|Copyright Historical Football Kits
and reproduced by kind permission
Twenty years after first applying for membership of the Second Division, Southport Football Club were admitted to the Football League with the formation of the Third Division North in March, 1921.
Their election was largely due to the efforts of Edwin Clayton, the hon. secretary, who was one of the leading lights, along with Alderman Cropper, of Chesterfield. in urging the formation of the Northern Section. He was secretary of the Northern Section until 1035, as well as being a member of the Football League Management Committee.
At a packed meeting on 4th April, 1921, in the Assembly Rooms at the Temperance Institute—hundreds were unable to gain admission—the club became a limited liability company with a share capital of £4.000 divided into 8,000 ten shilling shares. The qualification for directorship was then only twenty shares and the members of the first board were: R. T. Bentley (chairman), F. Lawlor, W. Parkinson, Fred Read, F. W. Hyde, John W. Robinson, Sam H. Banner, Arthur E. Hindley, Henry Watchorn and John H. Preston.
Having finished their last season, in the Central League 19th out of 22, the team was strengthened with several new signings, amongst them were Sandgrounders Jimmy Fay and Frank Drabble from Bohan Wanderers and Lol Abram from Cardiff City. In all, 13 locals appeared in the first team that season. The only player to cost a fee was William Greatorex, a full-back from Preston—and that a mere £75!
Improvements to the ground included the erection of a covered stand on the popular side—paid for by the Supporters’ Club—and the extension of the stand bordering Haig Avenue. Centre stand season tickets cost £2:2:0, wing stand £1:10:0, and ground £1. Southport’s first Football League game was against Durham City. A 7,000 crowd saw Billy Glover score in a 1-1 draw. Southport were represented by Drabble. H. Sinclair, Bainbridge, Skinner, Little, Abram, Appleton, Glover. Wray, Rigsby and Semple. During October, Grimsby Town visited Haig Avenue and were thrashed 7-1. Billy Glover scored six—which still remains a club record for one player—and veteran Billy Semple scored the other. In addition Rigsby missed a penalty, and Southport played the second half with only ten, men—Skinner being injured.
In the Cup. Southport reached the first round proper—the equivalent of the present day third round—and shocked the football world by holding First Division Blackburn Rovers to a 1-1 draw at Ewood Park before bowing out 2-0 in the replay at Haig Avenue before a then record crowd of 12,408. They had previously defeated Second Division Coventry City 1-0 at Haig Avenue. Glover scored the goals against both of these teams, to add to his 26 goals in the League.
A satisfactory ninth position was reached which would have been higher but for a deplorable injury crisis after 20 points had been secured from the 16 games up to Christmas. Yet almost £2,000 was lost during the season-a familiar story which was to recur again, and again in the years that followed.
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