In 1900-01 Central ran neck and neck with Stalybridge Rovers but were defeated 2-1 on Easter Monday by the Rovers in front of a record Scarisbrick New Road of 6000. That was one of only two defeats during the season and Central finished second on goal average. The regular side was, Topping, Spink (who was constantly urged to sign for Preston North End), Smith, Sinclair, Tasker, Tattersall, Atherton, Shadbolt, Long, Watson and Halsall. The team was kept together with a minimum of injuries. Jack Sinclair moved from inside-forward to succeed Walter Cunliffe. Bob Tasker, formerly of Preston North End, came in at centre-half for Herbert Hallows who had signed for Manchester City. Lollie Halsall, after two years with Preston, returned to the left wing and his partner, Lionel Watson, who played for junior club Laurel Rovers twelve months previously, made such a good impression that he joined Blackburn Rovers the following season.
Meanwhile the Lancashire league had been reduced to a mere eleven clubs in mid-season by the resignation of Rochdale Town, the rugby league counter attraction and the fact that their ground was three miles from the town being contributory factors for the club’s demise.
There was some dissatisfaction expressed that the Lancashire League was practically played out and supporters looked for something better. Highlights of the season were the 3-1 win over Manchester City in a benefit match for Tom Smith and the captain Jimmy Tattersall and the 5 th Qualifying round Cup-ties with Darwen which Central lost 2-0 after a replay. One unpleasant incident took place at the conclusion of the last league match of the season at Haydock when a spectator hurled a brick at the referee as he left the ground which narrowly missed him and Fred Spink but caught one of the spectators above the eye inflicting a nasty gash which bled profusely.
When it became known in February 1901 that there was a proposal to amalgamate the Football League with the Southern League and thus regionalise the Second Division Central decided to aim for a better class of football. They could do so with confidence.
Due to economics by the Committee and the cultivation of local talent they had succeeded in clearing off the previous season’s deficit and wiped £50 of the stand account leaving only a debt of £65 and the old Guarantors account of £70 outstanding.
The Committee held a public meeting at the Temperance Institute to test public opinion on the advisability of making an application to the Second Division and the members voted overwhelmingly in favour. In a circular to all football league clubs, the club stressed that Southport was easily accessible by rail and all clubs with the exceptionof Woolwich and possibly Middlesborough could complete the journey in one day. The Club was “an old and established one being the only one to have been connected with the Lancashire League from its commencement to the present date.” Their ground was “one of the finest in Lancashire with plenty of accommodation, dressing rooms on the ground and every convenience provided for football teams.”
The proposed regional Second Division did not materialize and preston North End’s resolution to increase the Second Division by four clubs was defeated. Central were disappointed at the result receiving only five votes. The successful clubs were Burton Swifts(23), Bristol City(23), Stockport County(21) and Doncaster Rovers(16). Stalybridge Rovers(7), Walsall(7) Crewe Alexandra(5) and darwen(0) were unsuccessful.
At the club’s A.G.M. in August, William Platt was elected auditor. Mr. Platt a playing member of the old Southport Association Club, continued in that position until his death in 1938.
AGM Held at the temperance institute, Southport on 8th August 1901.
41 games were played, 26 won,6 drawn and 9 lost. goals scored 92, against 45.
Balance sheet showed income to be £1,121 16s 2d., gates amounting to £764 5s 7d. After expenditure the balance remaining in the bank £22 16s 6d.
Sir George Pilkington re-elected president.
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