On this day in 1974 Southport played their last game in the Third Division, ending their second spell in the third tier on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline.
The control of the team had been in a state of turmoil for much of the season. Assistant manager Brian Green, seeing the writing on the wall, left in November for happier times at Chester; and on December 30th the board relieved Meadows of his post following two consecutive home defeats. The arguments raged about this course of action in view of his previous record but, in defence of the directors, something drastic was needed if the club were to survive in the higher division. The problem was that nobody was appointed to take the reins; Alan Ball returned to his old stamping ground as ‘honorary manager’ on a temporary basis but when by mid-February he was required for his managerial commitments back in Sweden it was left to coach Matt Woods to assume control. With all this disruption it is little wonder the team lost its way.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 3 – 1 SOUTHPORT
Southport Line-Up: Alan Taylor, Bobby Noble, David Hughes, Norrie Lloyd, Alex Russell, Tony Coleman, Micky Moore, Jim Fryatt, Andy Provan, Fred Molyneux, Derek Ryder,
Subs: Ralph Wright (Norrie Lloyd),
Goals: Alex Russell
Following this game, the final shock of the season came with the retained list. Having taken stock of the jaded performances of Fryatt and Provan following their transatlantic excursion, the board had made it clear that any players choosing to spend the summer in the American leagues would not be retained. This automatically ruled out Fryatt, Provan, Clark, Ross and Wright but the retention of just Sibbald, Lee, Coleman, Hughes and O’Neil left a monumental rebuilding task for whoever took on the managerial role. everyone had to wait until the middle of June before the board could announce that Alan Ball would be the new manager, the delay being consequent upon the fulfilment of his coaching appointment with I.F.Saab in Sweden. The choice was by no means unanimous and the rift it caused led to the resignation of three directors, including the influential vice-chairman Leon Rapaport.