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1953/54 Season Summary

Copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission

As in the previous season Southport began in confident fashion, picking up thirteen points from their first ten games. Alec Gaskell, a product of the Leigh and District League, was a tireless worker at centre-forward who constantly harassed opposing defences and soon attracted the attention of several first division clubs. In October Newcastle United paid out £5,000 for his services; with his departure the outside chance of promotion disappeared and Southport had to be content with a mid-table position. The money received from Gaskell’s transfer helped to reduce the bank overdraft which had reached its limit.

Gaskell made only one league appearance at Newcastle and moved on to Mansfield Town the following season. Subsequently he joined Grantham, but returned to league football with Tranmere Rovers before fading into oblivion with a succession of non-league clubs – a disappointing career in view of his considerable early promise.

Gaskell’s departure severely weakened the forward line while Billy Dale never fully recovered from a broken leg sustained in training in December. Dale was freed at the end of the season and although he had trials with Accrington Stanley and Crewe Alexandra his old form had deserted him.

In the F.A. Cup Southport beat Carlisle United and thus gained revenge for their Cup defeat three years earlier. They put up a tremendous struggle against Port Vale – eventual semi-finalists — drawing at Haig Avenue and being desperately unlucky to lose 2-0 at Vale Park after enjoying most of the play. The’ Port did everything but score, hitting both the bar and the post.

Southport also distinguished themselves in the two Easter fixtures against Port Vale, which both resulted in goalless draws. Their performance was particularly meritorious since reserve full-backs Lomas and Forsyth deputised for the injured Taylor and Reilly and Vale finished champions by an eleven point margin, The Port Vale games attracted the biggest “gates” to Haig Avenue – 12,529 saw the cup-tie and a crowd of W2,328 witnessed the Easter Monday match, while there were over 27000 at Vale Park on Good Friday. On New Year’s Day Southport turned in another fine performance, thrashing runners-up Barnsley 5-2.

Hunter and Walsh established themselves as strong wing-halves both in attack and defence, but the deficiencies of the forward line were still apparent even after the signing of the experienced Harry Whitworth from Rochdale.

Wilf Birkett returned from Shrewsbury Town but sadly was forced to quit football in August, 1954, owing to a recurring shoulder injury sustained at Chester on February 13th. He was absorbed on to the -ground staff, taking over from Harry Harrison who gave up the post of second team trainer to go back to his old job as a joiner. Amongst other departures Bob Hacking was freed after six seasons and 181 league appearances and went to Lancaster City, while Colin McLean signed for Crewe Alexandra where he was joined by Harry Whitworth.

In October, 1953, Vice-Chairman Sam Banner, now 80, resigned from the board for reasons of ill-health. He had been appointed a Life Member the previous February in recognition of his long service. Jimmy Green became vice-chairman the following month. Other changes brought George Robertson and Fred Thornley on to the board, whilst Councillor F. A. Fletcher—a recent acquisition—lost his seat after disappearing without trace at ‘Christmas, 1953.

At the A.G.M., at which a profit of 21.625-thanks largely to Gaskell’s transfer-was reported J. H. Alexander_ a former director, succeeded Major W. H. Stephenson as president. The directors showed concern at the dwindling attendances-gate receipts were down by more than £2,500-but they were to fall still further the following season.

Season Summary reproduced with Permission from: The Sandgrounder (Southport FC Matchday Programme) Article Series. Southport through the seasons. The League History of Southport FC, Compiled by Michael P. Braham and Geoffrey S. Wilde

Pos Team P W D L F A GA Pts
1 Port Vale 46 26 17 3 74 21 3.524 69
2 Barnsley 46 24 10 12 77 57 1.351 58
3 Scunthorpe & Lindsey United 46 21 15 10 77 56 1.375 57
4 Gateshead 46 21 13 12 74 55 1.345 55
5 Bradford City 46 22 9 15 60 55 1.091 53
6 Chesterfield 46 19 14 13 76 64 1.188 52
7 Mansfield Town 46 20 11 15 88 67 1.313 51
8 Wrexham 46 21 9 16 81 68 1.191 51
9 Bradford Park Avenue 46 18 14 14 77 68 1.132 50
10 Stockport County 46 18 11 17 77 67 1.149 47
11 Southport 46 17 12 17 63 60 1.050 46
12 Barrow 46 16 12 18 72 71 1.014 44
13 Carlisle United 46 14 15 17 83 71 1.169 43
14 Tranmere Rovers 46 18 7 21 59 70 0.843 43
15 Accrington Stanley 46 16 10 20 66 74 0.892 42
16 Crewe Alexandra 46 14 13 19 49 67 0.731 41
17 Grimsby Town 46 16 9 21 51 77 0.662 41
18 Hartlepools United 46 13 14 19 59 65 0.908 40
19 Rochdale 46 15 10 21 59 77 0.766 40
20 Workington 46 13 14 19 59 80 0.738 40
21 Darlington 46 12 14 20 50 71 0.704 38
22 York City 46 12 13 21 64 86 0.744 37
23 Halifax Town 46 12 10 24 44 73 0.603 34
24 Chester City 46 11 10 25 48 67 0.716 32

Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia and reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

 

FINAL TABLE LANCASHIRE COMBINATION (DIVISION 1) '53-'54
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 1. Wigan Athletic             40-66 (110-48)  31  4  5  Champions    
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 2. Netherfield                40-51 (104-73)  20 11  9          
 3. Nelson                     40-48  (91-68)  21  6 13          
 4. Horwich RMI                40-47  (95-65)  21  5 14          
 5. Darwen                     40-45  (80-49)  18  9 13          
 6. Marine Crosby              40-40  (70-77)  17  6 17          
 7. South Liverpool            40-39  (77-73)  15  9 16          
 8. Oldham Athletic II         40-39  (77-81)  17  5 18          
 9. Lancaster City             40-39  (79-84)  16  7 17          
10. Southport II               40-39  (56-67)  16  7 17          
11. Accrington Stanley II      40-37  (91-88)  17  3 20          
12. Bolton Wanderers 'B'       40-37  (62-71)  16  5 19          
13. Rossendale United          40-36  (87-89)  14  8 18          
14. Ashton United              40-36  (74-85)  17  2 21          
15. Rochdale II                40-36  (61-80)  14  8 18          
16. Barrow II                  40-36  (57-79)  15  6 19          
17. Fleetwood                  40-35  (78-88)  14  7 19          
18. Chorley                    40-34  (51-60)  12 10 18          
19. Morecambe                  40-34  (58-83)  14  6 20          
20. New Brighton               40-33  (70-94)  13  7 20          
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21. Prescot Cables             40-33  (63-89)  13  7 20  Relegated    
22. Bootle Athletic             0- 0  ( 0- 0)   0  0  0  left  

Source: The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation.Author Dinant Abbink

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