, and the inevitable Club decision to withdraw from the Zingari Combination, a decision made harder because of our long term association with that League. Some great players were doing well, including Jake Sedgwick, Josh Bendon, Mike McStein and Darryl Loughran (who scored 15 goals for 3 club teams), but thankfully they're all still playing within the Club.
4th Team (4th in Liverpool Old Boys League Div One)
A step up to Div One for Tommy Morris and Joe Grant's squad after finishing Runners Up in Div 2. They held their own in a tough league, were involved right until the end, and reached the Divisional Cup Final, only losing on penalties after a tight game to double Cup Winners, Bankfield. This was to be Tommy and Joe's final season running the team after several years in charge, and their meritorious service was marked at the end of season Presentation Night. It is hoped that their players will remain within the Club, we cannot afford to lose such quality.
Full Record - P24 W15 D3 L6 F66 A37. League Position 4th of 10; Cup Runners Up. Top Scorer - Danny Costello - 14
PPY- Darren Partington. MPY – Andy Edmondson
5th Team - (4th in Liverpool Old Boys League, Div Two)
Jimmy Taylor's young side took the jump to Div Two after winning the Div 5 title last year. They held their own all season and finished a very creditable 4th, and are looking to progress on this finish next season in the same division. This has been their 3rd season in the Club, and some of their good young players are starting to integrate into the Club, and we need to see more of that over the coming seasons.
Full Record - P18 W8 D1 L9 F46 A59 - League Position - 4th of 9 - Top Scorer - Ryan Milner - 17
PPY – Ryan Milner MPY – Liam Gerrard
6th Team - (11th in LCPL DIv 2)
A very difficult for Paul Stanton’s team – the idea was to bring last year’s successful Under 18s Champions and their management team into open age football, and we committed to County Prem Div 2 on that basis. Just before the season, 2 of the 3 managerial team decided they didn’t want to do it, and this had a knock-on effect on some of the players who we didn’t see again. Paul gamely took this situation on, and assisted by Ben Mallett and drafting players in from other Club teams, he made sure we fulfilled every fixture in a very competitive division. This was a challenge and they suffered some heavy defeats, although there were quite a few positives; good young players like Sean McBride and Luke Harrison developing, assisted by veteran Kevin Rowan, and a good team spirit despite heavy losses. It is important that we keep these players within the Club, whatever our structure may be next season.
Full Record - P23 W2 D3 L18 F36 A96 - League Position - 11th of 11. Top Scorer - Jay Hargreaves - 7
PPY - Kevin Rowan; MPY - Sean McBride
7th Team - (Champions in Liverpool Old Boys League Div 4, and Cup Finalists)
A fantastic season for John Harkin’s team, their first as a group within OXFC, and they ended up winning the League after a very close title run in, sealed by a 6-0 victory away at Rhein in their last game. Their attempt at the Double was thwarted by long term championship rivals ACOL in the Cup final, losing 1-0. A huge success, a great bunch of lads with a very positive attitude to football, very well disciplined and some great young players – including Mike Campbell who helped the Reserves out late in the season, Matt Morris, Sam Harris, amongst others. They look forward to competing in OB Div 3 next season.
Full Record - P24 W17 D3 L4 F84 A34 - League Position - Champions, Cup Runners Up.
Top Scorer - Matt Morris 22. PPY - Matt Morris; MPY - Shaun Cameron
Over 35s - (3rd in Zingari Combination Vets Div 2)
In with a chance of title right into April, 2 late defeats to title rivals meant Dave Mather’s side finished in 3rd place, their best season yet. Goals came from the ever reliable sources of Gary Parr and Jon Vidamour, and all the usual Xavs suspects played well, inc Tony Smith, Steve Waring, Craig Lewis Leon Hymas, Tony Healy, and others. They go again next season.
Full record - P21 W13 D1 L7 F69 A45 - League Position - 3rd of 10. Top Scorer - Gary Parr 18
PPY - Jon Vidamour MPY - Steve Waring
This season saw Mark Clinton stand down, after several years in charge and having built the Xavs Juniors from scratch to the very impressive structure it has now. Colin Barratt has taken over the reins and has a very solid committee around him. The teams are progressing very well, with success at every age group, and are progressing towards the age where there will be no gaps between the Junior and Senior sections, and the aim will be to feed into the Senior section. Well done to all involved in the Old Xavs Juniors, a credit to the Club overall
Changing Facilities & Pitches
The “new” dressing rooms are proving to be a huge success and proving a sound investment of the time and money we put into achieving them. The SFX pitches this season have been their best ever, again the investments we have made in the groundwork paying dividends, and the personal effort that Dave Reynolds puts into the pitches is also a major factor and is hugely appreciated by all. We hope to benefit over the next few years from the redevelopment of the school facilities, and while this may bring benefits, there may also be some challenges which may radically alter the structure of Old Xaverians FC.
We used a pitch at Heron Eccles again this season; this has proved to be an expensive venture which we have decided to discontinue next season. We need to be realistic about our finances, and stretching the resources of the club too far, and to me it doesn’t seem right to play home games other than at SFX. In the current climate of teams folding, and amateur football becoming so expensive to arrange, it seems sensible to rationalise our outgoings. This may also have to be reflected in the playing structure of the Club too.
In a departure from recent practice , and after discussion at last year’s AGM we decided not to hold a Sportsman’s Evening this season, although we did continue with the Wine Tasting evening, this time in early November with a Halloween theme, giving everyone just enough time to recover from the hangover just before Christmas. Thanks again to Dave Mather and John Bendon for their efforts in organising the night. We re-introduced a Race Night in March, which was a financial success, although there could have been more players attending.
The End of season Presentation Day again included a Club 7-a-side Tournament, where the Gill Tocher Trophy was competed for for the 2nd time – and we hope to continue with this as an annual event, as the whole day and evening was again a huge success. Ideas and suggestions always welcome on how we can improve our social functions.
Jonny Quirk, Anthony Lyons and David Speed represented the club in the Liverpool County Premier League Representative side in their Cup games against other Leagues. Tommy Morris had the honour of managing the Old Boys Representative side against the Zingari Combination, although the Zingari side won the fixture this season.
Thanks to all on the Committee for their help and support, in particular on the regular admin side of things done by Eric, Ben, Paul Formby and Mike Wickham. A special mention again to Dave Reynolds for all the work he puts in on the grounds, the pitches have been their best ever this year, and also for his liaison work with the school. Best wishes to Tommy Morris and Joe Grant who have managed successful teams over the years. Also to all the others, the managers, all our players, our many supporters and our sponsors.
We move towards our 125th anniversary, and will continue to keep fielding teams who play good football, and pick up some trophies along the way. Really looking forward to another season of progress next year – We Go Again!!
Report on Season 2014/15
Another good season for Old Xaverians FC, our 123rd in existence. Although we didn’t manage to win any trophies this season, we finished Runners Up in 3 of the 6 Leagues our senior sides competed in, reached one Cup final, and our flagship 1st Team finished 4th in the Liverpool County Premier League for the 3rd season in a row, consistency again in the top amateur League in the city, and reaching the semi-final of the Zingari Challenge Cup and the quarter final of the George Mahon Cup. And our successful Juniors Section continues to thrive under the leadership of Colin Barratt and his Committee.
Off the field we held successful social nights with the ever popular "Wine Tasting" evening in the autumn and a successful Race Night in the spring, both raising significant funds for the Club. Our recent Presentation Day included another successful 7-a-side tournament, the Gill Tocher Trophy being won by the Spain team, including Adam Edwards and several others, worthy winners. Season Awards were then presented in the Club, a great night. Thanks go to Danny Thomas, Tom McHale, Eric Tocher, Micky Thomas, Paul Stanton, Steve Stewart and his team of referees (Billy Birch, Tom Jackson and Jamie Stewart) for all their help on the day, and all who contributed by helping and participating.
Our full range of teams contributed to what the club's all about and what we do it for, playing for enjoyment, developing the club and players, being competitive, and having a great time on the social side. Our senior playing structure this year was as follows:
1st Team - Premier Division, Liverpool County Premier League - managed by Ben Williams & Mike Wickham
Reserves - 1st Division, LCPL - Paul Bennett, Mike White & Paul Stanton
3rd Team - 1st Division Liverpool Old Boys League-taken over by Jimmy Taylor and Tony Foulkes (from Div 2)
4th Team - 2nd Division LOBAL – taken over by John Harkin (after winning Div 4 last season)
5th Team - 4th Division LOBAL - new team run by Danny Thomas and Tom McHale
Over 35s - 2nd Division, Zingari Combination Vets League - Dave Mather and Phil Lundy.
We didn’t enter the open age Zingari Combination for the first time in many years, and the previously successful Under 18s players joined up with the Reserves side along with manager Paul Stanton. We welcomed new managers Danny Thomas and Tom McHale who successfully ran the 5th team. This reduced our teams from 8 to 6. As a result we played all our home games at SFX, deciding not to take up the expensive option of an alternative pitch at Heron Eccles like last season.
The admin side of the Club remains strong, and this becomes increasingly important as we see longstanding opponents struggling to continue through poor administration, lack of finance, lack of players and indiscipline. Once again we met all our deadlines for fines, reports, teamsheets, accreditations etc, and once again Clubman of The Year Ben Mallett played a major part in this, keeping all the procedures in good order, and providing vital information on Registrations, eligibilities, etc. - the club would seriously struggle without Ben's attention to detail, and we are all very grateful for it, and his Award is well deserved.
Paul Formby continued in the role of Fixture Secretary, a demanding role but vital to the successful running of the Club, and it is hoped he will remain in post this coming season too. Special mention to Mike Wickham too for all he does for the Club, and for the excellent weekly minutes. We were again represented on the Committees of all the Leagues we compete in - Eric Tocher (Old Boys); Dave Reynolds (Zingari Combination); and Ben Mallett (County Premier League) all holding senior positions on their Committees.
But as usual we need more volunteers, our small committee runs the biggest amateur club on Merseyside, sorting pitches, teams, kits, equipment, leagues, social do's, etc etc ad infinitum. More help greatly appreciated, volunteers always accepted.
Our playing administration has been much improved this year, with no fines or complaints re ineligible players, poor discipline, etc. However we did fail to fulfil 2 fixtures, which I view as a major lapse, and when we have in excess of 200 players signed on is serious and is viewed unsympathetically by the Leagues.
Our discipline in games was again much improved this season, with better payment of the lower fines we did incur. It is important that we maintain our good behaviour and discipline throughout all teams in the Club, and that we are recognised for our sporting ethos.
1st Team (4th in Liverpool County FA Premier League, Premier Division)
Once again successfully managed by Ben Williams and Mike Wickham, assisted by Brian Deakin. Again Ben lost several players before and during the season, to injury and emigration! This included a horrific leg break suffered by Antony Conroy early in the season, from which he is still recovering. Despite a poor start (lost 5 of first 8 games), their form since mid-November has been astonishing, being unbeaten in 17 League games (13 wins), and losing only in 2 Cup games since then. New signings Jay Hartley, Tom Williams, Tom Hackett, Calum Woods and Shaun Jones all made positive contributions, strengthening the squad and adding skill and goals. The team’s strong finish took them to a 4th place finish for the 3rd season in a row, displaying remarkable consistency in the highest standard in the city.
In the Cups, the 1sts were eliminated from the LCFA Challenge Cup early by Maghull, but enjoyed good cup runs in both the George Mahon and Zingari Challenge Cups. We lost to Div 1 Champions Waterloo GSOB in the GM Cup quarter final and went out 2-1 to eventual winners East Villa in the semi-final of the Zingari Challenge Cup.
Overall, another good season, which earned Ben and his managerial team the Club’s Manager of the Year award – a promising future ahead if we can keep this squad together
Full record - P35 W21 D4 L10 F78 A61, League Position 4th of 15. Top Scorer – Carl Gargan 12 goals.
Players Player of Year (PPY) – Calum Woods. Managers Player of Year (MPY) - David Speed (yet again) Club Young Player of Year – Calum Woods
Reserves Team (8th in Liverpool County Premier League, Division 1; John Gregson Cup Finalists)
Another tough season in a highly competitive division full of club’s 1st teams eager to get into the Premier Division. We started well with 6 points from our 1st 2 games including an away win at eventual champions Waterloo GSOB, but mid-season League form dipped and it took 4 wins in our last 5 games to confirm our status in the division, finishing a comfortable 8th in the end. We used 57 players over the season, and as a management team we felt very let down by some senior players who did not finish the season with us. But this was more than compensated for by some brilliant performances from upcoming young players like Shaun McBride, Luke Harrison, Dom Maher, Matty Colbeck and Adam Lowe, among others, plus some very good new signings Pat O’Sullivan and Rob Lamont, who scored 32 goals between them.
Our best performances probably came in the Cup, with a run to the LCFA Junior Cup quarter final where we lost 1-0 to eventual finalists Windle Labour AET. We lost in the Roy Wade Trophy quarter final to Eli Lilly after 2 legs and extra time. But we reached the final of the John Gregson Memorial Cup again, only to lose on penalties after a pulsating 4-4 draw AET.
So another tough season but one of development and with a bright future if all the young lads stay for next season and continue to improve. Best wishes to Tim Long who suffered a terrible facial injury towards the end of the season – brave, mad goalkeepers!!
Full Record – P32, W15, D0. L17, F75, A62 League Position – 8th of 12. Top Scorer – Pat O’Sullivan 18
PPY – Shaun McBride. MPY – Luke Harrison
3rd Team (8th in Liverpool Old Boys League Div One)
A step up to Div One for Jimmy Taylor’s squad after moving up from Div 2. They held their own in a tough league, but due to team dropouts, fixtures became disjointed and patchy, and due to the month gap between the final 2 fixtures we were unable to field a side for the final game. We also reached the quarter final of the Senior Shield.
Full Record - P21 W6 D3 L12 F45 A65. League Position 8th of 9. Top Scorer – Ryan Milner - 13
PPY- Ryan Milner. MPY – Ged Cooke
4th Team - (Runners Up in Liverpool Old Boys League, Div Two)
After winning Div 4 last season, John Harkin’s team jumped 2 divisions to this level. They had an excellent season but came up against one team too good in the league in Roby College, and finished Runners Up to them, despite beating them away 2-1. Roby sealed the title with a 3-1 win at SFX late in the season. This has been their 2nd season in the Club, and they have been a credit to Old Xaverians FC, and proving to be a hugely competitive team. A good Northern Cup run ended in the 3rd round to eventual winners Woodchurch OB.
Full Record – P21 W13 D3 L5 F57 A29 - League Position – 2nd of 10 - Top Scorer – Phil Jones - 21
PPY – Phil Jones MPY –Sam Harris
5th Team - (Runners Up in Liverpool Old Boys League, Div Four)
A great season for Danny Thomas and Tom McHale’s team, their first as a group within OXFC, and they ended up Runners Up after a very close title run in with Oakes Institute who remained unbeaten all season. They lost their 1st game at Waterloo, then won 12 of the next 14 drawing the other 2. However it was not enough to catch Oakes and despite a creditable 1-1 draw away, Oakes sealed it at SFX in our team’s only other League defeat all season. Excellent season for Club Top Scorer Jordan Lockett who scored more than 30 goals, helped out other teams in the club, even went in goal when needed! This was reflected in the Club End of Season Awards where he did well. The team look forward to competing in a higher OB Division next season.
Full Record - P22 W16 D2 L4 F71 A28 - League Position – 2nd of 11.
Top Scorer – Jordan Lockett 30 (plus 4 for 1st/Reserves). PPY – Jordan Lockett. MPY – Danny Starkey
Over 35s - (Runners Up in Zingari Combination Vets Div 2)
An excellent season for Dave Mather’s side, finishing Runners Up to a very strong Brittania side who maintained their 100% League record all season. We won our first 6 games until a draw at Sacre Coeur before meeting Brittania who won at SFX. Continuous improvement, and once again the team’s best season yet. Despite this, at the time of writing it seems that Dave Mather is stepping down as Manager and these will be big boots to fill. Thanks to Dave for all he has done over the years as player, manager, committee member and barman.
Special mention also to Colin Butterworth who won a clean sweep of Player’s Player, Manager’s Player and Club Player of the Year – even finding time to figure in the Reserves unbeaten end to the season . They go again next season (If we can find a Manager!).
Full record – P18 W10 D4 L4 F71 A28 - League Position – 2nd of 9. Top Scorer – Steve Waring - 11
PPY, MPY, Club Player of Year – Colin Butterworth
The Juniors continue to prosper under the guidance of Colin Barratt and a very solid committee around him. The teams are progressing very well, with success at every age group, and are approaching the age where there will soon be no gaps between the Junior and Senior sections, and the aim will be to feed into the Senior section. Well done to all involved in the Old Xavs Juniors, a continuing credit to the Club overall
Changing Facilities & Pitches
The SFX pitches this season have again been their best ever, the investments we have made in the groundwork paying dividends, and the personal effort that Dave Reynolds puts into the pitches is also a major factor and is hugely appreciated by all. We hope to benefit over the next year from the redevelopment of the school facilities, and while this may bring benefits, there may also be some further challenges which may radically alter the structure of Old Xaverians FC.
We again decided not to hold a Sportsman’s Evening this season, although we did continue with the Wine Tasting evening, this time in early November with a Halloween theme, giving everyone just enough time to recover from the hangover just before Christmas. Thanks again to Dave Mather and John Bendon for their efforts in organising the night. We held another Race Night in March with the help of Mike Wickham Junior and others, which was a financial success, although there could have been more players attending. Ideas and suggestions always welcome on how we can improve our social functions, as we believe some of our ideas are becoming a little dated and tired.
Sadly a proposed trip to Scotland was called off, but there’s always little trips to Spain going on for some innocuous reason! The End of season Presentation Day again included a Club 7-a-side Tournament, where the Gill Tocher Trophy was competed for for the 3rd time – we will continue with this as an annual event, as the whole day and evening was once again a huge success.
Thanks to all on the Committee for their help and support, in particular on the regular admin side of things done by Eric, Ben, Paul Formby and Mike Wickham. A special mention again to Dave Reynolds for all the work he puts in on the grounds, the pitches have been their best ever this year, and also for his liaison work with the school. Best wishes to Dave Mather who has been involved with the club for several years as player, committee member, manager, events organiser and barman, and we hope he remains involved in some capacity. Also to all the others, the managers, all our players, our many supporters and our sponsors.
We continue to move towards our 125th anniversary, and will continue to keep fielding teams who play good football, and pick up some trophies along the way. Really looking forward to another season of progress next year.
Hon Secretary 27 May 2015
Season Review 2016/17
The 2016/17 season was one of joy and sadness for Old Xaverians FC, with first team manager Ben Williams stepping down after nine years in the role. Ben, who was skipper of the first team before serving as manager, decided to bring the curtain down on his seventeen-year association with the club a few games into the new season. Everyone at Old Xaverians FC would like to place on record their thanks to Ben for his dedication over the years and the successes he has brought to Old Xaverians FC both as a player and a manager. We wish him the best of luck for the future.
On the field, The Xavs competed well, with several cup final appearances and competitive league campaigns. The main successes came from the reserve side, winning the JGM cup final and the Liverpool County Premier League Division One title for the second year in succession.
First Team: (Finished 7th in Liverpool FA County Premier League)
The first team were rocked early in the season when Ben Williams decided to resign from his position as first team manager. After successfully running the side for the best part of a decade, Ben’s shoes were big ones to fill. Due to the vacancy becoming available during the season and all the other Xavs managers engrossed in their own campaigns, the first team was temporarily taken over by club captains Pat O’Hanlon and David Speed. The club eventually decided to advertise the vacancy in the Liverpool Echo, with former South Liverpool reserve manager Carl Buoey becoming the successful applicant.
Carl worked hard to stamp his authority on the team, bringing in several signings to try and find an upturn in fortunes for the group. Although there were spirited performances,results stayed inconsistent and they were knocked out of the cup competitions early.
A 2-2 draw on the final day saw The Xavs finish 7th in the table, a respectable position given the upheaval. As the season came to a close, Carl offered his resignation. We would like to thank Carl for stepping in at a difficult time in the club’s history and giving his all to the cause and representing himself and the club with dignity and honour. The season also proved to be the last for Pat O’Hanlon and David Speed. The two have served the club with distinction over many years and we wish them well in their new adventures.
With the majority of the first team leaving for pastors new, our current reserve side, managed by Mike White, Paul Bennett and Paul Stanton, will be stepping up into the County Premier League next season.
Reserve Team: (Champions in Liverpool FA County Premier Division One, JG Memorial Cup Winners)
Another outstanding campaign for the management trio of Paul Bennett, Mike White and Paul Stanton, repeating their achievements of last season by winning the league and cup double. They lost only one game in the league, with the strike partnership of Rob Lamont and Mike Hutton scoring an incredible 52 goals between them. A special mention also to Owen Cassidy, who bagged 18 goals in a hugely impressive debut season. A historic treble was halted in a tense semi-final that finished 4-2 to home side British Rail after two late goals in an incredibly even game.
A brilliant season for the players and the management team, who gained the prestigious Manager of the Year trophy at the end of season awards. They look forward to competing at the highest amateur level in the city next season.
Third Team: (3rd in Liverpool Old Boys Division One – Liverpool County Football Association Intermediate Cup – Runners-up)
John Harkin’s third team enjoyed a competitive campaign in their second season in the top division of the Liverpool Old Boys league, finishing third, behind unbeaten champions Quarry Bank (who won 18 out of 18!) and a strong Roby College side. The team enjoyed good cup runs in the Bill Hughes Senior Shield and the Marlborough Trophy, being knocked out in the quarter-final stage of both in extremely tight games to Roby College and FC Salle respectively. The main highlight of an eventful season was a fairytale run to the LCFA Intermediate Cup final, where they scored a last minute winner in the quarter final, and a last minute equaliser in the semi-final (which they went on to win in extra time). Unfortunately, the Xavs luck ran-out on the big day. After being reduced to ten men with ten minutes remaining, the Xavs goalkeeper made an uncharacteristic error from the resulting free-kick that ended in a goal. John’s team also had a goal disallowed in the last minute, eventually losing 1-0 to a strong Rainhill Town Reserve side at the impeccable County FA ground at Walton Hall Park.
John was also selected to manage the Liverpool Old Boys representative side in their annual game against the I Zingari Combination. In a thrilling game played at SFX in a great spirit, the Old Boys team ran out 5-3 winners after being 2-1 down at half time.
An exciting campaign from the side, who will hope to progress even further next year.
Fourth Team: (5th in Liverpool old Boys Division Two)
The 16/17 campaign saw Dan Thomas step down as manager at the end of the season to move onto pastures new…in Dubai! The season itself was a competitive one for Dan’s team, holding their own in a tough division and being competitive in every game. An exciting Northern Cup run saw the team knocked out in the third round on penalties against Pemberton United. Unfortunately, they were knocked out in the first round of the Alan Brown trophy by Collegiate. A 5th place finish showed how competitive this side can be and they will hope to improve again next season in the same division under the guidance of new manager Jay McMillan.
Over 35’s: (7th in I Zingari Combination Veterans Division Two)
This season saw the return of the Old Xaverians over 35’s team, managed by Kenny Jones. Kenny showed a remarkable dedication and attitude towards the team, despite continually struggling for players. Highlights in the season included a 3-1 victory over NAC Vets and a 0-0 classic v eventual champions REMYCA. A challenging but thoroughly enjoyable season had by all, and Kenny can’t wait to do it all again next season!
Another hugely challenging but successful season at Old Xaverians FC. A big thanks must go to Chairman, Eric Tocher, Vice Chairman, Paul Bennett, Club Secretary, Mike White, Fixture Secretary, Paul Formby, Honorary Secretary, Ben Mallet and all-round club legend Dave Reynolds. Thanks to their enthusiasm and commitment to this football club and the amateur game in general, we are able to continue fielding sides and adding to our rich history. We look forward to celebrating our 125th anniversary next year. THANK YOU.||