Southport Past (OTS News) ‘Harry Boyle’ Footballer – Coach – Poet

harry boyle southport faces onthespot ots

Born in Glasgow, Harry Boyle came to England in 1930 aged 6 and as a young man made his first football impact when he joined Manchester United playing for one full season (1946/47) in the North Eastern League with Merton Colliery. They contacted him to sign fulltime professional the day after he signed for Southport FC. Southport, then a Third Division North team, was his first Football League Club, for whom he played around 100 games in the 1947/48 season.   Harry was transferred to Rochdale FC (1950/51) where he was continually asked (he refused) to move to Rochdale, he then signed for Bangor City (1951/52) who offered him the Club Manager position. But, after receiving better terms and travel payment, Harry resigned for Rochdale (1952/53) where he played on till the end of season 1955/56. Still in the Third Division North he played some 200 games at left back.

After leaving Rochdale Harry played as a part time player with Runcorn and Altrincham in the then Cheshire League whilst running a corner shop in Southport. Success also came to Harry off the field when he joined the Spar organisation and won a national shop window dressing competition – winning a holiday for two in Bermuda! Later he was employed by National Girobank as Clerical Assistant acting Clerical Officer and then promoted to Executive Officer (a managerial post) until his retirement in 1985.

Harry had already taken his first coaching steps by passing the preliminary award in 1953 which he put to good use by going into schools doing the coaching sessions that were organised by the FA and schools.

His first professional coaching employment was with Skelmersdale United where he was player/coach with the first team (1960-62) and later went to the newly formed Wigan Rovers to look after the reserve team but ended up as player/coach to the first team. During this time Harry continued to do various coaching duties for the Lancashire FA. From 1963 onwards he coached Formby FC Youth Team (league cup winners) and Southport Youth select (Inter League cup winners).   In 1966 Harry gained the FA Senior Coaching Badge at Lilleshall and later passed the full coaching award; he was also appointed Chairman of Southport Coaching Association. Proof of Harry’s standing in the coaching world was an invitation to act as manager of a group of coaches who were going to Zambia to spread the football gospel. A party of 15 full badge coaches were appointed for the 10 week tour in 1968 and whilst Harry coached the International Squad each of the others had a league team to organise. Included in that group were Keith Burkinshaw and Graham Taylor who have made their mark in the football league as managers. It was a completely successful tour, however, after much consideration Harry turned down the National Coach position. Harry also turned down offers for USA, Bermuda and Saudi Arabia.   After accepting the Chief Coach position for Lancashire FA Harry held it for 21 very successful years. And on taking voluntary retirement he was awarded the LFA Order of Merit which was presented to him at the Price of Wales Hotel, Southport.

Several years ago the Football Association appointed Harry as Complimentary Member, in return for work done in the past on their behalf.

“It’s A Knockout”

Southport “It’s A Knockout” 1974-1975   Paul Gregg, Director of Southport Publicity and Attractions, contacted Harry Boyle to coach and organise a team to represent the town on the TV show “It’s A Knockout”. He agreed and with two Senior Lifeguards, Verdi Godwin and Bill Doherty, set out training possible competitors from the town.

Harry was eventually managing, coaching and captaining the team of athletes. On winning the British Championship they travelled to Bouillon, Belgium where they triumphed with a magnificent performance.

The team was then drawn to take on the Italians in Cortina in the Dolomites – snowbound! As very few of the team had any ice-skating experience Harry arranged visits to Liverpool Ice Rink, just in case. The Italian team were all experts.

The Lord Taveners invited the team to take part in a Knockout at Stockport County ground; they wiped out the opponents.   Those present included: Bill Tidy; William Rushton; Mike Yarwood; Judith Chalmers; Leslie Crowther; Bill Oddy; Tom Baker; Ken Wolstenholme; Barney Colehan; Stuart Hall; Ed Stuart.   They also played in a cricket match at Birkdale CC – opposition included: Tom O’Connor; Les Dawson; George Roper. Proceeds went to charity.   Poetry   A successful poet with three books already published, Harry had always pottered around for fun.   • In 1989 his first book “I Love Today” was published and put on sale, proceeds given to Queenscourt Hospice   • In 1991 his second book “Love is Freedom” was published for the same cause   • In 1998 his third book “Love Defined” appeared for Queenscourt & Macmillan’s Cancer relief – and is still available!

Scroll of Honour  

SIBEC Developments included 28 of Southport’s most famous sons and daughters in their Scroll of Honour which was laid at the Winter Gardens, Lord Street site in March 1990. The stone was placed above a Time Capsule containing the following names: Abe Hershon MBE; Bill Bradley; Bunty Smith OBE; Christiana Hartley; Colonel Roger Fleetwood Hesketh; Dougie Scales; Ernest Jarratt; Frank Hampson; Geoff Duke; Harry Boyle; Ian Judge; Jean Alexander; John Fearnley JP; Kate Ryley; Ken Blundell; Mae Bamber; Morris Davison; Mr C T A Burgess FRCA; Norman Giroux; Ray Bishop; Red Rum; Cllr Ronnie Fearn; Samuel Boothroyd; Sir George Pilkington; Walter Smith; William Atkinson; William Rimmer; William Sutton.   Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of the Scroll of Honour. The engraved stone has gone, it is presumed that the Time Capsule was bulldozed under the Safeways car park. Safeways, the site owners, along with everyone else do not know!   Harry Boyle 22nd April 1924 – 9th April 2012


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