Though the team displayed a startling inconsistency in 1984-85 they were still lying eighth in the table when a heated discussion between Chairman and Manager immediately after the Lancashire Junior Cup defeat at Morecambe in December led to his instantaneous dismissal. One can only say it was the classic conflict of personalities.
In his place came the man many supporters had wanted to see as Southport manager for a long time, the erstwhile full-back Bryan Griffiths whose knowledge of the local — particularly Liverpool — non-League football scene was phenomenal. A sizable clear-out resulted, including the popular front men Joe Strong and Gary Cooper, but their places had long been under threat from local lad Kevin McCormack whose wholehearted style straightway won him the ‘Player of the Year’ trophy. Ironically the transitional period saw the team slip to twelfth position by the end of the campaign as Griffiths experimented with a fair number of sub-standard players.
Ultimately his tendency to look towards the Liverpool Sunday leagues for new faces was to be his undoing, though to what extent it was dictated by lack of funds as Clapham sought to rebuild the club finances cannot be defined. This latter had been the new Chairman’s chief priority, with particular emphasis on increased growth for the club lottery and an ambitious programme of regular celebrity dinners which, though of necessity priced beyond the pocket of the average fan on the terraces, proved a major source of revenue. In any event, from this point it can only be stressed with some relief that the limelight at long last turned to events on rather than off the field.
The club had finished 1984-85 with a bang. In the final game Buxton were beaten 7—1 with Mutch (3), Teale and McCormack amongst the scorers.
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
Lancashire Floodlit Trophy
(NB 2 points for a home win, 3 points for an away win)