Everyone at the club was saddened to learn of the passing of former Chairman Ted Mercer on 20th October.
Like most people who end up working in an official capacity within the club, Ted was a Prescot Cables supporter first and foremost. He attended his first matches with his friend Harry Conde. Harry was a member of the club Committee and his grandson, Geoff Conway, would also serve on the Board for a number of seasons.
Ted was a successful businessman and joined the Board in 1994, quickly being appointed Chairman at a difficult time for the club. The 1994-95 saw Prescot FC joined at Hope Street by Highfield Rugby League Football Club. Highfield had previously played at Hope Street under the name of Liverpool Stanley in 1940 and 1941. Their return to Prescot saw them obtain the lease on Hope Street and the football club, having reverted to the name of Prescot Cables, had no option but to leave their home ground.
Ted Mercer led the club throughout its exile, which saw ‘home’ matches played at Ellesmere Port Stadium, Knowsley United and St Helens Town. Ironically, Knowsley United’s Alt Park was a former home of the Rugby League club, who had been based there as Huyton RLFC for 15 years. Highfield renamed themselves Prescot Panthers in 1996 but their inability to repay a brewery loan forced the Panthers into receivership in 1997.
This made the lease on the stadium available and it was secured by Ted Mercer, facilitating a return home. The ground needed work doing before Prescot Cables could return, but football returned to Hope Street in March 1998, with over 400 fans witnessing a North West Counties League match against Mossley.
In September 1999, Tommy Lawson was appointed Manager by Ted and his Board, ushering in an era of success which included the North West Counties League Championship, a North West Counties League Cup win plus runners-up finishes in both competitions, as well as a fifth placed finish in the Premier Division of the Northern Premier League.
Ted’s time in the Chair came to an end when Tommy Lawson left the club for a decade-long stint at Skelmersdale United, but his contribution to the club should not be under-estimated. Having enjoyed a long stint as Club Secretary, then been one of Ted’s successors as Chairman, Doug Lace was unequivocal in his assessment of Ted’s importance to Prescot Cables: “there is no doubt that without Ted Mercer’s backing, the club would not be here today”.
Ted’s funeral is on Monday 2nd November at St Helens Crematorium but, of course, we must ask supporters not to attend due to the restrictions the region is under.
We thank Ted once again for all he did for the club and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends at this extremely sad time.
Photo: Ted Mercer, Tommy Lawson and Doug Lace at the bar after a match.