Like Willie Cunningham a Scottish International full-back, Alex Parker provided the experience invaluable to Billy Bingham’s young side of the mid-sixties and, after playing the last of his 76 League games for Southport early in 1967-68, he left to become player-manager of Irish League Ballymena United in January 1968. He held this position until January 1969; the following month he joined Drumcondra in the League of Ireland before returning to Southport as trainer-coach in March 1970. On May 8th, 1970 Alex Parker was promoted to team manager.
The 1970-71 season began promisingly and hopes were high that Southport would bounce back at the first attempt, particularly as the first 16 games yielded 22 points. However, they never recovered from a catastrophic spell of five consecutive defeats, four of them at home, which culminated in the Boston United debacle. Southport had been hit by injuries almost from the outset and eventually they had to be content with eighth place. It accordingly came as a surprise to supporters when Parker was sacked. He had formulated many plans during his twelve months in office, assembling a promising reserve team and establishing comprehensive scouting system.
The news of Parker’s dismissal was received in stunned silence by the players who pleaded on his behalf in a letter the board, signed by the entire playing staff of nineteen; their observations :ceded the statement: ‘We would like to say that he (Parker) had the full confidence and respect of the players’. After leaving Southport Alex Parker severed connections with the game and shortly afterwards embarked on a long career is a publican, initially in Runcorn, later in Gretna and Carlisle.
Profile reproduced with Permission from:
The Sandgrounders: The Complete League History of Southport F. C., by Michael Braham and Geoff Wilde (Palatine Books, 1995). ISBN 978-1-874181-14-9