John Fielding 1939-2022

We are sad to report that FPA Member and former Southport FC Inside-Forward John ‘Johnny’ Fielding passed away on 1st August.

Speke-born John began his career as an Amateur at Everton with whom he spent four seasons after joining from schoolboy football. It was whilst at Everton that he served his apprenticeship as a plumber at the same firm as Arthur Peat.

John joined Wigan Athletic in the Lancashire Combination as a professional in the summer of 1959, scoring a goal every other game with the Latics. Although he had trials at Lincoln City during the season he was to join Southport for a bargain £500 in 1961 and he announced his arrival with a rocket of a goal on his football league debut in the home fixture with Northampton Town on 4th March.

Southport Visiter, 7th March 1961
One of the best crowds of the season at Haig Avenue (a section pictured above) applauded the first goal scored in League Football by John Fielding. Fielding, who played a big part in Southport’s two clear goals’ win over Northampton Town, is on the ground behind a visiting defender. (Southport Visiter, Tuesday March 7th 1961)

A clever player despite his slight physique, he went on to form part of an infamous inside-forward trio with Jimmy Blain and Reg Blore which is still fondly remembered to this day.

Southport Visiter 1962

John’s commitment to Southport was such that he even played on the day of his wedding and it was only a sizeable fee of £7000 that prized him away from Haig Avenue to join Brentford in March 1963. By the time of his departure he had played in 92 games and scored 25 goals for the Sandgrounders.

Southport Visiter, March 1962

After his transfer he made seven appearances in what was left of the 62/63 season as he helped Brentford lift the Fourth Division title.

After a successful spell at Brentford, scoring 21 in 93 games, he briefly joined Grimsby Town in 1965, scoring another 8 in 30 before heading to South Africa where he signed for Port Elizabeth.

After two seasons away, during which he lifted another title, he returned to England and linked up again with Southport briefly under Don McEvoy, making one further first team appearance in 1969, although never making the league side.

After leaving Southport, John briefly joined Tranmere Rovers before returning to his first professional club, Wigan Athletic, now in the Northern Premier League, for a second spell. He scored three goals in a further 27 appearances helping the Latics to a second successive runners-up finish before his summer departure. He retired from playing in 1976 after spells with Altrincham, Ellesmere Port Town, South Liverpool and Runcorn, when shift work precluded his continuance.

Our thoughts are with John’s friends and family at this sad time.