September 2022 Research Update

The response to the launch of The Town’s Game, the new book examining the origins of rugby and association football in Southport, has been really positive. In August local historian David Walshe and I were invited onto the Frankie Berlin show on Mighty Radio (107.9FM) to talk about the history of Southport and of course the launch of the book. We could have talked for hours and Frankie has given us an open invitation to return in the future.

On Saturday 3rd September I was also invited to Southport Rugby Club to give a short talk before their season opener against Leigh. Thanks in particular to Chairman John Vandermeer and Vice-Chairman Enda Rylands for their hospitality and for the warmth in which they have embraced the book as they celebrate 150 years of rugby in the town.

I spent the whole afternoon at the club chatting with club sponsors, members and players and it was great to have the opportunity to answer so many questions from people with a genuine interest in their own history. The questions I was asked more than any other however were inevitably “what are you planning next” and “will you write another book”. I will of course continue researching and therefore its more than likely that the research will one day become another book, but exactly which period I will choose to focus my efforts on is currently undecided. Having taken the origin story right through to 1889, I have an urge to continue from that point in time, but I have always had a big interest in football during the Second World War, so I have a decision to make. Eventually I’m sure I’ll look at both, but the order is still very much undecided.

On Monday 12th September I will be joining the Southport Townscape Heritage Project to give a tour of Duke Street Cemetery as part of Heritage Open week. Duke Street is a place where so many of those influential early football and rugby pioneers are buried so it will be another opportunity to talk about the early histories of the two clubs. The tour is now fully booked and I am very much looking forward to it. I’m sure it will be the first of many.

For anyone who has not yet purchased a copy of the book and still wishes to do so, it is available for sale from either the Southport Football Club club shop, the Southport Rugby Club club house (ask at the bar) or from Amazon directly.

With regards updates to the website, as there is now broad agreement that Southport Football Club’s records should begin in 1888 and not before, the database of matches, players, opponents and competitions has been updated to reflect this.

However, as promised prior to the book’s publication, the results and line-ups researched for both the rugby and early association clubs have now also been made available, in a restructured “Results Archive” section.

The “Club History” section has also been updated to mirror the results archive, with an “Origins” section covering the amateur association clubs that preceded the formation of Southport Central, and also the rugby clubs whose histories were also an important part of that journey.