June 8, 1911
The Liverpool “Annual” was not well attended – maybe the reasons were to be found in the weather and in the fact that the meeting was fixed so near the holidays. A breeze occurred towards the end of question time, partly, I fear, through the chairman failing to hear what the questioner said; but the proceedings passed off merrily, and finally one of the leading “prosecutors” moved and got carried a vote of thanks to the chairman, who must by now be very tired of football meetings and football finance.
The feature of the meeting was the statement made by Mr. John McKenna regarding the percentage payable to shareholders, a point emphasised by Mr. William Robert Williams and Mr. William Coward Briggs.
Tom Watson looked on complacently while one shareholder railed at “office expenses” – which have so little to do with the actual office expenses – traveling expenses, and Tom’s salary, the sum not being stated in the balance-sheet. He got in a pretty “cut” when he read aloud the names of the players signed.
He said with reference to Kenneth Campbell, the new goalkeeper, that he was recognised as being one of the very best captures of the season. Tom went on thus; “And he only cost us £10 – and the travelling expenses.”
Later he gave the new players’ credentials, and said of Harry Lowe that he had played in fifty matches last season, and of Henry Beveridge and John Bovill that they were highly recommended. No club in the world, to my knowledge, trusts to informants about likely players like the Liverpool club. I believe the secretary stated that they had not seen Beveridge play. This read strange, yet you can take it from me that the sources Mr. Tom Watson taps when he requires a likely lad are most reliable. Hence these cheap priced young fellows who have turned out so well for the club.
I was glad to hear tribute paid to the players, and special reference made to James Stewart’s case. Stewart is wholehearted and clever; but last season he was injured in the first match, and never really recovered. One hopes he will go strong next season, for one doesn’t forget the way he played when sandwiched between Arthur Goddard and Jack Parkinson.
Mr. John McKenna, who presided, in moving the adoption of the report and accounts, said he was sorry there was an increase in the wages. That, however, was easily explained by the fact that more players were engaged. In the previous year though they did so well with the first, they had a wretched experience with the second team, which fell into the second division of the Combination.
Hence, to improve that state of affairs, they engaged a few more professionals, certainly not at the maximum wage, but still it had increased the amount by something like £600. They also kept adding to their list of players, because they had men injured. Their takings were a little more than in the previous year, but they had to give a “benefit” this year which they did not give in the previous year.
As far as the players were concerned , their value and ability were better than they were twelve months ago; the men they spent the most of the money upon had improved the ability of the team as such.
With reference to the club’s performance during the past season, he said they started with what he honestly thought were good prospects for a good season, but they were frequently just unfortunate enough to lose by the odd goal. Sometimes it was bad or indifferent play and sometimes bad luck. Without taking too much credit to the team or anybody else connected with the club, they might put a good deal down to bad luck as much as to anything else.
The playing strength of the team was not so poor as its position in the League table denoted. The turn of the tide seemed to come with the turn of the year. With the exception of the Liverpool Cup match they had no defeat from January 1 to April 30. They had some drawn games in that period, but no defeats. There was a certain amount of ability in the team which, with the least bit of good luck, would have placed the team in a much better position than they were in at the end of the season. They might congratulate everyone concerned with the club at the brilliant game and victory with which they finished up the season, which proved that the ability of the team was there.
A better conducted lot of players there was not in England; they were men who seemed to know that they had a character to lose, and were anxious to retain their good name, not only as men, but as professional footballers. He hoped they would maintain the same class and character of men, because he believed that a good deal depended upon the general demeanor of the team as such. With reference to the team for next season, they had signed on a lot of players this year who they thought would carry the club into a higher position than they occupied at the present time.
The directors were sorry they were not in a position to declare a dividend of 5 per cent this year. They intended to bring forward a motion at the next annual meeting of the Football Association, by which they hoped to be able to make the dividend cumulative, so that if they could pay a dividend of 5 per cent one year they might, if they were in a financial position in the following year, pay the previous year’s 5 per cent, as well as the then current dividend of 5 per cent. The directors were doing all they could to reduce the liabilities of the club. Let them hope that they would get a little bit more out of that “cup of joy” the English Cup. If they had one or two years with a bit of decent luck they would be able to meet together and say that the club was not only in a prosperous condition, but that it was able to pay a dividend to the shareholders (applause). Mr. William Robert Williams seconded the motion.
Replying to criticisms, the Chairman said he could see no room for beneficial curtailment in the expenses. With respect to the traveling expenses there was a loss of £130 on the Continental trip, and that item was included in the traveling expenses this year. The traveling expenses included the expenses of the directors in visiting many towns to inspect players. No football team went away and came back on a more economical scale of expenses than the Liverpool players.
Mr. William Coward Briggs, in moving the re-election of Messrs. John Asbury jun, John McKenna, and Richard Lawson Martindale Snr as directors, said the directors were with the shareholders in trying to keep down the expenses. The resolution was passed.
Mr. Tom Watson said there was not a manager of a football team in England who tried to keep the expenses of the club down more than he had done. There was not a club in England that had bought players cheaper than theirs had done. Players signed: –
Goalkeepers. – Sam Hardy, Kenneth Campbell, and F Malone.
Full backs. – Ephraim Longworth, Robert Crawford, Tom Rogers, and Tom Chorlton.
Half backs. – Robert Robinson, Jim Harrop, John McConnell, Ernest Peake, Ralph Holden, James Scott, Donald Mackinaly, and Harry Lowe.rank
Forwards. – Arthur Goddard, Sam Gilligan, James Stewart, Jack Parkinson, Ronald. Orr, John Macdonald, James Speakman, Joe Brough, Sam Bowyer, Herbert Leavey, Harold Uren, John Bovill, Henry Beveridge, and David Macdonald (brother of J. Macdonald).
(Liverpool Echo: June 9, 1911)