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1978/79 Season Summary

The season of 1978-79 proved to be a surprising success, with 19 wins and only 11 defeats in the 44 League games played. A massive turnover of players meant that only John Higham and Chris Kisby remained of the regulars from the previous year, though Paul Birchall and (briefly) George Dewsnip were to return later in the season. Hughie Fisher had departed but his assistant Harry McNally, later to give great service at Chester City, proved a capable replacement as Manager. A ‘crowd’ of 296 were present at Holly Park, Garston to see the first foray into an unknown world, which resulted in a 1—0 win against South Liverpool.

The N.P.L. contained, at that time, all the crack outfits of the northern non-League scene — Altrincham, Boston United, Barrow, Stafford Rangers and the like. That Southport managed to finish in fifth place was a highly creditable performance but the real turning-point came at the end of the campaign with the formation of the Football Alliance. This was to be a new nationwide concept comprising the elite of all the regional leagues and would in time devolve into the Vauxhall Conference. Naturally enough, Southport were invited to become founder-members but the Board turned down the opportunity on the grounds that the additional travelling costs were prohibitive.
One must remember that at this time there was no ‘pyramid structure’ of automatic promotion and relegation to and from the Football League, so some justification for the decision could perhaps exist. Yet it obviously meant that Southport were distancing themselves still further from any hopes of ever recovering their League place. What was not anticipated, however, was the widespread alienation of the supporters that this decision would engender, with its consequent effects on playing staff morale and results on the pitch.


Sources:
The Sandgrounders: The Complete League History of Southport F. C., by Michael Braham and Geoff Wilde (Palatine Books, 1995). ISBN 978-1-874181-14-9

Pos Team P W D L F A Pts
1 Mossley 44 32 5 7 117 48 69
2 Altrincham 44 25 11 8 93 39 61
3 Matlock
Town
44 24 8 12 100 59 56
4 Scarborough 44 19 14 11 61 44 52
5 Southport
44 19 14 11 62 49 52
6 Boston
United
44 17 18 9 40 33 52
7 Runcorn 44 21 9 14 79 54 51
8 Stafford
Rangers
44 18 14 12 67 41 50
9 Goole
Town
44 17 15 12 56 61 49
10 Northwich
Vics
44 18 11 15 64 52 47
11 Lancaster
City
44 17 12 15 62 54 46
12 Bangor
City
44 15 14 15 65 66 44
13 Worksop
Town
44 13 14 17 55 67 40
14 Workington 44 16 7 21 62 74 39
15 Netherfield 44 13 11 20 39 69 37
16 Barrow 44 14 9 21 47 78 37
17 Gainsborough
Trinity
44 12 12 20 52 67 36
18 Morecambe 44 11 13 20 55 65 35
19 Frickley
Ath
44 13 9 22 58 70 35
20 South
Liverpool
44 12 10 22 48 85 34
21 Gateshead 44 11 11 22 42 63 33
22 Buxton 44 11 9 24 50 84 31
23 Macclesfield
Town
44 8 10 26 40 92 26

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