Unexpected Deaths….and Upsets

Peter Mee

Born: Chorlton-Cum-Hardy 30th March 1899

Died: River Mersey, Sale, approx. 5th November 1923

Inside forward Peter Mee joined Southport in July 1923 from Manchester City where he was a reserve team player. He started the 1923/24 season in magnificent fashion, Southport dropped only three points from their first six matches and in each of these games he scored the only goal. On the 3rd of November 1923 he played in a 1-0 win against Wrexham at Haig Avenue and then mysteriously disappeared.

Peter was missing for just over six weeks until, tragically, on the 15th of December 1923 his body was recovered from the River Mersey near his home by Sale golf links. At the inquest into his death it was stated that Peter had been drinking at The Bridge Inn at Sale on the 5th of November and left the pub at closing time with four friends with the intention of walking home on a footpath alongside the river. It was a foggy night and after an argument with his friends Peter left them to walk back to the pub. That was the last time he was seen alive and at the inquiry into his death the Coroner recorded an open verdict of “found drowned”.


Charles Edward Gee

Born: Wigan Q2 1869 (approx.)

Died: Wigan 24/04/1897

Midfielder Charles Gee made 77 appearances for Southport between 1888/89 – 1892/93 scoring 6 goals. On the 3rd of July 1893 he and his fiancée Miss Rimmer were on a train travelling from Blackpool to Wigan when the train derailed outside Poulton-le-Fylde tragically killing three people and Charles was named as one of those victims:  

Tributes were paid to Charles and condolences passed on to Southport Football Club but later in the week came the most unexpected news – Charles had survived the crash! He had been taken to Fleetwood Hospital suffering from internal injuries and fractured ribs but according to his brother James was “very much alive and conversing freely”.  His fiancée, Miss Rimmer, also survived, but suffered cuts and bruises to her body.

Charles didn’t play for Southport again and passed away in April 1897, just four years after the crash.

F.A. Cup Upsets

Over the years the F.A. Cup has provided many highs. Our proudest moment was when we became the first Division Three North side to reach the F.A. Cup quarter finals in 1931 but that wasn’t the only time we’ve made headlines. In 1927 we beat Blackburn, in 1932 we took eventual winners Newcastle to a second replay in the fourth round and in the 1965/66 season wins over Ipswich and Cardiff saw us go all the way to the 5th round before losing 2-0 at Hull. In recent years the biggest shock we’ve provided happened on the 16th of November 2002 when, having beaten Bridlington in the fourth and final qualifying round, we were drawn at home to struggling Second Division side (the equivalent of League One today) Notts County. Southport, fourth in the Nationwide Conference, were flying under manager Phil Wilson and a packed Haig Avenue had fans dreaming of an upset but Notts County started strongly and took the lead on just eight minutes through Danny Allsopp. On 38 minutes the game turned on its head as County’s vastly experienced Darren Caskey was sent off for two yellow cards in the same incident, firstly he was booked for a foul on Neil Gibson and he then reacted to being pushed in the back by raising his hands to the face of the same player. The referee had no option but to send him off. However just three minutes later County doubled their lead thanks again to Allsopp and Haig Avenue went quiet – but not for long. Within two minutes Steve Pickford took advantage of a defensive error to make it 2-1 and at half time the game was on a knife edge.

The second half was all Southport and the pressure told when “Syd” Pickford scored his second with a fantastic lob over a stranded goalkeeper. Fifteen minutes later Peter Thomson cooly slotted home from close range to make it three and with time nearly up Chris Lane fired home a fourth following a superb cross-field pass from Steve Whitehall. Final score Southport 4 Notts County 2.

“Syd” Pickford celebrates one of his two goals against Notts County. Sandy the Lion celebrates in the background

The team that day was: Kevin Welsby, Barry Jones, Chris Lane, Martin Clark, Mark Winstanley, Dean Howell, Neil Gibson, Steve Pickford, Steve Soley, Steve Whitehall and Marc Lloyd-Williams. The subs were: Peter Thomson, Steve Jones, Steve Dickinson, Andy Scott and Tony Sullivan

Highlights of the game can be found on Youtube or you can watch the whole game on the excellent website southportfootballclub.co.uk . Just go to the results section, find the game, click on the score, scroll down and you’ll see the link.

Following this game the wheels dropped off in dramatic fashion. Knocked out of the F.A. Cup in the next round by Farnborough, Southport had to wait four months for their next League win, 4-3 away at Halifax on the 8th of March. From being fourth in the table in November we went into the last game of the season away at Stevenage knowing that we had to win to guarantee survival, anything else could mean relegation. Sadly a 3-0 defeat saw our ten years stay in the Conference come to an end.