RIP Alan Kershaw

It is always sad to learn of the deaths of Southport born players. Alan Kershaw’s passing is particularly poignant as he was a founder member of the Southport FC Former Players Association and attended their inaugural committee meeting. He died on 15th June after a long battle with cancer.

Alan Derrick Kershaw was one a select band of local lads to turn out for the club in the Football League during the post war period. Born in Crossens on 23rd April 1954, Alan joined Preston North End whilst still at school and on becoming an apprentice professional graduated through the A and B teams before being signed as a full-time professional by Alan Ball. He spent two further seasons at Deepdale and gained experience in their Central League side without making the First team.

Released by North End, this big, strong defender signed for Southport, the club he had supported as a child. It gave him enormous satisfaction to lay on a goal for his boyhood idol Alex Russell on his Football League debut against Torquay United. A less happy occasion took place three weeks later at Reading when he fell victim to one of the harshest sendings-off imaginable. After being booked for hesitating over a throw in he was subsequently sent off after committing his first foul.

Alan’s progress at Haig Avenue was impeded by several injuries which included damaged ligaments pre-season. In all he made 19 Football League and 5 substitute appearances before being released at the end of 1974/75 season. Other clubs appreciated Alan’s potential. After spending six weeks on trial with Brighton he played for Dundee United before emigrating to Australia in January 1977.There he signed for Hakoah ( later renamed Sydney City) who won the first National Championship of Australia. After three years with the Sydney Club, he received an offer to join in the Swedish second Division team Malmo who were promoted as runners-up in his first season.

Alan settled in Southport after returning from Sweden and for a time was a male nurse at Greaves Hall Hospital. Although retiring from full-time football Alan at various times assisted Fleetwood Hesketh in the Liverpool County Combination as well as assisting Leyland Motors and Formby.

Alan worked for the PFA at Preston North End on their community programme in 1989-90 and gained his EUFA badges. At one time was an assistant-manager and reserve manager at Morecambe and closer to home had a spell as Manager of Hesketh Bank.

In a tribute to his father-in-law Andy Rosenblatt said , “Alan loved football; it was his life and after coaching abroad he has more recently coached at the Morecambe, Blackpool, and Accrington academies. He then stepped back from coaching to concentrate on fostering with his wife Julie. He was still actively involved in football and kept his EUFA Licence up to date. He spent a lot of time supporting his grandchildren playing football at weekends and followed his eldest grandson Oskar all over the country when playing for Blackburn Rovers and Fleetwood academies. He guided Oskar through the highs and lows of football and helped him to gain a scholarship at Chester City which unfortunately Alan will not be around to see.”

Alan leaves a widow Julie, three daughters Abbie, Klare and Emma and seven grandchildren.

Michael Braham