October 12, 1891
An adjourned meeting of the members of Everton Football Club was held in the lecture hall of the College Hall, Shaw-street, for the purpose of receiving the report of a deputation which had waited upon Mr. John Houlding and Mr Orrell with respect to the conditions of tenancy of the football field.
Mr. William Barclay, vice president of the club, presided, and there was a large attendance. The deputation stated that Mr. Orrell, who was first interviewed, stated that, on payment of £100, he would not disturb the club for the present season, and they might have the use of his ground for practice, and that subsequently he offered, in writing, to allow the club, on payment of £120 a year in advance, the use of his ground for 10 years, and to give an agreement that he would not claim ownership of any erections put on ground during that period.
On the 21st September the deputation waited upon Mr. Houlding, and after informing him of Mr. Orrell’s offer, asked him what he would do in respect of his ground. His reply was that as long as the club paid him the rent he would not disturb them, and that he would not deviate from the arrangement entered upon on the 24th July 1888.
Mr. Houlding was subsequently invited to make a statement in writing of his views for the consideration of the committee, and he replied that so long as the club could afford to pay the rent of £250 a year he would take it, but if the finances were insufficient he would meet such an emergency by accepting a reduced rent. His attention was called to the advisability of the lease of his land running concurrently with Mr. Orrell’s, and to the emphatic feeling of the members that he should forego his claim to the stands and fixtures. The deputation did not consider his replies satisfactory. They did not suggest any rental to Mr. Houlding in either of the interviews, not having any authority to do so.
After considerable discussions, Mr. Mahon moved that the committee instruct a solicitor on behalf of the club, to forthwith serve on Mr. Houlding`s notice to quit the present ground and determine the present tenancy. He had got, he said, an offer or a more suitable piece of land at £50 a year, on lease for seven years, which he had very little doubt could be extended, if desired to ten or fourteen years. If they could not get the stands and erections from the present ground – which he was disposed to think they could, when it came to a pinch – he firmly believed that the most satisfactory arrangements could be come to whereby stands could be erected, if not for nothing, for next to nothing. Mr. Coates seconded the motion, which was supported by Mr. William Clayton, who said that they need have no hesitation in supporting Mr. Mahon’s proposal, as they all knew that he had no other interest to serve than the welfare of the club.
Mr. F. C. Everitt moved, as an amendment,
”That this meeting recommend the payment of £100 to Mr Orrell, in order to secure the tenancy of the land till the end of the present season, and that a special committee be appointed to inquire into the whole matter of the ground, the terms on which the present ground and the adjoining field can be rented or purchased, and also the terms on which new grounds can be obtained.”
This was seconded by Mr. Brittain and supported by Mr. Montgomery. Mr. Clayton said he should vote against the amendment, because it was couched in the spirit of procrastination.
– Mr. Howarth asked them not to vote for a scheme which only existed in Mr. Mahon’s pocket.
The Chairman read a letter, which he said he had just received from Mr. Houlding, in which he said:
”Mr John Orrell has given me notice that he intends to exercise his right to make the road on the north side of the football field, one half, namely, 18 feet of the breadth, of which must be constructed out of my land, and one half out of his. The enclosure and stands, which have been erected, on sufferance, by private subscription, extend over the 18 feet contributed by me, and I am required by Mr. Orrell to remove them forthwith. Under these circumstances, it is with extreme regret that I am obliged to give you, notice, which I hereby do, that you must give up possession of the piece of land, situated between Anfield-road and Walton Breck-road, used as a football ground, with the approaches thereto, after the closing of the present season, namely on the 30th April 1892.”
In a postscript, Mr. Houlding added,
”As the finances and property of the club are vested absolutely in the committee; I will take an early opportunity of meeting its members and arranging about the stands and other property on the ground.”
The amendment was carried by a large majority, and it was resolved that the present executive form the special committee, with the addition of Messrs. Wilson, Mahon, Henderson, and Councillor Walker.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: October 13, 1891)