Since 1968, handball has had a home in Merseyside and specifically Liverpool. Since its inception, Liverpool Handball Club (LHC) has provided numerous GB and other national players at all ages. Over the years, the club has formed a tradition of dedication and excellence. Our vision is to continue this tradition and continue to provide quality national players.
Each club member, whether a seasoned member or rookie, demonstrates a commitment and personal dedication that testifies to the time and effort that LHC pours into ‘grass roots’ development and enthusiasm for the sport. The establishment of the Liverpool Academy is just one of the ways that the club has sought to formally accomplish this vision. We remain dedicated to the discovery and development of the next generation of brighter and better players.
The Formative Years
Liverpool Handball Club (LHC) began life in 1968 as St. Andrew’s under-14 boy’s school team. This team was the most successful 15-16-year-old boy’s team in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They won the North West of England Title on 4 occasions and were runner-ups in the National (Men’s) Championship twice.
In the early 1970s, LHC played under the name of Halewood Forum Handball Club and trained at Bridgefield Forun in Halewood. At this time the club was led by the ex-pupils of St. Andrew’s Secondary Modern School with Keith Clark still having strong ties to the club. LHC attracted other ex-pupils and quickly became an established club within a very small handball community.
The Mick Heggarty Era
LHC began to achieve success in the early 1980s under the coaching of Mick Hegarty. Mick initiated a training regime to improve the fitness of the players. Consequently. LHC become one of the first handball clubs to train three times per week, as well as perform pre-season conditioning training. Mick’s training techniques were notoriously unique. One such method involved selected players pushing a mini-bus one hundred yards up a road whilst Mick sat inside the mini-bus with his foot on the brake pedal.
Mick coached the team from 1976 to 1989, excepting two years when he lived in London and played for Brentwood HC. Mick’s stint as coach brought the club into the first of the golden periods during which the club won the league and cup , and becoming arguably the most successful men’s club in the history of British handball. The club won the double on no fewer than five occasions. With these successes came the qualification into the European Cup.
• Benfica HC -The first game in European competition was played against Benfica HC. The first leg was played at Kirkby Sports Centre in front of a home crowd of 500 spectators. The match was hard fought with Benfica coming out victors. The away leg was played at Portugal at Sporting Club Benfica, their home arena, in front of over 2000 spectators who in traditional Mediterranean style were very vocal in their support for their team.
• Rehovot -The next European cup competition was drawn against Rehovot, a professional handball team from Israel. It was decided that both legs of the competition would be played in Israel. Among the many fantastic stories from this trip, one in particular is worth telling. The entire LHC team was in an Irish bar when for no reason whatsoever, an Israeli male decided to ride his motorbike through the bar nearly running over Alan Henaghan. In the end, both games went in favor of the Israeli team despite a great effort on the part of LHC. Both matches were shown on the Israeli sports stations.
• vs. Hershi V& L(Holland)
• vs. SC Magdeburg (East Germany before the Berlin Wall came down)
• vs. Kolding (Denmark)
• vs. Vikingur (Iceland)
A highlight of these matches occurred during the home leg of the match against SC Magdeburg and the world’s number one goalkeeper, Wieland Schmidt. LHC got a penalty and Phil Church dummied a shot, which sent Herr Schmidt into a star jump—and Phil just rolled the ball into the net. This was the debut of the “Olly” shot, so-named by a BHA official.