River Mersey Dave Jones Memorial Cup

Saturday 6th August, Alder Sports Club, L12

Article by Liam Lebo
Pictures by LDA Media

The new Premiership season may be upon us, but there was another football competition in Liverpool over the weekend.

The River Mersey Dave Jones Memorial Cup was in full swing on Saturday 6th at a sun-drenched Alder Sports Club in L12.

The one day tournament was created by Liverpool river pilot Kevin Walsh from Old Swan as a tribute to football loving friend and colleague Dave Jones who tragically passed away in 2014.  Dave was a tug boat captain and popular figure along the Mersey.

‘He was a great friend who loved his football,’ said Kevin.  ‘And I thought this would be a fitting way to honour the memory of a fantastic fella.’

The tournament quickly garnered the support and interest of many other river and shipping companies who were keen to participate in the 5-a-side competition.  Smit, Svitzer, Isle of Man Steam Packet and NW Trading are just some of those involved.

‘This is our second year,’ explained Kevin.  ‘Last year we had eight teams.  This time we have twelve.  So it’s growing.’  The twelve companies which include the Liverpool Pilots have funded the event themselves.

‘It’s a great family day out,’ says Kevin, ‘with refreshments, barbecues, bouncy castles and of course, lots and lots of football.

‘We’ve coupled this year’s tournament with the 250 year celebration of the Liverpool Pilots which started out in 1766, making us one of the oldest pilot companies in the world.’

If you’re wondering who the pilots are, they’re the people who venture twenty miles out in those little orange boats to bring the ships into the river Mersey.

‘Most people don’t realise that when a ship visits the Mersey it isn’t the ship’s captain who sails her.  It’s us, the pilots.  We go out in all weather conditions and board the ships.  The Mersey estuary is a tricky passage full of sand banks and tidal changes.  Only a trained pilot can navigate it.  We bring them all in, even the cruise liners and the Three Queens.

So what of the football tournament ?  Is it something which will happen every year ?  Perhaps even  a league ?

Kevin smiles.  ‘Yes, we’ll be back next year, but as for a league, well, who knows.  It’s just great that we can honour a friend and play the game he loved.’

The 2016 tournament employed a group format with the winners and best second placed team going through to a knock-out stage.

Cory Brothers Shipping Agency were this year’s champions, laying their hands on the cup after a hard-fought victory over Pilots 2.  The final ended in a 0 – 0 stalemate and went to penalties which Cory won 11 – 10 with Sean McManus converting the winner.

Meanwhile, the Liverpool Pilots won an accolade of their own last month (28th July) when they were awarded Freedom of the City at a special reception.

For more information about the pilots and Dave Jones football tournament visit the website at: LiverpoolPilots.com


‘I am the owner of both the article and images, so please feel free to share or re-produce them. I only ask that you credit me accordingly. Liam Lebo for the article. LDA Media for the images. Or LDA Media for both.

I’ve sent out to the Echo/Trinity Newsgroup and Wirral Globe already. Hoping they’ll give it a look.  ‘Good News Liverpool’ has already agreed to cover it this week. I’m also making a short video of the event which will be made available soon and which is free to share on websites and social media.

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