It’s hard to believe that it has been twenty years since Steve Pickford signed for Southport in
the summer of 2002 from Stalybridge Celtic, and there are few that could have predicted the
impact that he would have made during a turbulent four-year spell.
Having previously spent time with Leigh RMI, Doncaster and Glossop, he left an indelible mark
on the club.
One couldn’t discuss Syd’s time with Southport without mentioning the 2002 FA Cup clash
between the Sandgrounders and Notts County at Haig Avenue. Two goals and a man-of-the-
match performance on November 16, 2002 from ‘Syd’ helped Southport to a memorable FA
Cup first round win, etching him into club folklore.
When supporters are asked to name their favourite ever game, the Notts County clash is
always amongst the contenders. His stunning performance on that day in front of over three
and a half thousand fans and the Match Of The Day cameras will live forever on film and the
video of that Pickford-inspired match will hold a place in the Video/DVD collection of many a
supporter for a long-long time.
Despite collecting both the players and fans player of the season awards, his first season with
the ‘Port was a real mixed bag of success and failure. Within the space of one year Pickford had
enjoyed the highs of the aforementioned FA Cup giant-killing and the massive lows of the
shock relegation on the last day, his second relegation in as many years following Stalybridge’s
relegation a year earlier.
Having left Stalybridge to remain in the Conference with former boss Phil Wilson at Southport,
upon the Sandgrounders’ exit, he vowed to help his new side return to Non-League’s top flight,
signing a 2 year extension to his contract within months.
After Wilson’s dismissal and the brief tenure of Mike Walsh, Liam Watson was to build a side
around the combative midfielder and inspirational captain, that within two years would be
celebrating a championship success at Harrogate.
A brave and successful battle for survival followed a year later and it was Pickford’s goal,
scored at Grays Athletic at the end of April 2006, that sealed Southport’s Conference survival.
Steve Pickford is a worthy inductee in the Southport FC Hall of Fame.