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Mersey Marauders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mersey Marauders

Team member Dan Murphy tells the Mersey Marauders’ story: “The foundation of a gay/bi friendly football team on Merseyside in 2005 was the idea of Steve Hess. Having previously played for London’s Stonewall FC, Steve used the GFSN as a vehicle to gauge interest in a team from the football Mecca of Liverpool. His initial premise was for ‘Fairies across the Mersey’ to gather together and join in the national 5-a-side tournaments, promoting health and fitness and providing a social group for gay and bisexual football supporters and players in and around the Liverpool area.

A fledgling ‘Fairies across the Mersey FC’ team, consisting of Steve, 2 other guys and 2 ladies loaned from the Leicester Wildecats entered Manchester’s Pride games in Autumn 2005 where they played the Leftfooters, Village Manchester and Dublin. The team continued to grow thanks to the regional information in the GFSN newsletter and soon, regular Friday evening kickabouts were taking place.

Further development continued in 2006 with two teams entering the GFSN National 5-a-side get together in Newcastle. Names were carefully selected to differentiate the two teams: “The Marauders” were the more competitive side, with the more social players forming the “Mersey Beats”, a play on B–Team and a reference to the stylish 60’s pop group, the Merseybeats!

This initial foray into competition for the players of Merseyside was more successful than imagined. Mersey Marauders began with a 2-2 draw with Brighton Bandits, followed by a 2-1 win against Village Manchester. Marauders continued in their group with a record 8-0 win against a Leicester Wildecats team, Damian Mooney helping himself to 5 of the goals! After a competitively fought draw with Yorkshire Terriers, the Marauders lost in the final in the penalty shoot-out. Damien Mooney was awarded the Player of the Tournament trophy for his haul of 11 goals!

The Mersey Beats performed admirably in their group, starting with a 2-1 win against a London Titans team and finishing 4th in their group of 6. The Beats lost out to one of the teams from Yorkshire Terriers in a penalty shoot-out in the knock-out stages. The foundations had been set and Mersey Marauders had issued their intent to be a serious challenger in the GFSN tournaments.

2007 brought growth and further recognition within the world of LGBT football on Merseyside. In March, a small band of players braved the snow to compete in the Leeds 5-a-side tournament, producing a respectable performance to finish 4th in their group. Mersey Marauders also took the step to enter their first major national competition, the FA Umbro 5’s. This was a step too far at this fledgling stage against teams that, even at 5-a-side level had sponsorship and coaching staff.

Dublin hosted the 2007 GFSN 5-a-side tournament, again the Marauders providing a strong team, keeping clean sheets in every game until the final. The final was a 1-1 draw with the Marauders losing out on penalties, this time to the hosts Dublin Devils. The Beats offered a more social helping hand to their opponents; taking just one point and finishing bottom of their group, losing in an extended penalty shoot out with London Leftfooters. Following on from the national tournament, a Marauders team entered the Leicester Wildecats 6-a-side tournament and returned with a respectable 2 wins and 2 draws and 3 defeats from their matches. One unfortunate incident was our first serious injury, Eduardo Gil de Gomez breaking his arm.

2008 began with the annual Leeds 5-a-side tournament where Merseyside again entered 2 teams. The Marauders continued to fly the flag for Merseyside, finishing runners up to Birmingham Blaze in their group and eventually losing out to Nottingham Ballbois 1-0 in the semi final. The Beats starting off well with a win and a draw but injuries meant that the team was stretched and there was no more success in their group.

Mersey Marauders took their first step into 11-a-side football at the 2nd annual Nottingham tournament. Marauders won their first ever 11-a-side match 1-0 against Birmingham Blaze with Ali Ozturk scoring the deciding historic goal. Marauders then faced Yorkshire Terriers and won 4-2, with Ali grabbing a hat-trick in the game. In the final game of the day the toll of playing 3 matches on one day showed and the Marauders lost out 1-0 to a combined London Titans/Falcons team. The following day the Marauders faced Hot Scots in the semi-final, eventually winning 2-0. The final brought them back face to face with the combined London team. Marauders had to defend for long periods of the game and went down 1-0 from a looping free kick in the dying minutes.

Merseyside had had designs to host the national GFSN 5-a-side tournament since Dublin and canvassed at every available opportunity. The GFSN’s members voted and Liverpool was indeed voted to host the 2008 competition, an apt setting in the year the city was also the European Capital of Culture. Players from around the country were greeted at the Town Hall with a lavish reception hosted by the City’s Mayor. Merseyside fielded 3 teams, introducing the “Pirates” and the Skull & Crossbones as the Club’s logo. The draw pitched the Marauders and the Pirates in the same group, The Pirates took a shock lead but were eventually overcome by the strength and skill of the Marauders by 2-1. The Marauders progressed comfortably through the group stage but lost out to Village Manchester in the Quarter Final 2-1. The Pirates started off with a 0-0 draw with Leicester Wildecats and eventually won their penultimate group match 3-0 against the HotScots, Chris Wright bagging a the hat-trick. The Beats and the Pirates finished 4th in their group. The Club was awarded the Tournament’s Fair Play Trophy.

Sunday June 29th 2008 was a historic day for the Mersey Marauders. There was a meeting of players at Puccino’s on Matthew Street where the club constitution was created and Mersey Marauders FC was formed. Paul Amman was elected to be the club Chairman. The aim now is to apply to the national 11-a-side GFSN league, seek sponsorship and increase the profile of the club.”

 

 

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