After only-eight years in existence, Southport Central almost folded in May 1896. In December 1895 the players who had not received full wages for a fortnight sent a “round robin’ to the Committee stating that unless the money was paid they would refuse to play the following Saturday. Tom Smith, who had been absent for several weeks during illness but had his wages paid regularly, also signed the document. The Executive felt he had no grounds to complain and showed their disapproval by striking his name off their books. The mutiny was eventually quelled and the players received their wages. The Executive reconsidered their decision regarding Smith who was punished only with a short suspension In February the players, now aware of the precarious financial position, agreed to forgo one weeks wages.
Although in the middle of five consecutive wins attendances did not improve. As Central’s championship challenge waned, they finished 4th, support slumped still further.
A special guarantees list was started and the Honourable George Curzon MP promptly sent £5. However, only £72 was forthcoming altogether, Squire Platt, a Committee member gave a valuable fox-terrier puppy as a prize in a draw which realised £18.
A special Committee was formed to confer with the Executive on how to improve the ailing fortunes of the club. They decided not to form a Limited Company even though the Guarantors, Messrs. Smith, Ashton and Emmison were prepared to take out one third of the shares. On 24th April, bereft of further ideas, the affairs of the club were temporarily suspended.
“SHALL IT DIE?”
Four days after suspending operations, a meeting was held at which lsaac Smith expressed his wish to keep the club going. Posters were placed on the walls calling a further meeting asking “Shall it die?”. On 4th May Southport Central was revived when a new committee was formed and lsaac Smith once again came to the rescue when he wrote off £290 owing to the Guarantors leaving the club with debts of £60.
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