‘It’s a fact’ – Liam Watson makes managerial point as Southport investment looms

Liam Watson - Southport vs Curzon Ashton

Southport manager Liam Watson believes he is the right man to continue leading the club into next season.

The three-time National League North-winning boss has faced intense pressure off the pitch throughout the campaign as the Sandgrounders find themselves three points above the drop zone going into the final day of the season.

Southport are all-but safe, however should Blyth Spartans overcome an eight-goal swing with Port losing to already-relegated Leamington may cause the Haig Avenue side concern.

The slump in recent months from Watson’s side has been stark with the Yellows manager expressesing his disappointing, conceding that his current players aren’t good enough after their defeat to Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday.

Chairman Ian Kyle and the 52-year-old were tasked with steering the club through tricky waters following the departure of former owner Phil Hodgkinson before they were forced to deal with managing through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Watson affirmed that without the work of Kyle, Steve Porter and himself, there wouldn’t be a football club. He told Off The Park: “Without myself and Ian, we wouldn’t have a football club, that’s a fact. These buffoons, they haven’t got a clue.

“They want to shout abuse at me or Ian, yeah I’ve got to take criticism for the games but why should he take the abuse?

“I come out and support Ian which I always will do because he’s a good man and so it’s then transferred to me because of poor performances – which I get – but without the pair of us at the football club they wouldn’t have a football club. They can either buy in or not and that’s a fact.”

On Monday, much-needed and long-awaited investment is set to be confirmed by the football club which is set to line the coffers ahead of a busy summer.

Former owner Hodgkinson was in attendance on Saturday but despite social media speculation, he is not believed to be behind the influx.

It is expected that a stadium naming rights plus a new investor to join the club as part of the announcement to begin next week.

Watson teased that with the cash injection, it will provide a stronger team as he looks to turn the club into promotion contenders.

“Wait and see [what it will bring]. It’s a brilliant partnership, lots of meetings, getting to know one another, made up with lots of aspects of the sponsorship deal,” he added. “They’re brilliant people and when it comes out you’ll understand what I mean by brilliant people, what they do for a living, what the whole group do and I can’t wait for it to happen.

“I’d like to think we can be in a position where we can massively, massively strengthen the team. That again will come down to me, what I can do, how I can make the squad better, more competition, better players, winners and let’s have a right go.

“Do you know what? King’s Lynn are the best team in the league this year but they weren’t like Gateshead, you’re looking at the teams at the top end, you don’t have to go a million miles away to be competitive amongst that top seven. Then hopefully we can do that.”

Southport were booed off at half-time and full-time during Saturday’s defeats with chants surrounding the future of the manager and the current board were audible at Haig Avenue.

Prior to the turn of the year, the Yellows were among playoff contenders – as they were a season earlier – but have suffered a similar spate of bad results.

Watson continues to search for a new assistant manager after Terry McPhillips took up a role as Head of Recruitment at Forest Green. Off The Park understands an appointment will be made before the start of pre-season as they look to bring in a “top coach” with a number of names already profiled for the position.

But the Port manager, who has been in the dugout for over 1,000 games, remains defiant that he can bring league success back to Haig Avenue.

He said: “I know I am [the right man], there’s no one who has managed more games in the National League North, no one who has ever been as successful as me in the Conference North.

“Don’t think anyone has won the league more than once, I’ve won it three times, I’ve had a remarkable escape to victory at Stalybridge Celtic when I took over with eight games to go and they were nine points adrift and kept them up.

“If I can’t get a tune out of the players I’ve got here, no one is getting a tune out of them. I’ve always been supportive but as far as I can see, what we’ve got is not good enough.

“People need to get into reality and the reality is they’re lucky to have a club. It’s a fact. People will say that we harp on but it’s not harping on, we’re still picking up the bits from what preceded us.

“No one asked about being a director then all of a sudden, it got lumped on Ian, lumped on me and Pottsy [Steven Porter], we took it on and we have done. We’ve worked incredibly hard, done the best we can, if that’s not good enough then someone come take over from us.”

[Featured image: Julia Urwin – Southport FC]

For enquiries: info@off-the-park.co.uk@OffThePark_