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1958/59 Season Summary

Copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission

For the only time in League history, Southport finished last in their division—the 92nd team in the league—with a paltry 26 points.

Trevor Hitchen’s return as manager in June 1958 was no surprise; speculation had been rife ever since Hitchen had piloted VVigan to their shock Cup win the previous November. At the A.G.M. he promised shareholders eleven fighters capable of lasting the full ninety minutes; he was confident of producing results to arouse enthusiasm in the town; but fitness could not compensate for lack of ability and financial restrictions inevitably limited his chances.

For two months the home results exceeded all expectations, but it soon became obvious that Southport lacked the strength to collect points on tour; particularly dfsappointing were two key newcomers to the attack-Gordon Davies and Bobby Cunliffe.

Despite an opening 5-1 defeat at Watford-last visited in 19O5-the ‘Port remained undefeated at home until the return fixture in December; yet they lost every away match until January, when Haydon Barker’s fifteenth second goal secured a 1-1 draw at Hartlepools.

Shortly afterwards Southport signed Wally ‘Fielding, veteran schemer of the Everton attack, as player-manager; -Hitchen nobly continued as his assistant. The following Saturday, January 24th, Southport-reinforced by Fielding and little Jackie Grant, his Everton team-mate signed from Rochdale-best Gillingham 2-1; but this was Southport’s solitary win between November and April, in 29 consecutive league matches. The twenty-three away games finally yielded four points and not a single victory.

Fundamentally, Southport lacked punch in attack. Nine players were tried in the problem centre-forward position, Stocky fair-haired Roy Smith cost £300 from Wigan Athletic but, without adequate support, failed to adapt to league football. Released in March, he joined Morecambe; in June, aged 22, Smith tragically lost his life in a mining accident. Another centre-forward, 25-year-old Albert Stokes from Scunthorpe, scored one of the most bizarre goals seen at Haig Avenue when he harassed Walsall goalkeeper Woodward sufficiently to prevent him turning to make a clearance. After several seconds he dropped the ball ahd Stokes darted round him to prod it into the net !

Outside-right Jimmy McDermott was one of the few front-line successes. Originally retained for 1959-60, he reluctantly accepted a transfer to Wigan Athletic. David Kerr, who occasionally displayed finesse at inside-forward, later joined Third Lanark.

In defence, Roger Darvell, a commanding centre-half, was possibly Hitchen’s best signing and gave seven years’ faithful service. Skipper Tommy Kinloch, a tremendous driving force at wing-half, was not retained and joined Wigan Rovers. Burly and uncompromising full-back Bill Dodd was also tried at centre-forward, but was transfer-listed and later signed for Bangor.

In the Cup third division Halifax Town outplayed Southport and won 2-0, With Cup receipts only £301, league takings down £2,500 and a net £3,000 paid in transfer fees, the club suffered a record loss of £7,746, raising the total deficit over £27,000. George Robertson succeeded Fred Thornley as chairman, and, with finances at a low ebb, a survival appeal was launched.

Hitchen’s youth policy produced just one class player—full-back Terry Leath, whose first-team debut came in the final league game. The “A” team was out of its depth in the Lancashire League Division I; the “B” team played in the Southport and District League.

In September Harry Beadles, Welsh international and leading goal-scorer each season between 1926 and 1929, -died. The following month, director and president Dick Rimmer passed away.

At the Football League A.G.M. South-port were re-elected but the voting was uncomfortably close. Only seven of the ten players retained actually re-signed. Part-time professional full-back Allan Parkinson. signed in March 1953 as an amateur from Leyland Motors, refused the terms offered and departed, following his April benefit match against a Burnley XI. Wally Fielding faced considerable rebuilding over the close 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 12 8 110 58 1.897 64
2 Coventry City 46 24 12 10 84 47 1.787 60
3 York City 46 21 18 7 73 52 1.404 60
4 Shrewsbury Town 46 24 10 12 101 63 1.603 58
5 Exeter City 46 23 11 12 87 61 1.426 57
6 Walsall 46 21 10 15 95 64 1.484 52
7 Crystal Palace 46 20 12 14 90 71 1.268 52
8 Northampton Town 46 21 9 16 85 78 1.090 51
9 Millwall 46 20 10 16 76 69 1.101 50
10 Carlisle United 46 19 12 15 62 65 0.954 50
11 Gillingham 46 20 9 17 82 77 1.065 49
12 Torquay United 46 16 12 18 78 77 1.013 44
13 Chester City 46 16 12 18 72 84 0.857 44
14 Bradford Park Avenue 46 18 7 21 75 77 0.974 43
15 Watford 46 16 10 20 81 79 1.025 42
16 Darlington 46 13 16 17 66 68 0.971 42
17 Workington 46 12 17 17 63 78 0.808 41
18 Crewe Alexandra 46 15 10 21 70 82 0.854 40
19 Hartlepools United 46 15 10 21 74 88 0.841 40
20 Gateshead 46 16 8 22 56 85 0.659 40
21 Oldham Athletic 46 16 4 26 59 84 0.702 36
22 Aldershot 46 14 7 25 63 97 0.649 35
23 Barrow 46 9 10 27 51 104 0.490 28
24 Southport 46 7 12 27 41 86 0.477 26

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

 

FINAL TABLE LANCASHIRE COMBINATION (DIVISION 1) '58-'59
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 1. New Brighton               42-64 (127-53)  29  6  7  Champions    
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 2. Prescot Cables             42-60 (111-57)  27  6  9          
 3. Horwich RMI                42-59  (95-57)  25  9  8          
 4. Skelmersdale United        42-54 (107-69)  22 10 10          
 5. Morecambe                  42-53  (77-44)  22  9 11          
 6. Chorley                    42-51 (109-82)  22  7 13          
 7. Netherfield                42-49  (91-73)  22  5 15          
 8. Bacup Borough              42-48 (104-88)  19 10 13          
 9. Nelson                     42-47  (82-74)  19  9 14          
10. Fleetwood                  42-44  (72-87)  20  4 18          
11. Marine Crosby              42-40  (80-97)  16  8 18          
12. Burscough                  42-39  (60-69)  15  9 18          
13. South Liverpool            42-38  (81-94)  16  6 20          
14. Darwen                     42-38  (75-93)  16  6 20          
15. Lancaster City             42-38  (69-95)  13 12 17          
16. Rossendale United          42-37  (88-89)  16  5 21          
17. Oldham Athletic II         42-34  (80-98)  13  8 21          
18. Wigan Athletic             42-31  (60-84)  12  7 23          
19. Ashton United              42-30  (69-103) 12  6 24          
20. Southport II               42-28  (70-104) 10  8 24          
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21. Clitheroe                  42-25  (71-105) 11  3 28  Relegated    
22. Droylsden                  42-17  (43-106)  6  5 31  Relegated    

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

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