The 1992/93 season in the HFS Loans League is one that will never be forgotten by those lucky enough to see it. It was a record-breaking season, so good that many of the players are still remembered today and it’s hard to believe it all happened thirty years ago!

Under manager Brian Kettle and captain Kevin Mooney the squad contained real quality. Ian Baines, Mark Brennan, Dave Fuller, David Gamble, Derek Goulding, Alan McDonald, Paul Moore, Mark Schofield, Jon Senior, Chris Walmsley and Peter Withers were joined during the season by Leroy Dove and the free-scoring Steve Haw to form the best team seen here for many years.

Surprisingly, the season started with an opening day defeat at home to Emley but this was one of only four defeats throughout the campaign. It was followed by eight consecutive League wins whilst later on in the season, from November to April, a record-breaking run of 24 League games without defeat took Southport to within one win of claiming the title, defeat at Marine merely putting the celebrations on ice for five days.

There were notable victories along the way, most eye-catching of all a 7-1 home win over Chorley followed shortly afterwards by a 6-1 away win in the reverse fixture.  Revenge for the opening day defeat to Emley came in the best way possible on Saturday the 17th of April when a 4-0 victory in West Yorkshire clinched the title with two games to spare.

The final League table is below.

But it wasn’t just the League that brought success.  Whilst there were early exits in the FA Trophy and HFS Loans League Cup the FA Cup provided excitement as the Second Round was reached for the first time in 24 years. Victories over Buxton (in a replay), Chadderton and Brigg brought an away game with Barrow in the final qualifying round and on a snow covered pitch an incident packed game finished 0-0 in front of a crowd of 1,545. The replay three days later saw 2,082 pack into Haig Avenue to witness a five-goal thriller with Southport coming out on top 3-2 after extra-time. A trip to Blyth in the First Round was the reward for beating Barrow and in a hostile atmosphere Southport came from behind to win 2-1 and claim a place in the second round. Another away game, this time at Second Division Hartlepool was the reward and this was where the cup run ended although the score-line of 4-0 was harsh and Southport made many friends with their performance on the day, getting a richly deserved standing ovation from nearly 1,000 travelling fans.

The ATS Lancashire Challenge Trophy saw victories over Clitheroe, Marine and Fleetwood leading to a final against Chorley at Burnden Park, Bolton. Played just two days after clinching the title at Emley there was no sign of Southport taking the foot off the pedal as they ran out winners by 5-2 after extra-time thanks to goals from Peter Withers (2), Mark Brennan (2) and Ian Baines.

The Presidents Cup saw victories over Knowsley United, Accrington and a two-legged semi-final win over Morecambe which set up a two legged final against Winsford. The first leg at Winsford, played just two days after the ATS Lancashire Trophy final saw Southport lose 2-0 and a 4-3 victory in a thrilling second leg wasn’t enough to prevent the cup going to Winsford.

Finally there was the Liverpool Senior Cup where a first round victory over Bootle led to an attractive home game against Liverpool. The Reds had a strong team out including Bruce Grobbelaar, Sammy Lee and a young Robbie Fowler who came on as a 68th minute substitute but Southport won 2-1 to set up a semi-final away at Tranmere. An excellent 3-0 win at Prenton Park meant Southport were in the final, this time against Burscough at Goodison Park, Everton, six days after the final League game of the season. It was the end of a gruelling schedule but it ended on a high with Southport winning 2-1

Of the 103 goals scored, Steve Haw led the way with a then record-breaking 32 … or was it a then record-equalling 31? The confusion relates to the League game against Buxton on January 9th when Steve was credited with a goal that many reports say should have been awarded as an own goal. 32 League goals for the season would have beaten the club record of 31 set by Archie Waterston in 1930/31 whilst 31 would equal it but it’s a record that has since been beaten by Terry Fearns who got 33 goals in 2004/05 in the Conference National League.

In total 68 games had been played over the season with forty-seven won, twelve drawn and just nine lost. Incredibly Kevin Mooney completed 67 out of the 68 games, missing just the last eight minutes of the final game of the season at Goodison Park after picking up an injury!

It’s not surprising that several non-league records were equalled or bettered during the season. These included:

Most Consecutive wins: 8 (equalled over the two seasons of 07/09-08/09

Most games without defeat: 24

Most away games without defeat: 12

Most wins in season: 29

Fewest defeats: 4 (equalled in 2009/10)

Most goals for: 103

Fewest goals against: 31

Surprisingly, despite all these achievements, Brian Kettle wasn’t voted Northern Premier League Manager of the Year. That award went to Mike McKenzie of League Runners-up Winsford who won five knockout competitions to go with their second placed finish.