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1957/58 Season Summary

Copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission

Although at the A.G.M. the directors resolved to do their utmost to finish in the top half of the table and made twelve close season signings, Southport ended in 23rd place and thus became founder members of the Fourth Division.

Pre-season hopes were raised when Stan Mortensen was appointed Team Supervisor in complete charge of practice, policy and tactics on the field. Previously Gordon Hunt had managed the playing and administrative functions, the directors usually handling team selection.

Southport never looked like finishing in the top twelve; between mid-October and Christmas they lost a record eight consecutive league games, were dismissed from the Lancashire Senior Cup by Liverpool and were most ingloriously defeated 2-1 by Wigan Athletic at Haig Avenue before 14,170 in the F.A. Cup. The ‘Latics included ex-Sandgrounders Bill Forsyth, Jimmy Prescott, Alan Whitfield and player-manager Trevor Hitchen. Shortly after this humiliation the directors agreed to Stan .Mortensen’s request to be relieved of the responsibilities of his coaching duties.

The dismal spell ended on Christmas Day with a sparkling 5-3 win at Bradford P.A., Southport scoring four times in the opening twelve minutes. On January 11th a 2-2 draw with Bury lifted Southport off the bottom, but they remained in 23rd -position without much prospect of improvement. Four successive wins in March were followed by only one point and three goals in their last eight games. Totals of twelve home league defeats and twenty-nine in all established unwanted club records, Southport’s solitary achievement was sharing the Liverpool Senior Cup with _Everton, by drawing 0-0. after winning 2-1 at Tranmere.

The reason for the ‘Port’s dramatic decline-after challenging for the Second Division two years earlier – was the premature break-up of the old team. Bobby Mcllvenny, Wilf Charlton and Don Hunter were never adequately replaced. The vast majority of the 31 players utilised — injuries and loss of form constantly caused alterations – were not of the required standard.

In addition, Wally Taylor, George Rankin, Angus Alexander, -Ray Minshull and Jimmy McDermott all requested transfers during the season; only -McDermott was unsuccessful. In December, Minshull, after years’ loyal service, was transferred to Bradford for around £500; later, Oldham Athletic paid the same amount for Taylor, for so long the cornerstone of the defence. Alexander, a costly signing from Burnley, wanted first-team football and joined Workington in March in exchange for Tommy Kinloch. Surprisingly one or the better captures. Norman McCredie from Accrington Stanley, was released and joined Mcllvenny at Barrow.

In October four trialists were released for financial reasons; soon afterwards the contracts of John -Wassail and Mike McCoy were -terminated by mutual consent; John McKenna, Stanley Matthews’ deputy at Blackpool, suffered frequent injury; Con Phillips and Geoff Hazledine disappointed. More encouragingly, Ray Gryba, a strong, determined utility player, became top scorer with just nine goals, whilst amateurs Brian Phenix, Haydon Barker and Stewart Schofield impressed sufficiently to be offered part-time terms.

Southport lost £2,522 on the year, despite the abolition of Entertainment Tax and £2,571 transfer income. In November the board was strengthened when Cyril Hodkinson, M.B.E., and John Church, the club’s present chairman, were co-opted, but J. ‘H. Alexander later resigned as President. The deaths of former vice-chairmen Sam -Banner and Jimmy Green were recorded, whilst Jimmy Fay, J.P., long-serving administrator of the Players’ Union whose distinguished career embraced Southport Working Lads, Oldham Athletic, Bolton Wanderers and Southport, passed away, aged 72.

With fourth division football inevitable, the directors decided to appoint a team manager and in June Trevor Hitchen reappeared. Shortly afterwards, trainers Bobby Jones and Will Birkett were relieved of their duties, Jack Tait – Wigan Athletic trainer—taking over.

Making their first application in nine years, Southport were re-elected comfortably, securing 42 votes to Crewe Alexandra’s 36, with Peterborough United the nearest challenger with 15.

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 Scunthorpe & Lindsey United 46 29 8 9 88 50 1.760 66
2 Accrington Stanley 46 25 9 12 83 61 1.361 59
3 Bradford City 46 21 15 10 73 49 1.490 57
4 Bury 46 23 10 13 94 62 1.516 56
5 Hull City 46 19 15 12 78 67 1.164 53
6 Mansfield Town 46 22 8 16 100 92 1.087 52
7 Halifax Town 46 20 11 15 83 69 1.203 51
8 Chesterfield 46 18 15 13 71 69 1.029 51
9 Stockport County 46 18 11 17 74 67 1.104 47
10 Rochdale 46 19 8 19 79 67 1.179 46
11 Tranmere Rovers 46 18 10 18 82 76 1.079 46
12 Wrexham 46 17 12 17 61 63 0.968 46
13 York City 46 17 12 17 68 76 0.895 46
14 Gateshead 46 15 15 16 68 76 0.895 45
15 Oldham Athletic 46 14 17 15 72 84 0.857 45
16 Carlisle United 46 19 6 21 80 78 1.026 44
17 Hartlepools United 46 16 12 18 73 76 0.961 44
18 Barrow 46 13 15 18 66 74 0.892 41
19 Workington 46 14 13 19 72 81 0.889 41
20 Darlington 46 17 7 22 78 89 0.876 41
21 Chester City 46 13 13 20 73 81 0.901 39
22 Bradford Park Avenue 46 13 11 22 68 95 0.716 37
23 Southport 46 11 6 29 52 88 0.591 28
24 Crewe Alexandra 46 8 7 31 47 93 0.505 23

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

FINAL TABLE LANCASHIRE COMBINATION (DIVISION 1) '57-'58
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 1. Horwich RMI                42-63 (109-47)  28  7  7  Champions    
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 2. Prescot Cables             42-61 (117-49)  26  9  7          
 3. New Brighton               42-54  (85-61)  23  8 11          
 4. Wigan Athletic             42-53  (95-60)  21 11 10          
 5. Accrington Stanley II      42-52  (92-71)  23  6 13  left  
 6. Netherfield                42-49  (87-70)  20  9 13          
 7. Morecambe                  42-48  (66-50)  18 12 12          
 8. Rossendale United          42-48 (104-88)  19 10 13          
 9. Chorley                    42-47 (123-85)  20  7 15          
10. Marine Crosby              42-41  (74-103) 17  7 18          
11. Nelson                     42-40  (65-71)  17  6 19          
12. Ashton United              42-39  (96-108) 17  5 20          
13. Lancaster City             42-37  (74-93)  15  7 20          
14. Southport II               42-37  (69-102) 16  5 21          
15. Burscough                  42-36  (80-79)  14  8 20          
16. South Liverpool            42-36  (94-102) 15  6 21          
17. Skelmersdale United        42-36  (77-92)  15  6 21          
18. Darwen                     42-34  (71-104) 14  6 22          
19. Droylsden                  42-33  (75-99)  13  7 22          
20. Bacup Borough              42-32  (88-115) 12  8 22          
21. Fleetwood                  42-32  (57-82)  11 10 21          
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22. Cromptons Recreation       42-16  (51-118)  5  6 31  Relegated    

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

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