and reproduced by kind permission
The improvement of the previous season was maintained. Although finishing in 16th position - two places below that achieved in 1936-37-Southport actually obtained 38 points, one more than twelve months earlier, despite managing only one victory by the end of September.
Dave Hill, a dominating centre-half, was signed from Plymouth. He took over the captaincy from Bobby Crawford, who completed his 500 League appearances in December, providing probably the only instance of anyone reaching this target whilst playing for Southport. Joe Rutherford made the goalkeeping position his own with some spectacular displays, although he was beaten ten times at Hull in a then record 10-1 defeat. The following side took the field: Rutherford; Royston, Grainger; Wass, Hill, Salmon; Baker, Atkinson, Patrick, Hampson and Ovenstone. This match proved the unfortunate ending to a club record run of six successive draws.
Billy Wardle. an 18-year-old outside-left from Houghton Colliery Welfare introduced the previous season, made such an impact that he was transferred to Manchester City for £2,000 in October after only 14 League games. Wardle got few opportunities at Maine Road owing to Eric Brook's consistency, but after the war gained considerable football experience with Birmingham City, Grimsby Town, Blackpool and Barnsley.
Roy Royston also made his mark in the team and linked up with Jack Grainger to form as good a pair of full-backs as any in the section. Joe Patrick remained top scorer (with twenty goals) and was also the only ever-present in the side. Late on, two promising players—Reuben Scott and Albert Stapleton-were signed from Manchester United and immediately established themselves at left-half and outside-right respectively. Clearly the tide was now turning Southport's way.
Southport won the Divisional Cup for the first time in six attempts after having been beaten finalists the previous year. They defeated Carlisle United 3-2 (after drawing at Haig Avenue), Hartlepools United 6-0, Oldham Athletic 3-0 (after a 1-1 draw at Boundary Park), Tranmere Rovers 1-0, and finally Bradford City 4-1 at Haig Avenue.
Further glory came Southport's way in the Lancashire Senior Cup. After overcoming Preston and Bolton Wanderers (both after replays) and Burnley, Manchester United visited Haig Avenue. A crowd of 7,931 saw United win by a lone goal-Southport played gallantly, but could not overcome the handicap of losing goalkeeper Joe Rutherford through injury; Harry Hampson deputised.
In the close season. Hampson was transferred to Sheffield United for £2,250. A talented inside-forward who contributed greatly to United's successful promotion bid in 1939. he seemed destined for a brilliant career but, tragically, he died after taking ill whilst on leave in the town in 1942.
Average attendances-at 5,054-- were higher than for several years and a record 12,546 crowd paid £676 to see the League game against Tranmere Rovers on Good Friday, 1938. A profit of £1,196 was announced at the A.G.M. Clearly the worst was over and supporters could look forward to better things.
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