“Second Class” Cups
What constitutes a First Class and Second Class fixture has been a topic of conversation amongst the research “group” for a long time. Geoff was always clear that the First Class designation applied to League, FA Cup, FA Trophy and League Cup only. All other fixtures would therefore be considered “Second Class”. You’ll see in various places on this site the statistics can be filtered as First Class (the default), Second Class, War-Time, None (e.g. Friendlies) or All. We only have 10 incomplete line-ups currently across all League fixtures and these all fall between 1913 and 1915. I’m confident we will be able to fill those gaps. We also have only 16 games where a goalscorer is unknown (all before 1915 and even then only 4 of those are after 1900). These I am less certain of as often goals were recorded as resulting from a “scrimmage” and therefore there simply isn’t a record in existence.
Therefore when giving appearance and goalscoring statistics for a player typically they will be “first class” statistics as the second class fixtures were often less carefully recorded and are therefore more likely to be incomplete. Is suspect this may be one of the reasons that they didn’t hold much interest for Geoff. That said, whilst he kept no record of second class fixtures, through Michael’s many notes and records and also through newspaper archive research we are continuing to make in-roads into updating the list of missing line-ups from these cup competitions, primarily the Lancashire and Liverpool Senior Cups.
I have been making slow but steady progress in trying to trace as many of our pre Southport Central fixtures as possible – including Southport Wanderers fixtures! If you spend any time looking in the new “Early Years” section you may well come across a number of “new” fixtures where we know a game was scheduled and therefore we will endeavour to find the result and line-ups from whatever sources we can lay our hands on. Thankfully the growing digitisation of Newspaper Archives is making this task a little easier than it was for Michael when he first began researching the club’s history fifty years ago!
During the close-season Michael Braham and I have continued to research players who turned out for the Sandgrounders during during the war periods. As a result of a growing set of data we have re-organised the navigation on the website to include a dedicated War-Time section. Over time this will not only include all line-ups and player stats, but also other articles of interest. Through work with the new Charitable Foundation at the club we are looking forward to being able to unveil a memorial at the ground for those players who gave their lives in service.
There are now only 2 games during WW2 where we still have line-ups to confirm, and the number of “unknown” Guests has reduced to only a handful. The vast majority of games during WW2 we now also have match reports for.
As a club we have never previously published our war time records, and therefore this feels like a significant stride for us. Previous appearance numbers published in books such as Jock Rollins’ book “Soccer at War 1939-45”, we have concluded are inaccurate. Hopefully our own records are less so!
With the help of another FPA Committee member, former Reserve secretary John Wood, we are also pulling together as much as we can about our “second string” games for future publication. As you can imagine, we sometimes struggle to find information about first team games so you can imagine how difficult it us to trace reserve fixtures.I suspect we will never get a complete record but what we do find should still be carefully recorded.
Our research into the history of Southport Football Club stems from our aim to to help supporters new and old to recognise the contribution each and every player, manager, coach or official has made to the club, town and community.
Rob is continuing to try and trace missing information about a number of former players, whether it’s missing dates of birth, places of birth or unfortunately details of their passing. We hope that via this line of research we can re-establish contact with a number of these players and increase our membership which is open to any player who has played at least 1 game for the first team.
Up the Port!