The 1920-21 season was completely overshadowed by the club’s attempt to gain admission to the proposed Third Division North. Secretary Edwin Clayton played a large part in its formation but the voting could not have been much closer.
At a special meeting of the Football League held at the Connaught Rooms, London on March 7 th 1921 Southport were one of twenty-eight applicants for the proposed Northern Section. After the First and Second Division clubs agreed to the formation of the section on the recommendation of the Football League Management Committee it was proposed that fourteen clubs be elected en bloc. This was passed unanimously. Thus Accrington Stanley, Ashington, Barrow, Chesterfield, Crewe Alexandra, Darlington, Durham City, Hartlepools United, Lincoln City, Nelson, Rochdale, Tranmere Rovers, Walsall and Wrexham were accepted. A ballot was then taken to admit four more and those who received the most votes were Wigan Borough with 34 and Halifax Town, Stalybridge Celtic and Southport with 25 votes each. For the record, the unsuccessful clubs were Castleford Town(18), Rotherham Town(13), Blyth Spartans(9), Gainsborough Trinity(8), Doncaster Rovers(6), West Stanley(6) Wakefield City(6), Lancaster Town(3), Scunthorpe(3) and South Liverpool (1). The Division was made up to twenty clubs by the inclusion of Stockport County who dropped down from the Second Division and Grimsby Town who were transferred over from the Southern Section.
Mr Clayton who represented the Southport club together with committee member Walter Parkinson, could take satisfaction from the fact that thirteen years after first proposing a Third Division his ambition had been realized. On a later occasion he was presented with an inscribed gold watch on behalf of the clubs in appreciation of his efforts.
Southport ’s last season in the Central League saw them finish in eighteenth position with 32 points from their 42 games. The most impressive feature of 1920-21 on the field was the Billy Semple, Tom Dorward and Harry Schofield benefit match in April which attracted a new record crowd of 7000 to the Haig Avenue enclosure, Ash Lane having recently been renamed in recognition of Earl Douglas Haig, who had been made a Freeman of the Borough the previous year.
On April 4 th 1921, at a wildly enthusiastic public meeting at the Temperance Institute Assembly Rooms, with hundreds of supporters unable to gain admission the club once again became a Limited Liability Company with a share capital of £4000 divided into 8000 ten shilling shares. The qualification for directorship was then only twenty shares and the members of the first board were Richard T. Bentley (Chairman), Fred Lawlor, Walter Parkinson M.B.E, Fred Read, Fred W.Hyde, John W. Robinson, Sam H. Banner, Arthur E.Hindley, Henry Watchorn and John H. Preston. The club issued a prospectus explaining that it was being formed to promote “Football, cycling, cricket, trotting, tennis, bowls, pedestrian tournaments, athletic sports, fetes and galas” The new Southport Football Club was thus launched and after forty years of courageous and determined endeavour, the town was at last firmly on the football map
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