The season of 1983-84 was similarly undistinguished yet the side, latterly under
the control of full-time Manager Bob Murphy, at last collected a piece of silverware
in the shape of the Dairycrest Lancashire Floodlit Cup; the final of this competition
was held at Deepdale, Preston where Horwich R.M.I. suffered a resounding 4—o
defeat, thanks largely to an inspired performance by an emerging young striker
called Andy Mutch who netted a hat-trick. Local products Mutch, Shaun Teale and
Rob Sturgeon had all made their debuts during the latter part of the season and
were to play crucial roles over the next couple of years. Mutch and Teale were
eventually to achieve wider fame in the Premier League.
One more boardroom reshuffle was to come. During the 1984 close season, while he was away on holiday, Gary Culshaw was ousted as Chairman by the other board members and Charles Clapham was installed in his place. This led more or less directly to his resigning from the board, though, as the major shareholder, he kept a continuing interest in the club's affairs from a distance. It was an unpopular move at the time as Culshaw with his quiet ways had endeared himself to many supporters as a genuine person who had brought much stability to the club's affairs and the manner of his removal was resented. By contrast the brash, confident Clapham took quite a while to convince the Southport public of his bona fides, enduring a long spell of latent hostility whilst all the time keeping the promise that there would be no further financial crises during his term of office.
Bob Murphy was the next subject of controversy. He had arrived with an impressive track record at Mossley and, despite an initial hiccough in December 1983 when he changed his mind within two days of his appointment, he had assumed command officially on February 5th 1984. In the April he became the first Southport manager to win a 'Manager of the Month' award and by June he had been offered a two-year contract.
Sources: The Sandgrounders: The Complete League History of Southport F. C., by Michael Braham and Geoff Wilde (Palatine Books, 1995). ISBN 978-1-874181-14-9