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Ten records broken, four of them still unbeaten, must make 1930-31 the most successful season ever In that memorable year the club's match, individual player and total scoring records were established and the 'Port reached the sixth round of the F.A. Cup. Away from home, the most goals scored (36) and least defeats (eight) were recorded. In addition, the most points, highest attendances and receipts for matches at Haig Avenue and a record profit of £1,370 were achieved-these, however, have been beaten.
Yet the season began in mediocre fashion; towards the end of October only eight points had been collected from twelve games. The turning point was the arrival of Archie Waterston. Being without a club, he applied for a trial and was signed on. His skill and scoring power inspired the team. Southport lost at Wigan, but the next ten games yielded 18 points and they fairly raced up the table; but the F.A. Cup success surpassed all else.
After easily accounting for Darlington and Gainsborough Trinity, Second Division Millwall were drawn at Haig Avenue. Millwall, for whom Lem Newcomb appeared, were well beaten 3-1 before 10,125 fans, with Baker saving a penalty. Seaside rivals First Division Blackpool were the next to fall; a crowd of 13,524 saw the home side fight back to win after losing 0-1 at half-time. Southport's luck held with Second Division Bradford Park Avenue the next visitors. A then record 17,508 crowd were present as Southport created football history by being the first Third Division North team to reach the last eight. Cowen scored the vital goal, and the whole town went wild with delightóCup lever had hit Southport.
Came the sixth round, and the 'Port travelled to nearby Goodison Park. Accustomed
to a light, sandy pitch, they found ground conditions atrocious with snow covering
the corners and the rest inches deep in mud. It is said that the referee had to
spin the coin three times before it landed even. Poor goalkeepr Billy Baker, who
had done so well in previous rounds and enjoyed great success since taking over
from Billy Halsall, completely lost his nerve right from the start when, distracted
by the inrushing Dixie Dean, he let in a Jimmy Stein cross. He eventually picked
the ball out of the net nine times-seven times in the first 42 minutes. The occasion
was too much for Southport, and they lost 9-1. The team that day was: Baker; Little,
Robinson; Seagrave (deputising for George Wyness, who had broken his leg at Rotherham),
Vincent, Holmes; Hills, McConnell, Waterston, Cowen and Roberts. The game had
its financial compensations as the 45,647 crowd paid £3,971.
In the League. Southport clicked into top gear and finished fifth with 53 points. Eighty-eight goals were scored in the 42 League games - 31 of them by Waterston in only 29 matches. The highlight of the League programme was the 8-1 thrashing of Nelson on New Year's Day. After Ralsbeck had given the visitors the lead, Waterston scored five. This record League win was only equalled last season. The team-which didn't cost a penny-included six North-Eastern lads. Team spirit and honest endeavour were key factors in their success.
1931 was also the end of an era; "Salty" Halsall retired after twelve illustrious years and over 450 first-team games between the posts. Only Arthur Peat has played in more League matches. Another great loss was the death, in May, 1931, of George Moore-Club Chairman since 1922.
On the managerial side, Jimmy Commins, who got the team together, did not stay to see its triumphs. He became manager at Barrow and the ever-willing Edwin Clayton filled the breach until Bert Pelham was appointed. Further success awaited him the following 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 If you can provide any further information please contact me