2017/2018 Season Summary

On 3rd May, just days after the season ends, The Champion newspaper runs a report with quotes from interim chairman Nigel Allen that Southport are targeting a quick-fire return National League and “we need to resolve the make-up of the boardroom quickly and smoothly”.

As Interim chairman Nigel Allen circulates an Agenda for a scheduled Board meeting at the club. It contains the discussion of an offer made by Phil Hodgkinson to purchase a majority shareholding from existing outgoing directors, and, aware of interest from James Treadwell and Adrian Shandley, any other expressions of interest.  

The meeting did not take place as scheduled. Dave Barron, Nigel Allen and Liam Watson received notice that due to an error with the articles of association, their initial adoption onto the board was not valid and that they could not attend the planned meeting. Shareholder Geoff Wilde later confirmed his attendance at a meeting in 2004 in which the limit of the number of directors was raised from 7 to 12. However the documents to support such a resolution to amend the articles of association were never filed and therefore the fault lies with the administrator at the time and this had been overlooked by the club upon the appointment of the three. Although Charlie Clapham had announced that he had stood down as chairman, he remained a director, and one who still carried significant influence.

Unaware of the outcome of the meeting, Trust In Yellow, a significant shareholder in the club, release a statement that it is willing to meet with any group considering investment to discuss priorities for the future management of Southport.

There are a number of days in the history of the football club that can looked upon as dates of significance and 5th May 2017 is another of those days. Interim chairman Nigel Allen revealed in a statement that he has stepped down less than two weeks after being appointed after being blocked from attending the 3rd May board meeting along with fellow directors Dave Barron and Liam Watson. “Primarily there is little point being part of a board that has no credible function and is merely paying lip service in terms of decision making,” he says. Meanwhile the clubs operations director Liam Watson, who delivered two titles when he managed the club, was informed by email that he had been made redundant. Watson says: “I hope it works out at the club and I’d like to wish Charlie, Sam and Haydn a long and happy retirement on their resignations.”

Southport release two statements of their own. Manager Andy Preece was been invited to re-apply for his job while the club says “once the new investors are in place the current board will resign en bloc” and that “Charlie Clapham has made it clear he will not be serving on the new board”.

Statement 1:

Following Wednesday evening’s Southport Football Club Board Meeting it was decided that Andy Preece should be invited to apply for the manager’s post for the forthcoming 2017-18 season.

The Board would sincerely like to put on record their recognition of all Andy’s hard work and efforts to rectify the Club’s precarious position he inherited. Unfortunately Andy alongside Liam Watson was unable to both strengthen the squad and record positive results, which the Club naturally required and expected.

With a new Board soon to be constituted with new investment it is felt in the best interests of Southport Football Club that any long term managerial appointment and commitment should come from the new Board.

Statement 2:

Following our earlier statement and subsequent discussion, the club would like to take this opportunity to again confirm to supporters that once the new investors are in place the current Board will resign en bloc.

This will enable the new Board to take over the running of Southport Football Club and all the responsibilities this entails. Charlie Clapham has made it clear he will not be serving on the new Board and wishes everyone engaged at Southport Football Club a highly successful long term future.

In a further development, Huddersfield Town fan and CEO of Prescot-based Pure Business Group Ltd Phil Hodgkinson revealed publicly that he made a “formal written offer to acquire a majority shareholding in Southport FC last week”. He adds: “As of today I have received no reply”

Whilst not continuing in their directorial roles beyond the end of the season both Charlie Clapham and Sam Shrouder had no intentions of relinquishing their shareholding as it gave no financial benefit to the club. The offer from Phil Hodgkinson therefore had been dismissed in favour of an offer from long standing supporters James Treadwell and Adrian Shandley on the grounds that their offer of investment was to purchase the remaining available shares instead of purchasing those already held by others. 

Trust In Yellow issue a statement saying it is “confused and disappointed” to learn of the departures of the new directors. The TIY board says it will be meeting in the next few days to discuss the latest developments and in an unusual move, Phil Hodgkinson makes a series of posts on online fans forum Port Chat to paint a picture of his future vision to fans. It includes a squad of 19 players who could perform at a higher level than National League North, a possible new stadium venture and commitment from a Championship club to discuss a formal relationship as a feeder club.

“I have made a genuine offer, have everything required to back it up, cash to invest, plans to execute,” he says. “Egos are to the fore, to the detriment of the one thing that matters, Southport FC. People have told me that nobody has ever been interested in buying Southport, my head is above the parapet, I’m here, I have formalised it, not even the courtesy of an acknowledgment of my offer. Disappointing yet not unexpected. I spent £30,000 sponsoring the club two seasons ago. You don’t sign a quality squad after 1 June, you have been warned.”

On May 9th 2017 the club announced that a takeover had been completed by supporters James Treadwell and Adrian Shandley seeing an initial investment of over £150000 injected into the club coffers. A Statement is released by the pair on the club website:

We have now made a significant investment in the club as long term supporters and are both looking forward to shaping the future of the club. Firstly, we must look back and formally thank all the outgoing directors for their service to the club.

We are fully aware of the fact that we are taking over at the club after what has been a difficult period, and a disappointing season to say the least. The last month has been exceptionally difficult for the club but now is the time to draw a line under that and look to the future.

We are injecting a six figure sum into the club from our own funds, and due to the support and cooperation of the outgoing directors this money will be going directly into the club.

Purchasing a shareholding in a football club is not generally a good financial decision, in fact it can be quite the opposite. We are investing in Southport FC more on a philanthropic basis primarily as long-term supporters of the team. Our investment in the club will hopefully take the club forward up the football pyramid and project a positive image of both Southport FC and our proud continually developing seaside resort.

Furthermore, transitioning control of a football club, or indeed any business, is not an easy or quick process. Charlie Clapham has clearly indicated, both publicly and privately, his intention to stand down from all positions at Southport Football Club, allowing a new and independent board of directors to take control. He has pledged his cooperation during this transition period.

Our immediate priority must be to appoint the best candidate as manager and we will move quickly to do this once sufficient time has been allowed for applications to arrive.

We look forward to working with the supporters and everybody involved with the club, but we must ask for your patience, support and understanding during the next few weeks and the season ahead.

We acknowledge and endorse the statement released by Trust In Yellow last week. We look forward to meeting with TIY as soon as practicable to discuss key priorities on ground improvement together with establishing the best way for the club board to work with TIY going forward. The voice of the fans is important in shaping the future direction of the club and we’d urge all supporters to join TIY so that they can have their say.

We appreciate the need to engage with all stakeholders. Every penny that is spent on sponsorship, on season tickets, through the turnstiles, in the club shop and in the bar allows us to spend more on the playing squad. Every hour of volunteer time which would otherwise have to be paid allows the same.

Our ideal is to see a football club which has the fans best interests at heart, and a sustainable football club which isn’t over reliant on one individual or sponsor. We welcome interest from other potential investors who have the interests of the club at heart and any approaches will, of course, be considered on their merits. We’d ask any potential investor or sponsor, no matter how large or small, to step forward and contact us via Ken Hilton.

We would ask everybody in the town to remember that this is your club, it will only survive and succeed with your support. We would ask all the local businesses in the town, be they large or small, to get involved with the club and support in any way they can through sponsorship, advertising or providing services.

Please get involved and support your local team as much as you can.

James Treadwell and Adrian Shandley

This is followed by an update on the club website

New club owners James Treadwell and Adrian Shandley are relishing the challenge of taking Southport FC forwards into a new era. They have initially identified appointment of a management team and player recruitment as a priority and have been focusing their efforts on these areas.

The club has recently invited applications for the vacant managerial position. It was important to James and Adrian that the process should be advertised widely, with all applications allowed appropriate consideration.

The new directors have been overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of the applications received. A shortlist has been drawn up and the club are currently in the process of inviting candidates to interviews.

The target is to complete the interview process and have a new manager appointed at the earliest possible opportunity, hopefully by the end of next week.

The Annual General Meeting for Pinewise Limited is provisionally called for Monday 5th June and will include a shareholder’s “meet the manager” event.

The new directors acknowledge that shareholders previously submitted a request for an EGM to the former board and confirm that the new board will honour this request with the EGM being incorporated into the AGM. Calling notices for the upcoming AGM will be sent out to shareholders shortly.

The board of Southport Football Club is currently being re-constituted and can confirm that Charlie Clapham and Sam Shrouder have stood down from their roles as Directors.

James and Adrian aim to build a strong board with varied knowledge and skill sets to help drive Southport Football Club forwards.

James and Adrian would like to thank Charlie Clapham and Sam Shrouder for their support of Southport Football Club for over 35 years and can confirm that neither Charlie nor Sam now hold a controlling shareholding of the football club following recent share transactions.

As lifelong supporters of Southport FC, James and Adrian are keen to lay out their plans for structured supporter engagement and are excited to meet with Trust In Yellow to discuss these aspects on Tuesday 16th May.

The directors intend to hold regular meetings with the Trust In Yellow board to discuss club matters and will encourage robust and transparent reporting from these meetings.

James and Adrian both feel that the Supporters Trust is the right vehicle for supporter engagement, operating democratically, openly and transparently and would encourage all fans to join the Trust and interact with them to ensure they continue to act as the representative voice of the fan base.

The new directors are looking to undertake several ground renovation and improvement projects starting with required work identified to the toilets and the construction of a disabled platform for which funding has been secured. Work on both will be completed prior to the commencement of the season.

In conjunction with the immediate ground improvement plans the club will shortly be releasing a survey to supporters to get their views on improvements they would like to see to the ground as well as gathering fans opinions on matters such as matchday amenities, entertainment and pricing structures.

There are a number of pre-season fixtures in the process of being arranged and we hope to have a full list of these to release within the next few weeks.

Details on season ticket sales and pricing will be announced shortly.

James and Adrian would like to express their appreciation and thanks to all the volunteers who contribute their time to Southport Football Club on matchdays and during the week, your efforts are widely appreciated.

The directors hope that we can continue to attract such dedicated and passionate volunteers and look forward to working with and supporting you all.

Both James and Adrian appreciate this is an emotional time for supporters and would appeal to the fanbase to allow them an opportunity to share their vision, build a relationship and all work together for the long-term benefit of Southport FC.

Treadwell and Shandley were under pressure from supporters from the outset in the light of statements and public postings from Phil Hodgkinson and the outgoing Watson and Allen. Trust In Yellow, as a group whose aim is to represent supporters met with both parties to understand their respective merits and on 21st May, they release a bundle of documents to support those meetings. The bold and confident claims from Phil Hodgkinson contrasted with the more measured plans of the new incumbents and received much favour from supporters, forcing Treadwell and Shandley to publicly acknowledge the interest from Hodgkinson for the first time a day later.

Following public comments from a party who appears to be interested in taking control of the Club and statements issued by Trust In Yellow, the Board are happy to offer clarification to supporters over a number of points around which there seems to be some confusion.

The Board are committed to engaging with all stakeholders to grow and develop a plan for the football club where everybody feels they have a say. A sustainable, open, honest and transparent football club which is run by fans with the interests of fans at heart. In the short term, the priorities have been to ensure stability and appoint a new management team, an announcement on which will be made shortly.

Phil Hodgkinson submitted a one page letter dated 28 April 2017 expressing an interest in acquiring a majority shareholding in Pinewise Limited which was received an hour before the Board meeting held on 3 May 2017. It should be made clear that this letter was not accompanied by Mr Hodgkinson’s proposal document which has now been released by Trust in Yellow. A reply was sent by the outgoing Board to Mr Hodgkinson confirming that a majority shareholding was not available.

It should be noted that Mr Hodgkinson’s bid was made to the outgoing Board of the Club and, since completing their investment, the new Board have received no further offer of investment from Mr Hodgkinson. The new Board are not in a position to answer for decisions taken by the Club’s previous Board.

As the only clear offer made that the outgoing Board could accept, which was to sell the available shares in the Company, the outgoing Board chose to accept the offer of investment made by James Treadwell and Adrian Shandley which has seen an initial subscription for shares taking the issued share capital of Pinewise Limited to its current authorised maximum of £500k.

A resolution at the forthcoming shareholder AGM/EGM, to be held on 5 June 2017, is proposed to remove the limit on the maximum issued share capital thus allowing further shares to be available for issue.

The Board are aware of a number of parties interested in investing in the club and will give consideration to any reasonable offers that are submitted. Offers of investment can be submitted in writing or via email to shareholders@southportfc.net clearly stating the number of shares desired to be purchased at £1 per share.

In the interests of allowing TIY to remain independent, as they have stated to be the case, the Board do not think it appropriate to attend the open meeting to be held tomorrow but will provide a response to any questions that are raised either before or after the meeting.

The club also confirm the appointment of former manager Mark Wright to the position of Head of Development much to the surprise and disappointment of supporters who had witnessed his stock in the game tumble since his original departure from Haig Avenue. With Wright a spectator at the final home game of the season, conspiracy theorists suggest that the appointment had been made by the outgoing board. Any suggestion of this was strenuously denied.

Phil Hodgkinson, Nigel Allen and Liam Watson publicly start a campaign asking for supporters to “Back The Bid” choosing a Green and White colour scheme in protest at the current events. On 23rd May Trust In Yellow held an open meeting at the Railway Club for supporters to discuss the recent events and amongst the many comments made, Phil Hodgkinson, in attendance, takes another opportunity to address the audience. At this meeting he stated that his offer, still on the table, would be withdrawn if there were any further appointments made by the new board.

Three days later Alan Lewer, having previously held a brief posting as assistant manager to Peter Davenport, is appointed manager with John Durnin, the former Liverpool striker, joining as first team coach.

On 5th June 2017 the club held their AGM for the year ending 30/6/2016. Conducted by new investors James Treadwell and Adrian Shandley both faced a public vote for election to the board. Adrian’s election passes via a show of hands of shareholders present. However, with a split vote, James Treadwell fails to command a majority in the room and therefore is forced to rely on the voting rights granted to him by agreement of Charlie Clapham and Sam Shrouder in order to pass the resolution to elect him. 

A number of questions are faced as to the input that Charlie Clapham will have in the day to day running of the club, and James reiterates that Charlie will have no decision making power but has committed to help the club whilst they transition away from administration which is conducted at Palace Chemicals. A decision is taken to seek alternative auditors as supporters felt that Duncan Sheard & Glass were too closely aligned with the former chairman.

19th June 2017: the club announce via a statement on the club website the addition of Martyn O’Hara to the club board

Southport Football Club are pleased to confirm long-standing supporter Martyn O’Hara has joined the Club’s Board of Directors.

Martyn brings strong sales and marketing experience to the Board and will become a key part of the club’s off-field operations.

Martyn said: “I’m delighted to be joining the Board of Directors at Southport FC! It’s been over 30 years since my Dad walked me through the turnstiles and I remember it like it was yesterday.”

“As a supporter, one thing I’m aware of is what it’s like to stand on the terraces, and have seen many of the frustrations from fans off the field and with the matchday experience. My role will be to work with sponsors and develop our commercial activities but perhaps more importantly I’ll be looking at ways of encouraging new supporters to get down to the ground.”

“That also means making sure our current fans feel valued. There’s a variety of ways we can make people feel part of the club and we know that’s been missing recently.”

“Bringing fans back into love with the football club is something that I’m going to be working hard to achieve.”

Martyn will also be working closely with the club’s new Marketing and Commercial manager, who will join the club this coming Monday. The Board also expect to name a new Board member in the next few days.

Director James Treadwell said: “I’m very pleased to welcome Martyn to the Board and look forward to working with him as we move into the new season. He has an excellent marketing and sales background and will be heavily involved with developing our revenue streams. As a true supporter of the club, he’ll be speaking and communicating with fans, as we all will, and helping us build the community football club that we’re aiming for.”

Martyn joins existing Board members Adrian Shandley and James Treadwell.

Adrian Shandley is Chief Executive at Premier Wealth Management, a specialist private investment firm with over £400 million under management.

He has been a long term supporter and sponsor of Southport FC, being one of the original founders of, and spending 8 years organising and running, the Juniors section in the late 1990’s. Adrian has been involved with the Southport Hesketh Round Table for nearly 30 years and is also the main organiser of the award winning Mad Dog 10k.

James Treadwell, a born and bred Sandgrounder, is a Partner at the accounting and business advisory firm, Moore and Smalley, who employ over 300 staff and advise businesses throughout the North West.

He started watching the club in the Northern Premier League title-winning season of 1992/93, his first game being a 3-2 win against Horwich RMI. James has been a Vice President of the club for five years.

On June 29th the club unveil their new Green and White hooped away kit making no reference to the striking similarities to the back the bid campaign, choosing to focus on the Southport kits of the 40s. to the casual supporter on a matchday, perhaps unaware of the off-field turmoil, the presence of Green and White merchandise would no longer give rise to questions.

In their earlier statements Treadwell & Shandley had made reference to having received interest from other potential investors, and on 2nd July Ian Kyle, a partner and joint owner of Liverpool-based law firm Irvings Law, was announced as a new director. 

A club statement announcing Kyle’s arrival adds: “The board of directors would like to confirm that they have not to date received an offer from Mr Phil Hodgkinson which would see any immediate introduction of funds to the club. However, a date for a proposed meeting between the board and Mr Hodgkinson is currently being discussed.”

Southport FC are pleased to announce that Ian Kyle has made an investment and has joined the board of the club.

Ian is a partner in and joint owner of Liverpool based law firm, Irvings Law, and has clocked up 19 years of service with the firm. He was also a director and joint shareholder of QM Legal Costs Solutions Limited when it was sold in 2015.

Ian grew up as part of a large footballing family; raised the eldest of three brothers in Liverpool. Involved in the sport from an early age, he played in the local youth leagues across Liverpool on weekends and was a trialist at Tranmere before discussing a YTS apprenticeship with Manchester City although chose to follow his education instead. After a break from football to study for his degree, he played for over 10 years with Liverpool Ramblers FC, based at Moor Lane in Crosby.

Ian’s youngest brother Richard holds the highest UEFA qualification possible, the UEFA pro licence, and has risen to first team coach at Blackpool, recently enjoying his first successful trip to Wembley in the playoff final.

With his passion and knowledge of both business and football, Ian is excited to be part of Southport Football Club, and hopes to grow and strengthen the club for its fans. “I look forward to becoming a regular at Haig Avenue with my wife Claire and our children.  I’ve received a warm welcome from everybody I have spoken at the club since I first approached James a month ago. It is very much my intention to bring to Southport my love and knowledge of football, along with the business acumen that has enabled me to be a part of two very successful and profitable local legal firms over the last 20 years.”

James Treadwell said “We welcome Ian to the club and thank him for his initial investment in new share capital of £125,000. Ian brings further knowledge and experience to our board as well as a fresh view on our current and future position. The new board of directors have now made investment and sponsorship pledges which amount to over £300,000 in total. This puts us in a great position to make progress on development projects at the Merseyrail Community Stadium.”

The board of directors would like to confirm that they have not to date received an offer from Mr Phil Hodgkinson which would see any immediate introduction of funds to the club. However, a date for a proposed meeting between the board and Mr Hodgkinson is currently being discussed.

Ian Kyle is confirmed as Vice-Chairman, with director James Treadwell Chairman and Adrian Shandley “special projects” director. 

Elsewhere, a war of words breaks out between the club and neighbours Burscough after a friendly scheduled for 11 July is called off at late notice. Southport originally claim it is due to “unforeseen circumstances”. A statement on Burscough’s website says: “Southport sustained injuries on Saturday and are unable to raise a team for Tuesday’s friendly.”

Southport respond with a further statement which says: “Southport FC does not recognise the validity of the highly regrettable comments appearing on the Burscough website. First team coach John Durnin reviewed the playing surface this afternoon and after discussing the situation with the management team, the club decided the pitch at Victoria Park was not suitable for the fixture. When confirming the cancellation, SFC did include mention of a number of injured players but this was not the main or sole reason as alluded to by Burscough earlier today.”

Southport reveal the eagerly-awaited meeting with Phil Hogkinson will take place on Thursday 13th July between the businessman, Nigel Allen and the club’s board. “The board look forward to progressing discussions with a view to a positive outcome in the best interests of Southport Football Club,” says a club statement. 

Meanwhile, Burscough’s groundsman claims the pitch is playable despite a friendly with Southport being cancelled at late notice due concerns over the playing surface. “The pitch is playable, and the game could have gone ahead,” Malcolm Crosby tells the Champion.

Southport’s squad – which officially numbers 13 – takes part in a game at JMO Sports Park in Skelmersdale

12 July: Former Southport striker Steve Haw rejoins the club as general manager. “I am a people person and I want to make sure everyone visiting has a pleasant, positive and safe experience,” says Haw, who scored 87 goals in 184 appearances during his stint at the club.

Chairman James Treadwell adds: “With Haydn [Preece] stepping down after 11 years, we needed someone with knowledge of the club, commercial acumen, management experience and organisational skills. Steve brings that in abundance.” Haw’s role is part-time to begin with before turning full-time in November.

News of Haw’s return is released at the same time the Trust In Yellow board reports back to its members following the recent meeting with the club’s board.

Another Burscough home friendly, this time against Everton Under-23s, is cancelled due to the playing surface.

13th  July: Fans turn up in numbers for the first open meeting of the James Treadwell and Adrian Shandley era – 65 days after they took over. Manager Alan Lewer, head of development Mark Wright, first-team coach John Durnin, and directors Ian Kyle and Martyn O’Hara are also present. Wright is asked to explain his comments from a club interview on 31 May when he described fans who voice their opinions on websites as “not good people, not brave people.”

Wright says: “I’m talking about people, who, in football, who sit at home and have nothing better to do than moan. I will wear my heart on my sleeve and I say it as it is, sometimes it will offend people, and sometimes it will please people. No, I won’t apologise for it at all.”

Treadwell reveals that a meeting with Phil Hodgkinson, which he describes as “positive”, took place at 16:00 BST. 

The Sandgrounders defy the odds and make an excellent start to the league campaign with 4-0 home win against Boston. It is followed up by 3 further wins, 2 draws and only 1 defeat (to eventual champions Salford City). 

On the 5th September the Club website announces that Phil Hodgkinson had finally joined the board. 

Southport FC are pleased to announce that Phil Hodgkinson will be joining the Board of the club and will be making an investment of £125,000.

Phil is the owner of PURE Business Group Limited, a multi disciplined Legal Services business based in Prescot, Liverpool & York.

Phil Hodgkinson said “My wish to invest and be involved at Southport FC has been well documented in recent months and I would firstly like to place on record my sincere thanks to those who have supported me in achieving that.

I would also like to thank James and the Board of Directors, who, despite initial impasses on both sides, had the forethought to extend the olive branch and begin formal discussions, to take us to the point we have reached today.

Our discussions have been both frank and honest and we have laid to rest any issues we have had in recent months. I am entirely satisfied we will move forward as a new Board without any involvement from the directors who departed the club at the end of the last season. This is a new Southport FC and we intend to demonstrate that to the supporters and the town.

One thing that became apparent in all of our meetings was that we all had some very firm and common ground, and that is that we all want to take Southport Football Club forward in a manner that has not been witnessed in decades.

I am excited to join the Board of this famous club, and bring all of my skills, attributes, drive, ambition and enthusiasm to complement the skills and abilities which the current board already bring.

The Board and I are committed to give the fans and town a team and club to be proud of for many years to come, and take the club to places it has long since forgotten.

We have a re-engagement process to embark upon with fans, the local population and businesses, and we as a Board look forward to beginning that process immediately with earnest.

I ask and urge all fans that have stayed away or become disenchanted over recent years to return to Haig Avenue in numbers, because the Board and I guarantee that we are going to do our utmost to take you all on a journey over the coming years that everybody will want to be part of, and most importantly, proud of.”

James Treadwell said “The Board and I would like to formally welcome Phil to the club. We have been engaged in discussion for a number of weeks, and it has become clear that Phil will work well with the current Board. He has a significant amount to offer the club in many areas, complimenting and strengthening what we already have at Board level. Phil’s passion for football and his determination to take Southport forward with us stood out, and we are delighted he has agreed to join our Board.

We want everybody to unite now and support the club. After a great start to the season, we have earmarked funds to strengthen the squad, and Phil is working with the Management team and myself really hard to assist with that. We hope to have some exciting announcements in the coming days, which will further demonstrate our intentions for the football club.

There will be a ‘meet the board’ meeting before the end of September, along with a meet the manager and members of the playing squad, and we look forward to welcoming supporters and answering their questions during the evening.

The Board have also agreed on the importance of having a formal long term plan for the football club, and also sharing that plan with the fans. We will be working on finalising that plan in the coming weeks, and at the appropriate time, presenting it to the fans, the town and local businesses.

At this time the Board feels that we have sufficient Shareholders, however, that does not close the door on future additions and investment.

Moving forward,as a Board we will continually strive to strengthen links with the fans of this our Club, and the Board will at the earliest opportunity be discussing the question of supporter representation at Board level.

It is now time for us all to come together as one, and take Southport Football Club forward as one cohesive unit, Fans, Players, Management and Directors.

Southport FC is about to embark upon the most exciting chapter in its history, and we want you to be part of it with us.”

Despite the air of optimism the Sandgrounders capitulate and find themselves on the wrong end of a 6-0 scoreline, which is quickly followed up by 4 consecutive defeats. It is a dramatic down-turn in form and, in desperate defence, Alan Lewer uses a post-match interview to state that future signings will be made by him. With Hodgkinson so critical of Wright and Lewer’s appointments prior to joining the board, it came as little surprise that there would be friction once the pair reported into him. It was a comment which confirmed to many that the writing was on the wall and by the end of September the short reign of Lewer and Wright was over. 

Southport Football Club have today parted company with First Team Manager Alan Lewer by mutual consent. Following this decision, Head of Development Mark Wright also requested his contract be terminated by mutual consent, to which the club have agreed.

Ian Kyle said: “We would like to thank Mark & Alan for their hard work and dedication over the last few months, however, on the back of recent performances on the pitch, The Chairman & Board of Directors felt it in the best interests of the club and the Management team to move in a different direction.

“Mark & Alan were an instrumental part of our early season success, and we would like to extend our thanks and best wishes to them both and wish them every success in the future.” 

The club will now begin the process of advertising the positions of First Team Manager and First Team Coach, and engage in a thorough and measured approach to those appointments.

In the interim, Club Captain Steven Schumacher and Goalkeeping Coach Iain Turner will take charge of first-team matters.

28th September 2017 – Club website announces that invitations are sought for the vacant roles:

Southport Football Club is entering the most exciting time in its history.

With a new Board of Directors, substantial investment and a forward-thinking approach, the club is poised to implement its blueprint for success and embark upon an exciting 5-year plan to take the club into the Football League.

We are improving the infrastructure of the club and stadium facilities so that the fans and players have a home to be proud of. In addition, we are redefining the clubs philosophies on and off the pitch in order to create a culture and working environment conducive to being successful. Therefore, it is of paramount importance we have the right people in place to ensure that our identity, philosophy and approach is mirrored on the pitch.

We will consider candidates with proven track records whilst also strongly encouraging young or novice managers with new ideas and innovative working practices to apply.

Southport FC will require candidates to be: winners, ambitious, passionate, selfless, enthusiastic, honest, humble, accountable, adaptable, collaborators, effective communicators.

We now invite applicants to apply for the positions of:
First Team Manager
Assistant Manager
First Team Coach

Applicants should forward their CV and, importantly, their playing and management philosophies in writing to ken@southportfc.net

Salary and benefits are negotiable

Closing date for applications is Wednesday 4th October 2017

5th October 2017 – One day after the deadline closes the club issues an update for supporters

As fans will be aware, the closing date for applications relating to the positions of First Team Manager, Assistant Manager and Coach has now passed, and the Board will now begin the process of carefully choosing the successful candidates.

A Board Spokesman said: “We received almost 100 applicants for the available positions, and the standard of those applications was incredibly high. As well as receiving applications from all over the UK, we received CV’s from America, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Spain, Italy, India & Bulgaria, demonstrating that the roles are very much sought after and also that our ambitions and aspirations for the future of the football club are being recognised.”

The Board worked late into the night, and have now compiled a shortlist of 6 incredibly strong candidates, who will today be invited to the initial interview process commencing early next week. Thereafter, the Board will compile a final shortlist and conduct further interviews and due diligence, before making their final decision.

A Board Spokesman said: “This is the most important appointment in recent history and it is absolutely crucial that we get it right, we have therefore resolved not to rush this process, and ensure we conduct a measured and thorough approach to every candidate.”

“This weekend we entertain Spennymoor Town in National League North, on what is National Non-League Day, and we urge all football fans of any persuasion, and residents of Southport to come and support the team.”

“We would like to place on record our ongoing appreciation and thanks to Steven Schumacher & Iain Turner who continue to do a fantastic job with the team. The squad have volunteered for extra training this last 2 weeks and have worked fantastically hard. There is a real buzz back around the squad again, which is wonderful to see and be a part of.”

On 18th October, former England International and highly successful Premier League striker Kevin Davies is appointed as the new manager of Southport Football Club

Southport Football Club are thrilled to announce Kevin Davies and John Dreyer have joined the club as First Team Manager and Assistant Manager. Both Kevin and John have signed two-and-a-half year contracts with the club.

Kevin and John have an excellent pedigree and bring with them an ambition and drive which fits perfectly with the Board’s vision and philosophy for the future direction of the football club.

Kevin Davies had a 22-year playing career, scoring 150 goals in 820 professional appearances, including 88 goals in the Premier League. He was given an England debut by Fabio Capello in 2012 against Montenegro at Wembley after time spent at a number of clubs including Bolton Wanderers, Southampton, Chesterfield and Preston North End. Kevin has a UEFA A Coaching License and is currently studying Sport Directorship at Manchester Metropolitan University.

John Dreyer made 488 professional appearances for a number of clubs including Luton Town, Bradford City and Oxford United. He became caretaker manager of Stevenage in 2003 but left to take charge at Maidenhead United, whom he guided to the FA Trophy quarter-finals and won promotion to the, then, Conference South. Following a spell at Rushden and Diamonds, Dreyer rejoined Stevenage alongside Graham Westley, achieving two consecutive promotions to League 1. In 2013 he joined Westley at Preston North End before moving to Northampton Town.

Kevin Davies said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the new Southport FC Manager. This is a great opportunity and the timing is right for me to step into management. Over my 22 year playing career I was privileged to work under some fantastic managers, including four who managed England. My career was built on hard work, passion and a strong desire to do whatever it takes to win a game of football. There is lots of hard work ahead and it is a challenge that I am relishing. This is a very exciting time to be involved with Southport FC with new investment to develop the stadium and infrastructure. Football is about creating memories and I, along with my assistant John Dreyer, players and staff, will be working tirelessly to take the club forward in a positive direction.”

Chairman James Treadwell said: “As promised, the Board has conducted a thorough and detailed interview and due diligence process. At every stage Kevin & John came across fantastically well, between them they have a wealth of football knowledge at playing, coaching and management level, a good knowledge of our level of football and above, which is crucial as we embark on our journey upwards. We were particularly impressed with Kevin’s football and Management philosophy, his thorough research of Southport Football Club, and his thoughts and aspirations on how he wants to take the footballing side forward, notwithstanding his impressive contact book within the game. We are delighted to be able to give this opportunity to a young, hungry upcoming Manager with huge ambition to make a mark with Southport Football Club , and take us forward on the pitch, and we are excited as a Board that they have agreed to join our team.”

Phil Hodgkinson said: “This is the beginning of a new era of Southport Football Club, and a statement of our intent to inject vibrancy, new ways of thinking and a different more modern approach to the football club, both on and off the pitch. A lot of water has passed under the bridge in recent months, but I ask that all fans old and new, those who have and still are staying away, and the local population to come and support your football club, it is time to leave the past exactly where it should be, behind us, with thanks to those who have ensured that the town has had a football club for the last 136 years, and move on. We are taking this Southport FC on an exciting journey and we need the support of the town to enable that to happen. A football club is nothing without the support of the local community, and so we ask for that support in numbers, with our pledge that we will deliver on our plans. It would be wonderful to see a big turnout on Saturday to welcome the new management team, and show them what the club can mean to the town of Southport.”

Amongst his first signings is Jason Gilchrist from FC United of Manchester for an undisclosed record fee believed to have also included an additional fee for each goal scored up to 20 goals. It is seen as a statement of intent from the board and proof that a high profile manager can attract successful, exciting players to the club.

Speaking on behalf of the whole board, Martyn O’Hara said: “This is a record transfer fee paid by Southport FC, and reaffirms our intent and ambition for the football club. Jason is a proven goalscorer at this level and we are delighted to have secured his signature.

“We have been working very hard with the football management team to strengthen the squad, and will be making further announcements in the coming weeks.”

“We were very close to adding two more new faces ahead of todays game, but are hopeful of completing those signings early next week.”

“As a Board, our intention is to provide Southport with a football team and club to be proud of, and also which is capable of meeting our aspirations of once again gracing the EFL.”

The club continued to appoint full time staff off the field too and on 8th January, Natalie Atkinson was appointed as full-time Chief Executive Officer.

Southport Football Club are delighted to announce the appointment of Natalie Atkinson into the role of CEO of the club.

Natalie has fulfilled the same role at Curzon Ashton for the last 18 months, and is also a member of the National League Board. Natalie has also worked previously as the Football Development Manager at the Manchester FA, and as the National Governing Body Manager at Merseyside Sports Partnership.

A Board Spokesman said: “From the outset, our goal was always to take the football club full time off the pitch and bring a level of professionalism needed to take the club forward as quickly as possible. Natalie brings with her a wealth of experience and an envious track record of success in many areas, all of which our club needs to massively improve upon. Her enthusiasm and determination is infectious and we know she is absolutely the right person to lead the football club off the pitch.”

“Natalie will be working on a full time basis, and will have responsibility for the running of the football club, under the guidance of the board, from top to bottom. Natalie will be working to take a number of projects forward for us including, community and schools engagement, charitable status, fan engagement, commercial activity, partnerships, our new academy, the ground refurbishments and the overall growth, internal structure and development of the football club, as we aim for the Football League.”

“As a Board we want to ensure the football club is run as a business, and becomes fully self sufficient within three years, to that end we are moving to a more business oriented structure of CEO and Board of Directors and retiring the role of Chairman with immediate effect, leaving five Directors to move the club forward together with Natalie.”

Natalie Atkinson said: “I’m thrilled and excited to have been offered the position of CEO at Southport Football Club. My past experiences within the FA and as a CEO in non-league football has given me the insight and skills required to execute this role. However, I will be working hand in hand with the board to deliver our ambition of moving this club forward, building a stable platform for future growth and success.”

“Whilst performance on the field is of absolute importance, many factors behind the scenes will contribute to this. Firstly, I acknowledge there are many stakeholders in a football club, perhaps the most important of these are the fans. I’m a great believer in communication and one of my first endeavors will be to meet them and listen to their views. Secondly, the physical fabric of the club is what everyone sees first and it will be my role to continue to develop this, enhancing the image and our reputation as a professional and progressive club.”

“I have great hopes for the success of this football club and I promise I will work endlessly to help to achieve this goal. Thank you for letting me take this opportunity.”

Natalie begins her role with the club on 22nd January, and we are sure our supporters will join us in giving her a warm welcome to Southport Football Club, as our positive journey continues.

After months of planning, Southport shared their new vision of the future to the public on 20th March at an open event in the town centre. At the focal point of the grand display were new stadium development plans, featuring impressive new stands on the Blowick and Popular Sides and a redevelopment of the Grandstand.

Having won their past five games under manager Kevin Davies, the club was in the play-off mix while striker Jason Gilchrist – now the National League North’s leading scorer – came on for the last 13 minutes as a substitute in England’s 3-2 victory away to Wales in a C international friendly. 

A disappointing final run in saw the Sandgrounders miss out on any hopes of making the play offs but after the final game of the season ended in defeat at Spennymoor Town, Kevin Davies provided a post match interview during which he talks about plans for the summer in preparation for the new season.

Within 24 hours Kevin Davies departed as manager of Southport FC.

National League North 2017/18
# Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1 Salford City 42 28 7 7 80 45 35 91
2 Harrogate Town 42 26 7 9 100 49 51 85
3 Brackley Town 42 23 11 8 72 37 35 80
4 Kidderminster Harriers 42 20 12 10 76 50 26 72
5 Stockport County 42 20 9 13 75 57 18 69
6 Chorley 42 18 14 10 52 39 13 68
7 Bradford P A 42 18 9 15 66 56 10 63
8 Spennymoor Town 42 18 9 15 71 67 4 63
10 Blyth Spartans 42 19 2 21 76 69 7 59
11 York City 42 16 10 16 65 62 3 58
12 Darlington 42 14 13 15 58 58 0 55
13 Nuneaton 42 14 13 15 50 57 -7 55
14 AFC Telford United 42 16 5 21 55 69 -14 53
15 Southport 42 14 8 20 60 72 -12 50
16 FC United of Manchester 42 14 8 20 58 72 -14 50
17 Alfreton Town 42 14 7 21 67 71 -4 49
18 Curzon Ashton 42 12 13 17 52 66 -14 49
19 Leamington 42 13 10 19 51 65 -14 49
20 Gainsborough Trinity 42 14 4 24 47 73 -26 46
21 Tamworth 42 11 9 22 55 77 -22 42
22 North Ferriby Utd 42 4 9 29 25 101 -76 21