Liverpool F.C.: The annual meeting of 1909 (Liverpool Echo: News angle)


June 21, 1909
There were many laughable incidents at the Liverpool F.C. meeting last night. One heard many riotous things were to happen, but, as is customary at football meetings in Liverpool, wise counsels prevailed, and though Mr. John McKenna could have kept better order with the aid of a hammer, the meeting ended in a jovial spirit, and with a much-deserved vote of thanks to the chairman.

Stolidly he refused to give them information to which they were not entitled; surely he kept his tongue when the irritated shareholder “could not get satisfaction”, and on occasion he gave the questioner something to ponder over. For instance a questioner said: “Mr. Chairman, I believe you received £180 for the transfer of …..” Mr. McKenna replied: “If you believe it, why ask me about it?”

Personalities concerning players were all too frequent and libelous. A certain player who left the land of Anfield some months ago was an especial butt for the shareholders, one of whom asked why if £700 was offered for this player it was not accepted. Mr McKenna was overjoyed at the prospect of receiving “700” for the transfer of Percy Saul. He straightway instituted inquiries. Which club offered that amount? Sad to relate, the inquirer could not give any names or help. Rumour again had been the foundation of the tale.

Mr. McKenna took stock of the season, and although he had been grossly insulted early in the meeting by a person who would have been better out of the room, he gave a lucid insight into the football clubs’ and players’ positions.

The meeting had commenced, and still certain Press members were “without.” Charles Bullock entered and vigorously asked if it was the meeting’s pleasure that the Press should be admitted. Chorus of “Yes.” Of course the directors had nothing to do with this bungling. “If you don’t let the ‘Bee’ in the ‘Echo’ will not publish to-morrow night,” said a shareholder, admit a round of laughter. However, the writer had early on taken up position between a Cross and a James.

Last year the office, training, and ground expenses were not challenged. This year, although the amount was not increased, there was inquiry into the matter. “Travelling expenses are very expensive,” said a speaker. We should say so. The report made reference to the valuable services of Alex Raisbeck, John Cox, Maurice Parry, and so on; and yet it was suggested that a special resolution should be framed for the purpose of putting on record the appreciation of these players. When the selection of teams was discussed indiscriminately – meanwhile the voting papers were being counted – an enthusiastic Liver was laying down his reasoning upon “how we fell after February 5.” He had lost nights of sleep through the club’s position, he said, and with force he argued that he would not keep one unwilling player. His praise for Billy Dunlop was greeted with tremendous applause. His main bone of contention was that the team was chopped and changed after the unlucky defeat against Everton.

Instead of the stands lying idle, better alter the charges of admission, said another. Mr. McKenna pointed out that the directors were already considering that problem. It is a matter of two or three years since I appealed that the Liverpool clubs should in their charitable gifts to the hospitals of the city insist that their moneys be given for a specific purpose – a cot. Mr. Bullock’s appeal last nit, I hope, will be taken up. Let us have standing public testimony of the football clubs generosity to local charities. Mr. Bullock was right; it would be an intelligent way of dealing with the money given, the cot would be in their own name, and something tangible would be in the public eye to always remind them of the footballers’ help.

The most marked change of front was seen towards the close of the evening, when Mr. McKenna pointedly asked for shareholders to assist the club in paying off the summer wages. A thousand pounds was required, and 6 per cent interest was offered on the loans. The loyalty of the followers of the red flag was put to the test. The response was really wonderful. A big sum was raised in batches of £5, £10 and £20, up to £100.

Mr. John Keating was elected in place of Dr Frederick Francis German, who last season was appointed in place of Mr. Arthur Parr. The new director is an old footballer. He played with Old Xaverians at football and with the Stanley Club at cricket, his slow bowling being useful. Few of the shareholders knew him. Nevertheless, they plumped for his election, and he was second highest. Mr. Keating is a contractor, and has premises in Commercial Road.

The directors have power, of course, to fill the vacancy caused by Mr. Edwin Berry’s resignation. Mr. William Robert Williams made it known during the meeting that he had resigned some months ago, that the resignation was not accepted, and that certain circumstances had arisen which caused him to reconsider his decision, and he had decided to join the board.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: June 22, 1909)

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