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1944/45 Season Summary

The fifth wartime meeting of the Football League Management Committee was held at Blackpool on the 17th June. Basically the meeting rubber stamped the plan for the previous two seasons being repeated. The Football League North and the Football League North 2nd Championship had grown into massive leagues. Last season they were made up of 50 and 56 clubs respectively. This season both leagues were made up of 54 clubs and 60 clubs.

In June 1944 the war did not look like it was going to end soon. D-Day and Normandy had taken place and heavy fighting was still going on. The Germans were finally pushed out of the Soviet Union and in the Far East the Americans had destroyed Japanese naval aviation during the ‘Great Marianas Turkey Shoot’.

The season saw Southport attired in a brand new strip, of which more later. The Board of Trade has refused a plea to allow clubs to purchase kits without clothing coupons, which in Southport’s case were provided by generous supporters. Following the D-Day landlings the despatch of military personnel into Europe brought renewed problems for the club, many of whose players had been stationed in nearby service camps having to go overseas. As a result Southport suffered their poorest spell; indeed, throughout the whole of the calendar year 9144 they recorded but seven victories.

December was the worst month of all, with seven straight defeats culminating in a 12-1 annihilation at Anfield; Don Welsh scored six goals for the Reds between the 15th and 27th minutes. Wilf Birkett, the young Everton goalkeeper, was magnificent in defeat. He saved numerous shots and collapsed from sheer exhaustion just before the final whistle.

The season progressed unremarkably at the same time as tremendous events were taking place in Europe. Arnhem, the Battle of the Bulge, the British Army crossing the Rhine, and the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp all came and went. The death of Hitler and the fall of Berlin signalled the end of the war in Europe.

The season ended with Southport experiencing a run of fourteen games without a victory; in fact only six games were won overall.

The last Saturday of the war in Europe, the 5th May, saw Wales lose 3-2 to England at Cardiff and the first leg of the War Cup North semi-finals.

The Football League Management Committee called an Extraordinary General meeting at Manchester on Monday 7th May 1945 in anticipation of victory in Europe and what if anything football could do to take advantage of the changed situation. The idea of playing a regular season with peace time rules and regulations was rejected as Japan had yet to be defeated. The clubs themselves were in no position to play a regular season as their players were still in the armed forces scatted across the world and some were in the Far East fighting the Japanese or were expecting to take part in the planned invasion of Japan.

Arsenal chairman George Allison carried the day with his plan for the coming season. His proposal was that the First and Second Division clubs be separated from the rest and then split north and south into two 22 club symmetrical leagues.

Third Division North was split east west into two 10 club leagues, Third Division North West and Third Division North East. Both Hull City and New Brighton were without home grounds and would have to sit this season out. The Third Division South was split into two leagues, north of the Thames and south of the Thames. The non-league clubs were out, they would not be taking part in any of the new leagues.

Tuesday 8th May was declared VE Day (Victory in Europe Day). The Government made it a bank holiday so people could celebrate. 

Southport’s reserve team was re-established and played in the Liverpool County Combination; the club appointed Martin Black, secretary of the subscribers club, as the new honorary secretary following Billy Dickinson’s appointment as Assistant Secretary at Everton. Dickinson had been chosen out of 380 applicants and had done excellent work after Gordon Hunt’s call-up back in 1940.

Another profit – this time £599 – helped raise the bank balance above £1200. It was a far different story from the struggling pre-war days and the directors felt emboldened to reaffirm their aim of Second Division football. With a view to encouraging a policy of promoting junior talent, they decided to engage the experienced Jimmy Gemmel as player-coach.

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

Copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission
North First Championship (ending December 23, 1944)

 1. Huddersfield Town AFC          18 14  3  1  50 : 22 31
 2. Derby County FC                18 14  1  3  54 : 19 29
 3. Sunderland AFC                 18 12  4  2  52 : 25 28
 4. Aston Villa FC                 18 12  3  3  54 : 19 27
 5. Everton FC                     18 12  2  4  58 : 25 26
 6. Wrexham AFC                    18 11  3  4  40 : 18 25
 7. Doncaster Rovers FC            18 12  0  6  48 : 27 24
 8. Bradford Park Avenue AFC       18 10  4  4  45 : 31 24
 9. Bolton Wanderers FC            18  9  6  3  34 : 22 24
10. Manchester City FC             18  9  4  5  53 : 31 22
11. Stoke City FC                  18  9  4  5  37 : 25 22
12. Birmingham FC                  18  8  6  4  30 : 21 22
13. Barnsley FC                    18 10  2  6  42 : 32 22
14. Rotherham United FC            18  9  4  5  31 : 25 22
15. West Bromwich Albion FC        18  9  4  5  36 : 30 22
16. Liverpool FC                   18  9  3  6  41 : 30 21
17. Grimsby Town FC                18  9  3  6  37 : 29 21
18. Halifax Town AFC               18  8  5  5  30 : 29 21
19. Chester FC                     18  9  3  6  45 : 45 21
20. Blackpool FC                   18  9  2  7  53 : 38 20
21. Burnley FC                     18  8  4  6  39 : 27 20
22. Leeds United AFC               18  9  2  7  53 : 42 20
23. Sheffield Wednesday FC         18  9  2  7  34 : 30 20
24. Chesterfield Town FC           18  8  3  7  30 : 19 19
25. Darlington FC                  18  9  1  8  52 : 45 19
26. Wolverhampton Wanderers FC     18  7  5  6  31 : 27 19
27. Rochdale FC                    18  7  5  6  35 : 33 19
28. Crewe Alexandra FC             18  9  1  8  43 : 41 19
29. Blackburn Rovers FC            18  7  4  7  30 : 29 18
30. Manchester United FC           18  8  2  8  40 : 40 18
31. Preston North End FC           18  7  4  7  26 : 28 18
32. Walsall FC                     18  5  6  7  27 : 29 16
33. Gateshead AFC                  18  7  2  9  45 : 53 16
34. Northampton Town FC            18  5  6  7  30 : 38 16
35. Newcastle United FC            18  7  1 10  51 : 38 15
36. Sheffield United FC            18  6  3  9  27 : 25 15
37. Hartlepool FC                  18  7  1 10  41 : 47 15
38. Oldham Athletic AFC            18  7  1 10  28 : 36 15
39. Mansfield Town FC              18  6  3  9  31 : 40 15
40. Nottingham Forest FC           18  5  5  8  22 : 34 15
41. Coventry City FC               18  6  2 10  23 : 42 14
42. York City FC                   18  6  1 11  49 : 52 13
43. Middlesbrough FC               18  5  3 10  34 : 57 13
44. Bradford City AFC              18  6  1 11  35 : 60 13
45. Accrington Stanley FC          18  5  2 11  29 : 46 12
46. Port Vale FC                   18  5  2 11  22 : 36 12
47. Bury FC                        18  5  2 11  28 : 48 12
48. Stockport County FC            18  5  1 12  33 : 70 11
49. Hull City AFC                  18  4  3 11  23 : 60 11
50. Southport FC                   18  3  4 11  32 : 55 10
51. Lincoln City FC                18  4  2 12  32 : 56 10
52. Leicester City FC              18  3  4 11  23 : 46 10
53. Tranmere Rovers AFC            18  2  1 15  20 : 53  5
54. Notts County FC                18  2  1 15  19 : 62  5

North Second Championship (December 25, 1944 to May 26, 1945)

 1. Derby County FC                26 19  3  4  78 : 28 41
 2. Everton FC                     27 17  3  7  79 : 43 37
 3. Liverpool FC                   24 16  3  5  67 : 26 35
 4. Burnley FC                     26 15  3  8  56 : 36 33
 5. Newcastle United FC            23 15  1  7  71 : 38 31
 6. Aston Villa FC                 25 14  2  9  70 : 45 30
 7. Chesterfield Town FC           24 10  9  5  40 : 24 29
 8. Wolverhampton Wanderers FC     24 11  7  6  45 : 31 29
 9. Manchester United FC           22 13  3  6  47 : 33 29
10. Darlington FC                  24 13  3  8  61 : 45 29
11. Bristol City FC                22 13  2  7  55 : 33 28
12. Blackburn Rovers FC            24 13  2  9  62 : 51 28
13. Huddersfield Town AFC          27 12  4 11  52 : 49 28
14. Wrexham AFC                    22 10  7  5  55 : 36 27
15. Bolton Wanderers FC            23 11  5  7  52 : 35 27
16. Blackpool FC                   24 12  3  9  58 : 42 27
17. Stoke City FC                  23 12  2  9  67 : 42 26
18. Lovell's Athletic FC           19 12  2  5  44 : 27 26
19. Cardiff City AFC               20 12  2  6  41 : 27 26
20. Grimsby Town FC                21 10  6  5  51 : 37 26
21. Birmingham FC                  24  9  7  8  38 : 34 25
22. Crewe Alexandra FC             23 11  3  9  50 : 50 25
23. Doncaster Rovers FC            20 11  2  7  44 : 26 24
24. Bradford Park Avenue AFC       22 10  4  8  49 : 39 24
25. Accrington Stanley FC          24  9  6  9  39 : 41 24
26. Barnsley FC                    24 11  2 11  39 : 42 24
27. Rotherham United FC            20 10  3  7  41 : 37 23
28. Gateshead AFC                  21  9  5  7  46 : 42 23
29. Preston North End FC           25  9  4 12  41 : 56 22
30. Sheffield United FC            24  9  3 12  56 : 48 21
31. Sunderland AFC                 25  9  3 13  53 : 54 21
32. Leeds United AFC               22  9  3 10  53 : 55 21
33. Sheffield Wednesday FC         25  8  5 12  53 : 56 21
34. Leicester City FC              21  7  6  8  40 : 38 20
35. Bath City FC                   20 10  0 10  50 : 48 20
36. Bury FC                        20  8  4  8  38 : 43 20
37. York City FC                   22  8  4 10  48 : 56 20
38. Chester FC                     22  9  2 11  49 : 61 20
39. Bradford City AFC              20  8  3  9  43 : 46 19
40. West Bromwich Albion FC        22  6  7  9  39 : 44 19
41. Hartlepool FC                  21  8  3 10  34 : 54 19
42. Coventry City FC               21  6  6  9  36 : 53 18
43. Nottingham Forest FC           17  5  7  5  23 : 25 17
44. Tranmere Rovers AFC            23  8  1 14  40 : 56 17
45. Halifax Town AFC               18  6  5  7  22 : 35 17
46. Lincoln City FC                17  6  4  7  42 : 51 16
47. Manchester City FC             19  7  2 10  32 : 43 16
48. Northampton Town FC            14  6  3  5  23 : 30 15
49. Oldham Athletic AFC            21  7  1 13  39 : 56 15
50. Stockport County FC            19  7  0 12  31 : 50 14
51. Middlesbrough FC               24  6  2 16  40 : 73 14
52. Walsall FC                     18  5  3 10  24 : 33 13
53. Swansea Town FC                20  6  1 13  42 : 63 13
54. Port Vale FC                   21  5  2 14  27 : 60 12
55. Mansfield Town FC              12  5  1  6  22 : 38 11
56. Hull City AFC                  18  5  1 12  30 : 54 11
57. Rochdale FC                    20  4  3 13  17 : 49 11
58. Southport FC                   22  3  3 16  33 : 82  9
59. Notts County FC                21  4  0 17  29 : 62  8
60. Aberaman FC                    17  2  2 13  36 : 69  6

League North Cup (December 25, 1944 to March 17, 1945) 

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

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

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