June 25, 1894
The adjourned annual meeting of the directors and shareholders of the Everton Football Club Company, Limited, was held last evening, in the Picton Lecture Hall, William Brown Street, Mr. George Mahon presiding. There was a numerous attendance, and the proceedings, which at times were of a somewhat lively character, were protracted.
THE CHAIRMAN proposed that the report and balance-sheet be taken as read.
MR. FISHER contended that if they were going to take a resolution by show of hands, that course would be illegal, because those who would vote were not entitled to do so.
THE CHAIRMAN, in reply, said that first of all he would deal with the contention that it was illegal for those gentlemen to whom shares had been transferred during the last three months to be present at that meeting, and he advised them from the chair that they were perfectly entitled to be present. It was legal, on the motion being put to the meeting, for any one present to vote, and it would be quite competent afterwards for the matter to be tested by a poll.
It was then resolved by an overwhelming majority that the report and balance-sheet be taken as read.
THE CHAIRMAN, in presenting the accounts for adoption, said that the balance-sheet, taking everything into account, was most satisfactory, showing, as it did, a balance of some £500 to the good on the year’s working.
He would refer to the gate receipts for the purpose of drawing attention to the fact that the interest in the League matches was not on the wane, but had held its own throughout the past season. With regards to season tickets, he was still on the idea that they should increase the number of members to what he might call the maximum point. That point could only be reached by the individual efforts of shareholders in persuading their friends to take out season tickets, and become strong supporters of the club.
At the last annual meeting he stated that they would take every step to reduce the debentures to £1,000. They had followed that course, and the debentures now stood at £500. As they were aware, in connections with last season’s working they had, as hitherto, done all that they could in respect to the various charities, both with regards to the theatrical match and in connections with various institutions that had appealed for support. In every instance when they could reasonably accede to the request for support they had done so. He though that the season had not exactly been a void one when the considered that they held three cups at the present time. (Applause.)
He had again to refer to the question of informal meetings called by small bodies of shareholders for the purposes of influencing the general body in their decisions at properly called meetings such as that one. The question was were those meetings of advantage to the shareholders or to the club. (“Yes” and “No.”)
The chairman then referred in some details to the business transacted at the meetings referred to, and his remarks were met with considerable interruption. He hoped that those who had attacked him at private caucus meetings would bring forward their questions now. It appeared to him that the great cause of complaint against the directors was that they were not infallible. He did not know whether the meetings which had been got up were going to place infallible men on to work with them.
If they could find such men, the directors would be pleased to make room for them. The directors were not going to have those attacks continually made upon them, and if any considerable number of shareholders wished any director to resign from his position they were that night willing to place their resignations, one or all, in the hands of the shareholders. He wished to give just one word of warning, and to say that for their peace of mind and for their dignity’s sake, that course of resignation would become inevitable unless the shareholders that night showed with unmistakable force, that they were going to put down what he called this needless interference, which could only tend to bring into had repute the name of the Everton Football Club. (Applause.).
He proposed that the accounts and report be passed. (Applause.)
MR. THOMAS KEATS second the proposition. He approved of the general statement that the financial position of the club was satisfactory. One of the most important points that struck him was that they should bear in mind, with an eye to the future, the fact that the expenditure for players this year was exceedingly high. They were at the top of the League in that respect, whereas they were not so in honours, although he agreed that they were not without honours. He thought that on this score things were not quite satisfactory. Another matter was that of giving bonuses. As a lover of sport, he was opposed to giving bonuses, and he though that they should touch them as lightly as possible. There was also need for great care to be taken in the selection of players.
MR. FISHER affirmed that a crisis had been caused in the affairs of the club by a manipulation taking place of paper shares, and by the dissemination of scrip amongst “the trade.” (Cries of “Non,” and interruption.)
Over 50 shares, over 50 votes, had been given in the publican interest, in order to get a candidate in. That was only the thin end of the wedge, and next year they might have tree directors belonging to the licensing victualing trade.
After further discussion as to the affairs of the club,
MR. SAM ASHWORTH said that he was voicing the idea of a large number of the shareholders when he said that they should be able to have more first-class players for the amount of money now paid in wages and bonus. That was the pitch of the matter, and for the fight between the teetotalers and publicans he did not care a toss. He thought that the money spent should enable them to have more first-class players, without any “hangers-on.” He proposed the addition of a rider to the resolution to the effect that the number of players should be reduced and the quality enhanced. (Applause.)
MR. MONTGOMERY seconded the amendment. He remarked that he thought that, on the whole, the directors had done their duty by the club. He hoped that they would consider the suggestion of Mr. Ashworth.
On the suggestion of the CHAIRMAN, the original resolution was put. It was carried unanimously, and a proposition was then adopted to the effect that this meeting called the attention of the board of management to the fact that they desired a “higher quality and a lesser number of players.”
A dividend at the rate of 5 per cent. was then declared, and the meeting proceeded to elect retiring directors. Mr. Benjamin Kelly was re-elected unanimously, and a number of candidates were nominated for the remaining three vacancies. On a ballot being taken, the result was declared as follows:
Messrs. Robert Wilson, 254 votes; Dr James Baxter, 239; Arthur Leyland, 204; John C. Brooks, 170; John Davies, 106; and Edward Askew Bainbridge 100. The three first-named were declared elected.
At the close of the meeting votes of thanks were passed to the directors, the chairman of the meeting, and the officials of the club.
(Liverpool Mercury: June 26, 1894)