and reproduced by kind permission
Although the club had another mediocre season, finishing 17th in the table, there were signs that an improvement was on the way.
In the 1951 close season Southport had completed one of the best deals in their history when they transferred the unsettled Bill Bellas to Grimsby Town. Belles, a promising centre-half, had been transfer listed at his own request since January; in return Southport received a £1,000 fee plus two players who were to become Haig Avenue stalwarts - All Barratt and Wally Taylor. These two were to bring considerable stability to the defence and Barratt was straightaway appointed captain.
A further notable signing was that of Liverpool goalkeeper Ray Minshull who thus rejoined the club he had briefly assisted as an amateur in 1939. Minshull, too, was to prove a grand servant to the club, but many of the other newcomers - particularly the forwards - failed to fulfil expectations.
Not untfl the eighth game of the season did Southport register their first home win, but the 2-1 victory over York City was secured at a cost - Ray Minshull 'broke his arm and was out of the side until January. However, after losing to Stockport on September 15th, Southport were not beaten again at home until April 5th (when Mansfield also won 1-0), dropping only three points from the intervening thirteen home games.
In the Cup Southport were given quite a fright by non-league Bangor City. Despite trailing by two goals shortly after half-time, the Welshmen fought back to level the scores and incredibly had a third goal disallowed tor offside. The tie was particularly interesting since Bangor fielded no fewer than eight former Southport players. They comprised the entire defence: Anderson; Fazackerley, Boyle; R. Gaskell, Hodgson and Williams; and the left-wing pair, Wyles and Powell. The inside-left scored a typical Cec Wyles goal, pacing a free-kick just inside the near post.
Southport won the replay fairly comfortably, but the second round brought a tremendous cup battle with Reading which remafned unresolved until the third meeting at Villa Park, when Reading won 2-0. At Elm Fark Southport — with Ray Minshull in inspired form - stunned the 17,382 crowd by drawing 1-1, Jack Lindsay scorfng the equalising goal. In the replay Reading equalised two minutes from the end, after Livesey had put Southport ahead with a penalty in extra time. Jack Livesey, signed from Rochdale, gained quite a reputation as a penalty marksman; he was also one of the few professional footballers to play wearing contact lenses.
Away from the Cup, Jack Lindsay created a little bit of football history by scoring three goals in 'three minutes (and four in all) in a 5-1 win against Scunthorpe United on February 9th. Surprisingly, Lindsay was allowed to depart during the close season and, in company with Livesey and Ken Banks, joined Wigan Athletic where he rendered good service. Meanwhile. Banks has now spent over twenty years at Springffeld Park as player and trainer.
The keenest competition for a place in the side centred on the goalkeeping spot. Ray Minshull and Witf Birkett were joined by an eighteen-year-old part-timer for whom great things were predicted -Bobby Jones junior, son of the former goalkeeper and first-team trainer. It was perhaps understandable that Birkett, a most popular, daring and agile 'keeper, should move on to Shrewsbury Town after collecting his benefit at the end of the season.
The club's lack of consistency meant support fell still further. It was reported that they were losing £-/5 a week and with little revenue from transfer fees it was hardly surprising that £3,631 was lost on the season, pushing the total deficit over the £10,000 mark.
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