John Connelly

1984-86 Programme Cover

1984-86 Programme Cover

Southport have received thousands of pounds through other clubs not seeing the full value of certain players. In pre-war days Tom Tait and Bob Jones were good examples, and more recently Reg Blore and Jimmy Blain spring readily to mind. On the other hand players such as Peter Withe were allowed to depart and later made good elsewhere.

It is not generally known that the former England International John Connelly, was once a Southport player. He had joined Southport as a 15 year old making his debut for Southport ‘A’ against Blackburn Rovers ‘A’ at inside-left. At that time the Trainer-Coach of the ‘A’ team was the late Lem Newcomb, always a good judge of a player, who was immediately impressed by Connelly’s ball control and accurate passing. He described him as “The best fifteen year old I have seen for a long time.” When the ‘A’ team was disbanded at the end of 1954-55 season Connelly was allowed to slip through the club’s fingers, and joined St. Helens Town. From there he was snapped up by Burnley and on 11th March 1957 he made his first team debut at Leeds. He went on to receive International honours and played almost 600 League games during a career which took him to Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers and Bury.

Michael Braham

The above article first appeared in the Sandgrounder matchday programme in the 1980s.