Everton F.C.: The annual meeting of 1899

May 18, 1899
The annual meeting of shareholders of the Everton Football Club was held last night in the Picton Lecture Hall, William Brown Street. There was a large attendance. Dr James Baxter, the chairman of directors, presided and the other directors present were Messrs. William Clayton, Edward Askew Bainbridge, Crawshaw, Brooks, Davies, Keates, Cuff, Taylor, and Mr. Richard Molyneux, secretary.

After calling upon the secretary to read the circular convening the meeting, the chairman proposed that the report to be taken as read. This having been seconded was carried without dissent. The chairman, in moving the adoption of the balance sheet, said the past season, although it could not be described as brilliant, had been fairly satisfactory (hear, hear). The net results were that the club held fourth positions in the League, championship of the Combination, winners of the Liverpool Cup, and last, but not least, a balance of £2,012 upon the season’s working (hear hear).

Their position in the League was not a discreditable one when they considered how the club had been handicapped by accidents. Before the commencement of the season. Harley was injured in a practice match and they were thus deprived of the services of a player of whom much was expected. Shortly afterwards, Gee, who had shown good form was injured, and laid up for three months. Then Clark was taken ill, and an accident to Balmer in October last further weakened their ranks.

Everything considered however, their position was very satisfactory (hear hear); financially distinctly so (hear hear). The prospects for next season, which were of more important than past events, were highly favourable, and when the team was completed by the addition of a good outside left, a good inside right, and another halfback, they would be stronger perhaps, then they had been for some seasons past (hear, hear).

With the exception of Boyle, and Taylor, all the older names had disappeared from their list (a Voice ‘’Shame”). That policy was justified by the fact that clubs who relied too long on the old hands inevitably lost prestige, and fell out of First Class Company. In support of that, he could cite the cases of Preston North End, Burnley, Sheffield Wednesday, and Bolton. All those teams were good ones, but through the non-infusion of fresh blood they had gone stale, and had not been able to keep their position in First Class Company.

The Combination team had joined the Lancashire Combination instead of the general Combination. This had been done in conjunction with Liverpool, for it had been found that the long railway journeys entailed a greater expense then was warranted.

He then formally moved the adoption of the balance sheet. On the chairman asking if any questions were required, Mr. Wade made some reference about transfer fees amounting to £600 in respect to old players, and wanted to know if they were included in certain items on the balance sheets. After the chairman had announced that he did not think the question was in order at this stage the matter was dropped.

The chairman next proposed to dividend of 5 per cent. This was seconded by Mr. Plant, and carried. On the Chairman asking for nominations to fill the three vacancies on the board of directors. Mr. Burge asked the Chairman if he had received notice of a motion from Dr William Whitford proposing to reduce the number of directors, and, if so, why had it not been printed?

The chairman said when he received the notice from Dr Whitford the notices had already been printed, and it could not be placed on the sheet. He had since seen Dr Whitford, and he had left the matter in his (Dr Baxter’s) hands. Mr. Burge said he did not think the chairman had any option in the matter. If the notice had been sent in, it was the duty of the chairman to see that it appeared on the agenda paper. He asked the chairman to read the letter he had received from Dr Whitford.

The Chairman did not think it was in the interest of the club to bring the matter forward. Dr Whitford had left the matter in his hands, and he was going to use his discretion. Mr. Burge remarked that he was sure Dr Whitford had not withdrawn his notice of motion. The doctor was acting for someone else, and he could not withdraw. He (Mr. Burge) hoped this was not commencement of a new regime on the part of the directors. He asked the chairman to read the letter.

The Chairman said if Mr. Burge desired to further the resolution he could do so. Mr. Burge said he could not do so, as it was not on the agenda paper. The Chairman said the position was this. The letter to which Mr. Burge alluded to was sent after the balance sheet had been printed. He had since had a conversation with Dr Whitford, who told him that the resolution was not altogether his. What the notice suggested was that a Match Committee should be appointed to select the teams.

Dr Whitford however, had left the matter in his hands (applause). Mr. Burge-why will you not read the letter? The Chairman said he had not the letter with him, therefore he could not read it (laughter). Mr. Burge said the chairman was not autocrat of the club yet, and he could not do, as he liked. The Chairman said the matter was left in his hands, and he would use his discretion. Mr. Burge though the chairman was very much to blame for not bringing the latter to the meeting to be read. Mr. Jones said it was not fair for a gentleman to come to the meeting and call the chairman a liar. Mr. Burge protested against any such charge having made against him. The president he said, knew very well he would not do anything of the sort. Mr. Burge then asked the chairman if it was his intention to close all discussion at the meeting. The Chairman said they could discuss anything that was in order. Mr. Burge tried to proceed, but was cried down.

Mr. Clayton then came forward and said he had a conversation with Dr Whitford, who notified him that he had given in a notice of motion, and that it had been delivered to the directors in time for the last meeting, when the balance sheet was approved and ordered to be printed. Consequently the chairman must have been mistaken in saying that the balance sheet was printed before Dr Whitford’s letter was received. Dr Whitford further told him that after he sent in the notice, two of the directors waited upon him and told him the matter had been discussed by them, and they hoped he would withdraw. He declined, because he said, he was acting for others (hear, hear). He also gave him (Mr. Clayton) the terms of the resolution which he had with him then, and could read if necessary (hear, hear, and ‘’No, no”).

The Chairman-if Mr. Clayton likes to voice the resolution in his own names. I will receive it. From the tone of his remarks, I take it that he is the originator of it (hear, hear, laughter). If he like to put it to the meeting he may do so. The Chairman then said he was prepared to take nominations to fill the three vacancies on the directorate. The Secretary, in answer to a request from a shareholder, stated that the number of meetings held had been 46, and the attendance’s were as follows: – Crawshaw 46, Davies 45, Bainbridge 42, Keates 41, Taylor 41, Brooks 37, Clayton 36, Kelly 36, Dr Baxter 35, and Cuff 33.

The following were the nominated for the three vacancies, Messrs E.A. Bainbrige, W.C. Cuff, and J. Davies (retiring directors), Dan Kirkwood, Mitchell, Burge, and Dr McGeagh. Mr. Worthy was also nominated, but declined to stand.

Mr. Burge asked when he might bring forward the question of the contretemps among the directors. The Chairman- I will give you an opportunity just now of taking ad-libitum (cries of No no Laughter).

Mr. Burge who persistent speaking was causing something like an uproar, though they were entitled to have some statement from Mr. Clayton as to why he resigned the chairmanship (hear, hear).

The Chairman – we must proceed to the business of the club first.
A shareholder – it will be too late then (hear hear).
The Chairman said Mr. Clayton resignation was not a matter for that meeting. He was a director of the board and held the same position as when elected. He had resigned his trust to the directors and they had replaced him, but he was still a director. There was no explanation due to the meeting, because they did not appoint Mr. Clayton chairman. It was a matter, which concerned only Mr. Clayton and the board. He had that moment asked him if he desired to make any statement and Mr. Clayton replied that he did not care whether he did so or not.

Mr. Burge replied that he had moved that Mr. Clayton be asked to make a statement, and it had been seconded. He was proceeding to speak further, when there were renewed cries of ‘’Sit down,” ‘’Shut up,” and finally the matter was allowed to drop.

While the scrutineers were absent counting the votes. Mr. Richmond asked how it was that a transfer fee of £200 had been put upon Edgar Chadwick to make him a presentation of a free transfer (hear, hear and applause). The Chairman said it had never been the way of the Everton club to get a high price on their players, and there was no fear of their being unreasonable with Chadwick. They had of course, to put a nominal sum opposite a player’s name. But he could tell them that if any club wanted Chadwick they would find the Everton club very easy to deal with (hear hear). He might say that they had treated Chadwick in a very liberal way (hear hear).

Mr. Molyneux on being asked gave them the following list of players who had so far signed on for next season: – Goalkeepers, Willie Muir and George Kitchen; backs, William Balmer, George Molyneux, George Eccles, and Jack Crelly; halfbacks, Sam Wolstenholmes, Dickie Boyle, Jack Taylor, Bert Sharp, Gordon, Joe Blythe, and Murphy; forwards, Jack Sharp, John Proudfoot, Ellis Gee, Wilf Toman, Jimmy Settle, Alf Schofield, Marquis, William Roche, Wilfred Oldham, Wheeler, and Bickett.

Mr. Wade proposed that a match committee of three directors be placed from the board of directors to look after and select players for League matches and cup-ties. This was seconded, as also an amendment by Mr. D. Kirkwood that the number, be five instead of three. The Chairman said if the proposition was carried he hoped the meeting would also assign the names, it was decided to have the club managed in that style. He hoped the meeting would pick out the names, as it was not a matter of the directors. All the directors were able to do what the meeting proposed to relegate to a few. If not they had no right to be on the directorate (hear gear).

After further discussions it was ultimately decided that there should be a match committee consisting of five members of the directorate, to be chosen by their own body. At this point the Chairman announced that the three retiring directors had been re-elected, the voting being as follows – Bainbridge, 157; Davies, 157; and Cuff 154.

The other gentlemen received the following votes; Dr McGeagh 108; Kirkwood 58; Burge 63, and Mitchell 44.

On the motion of Mr. Mahon, a cordial vote of thanks was accorded the chairman for presiding. This concluded the business of the meeting.
(Liverpool Mercury: May 19, 1899)


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