Sefton Park Rangers is a new wave community football club based in South Liverpool. Their mission: to promote positive wellbeing, inclusivity, and champion their local community, all while playing beautiful football.
By Alexander Lagoyiannis. Images By Jack Finnigan and Ricky Narito.
Two lads sat together having a drink. They hadn’t known each other long. But now, after what had been their third unbeaten week at seven-a-side, they both had an idea: “Why don’t we make a football team?” By the end of the night, that question became easy to answer.
In the months that followed, it became apparent that the idea wasn’t just about football. No. Because what was really at the heart of it all was the positive impact that the game can have in all aspects of the community; not just within the white lines, but way beyond them too. And this is how Sefton Park Rangers was formed.
“A football club is at its best when it represents its local community”Jake, Co-Founder
The club is run by dedicated supporters who volunteer their time. Each member is a specialist in their field, coming together for the same purpose. Club Secretary and SPR 2’s coach, Liam Kelly, says: “It’s hard to overestimate how I feel about the club. As much as I love football, being able to help social causes, ones which are close to my heart and especially ones which are also close to the L8 area that I grew up in take my connection with the club to a different level.”
During lockdown the club virtually ran the equivalent distance of Liverpool to Amsterdam in homage to Johan. But more importantly, the run was organised to raise funds for The Florrie, a community organisation in Toxteth which, amongst many other initiatives, provides a crucial lifeline for thousands of people in some of the city’s most deprived areas who are struggling to provide food for their families.
Fail we may, sail we must
Wellbeing is a central focus of SPR. Football is a great outlet to improve physical and, more importantly, mental health. Having recently worked closely with The Mind Map and Open Door, each member is offered, and encouraged to seek, support for their mental wellbeing. We believe that the biggest glory of the game is the unity that it provides, the friendships that are formed and the support that it offers – no matter what your age, race, religion or profession — which is something that goes far beyond the pitch every Saturday.
According to Alex, co-founder of SPR: “The sense of togetherness and encouragement I felt from strangers the moment I moved to Liverpool is something I’ve always wanted to reciprocate. SPR allows me to give back in a very small way to a city that gave so much to me.”
From 2020, Tiber Football Centre became the home of SPR. Located on Lodge Lane, Tiber Football Centre was made possible by the ideas harnessed at The Greenhouse Project – a centre that exists to build a culture through which children’s and young people’s creativity are recognised and developed, and then fed back into community initiatives to give back to the local area and its people. The Tiber Football Centre is a direct result of this.
SPR now has exciting plans to expand into a competitive women’s team as well as a further men’s community squad. Moving forwards from there and drawing on the resilience and commitment of other local initiatives, SPR wants to work with youth in the area, providing greater opportunities locally and helping members to develop their coaching skills. All sessions will exist to make football available to youth, no matter their gender, level or ability.
Sefton Park Rangers started as a football team. Now it’s a grassroots movement.