A mural has gone on display in Runcorn Shopping City to celebrate the success of the town’s biggest football club.
The photographic montage of managers and players pays tribute to the achievements of Runcorn Linnets and predecessor club Runcorn AFC over more than a century.
The unveiling of the mural is part of a new collaboration between the club and shopping centre – one which demonstrates the importance of both in the community.
The mural has been designed by Ian Savage of Tailored Designs and created by Sam Bayliss of Kestrel Image Makers. Ian’s son Ben plays for Runcorn Linnets Whites Under 10s while Sam is a club volunteer, who also produces signage for the club through her business.
The link-up with Runcorn Shopping City has seen the City taking an advertising board at Linnets’ ground in Murdishaw.
The club will display and sell merchandise in the shopping centre while also promoting its fixtures.
Linnets’ new first-team home shirt is to go on show in the City’s Community Square with orders available via the club’s website.
Dave Pearman, manager of Runcorn Shopping Centre, said: “We are delighted to be the home of this fantastic mural relating to Runcorn Linnets FC.
“Both the Linnets and Runcorn Shopping City offer rich heritage and memories for the local community and visitors from further afield.
“We are committed to working in partnership with the Linnets so the club can continue to grow and promote grassroots football.
“Under the managerial leadership of Dave Wild we cheer the first team on in Northern Premier League West.
“We are also passionate about encouraging the ladies and junior teams and supporters in making new memories that one day will be on future montages, much similar to this”.
Alan Jones, club president and Trust Board member at Runcorn Linnets, said: “I am highly delighted that Runcorn Shopping City have allowed us to promote our activities while also highlighting the rich heritage of the Linnets – stretching back more than 100 years.
“The original club Runcorn AFC was formed in 1918 and on its very sad demise in 2006, supporters were determined that their Linnets nickname would live on by creating the new club, playing initially in the second tier of the North West Counties League, as tenants of Witton Albion FC in Northwich.
“With the support of Halton Borough Council and the Football Foundation, along with our own fundraising, we were able to return to Runcorn in 2010 to what is today known as APEC Taxis Stadium.
“We have enjoyed two first-team promotions since formation, seen the stadium develop with a new clubhouse and hybrid pitch while last season attracting our record crowd of 1,600 for a home promotion play-off final which we narrowly lost.
“With our Ladies team, Under 21s men plus our many junior and youth teams, for boys and girls, we have hundreds of players representing us every week.”
The club is particularly grateful to Mr Pearman for agreeing to erect the mural and has also thanked Ian Savage and Sam Bayliss for their assistance with the project.
Mr Jones added: “It will bring back a lot of memories. In the 1980s and ’90s, Runcorn AFC were the highest-ranked non-league team in the land and appeared in three Wembley finals.
“We are very pleased that visitors to Runcorn Shopping City will be able to glance back at our proud history while getting a taste of our continuing efforts to ensure that the Linnets have a bright future as well as a successful past.”
For Tailored Designs, ring 07809 880632 or e-mail [email protected]
Dave Pearman (manager of Runcorn Shopping City), Sam Bayliss (Kestrel Image Makers), Ian Savage (Tailored Designs) and Alan Jones (president of Runcorn Linnets FC) in front of the mural.