and reproduced by kind permission
Magnificent victories over Wigan Athletic (10-2) in a pre-season friendly and Aldershot (4-1) in the opening home fixture raised supporters' hopes but the side were consistent only in their inconsistency and found away points particularly elusive; their first away win came at Stockport in January — 4-1, including an Alan Spence hat-trick.
Few of the seven- close-season signings contributed much. Bob Scott (Newport County), Malcolm Senior (Barnsley) and Roy Ambler (Wrexham) seldom won first-team places; of the three wingman signed David Latham (Manchester United) and Colin Brookes (Peterborough United) occasionally showed flosses of brilliance, whilst Les Dagger (-Carlisle United) plied many accurate crosses. Goalkeeper Jimmy Rollo (Oldham Athletic) was unsteady under pressure and, freed after one season, moved to Bradford City. Wing-half Terry Tighe, signed on August 23rd from Crewe Alexandra, added constructive ability to attack and defence. Tony Beanland. signed in 1962 from Blackpool, successfully took aver Bryan Griffiths' left-back role.
'Lem Newcomb's ill-health inevitably affected the club. In February the director's stopped his pay pending his resuming his duties; in March he retired and former Preston North End and Scotland full-back Willie Cunningham was appointed player-manager. An administrative oversight caused Cunningham's resignation to miss the Football League's deadline by one day and precluded him from playing. The 'Port had long needed someone in complete authority to direct affairs and motivate the players, especially away from home.
Probably the best league performance was the 3-0 defeat of promotion-bound Carlisle United on Easter Monday, which featured a classic Alan Spence goal. Spence scored both in a welcome 2-0 win against Stockport County in mid-April, thereby surpassing Cec Wyles' 1947-48 25 goal post-war scoring record. Spence enjoyed the most successful of his 6-1- seasons at Haig Avenue, despite lacking Reg Blore's support following his £5,000 transfer to first division Blackburn Rovers in November. Blare appeared infrequently for Blackburn, but subsequently rendered grand service to Oldham Athletic.
Supporters criticised Blore's ,transfer just two weeks before the cup-ties; yet Southport confounded everyone by defeating third division Walsall 2-1 before the season's biggest home crowd —4,768 ! In the second round Lincoln City won 2-0 at Sincil Bank.
One newcomer to impress was 19-year-old Alex Russell, signed on October 31st from Everton. The little inside-forward exhibited considerable skills and his midfield prompting was a major factor in the 'Port's revival after 1965. His six goals made him equal second highest scorer with Blore and Jimmy Shepherd, signed in February from Crewe Alexandra.
In the penultimate match Southport dropped two vital home points to Bradford P.A., despite intense pressure; Jim Fryatt, deputising in Bradford's goal for the last ten minutes, somehow kept it intact. Although Southport drew 0-0 at Oxford, Rochdale's 2.1 victory over Gillingham ensured an ultimate 21st position and the club's eighth re-election application. Great relief was felt when the Football League's plan to reorganize the Fourth Division into a "Football Alliance'' was abandoned.
Southport were re-elected comfortably, securing 45 votes
to York City's 48, Barrow's 42 and Hartlepools' 36, whilst Wigan Athletic led
the non-leaguers with 5.
Southport shared the Liverpool Senior Cup with Liverpool, drawing 2-2 after extra time, a Roy Ambler goal having previously accounted for Tranmere Rovers. The Football League Cup brought little revenue; 3,469 saw Southport's first round 2-1 win over Barrow and few more saw their defeat at Workington. Gates were the lowest since the mid-thirties, averaging below 3,000. Despite Blore's transfer a loss of £3,048 was incurred. 'During the season Richard Marshall and Gerry Tray were co-opted as directors.
Most prominent amongst the eleven end-of-season 'releases' was veteran Bill Rutherford, whose five years' steady service covered nine different positions — he briefly deputised in go-al against Bradford City in September; he joined Kirkby Town. In July Lem Newcomb, for many years a highly respected figure, passed away. Despite Southport's perpetual lack of funds he relied, as manager, on encouragement and understanding; the club had indeed suffered a grievous loss.
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