June 20, 2024

LFC Columbus: a growing influence on soccer in the Central Ohio area

As an official supporters group of the English Premier League team Liverpool Football Club, LFC Columbus serves to help the community through philanthropy and bonding over the club.  

Peter Gillette, the chairman of LFC Columbus, said the group has been around since 2017.  Seven years later, the group is now one of the biggest supporter groups in the Central Ohio area. 

LFC Columbus meets at local businesses, including McClellan’s Pub and Local Cantina. Picture by LFC Columbus.

Gillette said he was first introduced to Liverpool FC in an interesting way. 

“In late May 2005, I happened to find myself sitting in a bar [in New Hampshire],” Gillette said. “This bar happened to have the 2005 Champions League on.” 

The game Gillette is referring to is the “Miracle of Istanbul,” where Liverpool came back from 3-0 down at halftime against Italian giants AC Milan, winning the trophy on penalties. 

For Gillette, LFC Columbus is not his full-time job. Gillette said he works for the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State University.

To start as an official group, Gillette said the club needs at least 15 dues-paying members. 

“There are two membership tiers,” Gillette said. “[Becoming a member] will help LFC Columbus with our membership level.”

One of the perks of membership is the ability to request tickets to Liverpool’s home stadium, Anfield. For international fans, this is one of the hardest feats in sports. 

“Based on your group’s membership tier, the more likely you are to get tickets,” Gillette said. “We got tickets for Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in December [2023], we got [two members] two tickets on the Kop for about $42 apiece.”

For a regular fan trying to go through Liverpool’s hospitality, tickets could cost upwards of $400 for a regular game. Most fans don’t even get the chance to see Anfield.

Gillette said overpricing tickets is something that is becoming a problem in the American league, Major League Soccer. For a Columbus Crew game against Lionel Messi-led Inter Miami, official Crew tickets in the upper deck cost between $400-500.

“If you pull this in a league with a history of a real supportive culture, there would probably be mass walkout protests,” Gillette said. “I just think American soccer or American sports culture is the difference.”

For LFC Columbus, the purpose of their group is not to just watch soccer together, they also do philanthropy. 

Gillette said their main organization they are working with this year is CRIS Ohio, an organization aimed towards helping refugees. They have also partnered with Toys for Tots and Middle Ohio Food Bank.

“We try to center the idea that we want to give back,” Gillette said. “We want to support the local community.”

This also includes working with other local Premier League supporters groups. Gillette mentioned they are working with the local Tottenham Hotspur supporters group to start a year-long drive. 

“We collect both financial donations and in-kind donations that go towards our youth mentorship program and CRIS Ohio,” Gillette said.

LFC Columbus meets for almost every game at McClellan’s Pub in Dublin and Local Cantina in the Brewery District.

Author

  • Clayton Hines

    Clayton is a first-year Criminology and Spanish Major. He is a Videographer for Capital and is an avid moviegoer. In his free time, he likes to watch sports and help his community by volunteering.

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