Saturday’s FA Trophy game against Solihull certainly threw up a few surprises in terms of team selection. The much changed team, included 6, arguably 7 (if you include Billy Whittle who was originally signed by Andy Bishop from the clubs Under 21 side in 2015 before getting injured), new faces in the starting line-up. There were also two on the substitute bench, but one of them we have seen before…Alex Russell Jr!
The name Alex Russell will forever be synonymous with Southport FC. Alex Russell (snr) is a bona fide club legend, having played in both of Southport’s Football League promotion squads, in 1966-67 under Billy Bingham and 1972-73 under Jimmy Meadows. He scored the memorable goal that clinched the Fourth Division Championship, a 90th minute equaliser against Hartlepool in April 1973.
Now his son has also added himself to the record books. Not only is he, by our reckoning, the oldest player ever to play for the Sandgrounders but he is likely to be the oldest player to ever make his debut!
45 year old Crosby born Alex had an impressive playing career before initially hanging up his boots in 2013. Starting at Burscough in 1993, he went on to make over 100 appearances for Rochdale and Cambridge and also played for Bristol City, Cheltenham, Exeter City, Bath City, Northampton Town and Yeovil Town.
Since he retired from playing he had been U21 manager at Bristol City, assistant manager at Tranmere Rovers and Chief Scout at Oldham Athletic, and some will also remember that he became assistant manager to Paul Carden at Southport!
We’re not expecting Alex to become a regular fixture in the Southport side this season as manager Liam Watson clearly fielded a side with one eye on the FA Cup replay with Tranmere Rovers and was looking to protect his squad from 2 games in 3 days, but his impressive display on Saturday shows he hasn’t lost either his fitness or touch.
Alex’s inclusion however has raised the question over whether we have ever had a Father and Son play for the Sandgrounders before. The answer is emphatically “Yes”, but none perhaps as famous as “the Russell” family.
Here is a list of just a few of those father & son connections:
Here is how the signing of Billy Sinclair was reported back in 1939…