Meeting of the Football League (August 31, 1914)

August 31, 1914
Mr. John McKenna (Liverpool) presided over a meeting of the Management Committee of the Football League in London, yesterday. At this great crisis in history of the British nation they desired to make the following pronouncement: –

“Thousands upon thousands of the flower of British youth and manhood, who upon and around the playing fields of this country have acquired and developed the splendid characteristics of fearless and undaunted warriors, are now at the peril of their lives fighting the battle of honour and uprightness against military despotism in the greatest struggle the world has ever known.

“Not merely from the responsible officials of this country, but from the decimated towns and villages and the grievously-wronged yet heroic and sacrificing people of Belgium, comes the call for help. It is the call of patriotism, justice, and redress, and we trust that in this hour of Britain’s need every young man who can possibly do so will respond to his country’s call.

“There lies the path of duty. While scores of thousands have gone, and scores of thousands must follow, there will be millions of people who must remain behind, and in other ways lend all possible aid.

“In considering the course to be adopted with reference to our great winter game, we are not unmindful of the days of deep sorrow now with us and yet to come – days when the dark clouds that surround us will oppress and appeal us.

“To sit and mourn is to aggravate the nation’s sorrow. Any national sport which can minimise the grief, help the nation to bear its sorrows, relieve the oppression of continuous strain, and save the people at home from panic and under depression, is a great national asset which can render lasting service to the people.

“Just as we look hour after hour for the latest news from the theatres of war, our vast armies in the field will week by week look for papers from home, and in so far as their minds may be temporarily directed from the horrors of war and the intense strain for days and weeks of almost unrestricted fighting, much will be done to give them fresh heart, fresh hopes, and a renewed vitality for work before them.

“At home our clubs were in a helpless position. As their contracts, entered into with all the formality of legal contracts, must be performed as far as possible, we feel that the advice offered by politicians, press, and commercial authorities, that “business should be carried on as usual” is sound, well considered, and well-reasoned advice.

“We, therefore, without the slightest reservation, appeal to the clubs, the press, and the public that our great winter game should pursue its usual course. Especially do we appeal to the press that the same prominence and publicity should be given to the reports of the games as of old.

“Sacrifices will be necessary. Let them be made cheerfully, and let every club remember that football must discharge to the full its duties and obligations to this war, those engaged therein, and those who will suffer therefrom.

“Every club should do all in its power to assist the war funds. Every player should specially train to be of national service, at least in national defence.

“Whilst we unreservedly authorise the due fulfillment of the League programme, we must all accept to the full every obligation that we can individually and collectively discharge for our beloved country and our comrades in arms, who in this fight for righteousness and justice at the risk of their lives have answered to duty’s call.”

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee.
John McKenna (President).
Tom Charnley (Secretary).

The committee voted a sum of £250 to the Prince of Wales’s War Relief Fund.

The committee voted a sum of £250 to the Prince of Wales’ War Relief Fund. It was reported, and the committee were gratified to hear, that several clubs and their players had arranged to make special weekly contributions to the war funds. In some instances percentages of gates and percentages of wages were being contributed. The committee heartily commended such actions. They further recommend such clubs to arrange for their players to undergo special military drill and arrange for the provision of a miniature rifle range to provide ample shooting practice.

Nottingham Forest in view of their ranks having been depleted by the loss of three prominent players, all army reservists, applied for special permission, under the extraordinary circumstances, to be allowed to borrow two or three players.

The committee agreed that special permission should be given to replace all players called up for the war, all details to be furnished to the committee and sanction received.

The secretary was instructed to record an agreement between Liverpool F.C. and Dunfermline Athletic F.C. with reference to the transfer of William Millar.
(Dundee Courier: September 1, 1914; via
© 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

John McKenna
John McKenna

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