Liverpool F.C.: The annual meeting of 1909 (Liverpool Echo: Standard article)

June 21, 1909
Critical but cordial meeting
The annual meeting of the directors and shareholders of the Liverpool Football Club and Athletic Grounds Company, Limited, was held at the Law Association Rooms, Cook Street, last evening. Mr. John McKenna presiding over a large attendance.

Mr. Tom Watson, the secretary, read the directors’ report, which stated that they regretted not having a more satisfactory record of the season’s work to present. For the first time since the club was reconstructed, they were unable to recommend the payment of the usual dividend of 5 per cent.

Turning to the accounts, it would be noticed that in spite of this deterioration on the playing field the gate receipts amounted to £1,333 more than last season. That the expenditure was kept well within the income was demonstrated by the fact that there was an excess credited to the latter of £1,225 15s. 2d. Without the charges on account of mortgages, &c., the directors would have been able to show a handsome profit and declare the customary dividend.

The directors wished to record their appreciation of the staunch support given them by the public, even at a time when the dark clouds were hovering ominously over the club. The time had now come when changes in the players were imperative, but they hoped that those who had gone to fresh pastures would bring success and honours to their new club (hear, hear).

Reviewing last season’s play, they admitted that their position was not creditable. Up to February 6, when they played the Cup Tie with Norwich City, they did splendidly, as on that date they occupied the fifth place in the League. That Cup Tie proved to be the turning point in the Liverpool Club’s successful progress, and everything afterwards went awry. From February 20 to April 12 not another match was won. Repeated experiments with the players were tried with the hope of checking the run of disaster, but fortune seemed dead set against every effort.

One fact which was brought home to them in these matches was that many of the players were not quite as young as they were in previous years, this being unmistakably shown in the home matches. Thus it came about when the last day of the season arrived it was a question as to whether or not they retained their place in the premier division of the League. No stone was left unturned to have the players fit for the momentous struggle with Newcastle United, and after a game in which no quarter was asked or given Liverpool won by the only goal of the match (hear, hear). The players rose nobly to the occasion, and the club’s position was secure for another season.

They did not finish the campaign altogether unrewarded, for they wrested the Liverpool Cup from their Everton friends, and also managed to reach the final stage of the Lancashire Cup competition. Their reserve team, moreover, finished second in the Lancashire Combination. The season had taught them a few lessons, not the least being that it was unwise to allow sympathetic feelings to enter too largely into the government of a club (hear, hear).

The following players had been engaged for next season:
Goal: Gus Beeby.
Backs: Tom Chorlton, Robert Crawford, Tom Rogers, Billy Dunlop, John Dunlop (Hurlford).
Half-backs: John McConnell (Airdrieonians), Robert Robinson, Jim Harrop, Ernest Peake, James Bradley, Sam Hignett, Barney Dillon (St. Sylvester’s).
Forwards: Arthur Goddard, Sam Bowyer, Joe Hewitt, Jack Parkinson, William Morris (Lincoln City), Jimmy Stewart (Motherwell), Herbert Macpherson (Partick Thistle), James Lawson (Southport Central), Bert Goode, Ronald Orr, Harold Uren, James Speakman, John Macdonald (Glasgow Rangers).

The directors believe that they have selected players who would succeed in regaining for Liverpool a prominent place amongst the League clubs in the country. Young players with a high reputation and who were desirous of making a name for themselves in English football had been secured, so that these, judiciously blended with the tried performers, should ensure a high standard of play being witnessed at Anfield next season. Given freedom from injuries, and no club suffered to the extent that Liverpool did last winter in this respect, they felt assured that the players who represented them would cover themselves with honour, and bring credit and fame to the club (hear, hear).

With reference to the ground, the directors considered they had one of the finest enclosures in the country, up-to-date in every respect, and they were desirous of doing all they could to meet the wishes and requirements of the shareholders towards furthering their comfort and convenience (applause).

The chairman, in moving the adoption of the report, remarked that the feeling between players, club representatives, and the Football Association, had not tended to do the game any good, and until something was settled, and clubs and players worked in a more harmonious spirit, he was afraid the game itself would be injured. Some players deserved more than they got, and on the contrary others got more than they deserved (hear, hear, and laughter).

If the players had taken club managers and directors into their confidence and said: “We will trust you to get the restrictions swept away,” he believed they would have been passed by the Football Association in June. The maximum wage had injured certain players and benefited others, and he was afraid it had done the game harm not only in Liverpool but elsewhere.

With regard to the new players they had signed on, e hoped they would realise their expectations. They all deeply regretted the resignation of Mr. Edwin Berry as chairman (hear, hear). The directors had not yet accepted the resignation, and he was not without hope that Mr. Berry might reconsider his decision.

Mr. John Asbury seconded the resolution.

Some discussion followed, several shareholders asking questions with regard to the general management and the accounts.

The Chairman stated that Sam Hardy had not yet signed. With regard to the ground arrangements, they proposed to alter the prices of the new stand next season.

Wile te election of directors was in progress the chairman asked the shareholders to take up 6 per cent, promissory notes to the amount of £1,000 to assist the club in paying summer wages. To this appeal there was an immediate response, the amount asked for being subscribed before the meeting was over.

The voting for the vacancies of three retiring directors resulted as follows:
Mr. William Coward Brigg (5,144); Mr. John Keating (4,750); Mr. Albert Worgan (4,357); and Dr Frederick Francis German (4,202). Mr. Keating therefore takes the place of Dr German on the board.

The chairman was cordially thanked at the close of the meeting.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: June 22, 1909)

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