This is a copy of a report from 1969
The Director : JOHN LEIGH
One of the founder members of the present South Liverpool club, he attended the meeting in October, 1934, when moves were completed to get the club re-formed. " I was one of the first shareholders, though with only a small holding ", he says. Became a member of the Board four years ago, his delay in making such a move being caused through business commitments which prevented him following the team regularly. Now aged 61, he is a credit trader and freelance representative. Has a 25 year old daughter who was the only English girl to play for the Australian Basketball team (her husband was based in the Forces in Malaya), and has a 20 year old son. He's also a grandfather.
* Mr. Leigh's views were obtained after the death of the club chairman, Mr. G. H. Duckett, during the summer, and in the absence of the vice-chairman.
Away) Home) Home) Away)
24—Ashington ........................ (Away
27—Bangor ........................... (Home)
31—N.P.F.L. Challenge Cup
I—Bangor ........................... (Away
7—Chorley ........................... (Home
14—Macclesfield ..................... (Away
21—F.A. Cup 1st Qualifying Round
28—Worksop ........................ (Away)
5—Scarborough .................. (Away)
12—Wigan ........................... Home)
19—Hyde .............................. Away"
26—Northwich ........................ Home
2—Fleetwood ........................ Away
9—Goole .............................. (Home)
16—Gainsborough .................. (Away)
23—S. Shields ........................ (Home)
30—Wigan .............................. (Away)
7—Fleetwood ........................ (Home)
14—Northwich ........................ (Away)
21—Scarborough .................. (Home)
26—Altrincham ..................... (Away)
28—Altrincham ..................... (Home)
4—Gainsborough .................. (Home)
18—S. Shields ........................ (Away)
25—Hyde .............................. (Home)
1—Morecambe ..................... (Away)
8—Goole .............................. (Away)
15—Gateshead ........................ (Home)
1—Ashington ........................ (Home)
8—Netherfield ..................... (Away)
22—Netherfield ..................... (Home)
4—Boston ........................... (Away)
5—Macclesfield ..................... (Home)
7—Boston ........................... (Home)
l?T~St}'",tey ••••••••••••••••--...... (Away)
19—Worksop ........................ (Home)
FOUNDED: Re-formed 1934.
GROUND: Holly Park, Woolton Road, Liverpool 19. (Tel.: 051-GAR-4645).
CROWD CAPACITY: 15,000.
CROWD RECORD: 13,000 v Nigerian F.A. Touring Team, in 1949.
- Winners: Lancashire Combination (1936-37, 1937-38, 1938-39, 1965-66).
- Winners: Lancashire Combination Cup (1938-39).
- Winners: Lancashire Junior Cup (1936-37, 1937-38, 1938-39).
- Winners: Welsh Cup (1938-39).
- Winners: Cheshire League Cup (1946-47).
GOAL RECORD: J. Roscoe, 70 goals, 1938-39.
COLOURS: White shirts with red facings, black shorts, white stockings with red tops.
MANAGER: Alan Hampson.
* Liverpool population is 712,040.
THE DIRECTOR SAYS:
To have lost our chairman during the summer has been one of the biggest blows this club has ever suffered. He was a tremendous man for ' South ' and had a lot of prestige in the city. During the War years he was Chief Administration Officer for the Warehousing Companies over the North of England.
"He was 78 when he died, his work in life being a building surveyor. The club will miss him greatly — he had been a director since 1948 and had been a follower of the old South Liverpool from the age of six".
" Now we have to carry on the fight which has been in the heart of every 'South' follower - to gain admission to the Football League. I am certain it will happen.
"The Premier League promotion will be accepted. I'm sure of that and this can be the key to our League status hopes.
"I am confident that within 12 years South Liverpool will have a name among Football League clubs and will not affect Liverpool or Everton, and the following these clubs have.
"If we get going with a good, strong team, I am confident that inside these 12 years we will be attracting 30,000 attendances without harming the crowds at Anfield or Goodison. Within a four mile radius or our ground there are half-a-million people and we are seven miles away from Liverpool's ground and nine miles from Everton. These clubs dominate one end of the city, we are at the other end.
"When we have had big attendances in the past they have never interfered with Liverpool or Everton. This great city can support another League club.
"But it is very frustrating aiming for this goal. We have got to count our pennies at the moment.
"The club averaged 3,500 in pre-War days, but we now have to start on a new era. In the last era the former chairman, Mr. George Duckett, had some co-directors who left him with a strong uphill fight on his hands, and though we have a huge population in the area who would probably respond to our efforts, there's still a big uphill fight ahead.
"We have a very good Members Club, who gave us over £7,000 last year and this is invaluable aid. There are two of the Members >Club co-opted onto our Board.
"It doesn't cost a lot of money to be a 'South' director. It's the entertaining side which we must all put our hands down for. The directors lay on the after-match hospitality from their own resources. And only one director is allowed to travel away with the team at the club's expense. The others pay their own way to the games. "Friday night fixtures are being contemplated now and we are renewing our lights. We were the first club in the country with floodlights, but they are not up to today's standards and have needed attention.
"We had our stand burned down nine years ago, which set us back a lot. But this, along with the dressing rooms, have all been replaced and renovated. The next Item on the ground improvement is the removal of the slope on the ground."
"I think we have one of the worst slopes on a senior pitch in the country. There's a six feet drop diagonally. We want to level this. The best estimate we have had so far for the job is £1,100, which is a lot of money for us.
I think we will hold our own in the new Leaaue. A lot of clubs are stretching themselves to pay wages which will attract name players, but we cannot - and will not -do this. We are going to fight every ounce of the way to raise players of our own, as we did once before. There is no money to be wasted, and if we can find three good local footballers to build round we will have solid foundations for the future."
The Manager (ALAN HAMPSON)
A recommendation to Everton from •> Station Officer while he was in the Forces resulted in recognition for Alan. Prior to this he had captained his school team, and, a little later, the Air Training Corps side—while working as an estimating clerk. His interest in the game lapsed Im 12 months after his call-up, before he was spotted in a 'kick-about' and invited to play for the Station team. Everton were soon tipped off about him and he began trials for them at inside forward with three 'A' team games, then straight into the Central League side In his third reserve game he received a bad knee 'njury which kept him out of action for 12 months and caused a lot of trouble. He became pro' at Everton and remained with them just over three years, making only one League appearance (against Bolton). In November 1952 he moved to Halifax Town, but scarcely three months after joining them he had cartilage trouble. He overcame the injury and served Halifax for 4 years before completing his time in League football with one season at Bradford City. But the injured knee was causing Alan a lot of distress (he has since been told he has a "permanently loose knee joint"). It was actually an ankle injury which finished him at Bradford, and from them-he went to non-leaque Buxton. But only for a couple of months before he asked for his contract to be cancelled. He went to Prescot, spending his first year as a player and the following season taking over the club as player-coach, pushing the club as far as the F.A. Cup first round. An offer to take a player-coach post with South Liverpool—he was born in the area, at Whiston—followed, and within a month they appointed him a manager where he has been for the past eiqht years. Now aged 40, he only finished playing three years ago. He has three children (Michael, aged 15; golf-mad Nicholas, aged 13; and Karen, aged 4) and his day is employed as a representative with a motor accessory firm. He has also taken over a family business in the Liverpool area as general drapers.
MERSEY MIDGETS HAVE SEEN THE 'LIGHT'Think of Liverpool and the soccer enthusiasts among you will find it easy to conjure up vivid pictures of that swaying mass called the Anfield Kop, or the equally fanatical followers down the road at Goodison Park. Not many (if any) are likely to spare a thought for the Merseyside midgets . . . South Liverpool.
Some people might not have been aware of their existence. For this 'Tom Thumb' team must feel like a mole on an elephant's back, and you can't get much more insignificant than that. Said manager Alan Hampson: "It's very hard to make headway. We can't rely on our attendances since we only get a little support. Everybody talkes about Liverpool and Everton— I don't suppose you can blame them.
"This is why it is terribly important for us to have new lights erected, and this matter is in hand now. Then we can consider playing Friday night matches. This would prevent us clashing with the League clubs. And it's amazing the number of people who have remarked to me that they would pop down and watch South Liverpool if we didn't clash with the League game in the city. I'm sure that floodlit games on a Friday would help double our attendances. We're in a busy area in Speke, and they love their football."
There's evidence for the argument. The "South" club claim to be the first in the country to erect floodlights, and they staged their first game under the lamps in 1949 against a barefooted Nigerian F.A. team. The match attracted a record 13,000 fans. "Unfortunately," Alan went on, "the lights used then are not quite up to standard for games now."
But a squad of fans have put their backs into the task of installing the new system, which the club hope will be ready in October. " The supporters have been doing all the labouring, and it's a fantastic sight. They offered to dig holes, about five feet deep and five feet across, to form the concrete base for the new lights. Quite frankly, we doubted whether it could be done with voluntary workers—it's quite a lot of digging. But they've done it. Really worked hard, as well," Alan said proudly.
South Liverpool, who could only rely on an average attendance under the 1,000 mark last season, know they will never be able to pay their way through the turnstiles—at least, not in the forseeable future. The Premier League has injected new interest, and they anticipate the support will swell to more than 1,500 at home games. Still, it's not enough. "But we have a very good social club which helps a lot. A £10,000 extension was added to it last year, and due to the alterations encroaching over our old turnstile gates we were given new turnstiles to replace them.
It's been a tough job here. I know I've enjoyed every minute of it, but it was tough at the start. The team had been relegated to the Second Division of the Lancashire Combination, they had just gone all-aimateur because they couldn't afford professionals after relegation, and I took the job on a small wage. I asked
"Some people said the situation was practically hopeless and it was impossible to get them out of trouble inside seven years. Well, in the second year I was there the team won promotion and then that we won the title of the First Division. (1966).
"South Liverpool had a very good name in football in the pre-War years and we'd like to see some of that sparkle return. They started in the Combination in 1935 (August) and up to the outbreak of War they won the championship three times in succession, the Lancashire Junior Cup three times and the Combination Cup once.
"It was when they closed down for the War years that the club felt the plnch. They found it tough getting back," Alan disclosed.
But while "South" are constantly overshadowed, they are never ignored. The local League clubs seem to have an affection for the 'minnows', and Alain Illustrates this ..."I can go to Anfield and Bill Shankley (their manager) always makes me feel welcome. He always sends the club a telegram if we are on a good Cup run. And he is up-to-date on how we are doing and remarks on the previous week's result if I see him. " No, I haven't a favourite club on Merseyside. If any team has my special encouragement, I suppose it's Manchester United."
The Premier competition has revitalised the non-leaguers boss. "The thought of this League is giving me new life," he enthuses, "the uncertainty of what is going to happen has got everybody excited. I don't think we will do .inything startling this year. I need a bit more all-round experience.
" I haven't got much experience in the side at present. There are only 13 part-timers on the pay-roll, and I have a limit on the value of a player. The most I have ever paid in non-league is £ 50, but I think it's important to have bonuses and incentives to encourage the lads. If the team is winning they will do very well. And if the crowds start rolling up, the crowd bonuses will be paid. " We certainly don't go paying big Wiiqes, but let the team be successful «nd it will be worthwhile to them.
" There are two teams, the other side playing in the Liverpool County Combination". I don't think the standard of this competition is sufficient to bridge the path .in to the Premier, but we discussed this. point and bearing in mind the new league it was decided that for our first year we would have to take things easy. That's why we didn't attempt to get our second team in the Combination—a pity, but we have to be realistic. " There are some useful young players in the reserves. I brought two or three the first team last season and they well. But I'm well satisfied if I get a player through every season.
" I insist on having local players. I work within a 10-mile radius of Liverpool for signinqs. I want everybody to be around for the club training inns, and localising our activities this I am sure of it. " We have a new trainer-coach this season. A chap called Jimmy Dewsnip, who was with St. Helens Town last winter.. I felt he did a lot for this side, particularly from the fitness angle. He was.interested in joining me and so I have given him full charge of the actual training for fitness. We work together on Ilin h.ill work—fitness and tactics are, for teams like ours, the two essentials.
" We want to make sure we do the i.ib things, and the effective things.. from home we may not be as motivated as we would like to be, but will have to adopt this approach '' we feel our way," Alan added, with an air of apology.
It's all in the pnst now, but a few years ago Alan offered his resignation to the club. It happened shortly before the end of the 1967-68 campaign. " There were things happening " he started, veiling the reasons very carefully, " but let's forget that. I don't want anything to interfere with relationships at the club now. The Board told me that unanimously they did not accept the resignation. And after discussing various points and having a long chat I told them I would continue for the time being.
"This is the first time in my long association with the club that anything like this has happened. Genuinely, I have thoroughly enjoyed my career with them. " I love the work. Training nights are like having a night out for me. Even with all the problems that are involved. I enjoy being with the players. The job has its financial rewards, too.
" I couldn't have severed myself from soccer. I would probably have got involved with some Boys Club. " Now that we have the security of a business behind us my wife's feelings have changed a little. She never wanted me to go back into the game in a full-time capacity. But now we are settled back home in Liverpool, and have the business, her attitude to a full-time job has softened a little.
" If I got the opportunity for a soccer iob in a full-time capacity I would be tempted to take it," he admitted.
While " South " never expect to match the honours gobbled up by the Mersey giants, they have been able to match Everton on a past occasion. The Goodison club were the first to achieve a Combination title hat-trick (1907-10)—and "South" are the only club to have equalled such a stunning record since then.