Southport’s first peace-time game took place at Oldham on August 30th, 1919
Billy Caulfield scored a hat-trick and Billy Little netted the other goal in a 4-2 win. Early in the season a young inside-forward briefly appeared to partner Billy Semple; some thirty-five years later that same inside-forward now Cllr. Fred Thornley, was to join the Board of Directors.
During the immediate post-war period Southport had no more popular player than centre-forward Tommy Green. One incident involving him was vividly recalled over fifty years later by Gordon Hunt, a young schoolboy at the time.
On November 8th, 1919 Green was sent off shortly before the end of the home game with Bury Reserves for an alleged kick at Watmough. So dissatisfied were the crowd with the referee’s decision that many of them remained outside the ground afterwards loudly protesting about his action. Committee member Harry Watchorn advised them to leave but they stood their ground. It was only when Green himself mounted a nearby cab and asked them for his sake to go away quietly and not create any disturbance that after giving him several loud cheers the crowd finally dispersed. At a meeting under F.A auspices on December 4 th Green was fined 40s. and Southport were ordered to pay the referee’s expenses for attending the meeting.
Later the same month the club were involved in further trouble over an F.A. Cup-tie. Exempted until the fourth qualifying round, Southport were drawn at home to South Liverpool and won 1-0.’South’ protested that the home side had fielded an ineligible player, in that Littlejohn had played for Hurst in an earlier qualifying round. An F.A. commission met to consider the protest and held that the game should be replayed at South Liverpool’s ground at the Dingle. Two goals were shared in the replay and the tie went to a third meeting at Anfield where South won 2-0.
LANCASHIRE JUNIOR CUP WINNERS
Southport did not have long to wait before winning their first post-war trophy however. Competing in the Lancashire Junior Cup. they easily accounted for Prescot and Nelson. A huge crowd of over 7000 was attracted to Chorley for the drawn semi-final but in the replay Southport won through by two clear goals.
The final was against Lancaster Town at their Giant Axe ground and Southport won the cup with a Billy Hooper penalty 12 minutes from time after Billy Little had been tripped in the area. Hooper, an experienced campaigner with Grimsby Town and Nottingham Forest signed for Lancaster the following season. More records fell as 6347 paid £340.1s.10d., Southport’s share being £117.
The team which represented the club in the final was: Halsall, Dorward, Yates, Schofield, Marshall, Norton, Hooper, Caulfield, Green, Little and Semple. Shortly afterwards centre-half Jack Marshall was transferred to Preston North End. The season ended with Southport in sixteenth position- disappointing considering they had headed the table at the end of October.
The success of 1919-20 was undoubtedly full-back Wilf Yates, a Southport Trinity product, who was transferred to Preston North End in the close season and later assisted Tranmere Rovers and Crewe Alexandra. Local talent was now seizing its chance with Billy Little, Harry and “Topping” Sinclair, “Salty” Halsall and Billy Glover establishing themselves in the Central League team.
In May 1920 the question of the formation of a Third Division of the Football League with Northern and Southern sections was considered at a meeting in Sheffield and it was decided to proceed with the proposal. The Northern clubs unanimously carried a resolution that the formation of a Third Division was in the best interests of football, pledging themselves to everything in their power to facilitate its adoption: but the following month it was announced that, subject to obtaining the consent of the F.A. a Third Division of the Football League would be formed for 1920-21 with such division being composed entirely of clubs from the Southern League. The clubs in the proposed Northern Section did not commend themselves to the Management Committee as being suitable and it was agreed that the matter would be further considered the following season.
The Northern clubs convened a meeting at the Grand Hotel, Manchester on June 3 rd 1920 and passed the following resolution: “That those present do all they possibly can do to press forward with the programme for the 1921-22 season” A committee was elected with Southport’s own Edwin Clayton as its Secretary. A Northern Section of the Football League Division III now appeared a real possibility, but would Southport be admitted?
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