The fact that Southport completed this season at all was an achievement, as support dwindled to its lowest ever level. Once again the 'Port had to go cap-in-hand to the Football League, but they were re-elected easily enough, receiving 47 votes to New Brighton's 38, with unsuccessful applicants Shrewsbury Town and Wigan Athletic obtaining only seven and six votes respectively.
At one point, in February, 1936, it looked as if the club would not be able to continue; the directors had paid the rent from their own pockets, and there was insufficient cash available to take the team to Mansfield for the League match the following. week-end. Average home gates were no more than 2,500-Walsall's visit attracted a paltry 1,062 - and there were occasions when Southport actually derived more benefit from their cut from away games.
The League receipts from the visit of Chesterfield the previous week had been £139. After distributing the relevant percentage to the visitors and deducting
Entertainment Tax and the F.A. levy, Southport were left with £81. The weekly
wage bill, although just about the lowest in the League. amounted to £90.
Something had to be done quickly, so to keep their heads above water Southport had to exploit their only marketable asset—the team. Chesterfield, who had earlier put them out of the Cup, came to Southport's rescue and signed Jack Seagrave, defensive stalwart since the early 'thirties, and Charles Read. Read, described as one of the best inside-forwards to play for Southport, had been signed in the Spring of 1235 from Lincoln City and had scored what is generally considered to be the finest goal ever seen at Haig Avenue when, on Good Friday, 1935. against Hartlepools United, he ran seventy yards with the ball and cracked it into the back of the net.
The transfers temporarily staved off the financial crisis. The joint fees were only about £750, but, when one realises that a mere £3.226 was taken in transfer and gate receipts - £1.765 less than the previous season, it was a life-line and undoubtedly saved the club from extinction.
On the field, the two Christmas defeats at the hands of Stockport County proved a turning-point of sorts; up till then Southport had collected a meagre ten points from twenty matches; subsequently, they did not lose again at home, but in contrast picked up only one point away.
In May, Frank Jefferis, trainer since 1926, left to take up a similar appointment at Millwall. Manager Commins' contract was not renewed and few people could have envisaged the prospect of survival, let alone advancement, as Southport prepared for the 1936-37 season.
In a parlous position financially-a loss of £1,600 meant that the total indebtedness exceeded £7,500-the club's whole future still appeared to be at stake. As it turned out, this was the darkest hour before the dawn.
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