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1942/43 Season Summary

The war news had changed from being as bad as ever, to being a different type of news. In December 1941 the Germans had been stopped before Moscow, but by the summer of 1942 they were biting deeper into the Soviet Union again. On the day before the leagues meeting the Germans launched a massive attack into the southern part of the Soviet Union. This offensive would conclude in the Battle of Stalingrad. Roosevelt was meeting with Churchill this very week in Washington, the first of such meetings. Earlier in the month the Americans had defeated the Japanese at the Battle of Midway and in North Africa after everything had looked to be going so well, it turned into going badly again. The end of the war did not look to be in sight just yet.

Rationing brought further restrictions on just about everything at home, but mass German aerial bombing of Britain had not returned. Civilian life was more ordered, but also more restrictive and dull. Entertainments like football became even more important as a diversion from the long hard slog of wartime life.

Three leagues kicked-off the start of the new season. A Football League North of 48 clubs, a Football League South of 18 clubs and the Football League West made up of six clubs, brought back after missing a season. This new Football League West brought in 3 non-league clubs Aberaman Athletic, Bath City and Lovell’s Athletic to join league clubs Bristol City, Cardiff City and Swansea Town.

The Football League North and Football League West ran until Christmas, when they were brought together into one league the Football League North 2nd Championship. The War Cup qualifying league was run the same way as last season. The London based Football League South would continue until February. 

The surprise of the season was the rise of Lovell’s Athletic who finished second in the 2nd Championship to Liverpool. Only in wartime could a sweet factory football team run with the biggest clubs in English football. 

At the Annual General Meeting of the Football League held in Nottingham it was agreed that the minimum admission cost for 1942-43 would be 1s. 3d; the clubs would keep 10d. with 5d. going into Entertainment Tax. Government stocks of cork were stored on the popular side terraces around this time so the club made a special concession to supporters, allowing them to watgch matches in comfort from seats at either end of the stand at purely ground price admission rates.

This season began with Southport taking on the services of Syd Rawlings,a fast, direct goalscoring outside-right, whose father Archie had also played on the right wing some fourteen years earlier. Another new acquisition was Frank Rist, the strong Charlton Athletic pivot and Essex county cricketer, who replaced Harry Harrison when the latter was called up by the Army at the end of August 1942.

Transport was a continuing headache. Towards the end of 1941-42 it had been reported that Southport could not use a motor coach for away games as petrol was not to be wasted when journeys could be made by train. On September 5th, 1942 the transport exigencies had severe repurcussions when Southport caused their game at Rochdale to be delayed 55 minutes due to the late arrival of their service players, who had travelled by rail. Trainers Billy Semple and Reuben Hilton, along with goalkeeper Frank King, had left southport for Rochdale by train at 10:40am; at 3:00pm Southport had only King, Danny Blair and Jack Rothwell in the dressing-room.

Not only were seven R.A.F. players still held up on the train but the amateur Dick Wright, who should have come from Preston, never received the card advising him to make his own way to the ground and was also missing. At 3:30pm six of the R.A.F men arrived but George ainsley was conspicuous by his absence. Billy Semple went round the ground searching for players amongst the few hundred spectators present. He managed to persuade a couple of them – a Mr Gibson and a Mr Angus – to help out. Amazingly, despite fielding such a depleted team, Southport won 3-2.

the early part of 1942-43 was easily Southport’s best in wartime football. The crowds flocked to the ground. On September 26th they achieved a historic 10-0 win over Crewe Alexandra and a month later gained their eight consecutive win by defeating Tranmere Rovers 8-0. there was a temporary blip when they lost 6-2 at Blackpool but the following week the team rose to the occasion in front of 7,762 spectators in the return fixture. Jack Grundy, Newcastle United’s left-back, made his debut and stuck to Matthews like a leech, with the result that the Sandgrounders suitably avenged their defeat the previous week, winning 3-2.

Seven days later Southport added another sensational performance at home to Liverpool before 10,076 spectators. the 3-2 win was achieved despite losing Bob Jones who was stretchered off with a broken leg when the score was 1-1. Len Flack went in goal and , after Southport had trailed 2-1, Rothwell sent the crowd into ecstacies with his winning header four minutes from time.

Unfortunately Southport could not keep the momentum going. The departure of George Ainsley was a big blow; this experienced centre-forward carried the bulk of the attack on his shoulders. Frank Rist, Joe Johnson and Jack Rothwell (who scored 26 goals in 18 games until being drafted abroad) also disappeared from the side by degrees. In addition, skipper Danny Blair left the field on Boxing Day with cartiledge trouble and was never able to turn out again. The season fell into two distinct halves with Southport lying eighth at teh midway stage (11 wins, 3 draws, 4 defeats,) but winning only four of the last eighteen after Boxing Day.

From a long-term viewpoint Southport would have done better to try and encourage the younger players. the only youngster who managed a sustained run was the seventeen year old Alan Ball. More typical was Fleetwood Hesketh product Eddie Wainwright, who appeared in a pre-season amateur trial, but despite scoring a hat-trick, never appeared in competitive football for the club; he subsequently gave Everton splendid service over many years,

The club was at last making football pay, particularly thanks to the low wages and some useful percentages of away gates. With profit of over £950 at the end of 1942-43, the Annual Report commented that ‘finances are in a much improved condition due to the better support for which we have so often appealed’. In May 1943 – with numerous American soldiers stationed nearby – Haig Avenue staged a baseball match which attracted 2,000 largely bemused onlookers.

Large parts of the above summary are reproduced with Permission from:
The Sandgrounders: The Complete League History of Southport F. C., by Michael Braham and Geoff Wilde (Palatine Books, 1995). ISBN 978-1-874181-14-9

Other sources: https://www.englishfootballleaguetables.co.uk/Blog/ww2.html

North First Championship (ending December 25, 1942)

 1. Blackpool FC                18 16  1  1  93-28  33
 2. Liverpool FC                18 14  1  3  70-34  29
 3. Sheffield Wednesday FC      18 12  3  3  61-26  27
 4. Manchester United FC        18 12  2  4  58-26  26
 5. Huddersfield Town AFC       18 10  6  2  52-32  26
 6. Stoke City FC               18 11  3  4  46-25  25
 7. Coventry City FC            18 10  5  3  28-16  25
 8. Southport FC                18 11  3  4  64-42  25
 9. Derby County FC             18 11  2  5  51-37  24
10. Bradford Park Avenue AFC    18  8  7  3  46-21  23
11. Lincoln City FC             18  9  5  4  58-36  23
12. Halifax Town AFC            18 10  3  5  39-27  23
13. Gateshead AFC               18 10  3  5  52-45  23
14. Aston Villa FC              18 10  2  6  47-33  22
15. Everton FC                  18 10  2  6  52-41  22
16. Grimsby Town FC             17  8  5  4  42-31  21
17. York City FC                18  9  3  6  47-36  21
18. Blackburn Rovers FC         18  9  3  6  56-43  21
19. Barnsley FC                 18  8  5  5  39-30  21
20. Sheffield United FC         18  7  6  5  45-35  20
21. Birmingham FC               18  9  2  7  27-30  20
22. Sunderland AFC              18  8  3  7  46-40  19
23. Chester FC                  18  7  4  7  43-40  18
24. Walsall FC                  18  6  5  7  33-31  17
25. Northampton Town FC         18  8  1  9  38-44  17
26. Newcastle United FC         18  6  4  8  51-52  16
27. Chesterfield Town FC        18  5  6  7  30-34  16
28. West Bromwich Albion FC     18  6  4  8  35-43  16
29. Notts County FC             18  7  2  9  34-57  16
30. Manchester City FC          18  7  1 10  46-47  15
31. Nottingham Forest FC        18  6  3  9  38-39  15
32. Burnley FC                  18  5  5  8  35-45  15
33. Leicester City FC           18  5  4  9  32-37  14
34. Bury FC                     18  6  2 10  53-81  14
35. Stockport County FC         18  5  3 10  34-55  13
36. Rotherham United FC         18  4  5  9  28-48  13
37. Tranmere Rovers AFC         18  5  3 10  36-63  13
38. Wolverhampton Wanderers FC  18  5  2 11  28-41  12
39. Crewe Alexandra FC          18  5  2 11  43-64  12
40. Middlesbrough FC            18  4  4 10  30-50  12
41. Rochdale FC                 18  5  2 11  34-57  12
42. Wrexham AFC                 18  5  1 12  43-67  11
43. Leeds United AFC            18  3  4 11  28-45  10
44. Oldham Athletic AFC         18  4  2 12  29-54  10
45. Bradford City AFC           18  4  2 12  30-63  10
46. Bolton Wanderers FC         18  3  3 12  31-52   9
47. Doncaster Rovers FC         17  3  3 11  23-41   9
48. Mansfield Town FC           18  2  4 12  25-65   8

North Second Championship (December 26, 1942 to May 1, 1943)

 1. Liverpool FC	        20 15  2  3  64-32  32
 2. Lovell's Athletic FC	20 11  5  4  63-32  27
 3. Manchester City FC          19 11  5  3  43-24  27
 4. Aston Villa FC              20 13  1  6  44-30  27
 5. Sheffield Wednesday FC	20  9  8  3  43-26  26
 6. Manchester United FC        19 11  3  5  52-26  25
 7. York City FC           	18 11  3  4  52-30  25
 8. Huddersfield Town AFC	19 11  3  5  48-28  25
 9. Coventry City FC       	20 11  3  6  33-21  25
10. Stoke City                  20 10  4  6  42-34  24
11. West Bromwich Albion FC	20 11  2  7  49-40  24
12. Notts County FC       	20  9  6  5  37-34  24
13. Blackpool FC          	19  8  7  4  49-31  23
14. Newcastle United FC 	19 10  3  6  62-42  23
15. Blackburn Rovers FC 	18  9  4  5  45-35  22
16. Bristol City FC        	19  8  6  5  41-33  22
17. Chesterfield Town FC	20  9  4  7  35-30  22
18. Derby County FC      	20  8  5  7  41-34  21
19. Aberaman FC           	18 10  1  7  39-41  21
20. Sunderland AFC      	19  8  4  7  58-40  20
21. Rochdale FC           	16  9  2  5  39-26  20
22. Leicester City FC   	20  9  2  9  40-37  20
23. Sheffield United FC 	19  8  4  7  43-42  20
24. Bradford Park Avenue AFC	19  7  5  7  35-31  19
25. Everton FC              	19  9  1  9  51-46  19
26. Bath City FC        	18  7  4  7  49-46  18
27. Birmingham FC        	20  8  2 10  32-29  18
28. Barnsley FC          	17  8  2  7  34-37  18
29. Nottingham Forest FC	18  7  4  7  30-34  18
30. Crewe Alexandra FC  	20  7  4  9  44-57  18
31. Wrexham AFC          	17  7  3  7  36-37  17
32. Bradford City AFC      	16  7  2  7  29-29  16
33. Bolton Wanderers FC 	17  7  2  8  34-42  16
34. Tranmere Rovers AFC 	20  6  4 10  37-48  16
35. Halifax Town AFC      	18  7  2  9  30-39  16
36. Chester FC           	20  6  3 11  40-49  15
37. Northampton Town FC 	17  6  2  9  30-37  14
38. Wolverhampton Wanderers FC  17  5  4  8  38-45  14
39. Swansea Town FC      	18  4  6  8  36-52  14
40. Grimsby Town FC       	13  4  5  4  30-27  13
41. Bury FC                 	16  5  3  8  44-42  13
42. Doncaster Rovers FC 	17  5  3  9  27-41  13
43. Rotherham United FC 	18  4  5  9  28-43  13
44. Gateshead AFC        	13  6  0  7  29-36  12
45. Stockport County FC 	19  4  4 11  37-76  12
46. Southport FC        	18  4  3 11  38-58  11
47. Leeds United AFC      	16  5  1 10  32-50  11
48. Oldham Athletic AFC 	18  4  3 11  28-47  11
49. Middlesbrough FC    	18  5  0 13  31-69  10
50. Lincoln City FC       	10  4  1  5  23-18   9
51. Burnley FC           	14  3  3  8  17-31   9
52. Walsall FC           	16  3  2 11  22-35   8
53. Cardiff City AFC      	17  2  3 12  22-47   7
54. Mansfield Town FC      	10  1  1  8  12-41   3

League North Cup (December 26, 1942 to February 27, 1943) 

 1. Manchester City FC        	10  7  2  1  30-15  16
 2. Rochdale FC           	10  7  2  1  31-16  16
 3. Liverpool FC            	10  7  2  1  27-14  16
 4. Lovell's Athletic FC	10  6  3  1  32-10  15
 5. Chesterfield Town FC	10  7  1  2  22-12  15
 6. Huddersfield Town AFC	 9  7  0  2  31-14  14
 7. Sheffield Wednesday FC	10  5  4  1  26-16  14
 8. Coventry City FC       	10  7  0  3  16-10  14
 9. Stoke City          	10  6  2  2  24-16  14
10. York City FC          	 9  6  1  2  33-17  13
11. Manchester United FC	10  5  3  2  27-15  13
12. Newcastle United FC  	 9  6  1  2  37-21  13
13. Blackpool FC        	10  4  5  1  26-16  13
14. Aston Villa FC         	10  6  0  4  21-13  12
15. Chester FC               	10  5  2  3  22-14  12
16. Notts County FC        	10  5  2  3  22-14  12
17. Bristol City FC       	10  5  2  3  26-21  12
18. Leicester City FC        	10  6  0  4  27-22  12
19. Nottingham Forest FC	10  5  2  3  20-19  12
20. Aberaman FC           	10  6  0  4  22-22  12
21. Halifax Town AFC      	10  5  2  3  20-21  12
22. Barnsley FC            	10  5  2  3  19-20  12
23. West Bromwich Albion FC	10  6  0  4  19-22  12
24. Bradford Park Avenue AFC	 9  4  3  2  18-11  11
25. Wolverhampton Wanderers FC	10  4  3  3  23-17  11
26. Blackburn Rovers FC 	10  4  3  3  27-20  11
27. Bath City FC         	10  5  1  4  31-24  11
28. Bradford City AFC   	10  5  1  4  20-17  11
29. Sheffield United FC 	10  4  3  3  26-28  11
30. Bury FC              	10  4  2  4  29-16  10
31. Everton FC          	10  5  0  5  34-23  10
32. Derby County FC      	10  4  2  4  22-16  10
33. Grimsby Town FC     	10  3  4  3  22-20  10
34. Bolton Wanderers FC 	10  4  2  4  20-24  10
35. Gateshead AFC       	10  5  0  5  25-30  10
36. Lincoln City FC      	10  4  1  5  23-18   9
37. Sunderland AFC       	10  3  3  4  31-26   9
38. Northampton Town FC 	10  4  1  5  19-19   9
39. Birmingham FC        	10  3  1  6  15-17   7
40. Wrexham AFC           	10  2  3  5  16-23   7
41. Stockport County FC 	10  3  1  6  22-46   7
42. Walsall FC          	10  2  2  6  13-18   6
43. Doncaster Rovers FC 	10  2  2  6  17-26   6
44. Swansea Town FC     	10  2  2  6  17-35   6
45. Tranmere Rovers AFC 	10  2  2  6  14-30   6
46. Southport FC        	10  1  3  6  21-37   5
47. Burnley FC             	10  1  3  6  10-22   5
48. Crewe Alexandra FC  	10  1  3  6   8-30   5
49. Cardiff City AFC            10  1  2  7  10-26   4
50. Leeds United AFC     	10  1  1  8  16-34   3
51. Rotherham United FC 	10  0  3  7  12-29   3
52. Mansfield Town FC   	10  1  1  8  12-41   3
53. Oldham Athletic AFC 	10  0  2  8  14-34   2
54. Middlesbrough FC    	10  1  0  9  13-45   2

Source:
The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation.Author Dinant Abbink

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