Promotion Personalities – Ambrose Clarke

1989/90 Programme

The following article was published during the 1989-90 season in the match day programme and is reproduced here in full.

Although Colin Alty was the only local lad in the promotion winning team of 1966/67, the subject of today’s profile, Ambrose Clarke was a product of Southport Junior Football. On leaving school, Amby, as he was popularly called, had two seasons with Ince Blundell in the First Division of the Southport and District League.

Born in Walton, Liverpool on 10th September 1945, Amby attended St Joan of Arc Secondary Modern School and was the Captain of the Bootle Schoolboys team. On leaving school he became an electrician and joined Ince Blundell as a right winger, but two seasons later he joined Everton Road Triangle and during his season there he played at half-back. He was spotted by an Everton scout and signed Amateur forms for the Goodison Park club in time for the 1963/64 season.

Amby turned professional with Everton in June 1964 but he progressed no further than the Central League side. He was signed by Billy Bingham in January 1966 and made his Lancashire Combination debut on 29th January 1966, coincidentally against today’s opponents, Morecambe, in a game which Southport Reserves lost 6-2. Despite his inauspicious start with the club he did not have to wait long before getting his chance in the Football League. He was helped by the transfer of Tony Beanland to Southend United shortly before the March transfer deadline. Les Barratt took Beanland’s place at left-half but after only five games in that position Amby Clarke replaced him, making his debut against Halifax Town, and after that he never looked back, appearing in the last eleven games of the season. During the next five seasons, Amby was a regular member of the side. In the promotion season Amby made 35 appearances plus one as substitute. Although never a prolific goalscorer, he notched two vital goals during the campaign. His maiden goal was the winner against Wrexham on Boxing Day and his second was something of a fluke, a lob which bounced over the Bradford City goalkeeper in a 2-1 win on Easter Saturday.

Altogether Amby made 193 Football League appearances for the club and two further appearances as substitute, scoring four goals. A fierce competitor, he made a successful switch from midfield to full-back where he employed a telling tackle and had a particularly good left foot. He had one season at Barrow where he was a virtual ever-present playing in 45 Football League games and having one substitute appearance.

At the end of the 1971/72 season Barrow failed to gain re-election to the Fourth Division, their place being taken by Hereford United. Amby spent the next decade on the local non league circuit turning out for Skelmersdale United, Formby, Burscough and Littlewood in the Liverpool County Combination.

Amby is married to Gill and their children include twin boys.

He is living in Waterloo and is a driving instructor by occupation.