A brief history of Prescot Cables Football Club

Prescot Football Club was formed in 1884 and the first organised game of Association Football ever played in Prescot took place against the second team of a local St Helens side, St Thomas. Prescot lost 3-1.

 

After playing friendly games for the first five years, Prescot entered the Liverpool & District League in 1889. Prescot’s highest finishing position in that league was third in 1891-92, the year in which Prescot entered the FA Cup for the first time. A home game against Crewe Alexandra attracted 3,000 spectators to the club’s ‘Slacky Brow’ ground, where Prescot were beaten 7-1.

 

Prescot joined the Lancashire Alliance in 1895 and were champions in 1899-1900. The club finished bottom the following year but joined the higher standard Lancashire League for 1901-02. A ground dispute resulted in Prescot dropping out of the league in 1902-03 and Prescot FC was dormant until 1906 when an athletic and football ground was opened at Hope Street and Prescot Athletic FC was formed. Prescot Athletic started in the St Helens & District League and won the championship at the first attempt, after which they joined the Liverpool League for four seasons. The Liverpool County Combination became the Prescot club’s sixth league, in 1911-12.

 

Leagues were suspended in 1914 for the Great War and the post-war Prescot club dropped ‘Athletic’ from its name and joined the Lancashire Combination Liverpool Section. In their first season, 1918-19, Prescot finished runners-up to Tranmere Rovers but did not fare too well the following season and the club returned to the more locally-based Liverpool County Combination for the 1920-21 season and spent a further seven years in that league.

 

In 1928, the local expanding cable giants, BICC, donated a magnificent 1,000-seater stand (which was destroyed by fire in 1960) to the club. In what was clearly an early form of commercial sponsorship, the club’s name was changed to Prescot Cables and the team colours became black and amber to commemorate a bit of local industrial history, as the first successful insulated cable drawn at Prescot was covered with black and amber paper. Prescot Cables joined the Lancashire Combination In 1928-29 and, in 1929, applied to join the Football League Third Division (North), along with four other hopefuls. All the applicants failed, although one, Mansfield Town, was successful two years later.

 

The 1950s and early 1960s were something of a ‘golden era’ for Prescot Cables, who were the first winners of the Liverpool Senior Non-League Cup and lifted the trophy four times within a decade. During this period, the club reached the First Round Proper of The FA Cup on two occasions and claimed the Championship of the Lancashire Combination.

 

Prescot Cables changed its name to Prescot Town in 1964 but the club struggled and in 1975, it was voted out of the Lancashire Combination. Prescot Town joined the Mid-Cheshire League and won it at the first attempt. In 1978-79 they returned to the Cheshire County League, in Division Two, after an absence of 42 years. Prescot were Division Two champions the following season, with Accrington Stanley as runners-up.

 

In 1980, the name of Prescot Cables was re-taken and in 1982, Cables became a member of the newly formed North West Counties League, where they remained for 20 years. Prescot finished in the top 10 in NWCL Division One in all but one season from 1990 and, in 2001-02, the club had its most successful season for over two decades, winning the Worthington Challenge Trophy (League Cup) and finishing as Division One runners-up, narrowly missing out on promotion to the Northern Premier League Division One.

 

However, Prescot went one better in 2002-03 and finished as champions of the North West Counties League Division One to win promotion to the Northern Premier League Division One. Ground improvements were carried out at Valerie Park (formerly known as Hope Street) to meet the relevant regulations and ensure that Prescot could take their place in the higher league.

 

For the season 2004-05, Prescot found themselves playing at the highest level in their history.  Due to a suitable finishing position, and a re-organisation of the National League System, Prescot took their place in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.  As a result of a club being unable to fulfil their fixtures, and after the controversial intervention of the FA, Cables were elevated to fifth position in the final League Table.  Cables had the opportunity to gain promotion to what is now called National League North, although defeat at Workington in the first play-off game ended that dream – for now!

 

The 2005-06 season was one of consolidation with a new football committee being formed from the Supporters Club.  The assets and liabilities of the old club, Prescot Cables, were transferred over to a new legal entity, namely Prescot Football Club Limited, which continued trading as Prescot Cables Football Club. The new company would subsequently be reconstituted as a Community Interest Company owned by more than 300 supporters who each pay a small annual subscription in return for one share.

 

On the pitch, the club produced another mid-table finish in the following season to avoid becoming involved in another non-league ‘shake-up’ that saw two regionalised First Divisions being created within the Northern Premier League ahead of the 2007-08 season.

 

That campaign was a more difficult one and during the club’s final match, Prescot was 15 minutes from relegation.  Two late goals secured a win at Lincoln United and survival.  Due to how closely contested the division had been, Cables eventually finished in 13th place!  Shortly after the season’s end, the ground was purchased by Triman Developments Ltd from a company controlled by a former Chairman of Prescot Cables AFC.  The current football club are working on ground improvements in order to provide the team and supporters with an opportunity to move forward.

 

A lacklustre 2008-09 season saw Prescot propping up the Northern Premier League Premier Division.  Manager Andy Gray departed for Burscough.  He was replaced by Joe Gibiliru who managed to bring some much needed stability to the club as the team finished in mid-table in Division One North by the end of 2009-10. However, a significant change in personnel meant that Cables initially struggled during the following season. This led to Gibiliru being relieved of his duties around the time of the ‘big freeze’ in December 2010 and assistant Dave Ridler took over.  He managed to secure Cables’ Northern Premier League status for another season.

 

The 2011-12 season was a tale of five managers.  Dave Ridler (who left for Australia in January 2012), Karl Bell and Karl Connolly all took charge for at least one match.  Following the controversial departure of Shaun Reid to Warrington Town in March 2012, Joe Gibiliru took over for the remaining games.  The team and club regrouped after the Reid fiasco to finish the season strongly, defying the odds to remain part of the Northern Premier League.

 

David Powell was the new man in charge for the 2012-13 season and assembled a virtually brand-new squad, which led to inconsistency during the early months of the campaign.  The season was also disrupted by the condition of the playing surface and weather conditions forcing many postponements.  When matches finally began in earnest in the New Year, Cables produced one of their most successful periods since the 2002-03 North West Counties League Championship season.  A scheme asking donors to sponsor a ‘pitch square’ in order to fund much-needed renovations for the pitch took on a life of its own.  In the end the scheme became over-subscribed and has become an annual event which continues to generate vital funds.

 

Circumstances arose that led to David Powell leaving the club ahead of the 2014-15 season. His replacement was Neil Prince who, aged 31 on his appointment, must be the youngest manager in Cables’ history and probably in the League at that time.  With limited resources, the team managed to retain their membership of the Northern Premier League.

 

The 2015-16 campaign began disastrously, which led to Neil Prince being relieved of his duties.  In came Andy Paxton, and with the same playing staff, he managed to haul the team out of danger and finish the league season in their highest position for some time. Cables also reached the Final of the Liverpool Senior Cup. With the club attracting new and increased sponsorship, including an arrangement which saw Cables’ home ground renamed Volair Park, the club approached 2016-17 in more confident fashion.

 

However, due to work commitments, Andy Paxton had to step down from the role of First Team Manager. The club moved swiftly to appoint Brian Richardson. Initially, the First Team struggled following the change of Manager, but an excellent second half of the season saw the club ease away from the relegation places and win the Liverpool Senior Cup for the first time, defeating Southport in the Final in front of more than 900 spectators.

 

The majority of the squad remained with Cables for the 2018-19 campaign and was supplemented by some shrewd recruitment by Brian Richardson. Prescot spent virtually the entire campaign in the top six places and eventually finished fifth in the table, earning a place in the promotion play-offs. Trafford were defeated in the semi-final, but a 1-0 defeat at Bamber Bridge in front of more than 1,600 spectators saw Prescot miss out on promotion. However, a 4-0 win at Marine ensured that Cables retained the Liverpool Senior Cup, ensuring that a memorable season ended with a suitable reward.