and reproduced by kind permission
Although at the A.G.M. the directors resolved to do their utmost to finish in the top half of the table and made twelve close season signings, Southport ended in 23rd place and thus became founder members of the Fourth Division.
Pre-season hopes were raised when Stan Mortensen was appointed Team Supervisor in complete charge of practice, policy and tactics on the field. Previously Gordon Hunt had managed the playing and administrative functions, the directors usually handling team selection.
Southport never looked like finishing in the top twelve; between mid-October and Christmas they lost a record eight consecutive league games, were dismissed from the Lancashire Senior Cup by Liverpool and were most ingloriously defeated 2-1 by Wigan Athletic at Haig Avenue before 14,170 in the F.A. Cup. The 'Latics included ex-Sandgrounders Bill Forsyth, Jimmy Prescott, Alan Whitfield and player-manager Trevor Hitchen. Shortly after this humiliation the directors agreed to Stan .Mortensen's request to be relieved of the responsibilities of his coaching duties.
The dismal spell ended on Christmas Day with a sparkling 5-3 win at Bradford P.A., Southport scoring four times in the opening twelve minutes. On January 11th a 2-2 draw with Bury lifted Southport off the bottom, but they remained in 23rd -position without much prospect of improvement. Four successive wins in March were followed by only one point and three goals in their last eight games. Totals of twelve home league defeats and twenty-nine in all established unwanted club records, Southport's solitary achievement was sharing the Liverpool Senior Cup with _Everton, by drawing 0-0. after winning 2-1 at Tranmere.
The reason for the 'Port's dramatic decline-after challenging for the Second Division two years earlier - was the premature break-up of the old team. Bobby Mcllvenny, Wilf Charlton and Don Hunter were never adequately replaced. The vast majority of the 31 players utilised — injuries and loss of form constantly caused alterations - were not of the required standard.
In addition, Wally Taylor, George Rankin, Angus Alexander, -Ray Minshull and Jimmy McDermott all requested transfers during the season; only -McDermott was unsuccessful. In December, Minshull, after years' loyal service, was transferred to Bradford for around £500; later, Oldham Athletic paid the same amount for Taylor, for so long the cornerstone of the defence. Alexander, a costly signing from Burnley, wanted first-team football and joined Workington in March in exchange for Tommy Kinloch. Surprisingly one or the better captures. Norman McCredie from Accrington Stanley, was released and joined Mcllvenny at Barrow.
In October four trialists were released for financial reasons; soon afterwards the contracts of John -Wassail and Mike McCoy were -terminated by mutual consent; John McKenna, Stanley Matthews' deputy at Blackpool, suffered frequent injury; Con Phillips and Geoff Hazledine disappointed. More encouragingly, Ray Gryba, a strong, determined utility player, became top scorer with just nine goals, whilst amateurs Brian Phenix, Haydon Barker and Stewart Schofield impressed sufficiently to be offered part-time terms.
Southport lost £2,522 on the year, despite the abolition of Entertainment Tax and £2,571 transfer income. In November the board was strengthened when Cyril Hodkinson, M.B.E., and John Church, the club's present chairman, were co-opted, but J. 'H. Alexander later resigned as President. The deaths of former vice-chairmen Sam -Banner and Jimmy Green were recorded, whilst Jimmy Fay, J.P., long-serving administrator of the Players' Union whose distinguished career embraced Southport Working Lads, Oldham Athletic, Bolton Wanderers and Southport, passed away, aged 72.
With fourth division football inevitable, the directors decided to appoint a team manager and in June Trevor Hitchen reappeared. Shortly afterwards, trainers Bobby Jones and Will Birkett were relieved of their duties, Jack Tait - Wigan Athletic trainer—taking over.
Making their first application in nine years, Southport were re-elected comfortably, securing 42 votes to Crewe Alexandra's 36, with Peterborough United the nearest challenger with 15.
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