HOW IT ALL BEGAN - Our History
By: Carlos Quevedo, LFCLT Founder
“Are you a Red in North Carolina?” That one question on April 19th, 2012 began the journey that would become OLSC Charlotte “The Charlotte Reds”. I read through the post and saw many people mentioning some place called Hooligans in a place called “The French Quarter” where they would go watch the match. Up to that point my son Aaron & I were content to watch whatever we could in our living room but I wanted to be around other fans. I even said that we should organize “somehow”. Famous last words!
The first official match viewed by the Charlotte Reds was a magnificent 0-1 loss to Mighty West Bromwich Albion on April 22nd and was attended by a grand total of 4 people - myself, Aaron, founding club vice-president Chandler Wrenn, & the bartender Mark Kreihbel.
From there, we launched our Facebook page, had our first event the next week (where Suarez would score his 1st hat trick vs Norwich), witness King Kenny bring us some silver, and see us get robbed in the FA Cup final vs Chelsea (a familiar theme for the next few years).
The next important day was February 8th, 2014. That was the day we got together to OFFICIALLY launch LFC Charlotte Reds. We had enough fans consistently showing up and enough were Official LFC members for us to apply for OLSC status. Here is where Chandler, his wife Jordyn, and Maureen - aka Maui (she says I'm the only one that calls her Maureen besides her mom) stepped up and volunteered to be the first leadership committee. Maui was our Secretary and created our first logo and designed our first shirt, while Chandler & Jordyn as VP & Treasurer respectively helped sign up members, sell & distribute shirts & scarves, and whatever other grunt work necessary to get the whole thing launched. Meanwhile I was busy building the website, designing the flag, ordering the merchandise, & making sure we complied with the OLSC guidelines so we would be recognized.
In March we submitted our application and in June we were an OLSC, just in time to welcome our lads in to town that summer in August. That started a roller coaster season for both LFC and the Charlotte Reds! It started with Brendan Rodgers and SAS, grew into Poetry in Motion, a legitimate shot at #19, & LFCCLT not leaving ANY room for any fans in Hooligans. Unfortunately, it ended with a Stevie G slip, a wholesale change in leadership, a 2nd place finish, & the realization we needed a bigger space to watch the matches.
The new leadership team, spearheaded by President Phil Robinson, found such a space in RiRa Irish Pub. They made many promises to us, the most important being that we'd have an exclusive home, and delivered on the majority of them – but not the exclusive home part (more on that in a bit), & something just didn’t feel “right”. However, Kudos to Phil, VP Salim Tucker, Treasurer Steve Weber, & Secretary Derek Rauscher for doing everything to make RiRa happen and for moving the OLSC forward.
RiRa as a venue saw us bring in Jurgen Klopp as our new gaffer, “Heavy Metal Football”, League Cup heartbreak, and arguably one of Anfield’s greatest European nights – our 2nd leg vs Dortmund. It also saw us lose the Europa League Final to Sevilla & a disappointing league finish, but a sense of optimism because Klopp was doing something. He was making us "Believers".
Still, like I said, something didn’t feel right. We were sharing RiRa with the Arsenal Supporters Club and when the 2015-16 season rolled around, the RiRa management told us we were going to have the smaller room for the Opening Day match vs Arsenal because “they were the home team”. That was the final straw! We showed up in bigger numbers, spent a lot on food and drinks, & were promised to always have the bigger venue to watch the matches. I personally never wanted to leave the Courtyard anyways, but RiRa made a great offer, so I understood why the leadership went with it.
Luckily, Neil Patel, one of the co-owners of Hooligans, was also a Red, and he wanted to see us back as well. Hooligans wouldn’t be able to hold us but it wasn’t the only option available to us. Enter our current, and for the foreseeable future, permanent home – Valhalla!
Here is a place that can accommodate all of us, has an awesome staff (as has EVERY place we’ve been), and is at the opening of the Brevard Court /Latta Arcade (AKA the Courtyard). The Courtyard is THE spiritual home of soccer in Charlotte and the only place where the largest Supporters Group in the Q.C. should be calling home. We’ll occasionally travel north to Valhalla’s sister site, Crafty Beer Guys in Huntersville if there is some major event uptown that may disrupt the group being able to meet (Panthers home game, Speed Street, Belk Bowl, parade, etc.), but we will be there for 95% of the matches.
The leadership may change from time to time. Members will join and members will leave. But my hope is that the Charlotte Reds will be here long after I’m gone, still bringing Liverpool FC fans together to share a few pints, complain about the refs, discuss who to bring off the bench, and sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at the 90th minute, win lose or draw.
So, if you’re in the Greater Charlotte area or ever find yourself in town and there’s a match on, come join us! Someone will be there to say hello, introduce you to a few fellow Reds, and make you feel at home. After all, if you’re a Red, your family.
Carlos R. Quevedo
LFCCLT would not be possible without the following people. Some are mentioned above, but all deserve special credit & recognition. These were our founding members, some of the staff that wake up for our crazy fandom, and others who have had leadership roles. In no particular order: