Born: 3rd April 1856
Died: 14th March 1942
Using the Cemetery Map.
The football club that we have today can be traced back to 1888, not 1881 as had been the belief for a large part of the last 140 years.
In 1888 a group of prominent towns folk, and the captains and secretaries of a number of those early amateur clubs, some of whom you have heard about already, got together to form a new professional football club and called it Southport Central.
Councillor Dan Ashton was one such influential and prominent towns person who became a key part of the move to professionalism.
The first meeting was held in the Victoria Building on Chapel Street which is still standing and is currently home of the Santander bank.
It was a new name for a new club, with a new committee, that wore new colours (white jersey and blue shorts with the town crest on the breast pockets), at a new ground (back at sussex road) with new professional players.
It was a new organisation.
We spoke earlier about Walter Rylance presenting a flag in 1931.
The football club of 1931 (which is still the same one we have today) is actually a descendent of this club, formed in 1888 as Southport Central.
Not only was Walter wrong that his father formed a club, but 1931 was also 7 years too early to be celebrating 50 years for the club he was presenting it to.
It was however 50 years since A football club played association football for the first time in Southport – it just had bugger all to do with Ralph.
It was largely due to the popularity of this new professional club, that Southport Olympic had suffered and eventually gave up playing altogether. The ground that Reginald Slack had worked so hard to build up at Scarisbrick New Road was vacated when they stopped playing in 1889 and was taken over by Central where they remained until 1905.
Had Olympic not formed Wanderers and helped to keep the association football flag flying none of these incidents are likely to have happened.
Councillor Ashton had been a member of the Southport Charity Cup Committee which had overseen the charity cup competition in the mid-1880s, and he became a committee member and treasurer of the new Southport Central Football Club.
Born in Bury and brought to Southport by his parents at the age of 8, he originally apprenticed in ironmongery before leaving to join his father’s firm, Messrs. William Ashton and Sons Ltd, paper bag manufacturers, stationers, and general printers. A bachelor his whole life, he became a prominent local businessman, a one-time proprietor of the Southport Journal newspaper and he was highly respected by all who knew him.