September 2023 Update

Prior to a much needed holiday, the main focus of August, was in preparation for Heritage Open Days and the delivery of a sports related guided tour of Duke Street Cemetery on 11th September. Many thanks to Sue Latimer of the Southport Townscape Heritage Project who once again has supported and coordinated the events in Southport, the tour was a sell-out (if that is the correct term for a free tour) and even attracted the attention of the Liverpool City Region marketing team who sent a film crew along to include footage as part of a future publicity video.

Scan the code to start the tour

The tour looked at the histories of Southport & Birkdale Cricket Club, Southport Rugby Club and Southport Football Club and there was a good mixture of supporters from each on the tour, which is always nice to see. I’ve been asked whether the tour can be done more regularly, so, following a meeting with the Sporting Heritage Football Network, I have decided that for National Sporting Heritage Day on 30th September I will make the tour available on the website, both in audio and written form with accompanying maps enabling individuals to undertake the tour on a self-guided basis. I will look to find ways that QR codes can be made available at the cemetery itself that can be scanned to start the tour.

In other positive news, I’m pleased to be able to confirm that The Town’s Game is available to read for free at Crosby Library as a reference work in the Local History section. It is also available to read for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, otherwise it is still available to purchase from Amazon from as little as just £4.99. Thank you to those that have contacted me after reading the book to pass on comments and feedback.


My research activity this month has focused on the period immediately after the conclusion of the Town’s Game book (yes I’m wanting to do a follow up at some point) and with the Rugby world cup taking place this month I decided to take a look at specifically what happened to our Rugby Union side, Southport Olympic, after they closed doors in 1889.

The captains board in the Rugby club-house already indicated large periods with “No Rugby” played (there was no rugby played between 1889 and 1891, 1893 and 1899, nor 1903-1906) but research identified that each time it restarted it was actually with a new club. Consequently the Rugby timeline and histories on this site will reflect that, with appropriate evidence. Research is continuing.

Website Changes

Following a change in manager at Southport Football Club, I took the opportunity to update the managers list, detailing the records of each manager, to draw a distinction between caretaker manager spells and permanent management spells. I have also added a page outlining my record keeping principles, to clarify why statistics published elsewhere might not match my own.

Following the research i’ve been doing, noted above, there is an extension to the Rugby Timeline to better illustrate the period before the naming of the current club in 1913.

The changes have been to split the original section into the following parts (the detail of which is all included in The Town’s Game):

  • The original Southport Football Club club 1872-1879 (SFC1)
  • Southport Wasps 1879-80 (who played as Southport Football club for their final season) (SFC2)
  • The restarted club 1881-82, that subsequently switched to association (SFC3)
  • The original Southport Olympic 1876-1889

The following parts have then been added to the section following as follows:

  • The new Southport Rugby Club 1891-1893
  • Birkdale Rugby Club 1899-1903
  • Southport Olympic 1906 (This is the current entity that changed name in 1913 to Southport Rugby Union Football Club)

From a data perspective, having spent some time looking at the work of a number of Heritage Societies, I’ve been looking at the possibility of generating Heritage numbers for players (see note on Record Keeping Principles page). To do this would require a fair bit of effort to extend the data already held in the database to also include shirt numbers, where they were worn. Shirt numbers were only introduced post World War 2 but, whilst the data is available, it will take some time to manually update the records for each game. I have had to make technical changes to allow this to be done…but it is slowly progressing.

As part of some consultancy work I have been doing with the newly formed Wigan Athletic Heritage Society, in terms of record keeping I have revisited what has worked for me over the past 20 years and what could be better. I’ve therefore tweaked the technical design of the database that underpins the data and statistics and over time i’ll be able to improve the way I hold some of the data available, and even expand upon it.

One of the immediate and most noticeable changes was to enable other football league results from the date in question to be visible when viewing a specific match in the database.

The On This Day articles that I used to regularly post on social media were time consuming to produce and with changing working patterns they became too much to be able to commit to do each day. However I have been able to automate the sending of a daily email instead. So, if you’re interest in getting an email on a daily basis from the website, highlighting any key events in history, players births, deaths, debuts, transfers and a list of games on each date, please drop me an email and I can add you to the list.