1918 – Southport Vulcan

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The following season, clean out of the blue, the club was taken over by the Mayor Cllr T Hampson – a pioneer of the car industry – who had built up the Vulcan Motor & Engineering Company in Crossens. The club was financed by this company on the express condition that it be called Southport Vulcan. A new committee was formed (with Edwin Clayton still at the helm) and the original Limited Company was wound up.
The 1918-19 season was only a month old when a young centre-forward, one William Thomas Roberts, who was employed in the Vulcan on munitions work, arrived on the scene, He was regarded by many as the best centre-forward the club has ever had. He netted twice against Rochdale in his first match and week after week he continued to crack in the goals; during one match at Liverpool he hit the ball with such ferocity that it burst through the netting. He possessed phenomenal ball control and was quite deadly in front of goal. In the December against Port Vale he scored all four goals. Tommy Roberts, who was on Leicester Fosse’s retained list, joined Preston North End in 1919 and remained one of football’s most prolific scorers. By September 1927 he had become the first player after the war to register 200 Football League goals.

These were halcyon days as far as talent was concerned and it was generally conceded that the half-back line of C. Roberts (or Holdsworth), Fay and Abram was the best in the area. The club finished sixth and proved themselves to be one of the best sides in the North of England. There were some brilliant players working in munitions at the Vulcan:Sid Bowser-he afterwards won England International honours while with West Bromwich Albion played at inside-left and his wing partner was the former Preston North End international George Barlow.

Yet despite all the promise on the field, by the summer of 1919 it looked doubtful whether the club would remain in being for very much longer. The Vulcan Company had indicated that they were no longer interested in renewing their patronage. On June 5th, 1919 a meeting was called for the purpose of reorganizing the Football Club and at a further meeting at which the Mayor, Cllr E. Wood, presided on July 29th, it was revealed that the Vulcan Motor Company had now relinquished their control: since, however, they had taken over all the assets and liabilities along with the unexpired portion of the lease of the ground Southport were effectively debt free.

Next: 1919 – Southport Football Club