The Liver Vaults very nearly didn’t make it to last year’s inaugural BT Sport Pub Cup at all. It was only because of a last-minute drop-out that they got the call saying they were needed at Goodison Park.
Club president and founder Billy Wynne picks up the story: “I got a call from Trevor who owns the pub saying BT had called and would we like to play. He didn’t know if the lads could make it because it was short-notice, but I knew they’d want to get involved.”
And so, just a few days later, a seven-a-side squad from the pub headed to the home of Everton FC to compete in their regional heat.
Billy continues: “Once we were in it we wanted to win. The lads are competitive and think they can win anything. We won our first few matches comfortably but when it got to the final the opposition parked the bus and it ended up going to penalties. Our goalkeeper hit the winning kick.”
It capped an amazing day for the team because half of them are Evertonians. Even the club manager dusted his boots down, so he could make a substitute appearance on the hallowed turf.
The victory secured a place in the final at Arsenal’s Emirate’s stadium against Hertfordshire’s The Great Northern.
“The funny thing was,” Billy continues, “is that we had the same coach and coach driver that Liverpool had when they went to play Arsenal on the very first day of that season. He said, ‘when I brought them down they beat them, now it’s your turn.’”
And that is how it eventually turned out. The Liver Vaults ran out 3-2 winners on the night. It capped a memorable day that saw them coached by ex-Liverpool keeper David James, get the Premier League experience at the ground, play on the pitch in front of the BT cameras and their travelling fans from the pub and, ultimately, get their hands on the trophy.
“The surface was fantastic, and our lads like to play so it really suited them,” added Billy.
He described the win as the greatest moment in the club’s history and not one he could have envisioned when back in 1976 he and a few football-mad locals at the Liver Vaults decided to set up a new team.
Over those years they have shot-up the Liverpool leagues and seen their players go on to make names for themselves in the semi-professional ranks. They have also, naturally, enjoyed many a memorable night at the pub and added something special to their community.
“We have had league and cup triumphs over the years but going down to the Emirates to win the first BT Sport Pub Cup was really very special.”
A few weeks later the team were back in the pub with the trophy and the BT Sport cameras for the surreal experience of being filmed as they watched highlights of their performance on TV before the FA Cup Final.
“It was great to be back at the pub and the lads loved watching how they played, though one of the cockier ones said they could have done better,” said Billy.
The victory was a great fillip for the team and the pub, which has been linked with the club ever since it was founded 42 years ago.
Liver Vaults owner Trevor Mason (above with wife Yvonne) said: “It’s good for business but it is very family orientated as well, lots of my family have played for the team. They come back after games and we put some food on for them and they come back after training as well.”
They are now looking to defend their title and will line-up at Goodison Park again for the regional heat on May 11.
Do you think your pub team has got what it takes to knock them off their perch?
In April, 48 teams will be drawn to play at regional qualifiers all over the country. The regional winners will then play in a tournament at the National Football Centre in Burton Trent for a place at the final on June 2 at Leicester’s King Power stadium.
The champions team will receive the title along with £5,000 of equipment and a free BT Sport subscription for a year for their pub.
Visit btsportpubcup.com to register your details before the end of the month.