Formby Junior Sports Club celebrates its 65th anniversary in 2024, marking its place firmly in the town’s history.
The organisation was founded in 1959, by Jim Rourke MBE, who was involved until he was 91. At it’s peak, the club had over 800 registered members, who had the opportunity to take part in different sports including Athletics, Chess, Rounders, Gymnastics and Netball to name a few. Now it solely focuses on football.
The club continues to be run by Rourke’s son, Frank, who says the club has been trusted to coach the sons of Kenny Dalglish, Howard Kendall and Phil Neal.
Formby JSC has also contributed to the development of Premier League footballers such as former Everton full-back, Michael Ball, a proud achievement for the present Chairman.
He said: “One of the highs was watching his progress, as he became a player and then onwards.”
Rourke explained how members have travelled the world. He said: “In 1975, we were invited to go to America to play in an international (under 17) tournament.
“We played lots of teams from Mexico and all over, we won a trophy and we had the trophy presented to us on the plane by the pilot.”
The Merseyside club has faced tough times too: “We lost 160 girls in one go to another local club who just started, which was a shame, and that’s something I would like to see again,” said the 73-year-old.
But dealing with those challenges is what Rourke believes sets Formby JSC apart from other clubs: “It’s easy to say maybe enough is enough. But then we say we’ll hang on, we have been doing it a long time. We’re built on lots of new young volunteers, dads and mums in their 20s and 30s and we hope that they will be ones to continue.”
Rourke has been involved since he was nine years old, the club has always been family-orientated. The Chairman thinks its relationship with its members is pivotal to its success.
“One thing we see now is (a) grandparent coming along with their son, watching the little one play.
“It’s part of Formby, Formby Junior Sports Club.”