and reproduced by kind permission
After the success of the previous season 1956-57 proved a bitter disappointment. The attack suffered from the absence of Bromilow in November and December at the Melbourne Olympics and Beadnell was kept out of league football through stomach trouble and never played for Southport again. Too often the defence collapsed under pressure; in addition several of the older players failed to recapture the form of the previous season and injuries again contributed to than team's decline.
Up to Christmas Southport won only once — 2-1 at Carlisle - in 23 games and were anchored at the bottom of the table. in the three matches that followed the Carlisle win they conceded 16 goals, losing 6-1 at home to Hartlepools United after a goalless first half, 5-3 at home to Accrington Stanley after leading .3-1 at half-time and losing 5-2 in the return game at Hartlepools. After completing the double over Carlisle United (to end a run of eighteen games without a win) and trouncing Bradford P.A. 5-1 at the turn of the year, Southport conceded three more heavy away defeats- at Chesterfield (0-6), York City (1-9) — where Peter Lomas was carried off on a stretcher— and Rochdale (1-6).
Then, on February 20th. Stan Mortensen, the former Blackpool and England centre-forward, signed for Southport from Hull City. The following Saturday, in atrocious conditions, Halifax drew 1-1 at Haig Avenue and a run of seven undefeated games took the club clear of the re-election zone. "Morty's" arrival inspired the team with confidence and over Easter champions-elect Derby County were defeated 3-2 before 8,076, the highest gate of the season: Mortensen himself scored the decisive goal.
Too many of the close season signings failed to fulfil expectations, Bert Mitchell, an expensive capture from Middlesborough, and Cliff Birkett, brother of Wilf, were particularly disappointing. They left to join Wellington and Cromptons Recs: respectively after just one season. The exceptions were George Rankin, a dour full-back from Everton, and Jack Richardson from Canterbury, who was spectacular if not always sound and strongly challenged Ray Minshull for the goalkeeping spot.
Southport lost their replayed first round F.A. cup-tie 2-1 at York after drawing 0-0 at home. Jimmy Prescott - re-signed from York City in October— scored for Southport, but Bobby Mcllvenny was sent off after appearing to strike Arthur Bottom, the City centre-forward,
Wilf Charlton, who scored from seven of his eight penalty kicks during the season, was transferred for a small fee to Tranmere Rovers where. he spent four seasons. Bobby McIlvenny, the club's most skilful ball-player, became unsettled and signed for Barrow: 'his departure proved a tremendous set back. Right-half Don Hunter and utility reserve defender big Bill Forsyth were not retained and joined Netherfield and Wigan Athletic respectively. The 'Latics also signed Jimmy Prescott who, although retained, refused terms.
A loss of 62,739 raised the total deficit to £16,958. Higher wages and reduced gate receipts of 61,432 were contributory factors. A stir was caused when, in May, a special meeting of shareholders was called to increase the qualification for directors to .1,000 shares. This resolution was passed by 6,850 to 2,389, but only attained the necessary three-quarters majority at a further meeting on July 2nd. In consequence, long-serving directors Edgar Raynor. Jimmy Green, Tom :Naylor, Tom Mackereth and Gilbert Smith left the board: Raynor, a director for 32 years, became a Life Member.
During the year Councillor Fred Thornley. Mayor of Southport and Vice-Chairman of the club, launched a £10,000 appeal to improve around facilities and strengthen the team. The appeal raised little more than £1.000 as interest in Southport's affairs waned.
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
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FINAL TABLE LANCASHIRE COMBINATION (DIVISION 1) '56-'57 ======================================================= 1. Prescot Cables 38-57 (123-52) 26 5 7 Champions ------------------------------------------------------- 2. New Brighton 38-54 (94-50) 25 4 9 3. Morecambe 38-47 (81-53) 20 7 11 4. Horwich RMI 38-47 (93-70) 22 3 13 5. Burscough 38-45 (86-58) 19 7 12 6. Accrington Stanley II 38-44 (82-61) 18 8 12 7. Ashton United 38-43 (89-74) 19 5 14 8. Chorley 38-38 (74-74) 15 8 15 9. Netherfield 38-38 (73-73) 15 8 15 10. Wigan Athletic 38-37 (73-61) 17 3 18 11. Lancaster City 38-36 (71-91) 14 8 16 12. Bacup Borough 38-35 (80-88) 12 11 15 13. Nelson 38-35 (53-59) 15 5 18 14. Skelmersdale United 38-34 (67-82) 14 6 18 15. South Liverpool 38-33 (71-82) 14 5 19 16. Fleetwood 38-33 (56-70) 13 7 18 17. Marine Crosby 38-32 (62-84) 12 8 18 18. Southport II 38-31 (62-88) 12 7 19 19. Darwen 38-27 (62-88) 11 5 22 20. Droylsden 38-14 (59-153) 4 6 28
Source: The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation.Author Dinant Abbink