December 21, 1909
Last Tuesday evening an interesting function was held at the Exchange Station Hotel, Liverpool, the occasion being a presentation to one of Everton directors, Mr. W.R. Clayton, recognition of his twenty-one years’ continuous service to the club. In addition to all the directors, and about forty of the players, there were also present Messrs. Griffiths. Atkinson, and Coates, who were formerly on the board, Mr. Reed, and Lament, Grant, and Robert Edward Lythgoe, representing the Liverpool Football Association.
The postprandial proceedings brought forth many reminiscences of the early days of the Everton club. As chairman Mr. Dan Kirkwood, in a felicitous speech, pointed out the services which Mr. Clayton had rendered, and was followed by Mr. Reed, who dealt with the incidents which occasioned Everton’s departure from Anfield. He stated that there were two bodies of malcontents, and when this was discovered be approached Mr. Clayton and invited him to his house discuss the matter. The interview which lasted from an early hour in the evening until 3 a.m. was momentous, for as a direct result the present club was formed.
Messrs. Lamont, Griffiths, and Edward Askew Bainbridge referred to the old days when they had work hard to place the club on sound basis. Each turn referred to the great assistance which was forthcoming from Mr. Clayton at that period. On behalf of the club and players, the chairman presented magnificent rose-bowl suitably inscribed to Mr. Clayton, and asked him accept it as a slight token of appreciation of the great services had rendered to Everton.
In his most Interesting response Mr. Clayton, after thanking the donors for their beautiful gift, naturally referred to the early days of the club, and gave most lucid description of the fighting which took place that led to Everton going to Goodison Park. They went with a team, but with no money and without a ground to play upon.
The speaker paid a warm tribute to the late Mr. George Mahon for the prominent part played in the proceedings at that period. Subsequently Mr. Clayton dealt with his own position, and explained why he took such a keen interest in football. He pointed out that the amateurs of Liverpool had benefited by the presence of the professional clubs in the district. Thirty or forty clubs were formerly affiliated to the Liverpool Association, whereas now there were close upon 400, and another 100 were yet not within the fold. Those individuals were continually bemoaning the fact that people preferred to figure as spectators at a football match rather than indulge in actual sport did not know what they were talking about.
He himself was an ardent player before he became a legislator. It was supposed now-a-days that when man reached the age of thirty he was of no farther use as a footballer (a sly dig which caused everyone’s gaze to turn in the direction of the veteran Jack Taylor). Alluding to the present state of affairs in Liverpool.
Mr. Clayton remarked that in past years considerable bitterness had existed between the Everton and Liverpool clubs. He was glad to say that feeling had now entirely departed, and the directors of both organizations worked together in complete harmony, for the common benefit of football in the city
(Source: Athletic News: December 27, 1909)
Mr. W.R. Clayton, from the Everton Collection.