Promotion Personalities – Kevin Cairns

1989/90 Programme

The following article was published during the 1989-90 season in the match day programme and is reproduced here in full.

Today we feature the second article in our new *Promotion Personalities* series. One of the full-backs in Billy Bingham‘s promotion winning side in 1966/67 was Kevin Cairns, who we look at today.

It was while Kevin Cairns was in the Army that he was persuaded to try his hand at becoming a professional footballer. Prior to that Kevin had played for Walmer Bridge in the Preston & District League and turned out for Blackburn Rovers ’A’.

Whilst in the Forces he was stationed with Ron Yeats who was then at Dundee Utd. Kevin was recommended to United by Yeats who had been impressed with the form that Cairns had shown in Service football, where he had represented Dorset while stationed at Blandford Forum. Dundee Utd’s manager watched Kevin playing Army football and asked him to sign. Kevin left his native Hoole for Scotland and played in 22 Scottish First Division games.

He joined Southport in August 1962 and in almost 6 seasons made 204 appearances. When he came to Haig Avenue he missed the first 2 League games and then injury kept him out of the Football League Cup replay at Rochdale and the away game at Tranmere, where Tony Jackson deputised. He made 43 League appearances in 1962-63 and scored his only goal for the club in a 2-2 draw at Crewe. He was the first choice left-back in 1963-64 but injury forced him to miss 7 games. In that season he played in 39 League games and 8 cup-ties.

In 1964-65 Cairns was an ever-present, losing his place through injury early the following season after a run of 70 consecutive first team appearances. He made 23 appearances (and 2 as substitute) in 1965-66, although he missed out on the F.A. Cup games against Ipswich Town and Cardiff City, having been displaced by Terry McDonald. He did return to replace the injured McDonald in the fifth round at Hull City.

During the Promotion season that followed, Kevin was back to his best form, piaying in 39 League games. He couid play at either right or left back and was invariably sound and tackled well.

The 1967-68 season was Kevin’s last at Haig Avenue when he made a further 14 appearances before losing his place to the youthful talents of Eric Curwen and David Pearson. in April 1968 he signed for Wigan Athletic and stayed with them throughout the 1968-69 season when they joined the newly formed Northern Premier League. Kevin concentrated on his market gardening business but went back to play for Walmer Bridge who were now operating in the West Lancashire League, and was later manager of Mawdesley. For a number of years Kevin was employed at Kirkham prison and later at Wymott prison, teaching the inmates the art of market gardening.

Although rarely in the limelight, Kevin gave Southport F.C. loyal service – a first class record for a man who did not cost the club anything when he signed.