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Liam Watson
Personal information
Full name Liam Watson
Date of birth 21 October 1970 (1970-10-21) (age 39)
Place of birth    Liverpool, England
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current club Southport
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*


0000–1992
1992–1994
1994–????

1998–1999
1999–2000
2000–2003
Magull
Burscough
Warrington
Preston North End
Marine
Witton Albion
Runcorn
Accrington Stanley
Runcorn FC Halton
0? 0(?)
0? 0(?)
0? (36)
09 0(3)
0? 0(?)
0? 0(?)
0? 0(?)
0? 0(?)
0? 0(?)   
National team
England Semi-Pro 0? 0(?)
Teams managed
2000–2003
2003–2006
2006–2008
2008–
Runcorn FC Halton
Southport
Burscough
Southport

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Liam Watson (born 21 October 1970) is an English former professional footballer and currently manager of Conference North side Southport.

Contents

Playing career

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Professional career

Having plied his trade at Maghull and Burscough, Watson finally made his mark at Warrington Town where John Beck signed him for Preston North End for a fee of £60,000.[1] This smashed Warrington Town's transfer fee received record which had only been set a few weeks earlier when Neil Whalley also moved to Deepdale for just £25,000.[1] He scored in his debut after replacing the injured Micky Norbury in a 5-2 win over Rotherham Town in March 1993 and then netted again in his next two appearances against Port Vale and Huddersfield Town. [2] They would turn out to be the only three goals he would score for Preston but went on to make six more appearances before a serious injury cut short his professional footballing career.

Semi-professional career

Due to his injury Watson retired from professional football and returned to non-league. The first side to sign him on his return was Marine before moving on to Witton Albion and then eventually Runcorn. Watson was soon signed from Runcorn by John Coleman for a short stint at ambitious Accrington Stanley before returning to the newly renamed Runcorn F.C. Halton in a managerial capacity replacing Mark Carter.

Managerial career

Runcorn FC Halton

In September 2000, Watson, at the relatively young age of 29, became Runcorn's new manger in the Northern Premier League. With little budget Watson was forced to scour the reserves of local non-league teams with a bulk of his signings coming from Southport, who he would later go on to manage, performing minor miracles he managed to turn perennial relegation battlers into a solid mid table team. After three relatively successful years at Runcorn, in September 2003 Watson replaced Mike Walsh as manager of Southport and became the youngest manager in their history at the age of 33.

Southport

One of Watson's first moves at Southport was to oversee a large turn around of players. Out went players such as Peter Wright, Mark Byrne and Andy Whittaker and among the influx of players was Neil Robinson, who went on to scored 15 goals in 15 games on loan from Macclesfield Town, Steve Daly, Chris Price and Kevin Leadbetter all followed Watson from Runcorn while young starlet Carl Baker was signed from Prescot Cables. This saw a remarkable turn around of fortunes, with Southport languishing in mid-table and struggling to qualify for the newly formed Conference North when he took over, Watson oversaw a climb up the table with some impressive performances along the way to finish the season in a respectable 6th place and qualifying for Conference North football the following season.[3]

At the start of the 2003–04 season Watson began undertaking another squad re-build which saw Neil Robinson return to the club permanently along with Earl Davis who had previously been on loan from Burnley. He signed Terry Fearns from nearby Vauxhall Motors who would later go on to score 41 goals in all competitions that season. That season Southport became the inaugural champions of the Conference North, pipping Droylsden to the title on the last day with a 5–3 victory away at Harrogate Town while they slipped up away at Worksop Town.[4]

The 2004–05 season was always going to be a struggle being one of the only part time teams in the league however against all odds Watson kept Southport up, securing them their status as a Conference National team with Steve Pickford scoring a vital goal in a 1–1 draw away from home at Grays Athletic.

During the pre-season of 2004–05 chairmen Charlie Clapham announced Southport would be going full time as they looked to move forward in the league, that was a move that would see Watson leave his post as Southport manager, due to him unable to go full time as he already held down a full time job at Ashworth Hospital.[5] He did however make one full time signing and that was of Gary Brabin, who himself left soon after Watson. He was not without a job long however and dropped down a league to local rivals Burscough who had been taken over by ambitious local businessman Chris Lloyd.

Burscough

In June 2006, Watson was announced as the new manager of Burscough, replacing former Southport player and now A.F.C. Liverpool manager Derek Goulding.

With a lot of the players not accepting full-time terms under Southport's new manager Paul Cook the majority of the players followed Watson to Burscough signing on part-time.

Watson's first season in charge at Victoria Park was also a successful one. With the majority of the squad having promotion winning experiences at Southport they proved to be no push overs, dropping down a league and winning the Northern Premier League, the Peter Swailes Memorial Shield and for the first time in 40 years the Lancashire Junior Cup.

For the 2007–08 season, Burscough found themselves for the first time playing Conference North football, just one league below the Conference, equalling the highest ever level they have played at. After starting the season badly, with an injury ravished squad, they finished the season in a credible eighth place just outside of the play-off positions.

On 27 June 2008, came a shock as Watson announced he was resigning from his post with immediate effect, only to announce three days later he was taking up the now vacant role back at Southport.[6][7]

Return to Southport

On 30 June 2008, it was announced at 1pm in an official press conference held by the Southport board of directors that Watson would be returning to Southport filling the vacancy left when Gary Brabin departed to Cambridge United.[8] Watson was to be assisted by John Doolan, who was initially Brabin's assistant, with former Southport player Chris Price also following from Burscough.[6]

Watson's first signing for Southport was striker Ciaran Kilheeney from Burscough followed shortly by a nine others; Adam Flynn, Shaun Gray, Tony McMillan, Alan Moogan and Craig Noone along with former Southport players James Connolly, Earl Davis, Matty McGinn, and Steve Daly.[6]

In his first season back at Southport, Watson oversaw a strong title challenge but fell short and ultimately lost to Gateshead in the play-off semi finals.[9] This was also capped with some impressive performances in the Liverpool Senior Cup reaching the semi-finals, while reaching the quarter-finals in the FA Trophy, Setanta Shield and the Lancashire Junior Cup.

Personal life

Outside of football, Watson works at Ashworth Hospital along side his former assistant, and the man who replaced him at Burscough, Joey Dunn.[10]

Honours

Managerial

Southport

Burscough

Individual

References

  1. ^ a b "Warrington Town History". warringtontownfc.co.uk. 24 June 2008. http://www.warringtontownfc.co.uk/history.pl. Retrieved 27 March 2009.  
  2. ^ "Meet The Legends As They Return To Deepdale". 7 November 2007. http://www.pnefc.net/page/NewsDetail/0,,10362~1169819,00.html. Retrieved 26 March 2009.  
  3. ^ "NPL League Table 2003/2004". tonykempster.co.uk. http://www.tonykempster.co.uk/archive03-04/unip.htm. Retrieved 26 March 2009.  
  4. ^ Gammie, Walter (2 May 2005). "Fearns's record strike gives Southport Conference return". The Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/article387567.ece. Retrieved 26 March 2009.  
  5. ^ Dewhurst, Tony (25 October 2008). "The Big Interview: Liam Watson". Lancashire Evening Post. http://www.lep.co.uk/big-interview/The-Big-Interview-Liam-Watson.4627866.jp. Retrieved 27 March 2009.  
  6. ^ a b c "Liam Watson named as new Southport FC boss after stepping down from Burscough". Southport Visiter. 30 June 2008. http://www.southportvisiter.co.uk/southport-sport/southport-fc/2008/06/30/exclusive-liam-watson-named-as-new-southport-fc-boss-after-stepping-down-from-burscough-101022-21203071/. Retrieved 26 March 2009.  
  7. ^ "Prodigal Port Manager Returns". southportfc.net. 30 June 2008. http://southportfc.net/Home/tabid/36/mid/400/newsid400/447/Default.aspx. Retrieved 26 March 2009.  
  8. ^ "Watson back in Southport hotseat". BBC Sport. 30 June 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_conf/7481650.stm. Retrieved 27 March 2009.  
  9. ^ "Gateshead 1-1 Southport". bluesqnorth.com. 4 May 2009. http://www.bluesqnorth.com/story/0,20970,5889_5277437,00.html. Retrieved 1 June 2009.  
  10. ^ "Watson Back At Southport". thenonleaguepaper.com. 1 July 2008. http://www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com/article.asp?aid=4130&iid=81&sud=252. Retrieved 27 March 2009.  
  11. ^ "Blue Square Manager Of The Month". Football Conference. September 2008. http://www.footballconference.co.uk/news/news_article.asp?id=699. Retrieved 28 March 2009.  

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Mark Carter
Runcorn F.C. Halton manager
2000–2003
Succeeded by
Chris Lightfoot
Preceded by
Mike Walsh
Southport manager
2003–2006
Succeeded by
Paul Cook
Preceded by
Derek Goulding
Burscough manager
2006–2008
Succeeded by
Joey Dunn
Preceded by
Gary Brabin
Southport manager
2008–
Succeeded by
'

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