At Haig Avenue Trevor Hitchen was, to some extent, a victim of his own success at Wigan Athletic. As player-manager of the ‘Latics’ then a non-League outfit, his greatest joy had been to skipper the side which in 1957 knocked Southport out of the F.A. Cup, with the result that many Southport ‘fans’ vowed never to return to Haig Avenue. Months before his appointment at Southport the town had buzzed with rumours that Trevor would be the next manager. He was actually appointed ‘Players’ Manager’ with responsibility for all personnel connected with the playing side, including players, trainer, assistant trainer and groundsman, but, as far as the signing of new players was concerned, he could only make recommendations to the directors.
At the club’s pre-season Annual General Meeting he promised shareholders eleven fighters capable of-lasting the full 90 minutes but warned that there would be no stars in his team, an announcement which did little to arouse the interest of lukewarm supporters. He was confident of producing results but fitness could not compensate for lack of ability and financial restrictions inevitably limited his chances. For three months home results exceeded all expectations but it soon became apparent that Southport lacked the strength of character to collect points on tour. Full of infectious enthusiasm, Trevor helped to raise funds for the club and on one occasion, to save money on food on the long trip to Exeter, arranged for the coach to make a detour via his mother-in-law in Shropshire, who prepared an impromptu meal for the players!
The week after Southport picked up their first away point of the season in January 1959 he was, relieved of the managership and replaced by Wally Fielding.
In his typical way, Hitchen took this blow philosophically: ‘The news has been a shock to me but the directors have done what they thought best’. He nobly continued as Fielding’s assistant until the end of the season when one of Southport’s most genuine servants ever left to concentrate on his newsagent’s business. He transferred his allegiance to Formby, where he remained as player and later Chairman for over thirty years. To this day Trevor still enjoys coaching youngsters and is a popular visitor to Haig Avenue.
Profile reproduced with Permission from:
The Sandgrounders: The Complete League History of Southport F. C., by Michael Braham and Geoff Wilde (Palatine Books, 1995). ISBN 978-1-874181-14-9