A strong second season at Haig Avenue earned central defender Kevin the supporters’ player of the year award in April 2008. He joined the Sandgrounders in the summer of 2006 after being released by Wigan Athletic, where he had been a reserve team regular following his arrival in 2004. His time at the JJB Stadium was interspersed with brief loan spells at Blackpool and Accrington Stanley.
Kevin went on to become a real fan favourite during his time at Haig Avenue and we caught up with him to ask him what it was like.
Can you tell us about how you ended up signing for Southport?
I had been released from Wigan at the end of the 2005/2006 season and really didn’t have many options in terms of clubs to go to! I sent a few dvd’s around conference & league 2 clubs of a few games I had played for Wigan reserves. I had a few offers to go on trial at a couple of clubs, and Paul Cook had rung me about going to train with southport in pre season, cookie had been player coach at accrington the year earlier when I spent a few months on loan. I went for the first day of pre season and it was a bit of a shock, about 80 lads turned up and we went running around Victoria park! Eventually after a few games Cookie offered me a contract for 6 months on not a lot of money which I took! It gave me the chance to play first team football so I was happy!
Can you remember your debut?
Can’t really remember much about it to be honest, I know it was a 1-1 draw against Woking. I was up against Craig McCallister who was experienced and a bit of a bruiser, thought I done okay and a draw was probably a good result for us! We were a team with a lot of players cutting their teeth in first team football and the season was a massive learning curve for all of us but it definitely made me a better player.
What was your favourite moment in a Southport shirt?
It would have to be Winning the league 2009/2010 season. The rivalry with fleetwood was a strong one and the Farsley Celtic liquidation spiced things up. In the end it was a comfortable 3-0 win at Eastwood and the celebrations afterwards went on for a few good weeks. We had a great team spirit which won us the league in my opinion. Fleetwood were splashing the cash massively for that level but I wouldn’t have swapped many of their lads during the time for ours!
Who were your best friends in the dressing room?
I was part of quite a few different teams so played with a lot of players. When I first joined Lee Hoolickin and Mark Boyd were good mates who I still keep in contact with! After that the likes of Tony Gray,Big Earl, Moogs, Boothy are all good lads! Probably the person I speak to most regularly is Shaun Whalley, he’s the funniest maddest lad I have played with! He just doesn’t care, I once watched him summersault into a rose bush in his brand new suit after a game. Crazy
What are you most proud of in football?
Being named players player and fans player of the year in 07/08 was a proud moment! My first year at southport had been a tough one so to bounce back the next year and pick up the awards was nice.
Do you have any regrets from your time at the club?
I probably had as many low points as highs at Southport, being relegated in my first season was horrible as were the two playoff defeats. I’d have to say how my career ended with the injury, I’d like to think I’d still be at the club today!
Tell us an interesting story about your time at the club, something people might not have heard before…
I do have a few but I will go with this one. We were playing Tamworth away towards the end of the 11/12 season and had stayed over on the Friday night. On the away trips we had a bit of a prank going were you would fill your bin up with water, lean it against one of the other lads doors and knock on so that when the door opened their room got soaked! After a while James Ellison and Russell Benjamin decided to knock on my door and just throw the whole bin of water over my head. I had to get them back! As I was injured I was allowed to have a few pints with the management which went on to the early hours. I somehow blagged myself a key for the two jokers room from reception and with a little help from Tony Gray and Whalls they were awaken at 2am by two bins of water over there beds! It was all good fun but Liam got it in the neck off the chairman the next day when the hotel complained and wanted refunding for the damage. He had to make his way back home in Charlie’s car whilst Dom allowed us a few beers on the coach!
What are you up to these days?
I graduated in July with a maths degree from Edge Hill University and I’m currently working at Bank of America in Chester. The job is definitely different from playing football for a living but I am enjoying it all the same!