Focus On: Southport

Last updated : 23 January 2015 By Jaybee

Southport were formed in 1881. However, the club folded in 1886, a number of players joining up with rival club, Southport Wanderers and that club changed its name to Southport FC, but the club subsequently changed its name to Southport Central. In 1890, they joined the Lancashire League and were champions in 1903 before changing over to the Lancashire Combination Division 2, which they won in their first season, gaining promotion to Division One.

In 1911, they joined the Central League and in 1918 became Southport Vulcan. The club had been bought by Vulcan Motor Company. In 1921, the club reverted to the name of Southport FC and became founder members of the new Football League Division Three (North).

In 1972, they were Division Four champions, finishing four points clear of Hereford and were promoted to Division Three, the highest point in the club’s history. Sadly, they lasted just one season, finishing 23rd and were relegated back to Division Four.

Worse was to come when, in 1978, having finished 23rd in their last three seasons they failed to be re-elected to the league and were replaced by Wigan Athletic. They were the last Football League club to be demoted in this way. The club joined the Northern Premier League. 

In 1993, Southport won the Northern Premier League title and were promoted to the Conference after finishing six points clear of Winsford United. In their first three seasons they finished 4th, 3rd and 6th and in 1998 they reached the final of the FA Trophy only to lose 1-0 to Cheltenham Town, but in 2003 Southport finished 21st and were relegated back to the NPL. In their first season back at this level, they finished 6th which was enough for them to be placed in the newly formed, Conference North for the 2004/05 season where they ended as champions, finishing three points ahead from Nuneaton Borough. However, in they finished 23rd in Conference National and were relegated back to Conference North.

Southport won the Conference North title again in 2010, winning by just a point from Fleetwood. The following season, they finished 21st and should have been relegated but kept their place in Conference National because Rushden & Diamonds, who finished 13th went into liquidation. Last season, Southport finished 18th.

Barnet first met Southport in 2001/02 following Barnet’s relegation from the football league in 2001. The first game ended as a goalless draw and was played at Underhill. The return, at Haig Avenue, saw the Bees, under the new management team of Peter Shreeves and Martin Allen, win 1-0 with a goal from Wayne Purser. Mark Gower also missed a penalty.

By the time the two clubs met the following season, Peter Shreeves had left and Martin Allen was in charge for the first time for the visit to Underhill of Southport. Barnet won 3-1 in a fine match watched by just 769 fans on a March evening with Neil Midgley scoring twice and Purser the other.

Eleven days later the two clubs met again and this time Southport won 2-1, their only victory over the Bees, with Gower scoring the Barnet goal. At the end of the season, Southport were relegated and Barnet, of course, were promoted to League Two in 2005.

The two clubs also met in 2011/12, in the 1st round of the FA Cup at Haig Avenue and the Bees won 2-1 with goals from Clovis Kamdjo and Charlie Taylor.

Last season, Barnet defeated Southport 1-0 at the Hive with a late goal from Mauro Vilhete and the match at Haig Avenue ended in a 1-1 draw, Mark Byrne scoring for the Bees.

John Doolan played for both Barnet and Southport. He joined the Bees from Mansfield Town in 1998 and helped Barnet reach the Division Three (now league Two) play-offs that year and in 2000. He made 182 appearances for Barnet and scored 12 goals before joining Doncaster Rovers in 2003. In 2008, he joined Southport as player-coach but only made four appearances for the club.