Our initial days of watching LFC in New York required early starts, reliable satellite systems and reliable bar owners (no tv coverage). Having found a bar that was 1) open as advertised and 2) could acquire the satellite signal, the matchday experience usually involved loud, boorish cockneys and ten-a-penny non-manc mancs.
It was against this backdrop that the need for LFC supporters to come together was realized and at the start of the 1995/6 season, Liverpool Football Club Supporters Club, New York (LFCNY) was born. At the first meeting, in Cleary’s on Third Avenue and 33rd Street, Dave Brenner, Paul Dackombe and Sean Woods were duly elected to run the club. Daragh Kennedy took on the role of club president, in our inaugural year, a role he still maintains today.
It was important to establish ourselves in a bar that was not only welcoming of the revenue but supportive of our goals to provide access to the match and to other Liverpool supporters. We wandered in the desert for a few years until we reached the Promised Land – 11th St Bar. The formative years also saw the production of a literally hand produced fanzine “25th of May” (our homage to The Glory That Was Rome 1977, and in Sean’s opinion, LFC’s greatest moment; it was also a match attended by Dave, Paul and Sean long before they ever met in New York).
The other staple of club membership, or hook, was a free LFCNY t-shirt when you signed up. These shirts became sought after items around the globe. In Baltimore for the pre-season against Spurs this summer, we bumped into a lady from Connecticut wearing the iconic Brenner-Burge-Deakin white-on-red NY skyline design from over 10 years ago. The banner was another milestone in the club’s identity and it has been proudly displayed throughout North America and Europe.
The club has admirably moved with the times – online, social media, podcasts, merchandise, etc. Many, many dedicated reds have donated time, effort and money to keep it going. You are all sons and daughters of Shankly. We are continually moved by the ecstatic highs and tragic lows that are inextricably woven into the fabric of the great Liverpool Football Club; we have raised funds for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and the Hillsborough to Anfield Run, participated in the overthrow of Hicks and Gillett as well as Steve Cohen and built strong relationships with Reclaim The Kop (John Mackin) and Spirit of Shankly (the late Paul Rice). We have also become very involved in the community and have led many food and coat drives, and raised money for a local soccer club, Downtown United Soccer Club, which provides youngsters in New York’s poorer neighborhoods, an opportunity to play football at no expense to them or their families.
We urge everyone to ensure our tradition of support and activism continues.