When it comes to the title ‘Senior Cup experts’, you would be hard pushed to look beyond the current Prescot Cables side.
Winners in 2017 and 2018, Cables are on track to become the first team to win the competition in three consecutive years since Everton between 1959 and 1961 (Liverpool shared their third title with Everton in 1982, and Tranmere’s three wins in the 1970s were broken up by two unfinished competitions).
Tonight, they welcome Widnes to Volair Park in the semi-final of the competition, with the winner going on to face Southport in the final. We travelled up to the ground ahead of the club’s clash with Atherton Collieries last month to speak to manager Brian Richardson, striker Lloyd Dean and Club Secretary Matt Roberts about their run to this year’s semi-final.
With the possibility of three cup wins in a row, Matt Roberts believes that the players are excited for the next round as they seek to make history saying: “We’re going for the treble now so it’s quite an important cup to us.
“I think the lads are really well prepared for it and I think it’s a good opportunity to go for a treble and bring the crowds in and grow the club.”
For Lloyd Dean, the cup represents a chance to play against teams he may not get the opportunity to at other times, sometimes coming toe to toe with close friends: “We enjoy it because we don’t get to play against some teams.
“For example, we play Bootle sometimes who aren’t in our league.
“St Helens Town who a couple of my mates play for and there’s Rylands who have just come up into the competition, so it was their first season in the competition, and I must have five or six mates who play for them.
“So that’s a huge benefit of it because other than in the Senior Cup we might not cross paths besides a couple of friendlies and the bragging rights are always good if you beat them.”
But Prescot may not have been in this situation had it not been for the arrival of Brian Richardson.
When he took over in October 2016 Cables were struggling to make an impact and looked in trouble in their battle against relegation, but the former Blackpool player believes that success in the Senior Cup helped him turn the team’s fortunes around: “Things have just clicked into place since we came, we’ve used a lot of untried players in the team, we’ve had a lot of young players in the team and that’s given us a lot of enthusiasm on the pitch.
“I think the time was right, it’s a big club, you can tell by the support we get now and I think it was crying out for a little bit of success and the Liverpool Senior Cup definitely brought us that success and got us on the map because in our first season.
“When I came part way through the season we were round about the bottom two or three and I think winning games in the Liverpool Senior Cup has a momentum that we can take into the league which then got us out of trouble at the bottom and then in the second season because of that success it didn’t seem impossible to get into the playoffs which is what we did. So, success breeds success and winning becomes a habit.”
But Richardson is keen not to get too ahead of himself and knows that Widnes are going to be far from pushovers in the semi-final clash saying: “They can change the format, they can change the team, they can maybe put players in who don’t always play.
“I don’t think you could ever predict what team they are going to put out against you.
“I think Widnes will put a strong side out.
“I think they’ll be where we were two years ago wanting to win something.
“They’ve consolidated well in this league this year and I think they’ll be looking to try and put a bit of silverware at the end of it and why not, I’d expect that from any club we were playing against.”
However, it’s not just on the field that Cables have benefited from the competition as Matt Roberts told us: “Earlier this year we played Lower Breck and they’re a really good side, a really strong side and I think it gives us that link in case you want to play any pre-season friendlies or you’ve got any friendlies or spare time and you want to get a local game on.
“I think that’s good because we like to welcome anyone to Volair Park as we’re quite big on that and really I think it’s a good opportunity to just link up with local teams and players.
“Also, we always look at putting coaches on and things like that but you’re never going to get the same level of support you will with the local team, you could even call it a local derby.
“I think our crowds are really on the up at the minute we’re getting a lot of local involvement and I think it’s a lot easier to get here than other places, so it does really boost the gates for us.”
Prescot Cables welcome Widnes to Volair Park in the Liverpool Senior Cup semi-final on Tuesday 19 March. Kick off 7.45pm. We wish both sides the best of luck.