A Summer Special: Watson On Life Back Home At Southport

When Liam Watson first walked into the office at Southport, or even pulled up a chair the second time he took over, things were quite different.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the goldfish we’ve got at the club has got an agent, I really wouldn’t,” he told us, little under a month since taking charge for a third time.

“It’s crazy to think how much football has changed since the last time I was a manager here. It’s totally different from the first time - the game has just grown, it’s a different world now.

“I’m being quoted silly money for players. Back when I first came to Southport you could get your whole midfield for what a striker wants!

“It’s a different type of challenge but I think some see us as a rich club all of a sudden. We’re certainly not that, not at all. We’ve never thrown money around at Southport, it’s never been that type of club.

“We’re ambitious, we’ve got hopes like all the other clubs in the National League North. But we’re careful. We have a new board and it’s an exciting time but I think perhaps some people have the wrong impression about what’s going on here.”

According to Watson, few people got wrong their tip for the title last season.

“It’ll be an interesting and more open league next season,” said the 47-year-old, who took over from Kevin Davies, below. “This time last year you looked at who would be winning the league.

“With the signings they were making, I think most people were tipping Salford City to win it at an early stage. I always thought they were going to, even when Harrogate came on strong.

“This year it’s different. There’s no side you would put your mortgage on. Some big clubs, some excellent players but there’s no team you think ‘it’s theirs to lose’.

“I think that’s exciting and good for the league. The best two teams went up for certain and maybe this time we’ll see a league which is harder to call.”

Watson are Southport seem inseparable. He first took over in 2003, some 15 years ago when the world, as well as the game, was a very different place.

He took two years away after three solid seasons before returning from Burscough a decade ago.

When someone who has won the division three times is talking, it’s usually in your best interests to listen.

A champion in 2005, 2010 and 2014, the first two of course with the Sandgrounders before glory in his first year at AFC Telford United, it’s high time number four was added to the CV.

“I’m not sure about that!” Watson laughed. “Easier said than done that one. As I said football has changed a lot. Team spirit and togetherness used to get you so far in years gone by, but now finances do dictate. They’re not the only thing that matters, Macclesfield taught us that, but you have to have a strong group there for the right reasons.

“I’d love it get Southport back up. Everyone knows what this place means to me. I wouldn’t have walked back in here again if I didn’t think we could really push the club on.

“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. We’ve made some good signings but we’ll need seven or eight more.

“But I’m loving being back. It’s hard work, everyone has an agent these days and it’s difficult to get deals done but you’ve got to adapt to it. It’s all part of the challenge.”

Where next?

Boston Get Busy As Elliott Enjoys Very Productive Few Days Boston United’s squad is starting to take shape after dipping into the transfer market for a third time.
Tigers Claw Back 13 Players Who Turned Their Season Around Gloucester City manager Marc Richards says the decision to offer 13 of last season’s squad new deals is reward for a much improved second half of last season.

Southport Video playlist