Think you have it tough as a Hereford supporter? Imagine picking up only one point in 14 games. Imagine the accumulated misery of 7 home defeats in a row.
Last term saw Southport lose their last 8 games. They just stayed up. This season, they’ve drawn one and lost five. The third defeat spelt the end for Liam Watson, after 630 matches in charge. An abrupt end for the longest serving manager in National League North, though as the clubs Operations Director, he’s not leaving altogether. As one of the last members of the Step 2 Ugly club with Leamington and Kettering departed, we can only hope Southport’s new Gaffer is more entertainment minded. It’s tricky because they are largely stuck with their current squad. There is one new arrival – striker Tom Connell, a Scouser born and bred, has joined on loan from Coventry’s Academy.
Former assistant manager and analyst Andy Burgess is in temporary charge. He was best known as a striker for Rushden and Diamonds though his managerial experience is more with ladies’ teams rather than men. In Burgess’s first game in charge, ‘port demonstrated their consistency by losing again, this time 2-0 at home to Boston. His next game saw an improvement, a 0-0 ground out at Brackley, followed by more consistency with another 2-0 home defeat.
Same old Southport – 9 of their 20-man squad have made at least 70 appearances for the Merseyside club with half a dozen of those featuring in well over 100 games. Unusually, continuity just hasn’t worked for them. Doesn’t help that their main striker Jordan Archer is injured. We know that story.
Of their new summer arrivals, only a couple might be familiar. Like other North-West clubs, Southport regularly raid Curzon for talent. This time, they’ve come away with excellent goalkeeper Chris Renshaw. (The Nash retaliated by signing Southport’s keeper from the start of last season.). The other better-known name is AFC Telford’s star defender Harry Flowers who presumably didn’t fancy dropping into Step 3.
Financially, Southport have a healthy-looking bank balance of £830,000. Superficially, that is one of the best financial performances in the League, second only to Brackley. But take away the £1.1 million of assets and the picture is very different. You can’t spend a building asset. The Sandgrounders are more concerned about the £360,000 owed to creditors, which is probably the majority shareholder.
Our home record against Southport is mixed with one draw, one defeat and one victory. Traditionally, these are teeth-grinding affairs, always in miserable February, with little action and lots of time wasting. The two sides last visited for a night match in February 2023 and the fifth away game in 2.5 weeks for Southport. They were frankly knackered by the second half and Hereford wore them down with a 79th minute penalty from Ty Barnett and a comic cuts injury time settler from Dan Jarvis.
A repeat of that victory would be a big relief. Your support can help, particularly if stood on the Meadow End and talented in ball-sucking. Not sure quite how to practice or develop that skill. I’ll leave it to your imagination.
Grit your teeth and be at the Street.