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1952/53 Season Summary

Copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission

Southport at last gave their long-suffering supporters something to cheer about when they experienced their best season since 1938-39 and finished sixth.

After a defeat at Darlington on the opening day of the season, Southport lost only one of their next nine games, taking 15 points. A disastrous spell between late September and mid-December brought only one win from the eleven league engagements, but after their F.A. Cup dismissal the team recaptured their earlier form to finish with 51 points – a total which had previously been achieved in 1924-25 and exceeded only in 1930-31.

The side was founded on a solid defence comprising ‘Minshull, Taylor, Reilly, Barratt and Hacking -all consistent performers. Kevin Walsh from Oldham Athletic vied for the other wing-half berth with Trevor Hitchen and latterly Don Hunter.

Up front the veteran Jack Billingham scored 16 goals — including 15 from the wing, creating a club record which remains unequalled. ‘However, there was a lack of scoring power at centre-forward, with just twelve goals coming from that position. Alec Gaskell, who had been introduced briefly the previous season, confirmed his promise but because of R.A.F. service could not appear regularly. Southport’s ineffective finishing cost them dearly and it was apparent that they had erred in releasing Jack Lindsay, particularly as an off-form Jimmy Nuttall could not recapture his old, scoring ability after injury at Reading in December, 1951. Southport must have regretted refusing Leeds United’s £4,500 offer for him in October, 1951. In later years Nuttall scored prolifically for South Liverpool in the Lancashire Combination.

Billy Dale, a lively raider on either wing, and little Colin McLean, a Scot from Forfar, both contributed to Southport’s success, whilst the versatile ‘Trevor Hitchen had his best season as a marksman, scoring 11 goals from his 26 appearances at inside-right. Other notable signings were Don Hunter from Halifax Town and Bill Forsyth from Blackburn Rovers. Both rendered splendid service — the former eventually succeeding Bob Hacking, who was granted a benefit on completing five years at Haig Avenue.

At Halifax in October Wally Taylor, the stylish full-back, became the first Southport player ever to be sent off the field in a league match. Lincoln City thus became the last club with a 100% record in this respect.

In the F.A. Cup Southport – remembering their tussles with Bangor City the previous year -won 3—.1 after Glaisher had equalised Jimmy Pennington’s goal. Actually Bangor were unlucky not to lead at half-time, but two second-half goals from Nuttall settled the issue only for Halifax Town to outclass Southport at the Shay.

The highlight of the season was the narrow 1-0 league victory over Northern Section champions Oldham Athletic before an 11,376 crowd which included over fifty coach-loads of Oldham supporters. A first-minute goal from Billy Dale proved sufficient. This win contributed towards a late spell of nine games without defeat.

Team spirit and the side’s fighting qualities were much in evidence during the season, but the vital factor in Southport’s overall success was their ability to field a settled team. Only nineteen players were called on for league duty compared with a previous post-war low of twenty-six. Jimmy Nuttall was one of only three players released at the end of the season, the others being reserves Fred Walker and Jimmy Hilton. Although retained, Bobby Jones junior left for Chester where he commanded a regular place before joining Blackburn Rovers, for whom he was chiefly a reserve.

‘Restricted by lack of capital, the club doubled the authorised share capital by issuing another 8,000 ten shilling Ordinary Shares at an Extraordinary General Meeting in March. In a year wfthout transfer revenue Southport did well to contain the loss at £1,462.

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

Pos Team P W D L F A GA Pts
1 Oldham Athletic 46 22 15 9 77 45 1.711 59
2 Port Vale 46 20 18 8 67 35 1.914 58
3 Wrexham 46 24 8 14 86 66 1.303 56
4 York City 46 20 13 13 60 45 1.333 53
5 Grimsby Town 46 21 10 15 75 59 1.271 52
6 Southport 46 20 11 15 63 60 1.050 51
7 Bradford Park Avenue 46 19 12 15 75 61 1.230 50
8 Gateshead 46 17 15 14 76 60 1.267 49
9 Carlisle United 46 18 13 15 82 68 1.206 49
10 Crewe Alexandra 46 20 8 18 70 68 1.029 48
11 Stockport County 46 17 13 16 82 69 1.188 47
12 Chesterfield 46 18 11 17 65 63 1.032 47
13 Tranmere Rovers 46 21 5 20 65 63 1.032 47
14 Halifax Town 46 16 15 15 68 68 1.000 47
15 Scunthorpe & Lindsey United 46 16 14 16 62 56 1.107 46
16 Bradford City 46 14 18 14 75 80 0.938 46
17 Hartlepools United 46 16 14 16 57 61 0.934 46
18 Mansfield Town 46 16 14 16 55 62 0.887 46
19 Barrow 46 16 12 18 66 71 0.930 44
20 Chester City 46 11 15 20 64 85 0.753 37
21 Darlington 46 14 6 26 58 96 0.604 34
22 Rochdale 46 14 5 27 62 83 0.747 33
23 Workington 46 11 10 25 55 91 0.604 32
24 Accrington Stanley 46 8 11 27 39 89 0.438 27

Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia and reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

 

FINAL TABLE LANCASHIRE COMBINATION (DIVISION 1) '52-'53
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 1. Wigan Athletic             42-67 (124-45)  27 13  2  Champions    
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 2. Prescot Cables             42-55  (83-46)  25  5 12          
 3. Darwen                     42-49  (88-65)  19 11 12          
 4. Marine Crosby              42-49  (91-72)  19 11 12          
 5. Nelson                     42-48  (86-72)  20  8 14          
 6. Lancaster City             42-48  (81-72)  21  6 15          
 7. Horwich RMI                42-47 (109-105) 17 13 12          
 8. Ashton United              42-45 (105-85)  18  9 15          
 9. Netherfield                42-44  (82-81)  20  4 18          
10. Southport II               42-42  (78-80)  17  8 17          
11. Morecambe                  42-41  (60-61)  16  9 17          
12. Bootle Athletic            42-40  (64-64)  16  8 18          
13. Oldham Athletic II         42-39  (84-89)  16  7 19          
14. Rossendale United          42-39  (84-92)  16  7 19          
15. Fleetwood                  42-39  (76-105) 16  7 19          
16. Chorley                    42-37  (81-87)  16  5 21          
17. New Brighton               42-37  (61-70)  14  9 19          
18. Accrington Stanley II      42-37  (64-78)  13 11 18          
19. Rochdale II                42-31  (61-76)  11  9 22          
20. Barrow II                  42-31  (57-80)  10 11 21          
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21. Clitheroe                  42-31  (69-115) 11  9 22  Relegated    
22. Blackpool 'B'              42-28  (49-97)  11  6 25  Relegated    

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

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