March 15, 1892
In accordance with requisitions sent in by members of the club, and with a view to the committee informing the members of the present position of matters, a general meeting of the members of the Everton Football Club was held last evening in the Presbyterian Schools, Royal Street. The chair was occupied by Mr. George Mahon, and there was a packed attendance, including Councillor John Houlding.
Requisition No. 1 was as follows: –
1. That Messrs. John Houlding, Alexander Nisbet, and Thomas C. Howarth, having lost the confidence of the members of the club, be respectively removed from the presidency and the committee.
2. To rescind resolution or resolutions whereby Mr. Houlding has a right to nominate Mr. John Ramsay, or any other person, to a seat on the committee.
3. And to pass any resolutions having reference to these matters, as the meeting may consider necessary.
Requsition No. 2 reads thus: –
1. To obtain a clear and definite statement, duly audited, of the financial condition of the club, with a full account of the negotiations in reference to the Goodison road Ground, as regards rental and conditions; tenure and condition, and notice to quit; lease and conditions; finance – as to draining, levelling, turfing, enclosing, building stands and dressing rooms, and other necessary erections; advances – as to what person or persons are advancing the money required in connection with this scheme, and on what terms.
2. To elicit from the committee and future liability of the members.
3. To elicit from the committee to what extent the club is committed for next year, including the non-playing season, as regards players and other salaried officials, in the total amount of wages per week during May, June, July, and August, and also during the other eight months of the year ending 30th April, 1893.
4. To rescind the resolutions passed at the last general meeting, authorising the removal of the club to the Goodison-road site, and empowering the committee to form the club into a limited liability company, with a capital of £500.
5. To submit the following resolution: – “That the Everton Football Club do now amalgamate with the Everton Football and Athletic Grounds Company, Limited.”
Mr. Mahon said seeing that Mr. Houlding was present perhaps, as president of the club, he would take the chair. (Cries of “Hear, hear,” and “No, no.”)
Mr. Houlding. – I am here to reply, and a criminal never takes the chair, he stops in the dock. (Laughter and applause.)
Mr. Mahon said that as Mr. Houlding declined to take the chair the proceedings must go on. Having explained how it was he (Mr. Mahon) came to occupy this position, he said that at the last meeting a resolution was passed authorising the committee to take steps to register a club with a capital of £500.
The committee attempted to do so, but the registrar declined, saying that he could not register such a club, because a company almost similar had been registered the morning before – the morning after the evening meeting. (Shame.)
Out of curiosity they got an office copy of the papers, and amongst other clauses they noticed “to purchase, take, or lease, or otherwise acquire.”
They also found that two of your committee had been parties to the perpetration of that act – Mr. Nisbet and Mr. Ramsay. (Shame.)
The chairman then read the names of the subscribers, which were received with groans.
The committee, he added, next communicated with the Association, and they responded to the appeal for protection, and passed a resolution which practically knocked the new company on the head. (Loud applause.)
The League had also passed a resolution of a somewhat similar character. (Hear, hear.)
Both the Association and League had sided with them that the majority should govern and rule the club. (Applause.)
He next referred to the offers that had been made to Mr. Houlding with respect to rental and the stands, and added that they received no replies to the communications (“Shame.”)
At one meeting Mr. Houlding claimed the stands. Afterwards he made no such claim, and said that he made his first remark when he was heated. To strengthen their hands, however, they had taken counsel’s opinion, which was to the effect that “the wood and iron fixtures are all moveable by the club as tenants against Mr. Houlding as landlord, provided they are removed during the term.” (Loud applause.)
With respect to the engagement of the players, the committee had no trouble. (Hear, hear.)
So far as finance was concerned, he wished to point out that the cash in bank, the money in shape of advances to players, and the money in hand, made a balance to the good upwards of £300. (Loud applause.)
In addition to that they must estimate what they were likely to receive from the remaining matches and the expenses to the end of the season. At a low estimate the committee put down £800. At the end of the season they thought the balance in hand would be £1,300, and at the end of the close season they would have, he thought, in hand £500. (Applause.)
The next season he believed that the wages would be lower than this. (Hear, hear.) Now came the question as to the finance re the Goodison-road Ground, and he thought that some members had been frightened with respect to threats of liability.
He mentioned that a guarantee fund had been formed to the extent of £1,517, and they had received a number of promises, varying from £200, £100, and so on. Those gentleman who sympathised with the members asked for no interest, and had said that they were not going to look to that money if they never saw it. (Loud applause.)
The next point was the lease of the Goodison ground. He explained that the arrangements now come to were that a lease should be granted for five years at £50 per annum and for the two following years at £75 per annum, after that at £100 per annum. (Hear, hear.)
The ground, he was told, would not be wanted for building purposes for some 15 years. (Applause.)
He had got there the lease, signed, sealed, and delivered. (Loud applause.)
They had undertaken that there should be no sale of intoxicating liquor on the grounds. (“Bravo,” and applause.)
Passing to the question of amalgamation with the Everton Football Club and Athletic Grounds Company, Limited, he referred then to the prospectus, and argued that Mr. Houlding and Mr. Orrell were asking too much for the land, namely 7s. 6d. per yard. He ridiculed the proposal “that in the event of amalgation,” &c., “each member shall be entitled to have allotted to him on fully paid-up share in the company free of charge.”
If Mr. Houlding and Mr. Orrell were entitled to what they wished, the emmbers should be entitled to at least seven or eight shares. (Hear, hear, and applause.)
Were the members to be deprived of their voice and interest in the club? (“No,” and “Hear, hear.”)
If the committee still retained the confidence of the members they would see that they tried to form a company, and an effort was to be brought forward to extend the membership.
The program was a business-like on, and if the meeting in the face of it voted for amalgamation it would practically be a want of confidence, and they would retire.
A discussion took place as to which requisition should be taken first, and it was decided to deal with the second.
The new solicitor to the club (Mr. Cornett), in reply to questions, stated that the committee were liable to creditors for goods supplied or contracts entered into.
So far as individual members’ liabilities were concerned, a creditor in suing an individual would have to prove that the individual in his own right had ordered the goods or entered into the contract.
In answer to further questions, the solicitor stated that a member was only liable to the date of his resignation.
Mr. T.C. Howarth said that he would move the following resolution (No. 4 in requisition No. 2): – “To rescind the resolutions passed at the last general meeting authorising the removal of the club to the Goodison-road site, and empowering the committee to form the club into a limited liability company with a capital of £500.”
Amid great confusion he proceeded to criticise the financial statement of the club as explained by the chairman, and asserted that, if they took the liabilities outstanding and the banking account, it was 100 to 1 that the club at the present moment was not worth anything whatever – that it was in debt. (Loud laughter and applause.).
The speaker could not afterwards be heard for some time owing to the noise and confusion, and the chairman, having obtained order, said that Mr. Howarth was trying to show why they should not go to the Goodison-road site.
Mr. Howarth, proceeding, said that it would have been fairer if the chairman had told the whole story with respect to the Goodison-road site. (“Oh, oh,” and “Chair.”
The Chairman asked the speaker to keep to his resolution.
Mr. Howarth contended that something like £3,500 would have to be expended before they could kick a ball on the Goodison-road site. (Groans, applause, and general confusion.)
Before the meeting voted on the questions before them, they should consider well their position, and consider those who patronised them. The present ground was the most popular in the country (Applause.)
Mr. Jeffers seconded the resolution of Mr. Howarth, and, whilst in the midst of a long statement which was being hear with groans and applause.
Mr. Fisher said that this was nothing but obstruction on the part of Mr. Howarth and his seconder, and it would not do there. (Loud applause and confusion.)
A demand for a vote having been made, the Chairman put Mr. Howarth’s motion, which was declared lost by an overwhelming majority.
In reply to the chairman’s question, no person rose to propose other motions in requisition No. 2, and the accordingly fell to the ground.
Mr. William Clayton, amid loud applause, rose to propose the first resolution in requisition No. 1, namely, “That Messrs. John Houlding, Alexander Nisbet, and Thomas Howarth, having lost the confidence of the members of the club, be respectively removed from the presidency and committee.”
Mr. Clayton said that he did not propose this from spite or spleen. (“Oh, oh,” and applause.) It was simply matter of business. (Applause.)
Mr. Houlding was not worthy of holding the position of president of this club – (Loud applause and hooting) – because he had gone out of his way to insult and ignore everyone of the 500 members of the club. (Loud applause.)
Mr. Nesbit and Mr. Howarth, owing to action they had taken, had also lost the confidence of the members. (Hear, hear.)
By this action they would lose their president, but he was sure that if they unanimously approached Mr. R. Wilson he would take that position. (Loud applause.)
Mr. Swan seconded the motion.
Mr. F. Everitt said that when he noticed this resolution on the paper he thought that he had never seen any action more contemptible. (Loud applause and groans, and “What about forming the company” Laughter.). He hoped that the motion would not be carried.
Mr. R. Martin asked the meeting to extend some consideration to the gentlemen named in the resolution, who had worked hard for the club (Head, hear.)
Had it not been for what Mr. Houlding had done for them there would now be no Everton Football Club. (Applause.)
Mr. Nisbet said he could not agree to the course of action taken by the meeting that night, and he therefore resigned his membership. (Laughter.)
The Chairman. – You are not in order in doing so. (Applause.)
Mr. Nisbet. – I don’t accept your ruling. I resign. (Laughter and applause.)
In response to calls, Mr. Houlding addressed the gathering. He explained that all went on well until the last annual meeting – until the playing season began.
Then he received a note from Mr. Orrell. He (Mr. Houlding) had been charged with having done underhand work, but if matters were inquired into they would see that he had done nothing at all. (Applause and laughter.)
When he got Mr. Orrell’s letter saying that the club must clear out, he thought the only way – as he did not care to incur further liability – was to form a company.
The committee agreed to that. Afterwards they turned round and opposed the move. They went against him, and therefore his business was to say nothing more about the matter. (Hear, hear, and Oh, oh.)
He said noting more about it, he had never made any charges, and he refrained from writing to the papers about the matter. (Hear, hear, and laughter.)
Mr. Wilson supported the motion, and said that the committee had his entire confidence.
A vote was taken and the motion was carried.
Mr. Howarth wished to speak, but he was cried down.
Mr. Clayton next moved the following: – “To rescind resolution or resolutions whereby Mr. Houlding has a right to nominate Mr. J.J. Ramsay, or any other person, to a seat on the committee.”
Amid some confusion, it was pointed out that if this motion was carried it might terminate their tenancy with Mr. Houlding.
The motion was withdrawn, and the proceedings terminated with a vote of thanks to the chairman.
(Liverpool Mercury: March 16, 1892)