and reproduced by kind permission
It is hard to believe that, after being practically down and out three years earlier,
Southport should make a serious bid for Third Division honours so soon. After
two highly encouraging seasons, during which time they assembled a useful team,
the 'Port got away to an excellent start, including a 7-1 thrashing of Carlisle
United in September, to which Patrick contributed four goals.
They sustained their promotion challenge well into the New Year-by mid-December they had only suffered one defeat-and for a time ran neck and neck with Barnsley, the eventual champions. However they finally ran out of steam and had to be content with fourth position-their joint highest in the Third Division North.
Joe Patrick once again scored his "20 goals-in fact 27 in the League—making
a total of 76 goals in 118 consecutive League appearances. He was ably supported
by new signing Harry Hawkins from Watford. who registered 13 goals. Other newcomers
to make their mark were the left-wing pair of Alex Scott and Duncan Colquhoun;
expensive signing Jack Ash was unable to command a regular pace in the side and
was ultimately transferred back to Accrington Stanley.
Over the period October 8th to December 27th a club record was established as the side went unchanged through twelve League games-15 games if the three Cup-ties are included. The run lasted until influenza struck Lem Newcomb and Colquhoun simultaneously. The players involved were Rutherford. Royston, Grainger, Newcomb. Hill, Reuben Scott, Stapleton, Hawkins, Patrick. Alex Scott and Colquhoun.
Youth too was given its chance. Denis Grainger, brother of Jack starred on the wing in the Reserves and appeared briefly in the ill-fated 1939-40 season, whilst Jack Rothwell, Reserve inside-forward, looked to be destined for great things. Stylish wing-half Reuben Scott would undoubtedly have been a hit but for a war-time accident in Malta, when he lost his right eye.
In the F.A. Cup, after accounting for Scarborough and Swindon Town, only a rare
slip by that accomplished goalkeeper Joe Rutherford prevented Southport making
further progress at the expense or Doncaster Rovers. In the event. Rovers drew
1-1 at Haig Avenue and prevailed by the odd goal in three in the replay.
During a season when Southport made a profit of £2.716, the club heel, as usual. to rely on transfers. Departures included Joe Rutherford to Aston Villa for £1,500, full-back Roy Royston to Plymouth Argyle for £1,300 and young reserve goalkeeper Harry Smith to Middlesbrough for £450. Naturally there was a fair amount of criticism with the 'Port running so strongly for promotion. In addition, trainer Jimmy Seddon, who moulded the team together, moved on to Liverpool as trainer of the 'A' team.
At the end of the season loyal servant Jack Grainger was awarded a well-earned and uhique benefit. the League game against Doncaster Rovers being allocated; although Rovers won 4-0, Grainger netted £242.
On a sad note, Edwin, Clayton, Honorary Life Member, former Secretary and Director, and a pillar of the club since the old Lancashire Combination days, died aged seventy. Vice-Chairman Alf Wilson also passed away and was succeeded in that capacity by Sam Banner.
In the summer of 1939 the club's stock was higher than for several years. It is probable that but for the outbreak of war they would have made a determined challenge for the Second Division but, in the end, they had to wait seven years for the resumption of League football, and by then the situation had changed completely.
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