Edwin Clayton

Edwin Clayton was originally from Ormskirk, and came to live in Southport in 1893, immediately showing a great interest in a number of sporting activities

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He was assistant treasurer of the miniature rifle range and chief organiser of Derby Road Cricket Club, which he captained for five seasons. He helped organise the Southport Athletic Club and assisted in the formation of the Blundell Golf Club.

But it was for his work in connection with the Football Club that he was best known.

He was appointed Honorary Secretary of Southport Central in April 1908, staying with the club when they were taken over by the Vulcan Motor Works becoming Southport Vulcan in 1918.

After only 1 year Vulcan abandoned the club, possibly due to Councillor Hampson shortly afterwards finding himself in prison for fraud. However, as they had taken on all the assets and liabilities that Central had, when they relinquished control, the club were effectively debt free.

It has been widely said that Southport Vulcan were the first club to take a sponsor’s name, but that isn’t really true as Vulcan weren’t sponsors, but the owners. The FA actually considered them more of a works team and therefore there was little chance that under that guise they would ever let them into the Football League.

What we have seen however is football shirts from this town in the 1920s bearing the Vulcan logo. This is quite possibly the earliest any club sported an advertisement. That wasn’t this club, Vulcan set themselves up again a few years later initially as rivals before merging and becoming the reserves.

After Vulcan withdrew in 1919, Clayton’s clever work in registering the club with the Central League and in the FA Cup meant that the club could be reconstituted again as Southport Football Club.

They’ve been known as that ever since.

Clayton stayed as secretary until 1926 when he became a director. He was appointed a J.P. in 1927

Together with Alderman Cropper of Chesterfield he was largely to thank for the expansion of the football league and the formation of Division III (North). He became its first Secretary, holding office until 1935. In the same year he became a Life Member of Southport Football Club.

It is through his work that a team from Southport was finally admitted into the Football League. Without him, who knows whether they would ever have gained enough votes on their own.

A member of the Lancashire F.A., he enjoyed a national reputation as a Football legislator; he was also elected on to the executive of the Lancashire Combination. Away from Football he was on Southport Town Council for almost a quarter of a century, and he was the first Chairman of the Flower Show Committee.

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