and reproduced by kind permission
A satisfactory first season in the Third Division brought increased attendances and saw the erection of the new stand. Much F.A. Cup excitement was aroused when Everton were drawn at Haig Avenue.
Southport maintained a mid-table position almost throughout. Attendances did not fall below 5.000 until December 16th and on Boxing Day 10,761 paid then record league receipts of £2,230 to see the highly entertaining 2-2 draw with Bury. In all, 135.362 spectators (average 5,885) — the highest aggregate since 1950-51 - paid £26,250 to see Southport's 23 home league matches. Saturday evening football was introduced on two occasions, the visitors being Torquay United and Bristol Rovers.
Terry Harkin, signed from Notts County for £2,000, became a consistent goal-scoring opportunist and with Redrobe and Andrews created as dangerous a striking force as any in the division. Stuart Shaw gave some scintillating displays at outside-right and in January Luton Town offered £9,000 and Graham French in part exchange; but after Shaw's injury in the Everton cup-tie he rarely reproduced his old form. Alex Russell, vino had a long lay-off following a cartilege operation, never recaptured his former midfield dominance.
In the F.A. Cup Southport gained comfortable home wins over Lincoln City and Runcorn, the latter attracting a 13,353 attendance. Cup-tie fever really hit the town with the third round draw against Everton. Southport rightly refused to switch the mateh to Goodison and the tickets were applied for three times aver; a crowd limited by the police to 18,795 paid a record £6,175. The game was spoiled by a strong wind, yet Southport - running and chasing after everything — unsettled the ultimate finalists who scraped hcme by an 80th minute Joe Rayle goal.
In February came the shattering announcement that Billy Bingham had accepted a managerial appointment with Plymouth Argyle. Supporters were aggrieved at the manner of his departure but acknowledged that Bingham — earlier appointed Northern Ireland team manager — had virtually rescued Southport from the point of extinction. He was succeded by former Huddersfield Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Barrow centre-half Don McEvoy who had taken Barrow to promotion in 1967 but enjoyed little success at Grimsby Town. 'McEvoy's first signing was Tony Field, a £3,000 capture from Barrow.
Three players were freed in mid-season; young Ian Kendall joined Banger City, Alex Parker -those experience had a tremendous influence over the younger players — left to become player-manager of Ballymena United and Kevin Cairns, rarely in the limelight but a thoroughly reliable full-back, went to Wigan Athletic. Southport's first ever win over Brighton in November had seen Cairns' 200th league appearance for the club. Ex-Everton youngsters Eric Curwen and David Pearson took over at the back.
Southport lost 1-0 at Barrow in the League Cup and 4-1 to Liverpool in the Liverpool Senior Cup Final, having previously beaten Tranmere Rovers 3-0. The 'Port did win the Northern Floodlight League Cup at the first attempt, overwhelming Wigan Athletic 6-1 on aggregate in a two-legged final. At the end of the season, after 44 years' membership of the Lancashire Combination, the Reserve team resigned to join the Lancashire League.
The Board, strengthened in 1966 by the arrival of Arthur Briscoe and Leon Rapaport, issued another 30,000 ten shilling shares in April. The grandstand, offices and dressing-rooms which were completed during the season cost £75,000; the Appeal Fund raised £10,000 and insurance proceeds contributed £32,500, leaving the Board a heavy financial burden.
News came in January that Billy Halsall, probably Southport's best goalkeeper ever, had died in America. Halsall's career spanned 1919-1931 and he appeared in 496 games all told.
In April nine million television viewers saw Southport visit Swindon Town on BBC's "Match of the Day". The sides shared six goals - not counting Alex Russell's disallowed classic - and won much favourable comment from the enthralling game.
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