Club’s 120 years at heart of the town

Southport Visiter - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ [email protected]­plc.com @jamie_lopez1

ASOUTHPORT foot­ball club that has been home to thou­sands of am­a­teur play­ers has cel­e­brated its 120th an­niver­sary.

South­port Trin­ity, the town’s old­est foot­ball club, marked the oc­ca­sion with a cel­e­bra­tory din­ner at the Ra­mada Plaza Ho­tel and now has am­bi­tious plans to keep grow­ing.

The packed cel­e­bra­tion din­ner fea­tured co­me­di­ans Bren­dan Ri­ley and Jamie Suther­land as well as guest speaker Dr Kevin Jones, with more than 100 peo­ple as­so­ci­ated with the club in at­ten­dance.

The club was founded in 1898 and was formerly known as Holy Trin­ity Sun­day School Ath­let­ics Club.

Its founder, Henry Pochin, wanted to pro­vide foot­ball for the youth of South­port. He later do­nated the Rook­ery play­ing fields and was in­volved with the club for more than 30 years.

In 1906, the club changed its name to South­port Trin­ity and, hav­ing started life on a field bor­dered by Roe Lane, Melling Road and Hart­wood Road, was moved dur­ing WWI when the pitch was turned over to a mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal.

A ground known as The Fields was the home for a few sea­sons be­fore a fi­nal move to the Rook­ery in 1924

Among those from Trin­ity to have moved into the pro­fes­sional game were ex-Eng­land in­ter­na­tional Tommy White, who played along­side Dixie Dean at Ever­ton; for­mer Ply­mouth Ar­gyle, Sh­effield Wed­nes­day and Ever­ton goal­keeper Martin Hodge; ex-Liver­pool and Sun­der­land de­fender Stephen Wright; and Fleet­wood Town first team coach Clint Hill, who made more than 500 ca­reer ap­pear­ances.

Hav­ing grown from only run­ning a men’s team, the club now has more than 300 play­ers in its ju­niors sec­tion and this sea­son, for the first time, has started run­ning a girls U10s side.

De­spite the ex­cit­ing times on the pitch, the club en­dured dif­fi­culty off it when the club­house was burned down by van­dals and, with an­swers still needed from in­sur­ers, it re­mains un­clear when any re­pairs or re­build­ing will com­mence.

Trin­ity may also leave the Rook­ery in the near fu­ture, with an­other site be­ing con­sid­ered as a pos­si­ble ground to al­low the club to bet­ter serve its many teams.

What­ever hap­pens, the club will re­main fo­cused on con­tin­u­ing to of­fer a foot­balling home to those within the com­mu­nity.

It will also con­tinue to try to give back and help those in need, an aim which is boosted by its re­cent link-up with the Com­mu­nity Link Foun­da­tion, a South­port-based char­ity which helps a wide va­ri­ety of lo­cal causes. Last year, Trinty de­cided to spon­sor CLF and adopted it as an of­fi­cial char­ity part­ner.

John Stans­field, South­port Trin­ity club pres­i­dent, said: “As a club, we like to sup­port peo­ple or events in our lo­cal com­mu­nity, but in spon­sor­ing CLF it has en­abled us to reach wider good causes.”

John was among three Trin­ity of­fi­cials to be recog­nised by the FA ear­lier this year when he was given a 50-year ser­vice to foot­ball award.

First team man­ager Tony Nay­lor was given a 30-year ser­vice award, and club sec­re­tary John Fun­nell was named Sec­re­tary of the Year in the Mid Lan­cashire League.

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