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1987/88 Season Summary

The summer of 1987 saw some big changes in the appearance of Haig Avenue. Following ground safety recommendations all the covered terracing on two sides of the ground had to be demolished and for the next six years only the main stand afforded protection from the elements. Four upright stanchions and a cross-piece were all that remained at the Scarisbrick New Road end as a gaunt reminder of happier days; on the ‘popular’ side the bottom six steps of the once twenty deep terracing were left in place.
With Multipart withdrawing their sponsorship, the league reverted to the N.P.L. for 1987-88; but Southport’s season proved a huge disappointment. At the outset it threatened to surpass all that had gone before, since, by October 3rd, the club had won eight and drawn the other three of their opening eleven games, with a mere four goals conceded. Young Rob Sturgeon, whose father, the Liverpool comedian Bobby Kaye, was newly appointed vice-chairman, had developed into a commanding central defender and celebrated his moth N.P.L. game early in the season. Paul Lodge lent support in midfield after Peter King departed to Marine.
Suddenly it all went wrong. Four weeks of deteriorating form ended with the shock resignation on November 6th of manager Griffiths. In a statement he dissociated his decision from recent results, referring obliquely to decisions taken off the field during a period of enforced absence through work commitments. As club captain Lodge briefly held the reins until the appointment, on November 17th, of the mercurial Micky Taylor, previously youth team trainer at Preston North End and a former
Southport reserve player back in the ‘sixties.
A period of flux ensued as the axis of the team shifted from Merseyside to central Lancashire. Paul Evans returned in goal, while one by one Coleman, Lodge and full-back Robbie Armstrong departed, the last named for a gross breach of club discipline. The club finished 14th in the table and lost two cup finals, the N.P.L. President’s Cup disappearing 4-5 to South Liverpool over two legs after Southport had, at one stage, led 3—o away.
One N.P.L. Cup game is worthy of note, if only for the attendance — at Haig Avenue — of just 77 spectators. The game was played in hurricane conditions; goal-kicks going behind for corners were not uncommon — Paul Evans put one such out of the ground behind him! David Eyres, who finished top scorer for the season, scored both the goals which beat Gainsborough Trinity 2-I, one of which not unexpectedly flew in directly from a corner kick. It was a tribute to both sets of players and the officials that the game was completed at all.


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 Chorley 42 26 10 6 78 35 88
2 Hyde
Utd
42 25 10 7 91 52 85
3 Caernarfon 42 22 10 10 56 34 76
4 Morecambe 42 19 15 8 61 41 72
5 Barrow 42 21 8 13 70 41 71
6 Worksop
Town
42 20 11 11 74 55 71
7 Bangor
City
42 20 10 12 72 55 70
8 Rhyl 42 18 13 11 70 42 67
9 Marine 42 19 10 13 67 45 67
10 Frickley
Ath
42 18 11 13 61 55 65
11 Witton
Alb
42 16 12 14 61 47 60
12 Goole
Town
42 17 9 16 71 61 60
13 Horwich
RMI
42 17 9 16 46 42 60
14 Southport
42 15 12 15 43 48 57
15 South
Liverpool
42 10 19 13 56 64 49
16 Buxton 42 11 14 17 72 76 47
17 Mossley 42 11 11 20 54 75 44
18 Gateshead 42 11 7 24 52 71 40
19 Matlock
Town
42 10 8 24 58 89 38
20 Gainsborough 42 8 10 24 38 81 34
21 Oswestry 42 6 10 26 44 101 28
22 Workington 42 6 3 33 28 113 21

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