June 16, 1888
The long-looked for meeting of the Everton Football Club has now been a matter of history.
The rumours of changes and alterations which were flying about conveyed the idea at once that the feeling of the members generally were in a state of ferment, and that an excited meeting was bound to be the upshot.
In short, if only half of what was talked about came to pass there would be hardly an old name left amongst the executive.
There was to be a new committee, a new secretary, and heaven only knows what else.
Dry bones were to be made shake, the most secret doings of the past season were to be dragged forth, and altogether we were promised a nice a little field – night as the most fastidious in such matters could desire.
Well, Sir, the members gathered to the number of 111, so that the large dining room of the Sandon was well filled if one might judge by the beads of perspiration which stood out on the foreheads of some of the more portly individuals present.
The chair was taken by the Worthy President (Mr. Houlding).
After a short opening statement a spirited debate took place as to the right of professional members to vote.
Mr. Barclay laid down the law on the point very concisely and the “pros.” Were muzzled. The accounts were then proceeded with in the shape of a most formidable balance-sheet.
During the reading of the above it became evident from the ominous lowering of brows that a small storm was brewing, and at the close it burst in the shape of a number of queries anent certain travelling expenses which it was alleged had been incurred before the authority of the Committee had been obtained.
One or two members showed great pertinacity in this matter and it was thoroughly settled before any other business was done.
Then the question of expending £370 on building stands and others improvements was brought up and a doubt was expressed as to whether the right course had been pursued in not having the work done by contract or asking for tenders, etc.
This brought the President to his feet, and in language concise and telling he made it perfectly clear that the building of the stand could not possibly have been done cheaper than what it was and challenged any of the builders or architects in the room to refute his statement.
Mr. Martin gracefully acknowledged the explanation furnished, and the President went on by comparison between the popularity of the game six or seven years ago when a big match in Stanley Park was intended to be one of the features of the Fancy Fair, and yet not more than 50 or 100 people paused to look at the game.
He then carried their minds back to the time when an effort was being made to secure an enclosed ground in Priory-road, Anfield.
This was obtained but their success was of such a negative character that they had to leave at the end of the season minus goal posts, ropes, stakes, etc.
A deputation then waited on him and he was induced to use his influence in securing their present ground on certain conditions, one of which was that a benefit match be played for Stanley Hospital.
Still the gate money was a mere nothing, although under the management of Messrs. Barclay, Jackson, Co. the club began to make some headway.
Just, then, however, another difficulty loomed up in the fact that the owner of the ground decided to put in the market, and he (the President) was again prevailed on to step in to their assistance, and, after some preliminaries, he agreed to buy the field, which, with law costs, etc., accounted £6,000.
Two thousand of this amount was paid by him, and the remaining portion left as a mortgage or loan, upon which three per cent, interest was paid.
Thus it would be seen that he had to pay £120 per annum for this concession, whilst the club only paid him £100 a year, and not £200 as stated, whilst he received nothing for his £2,000, which at the lowest computation ought to be bringing him in £60 a year.
He mentioned this fact because some of the members appeared to think that he was receiving a fair remuneration for the field, and that consequently there was no necessity for his having a nominee on the committee. But he thought that all fair-minded men would agree that under the circumstances it was not too much to ask, seeing that owing to his having so many important duties to fulfil he could not attend himself.
The £370 paid for erecting stands Etc., was paid out of his money, as the club had no funds, and consequently he wished to be informed of what was going on, and Mr. Ramsey was the only one who could do it, otherwise what security had he for such expenditure if things were mismanaged?
However, he did not wish to cripple the club in any way; far from it, and he thought he had shown that he took as great an interest in the club as any of them.
He was quite willing to allow things to go on as before, with the exception that he must certainly ask for at least 2 and half per cent, on his money, and if the club could afford any more at the end of the season he would expect that amount to be increased by 1 or 1 and half per cent. But not otherwise.
This explanation was well received, and the increase asked for promptly voted.
The rules were then brought up for consideration, and at the instigation of Mr. Howarth, several changes were made, one especially as regards payments by the treasurer being of a rather important character.
At a very late hour the election of officers was proceeded with.
The president and treasurer were unanimously re-elected, and then came the event of the evening – viz., the election of secretary.
No sooner had the president sat down than up jumped men from different points of the room, but Mr. Galbraith I think it was who caught the Speaker’s eye presumed in most eulogistic terms Mr. Barclay for the position.
This was seconded by Vice President Jackson, who in fiery speech denounced Mr. Nesbit in no measured terms.
An uncomfortable pause ensued, and then the President raised his voice on behalf of Mr. Nesbit, who he considered had worked hard and well for the club, and he attributed a great deal of its late success to his efforts in securing fixtures with first class clubs.
Furthermore, he drew a comparison with their position in 1883-84, when the receipts were only £50 or £60, whereas last year they amounted to £1,456 and this to £2,111.
This appeal, powerful though it was, did not even bring up a seconded, and Mr. Barclay, amidst great cheering was announced as being elected.
Mr. R. Stockton was elected assistant secretary, but as there were no less than 13 names for eight places on the Committee this business was postponed for a week.
(Football Field: June 16, 1888)
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