May 7, 1915
It was impossible to tell the public during the week how bad Mr. Tom Watson was. He read the paper assiduously, and when he saw a paragraph in this Notebook he pointed it out to his son.
Poor owd Tom! There was no hope from the start. He could not resist pneumonia and pleurisy. His constitution was not too strong, and the end robs us of one of the features of the game. He was to football what Bunny was to “the movies,” and he had a heart of gold.
Time and space will not allow a memoir to-day, but to-morrow’s “Football Echo” will contain it, and will show one of W.H. Dorrity’s best cartoons of Tom. All round the country one hears expressions of deepest sorrow at the sudden death of our friend, and the funeral on Monday at Anfield will show in some measure in what respect Tom was held. Bluff, hearty, jovial, fond of a joke, could tell one in spasms, and was always prepared to listen to one.
Tom was a favourite all over the country. He hotnobbed with notabilities in his time and only last March when we were travelling to Glasgow for the inter-League match, he kept us intent for an hour or more with tales of Russia and with his meetings with Royalty there.
Someone tried to “pull his leg,” but Tom neatly turned the joke on his assailant. Summarised, I should say that he had signed more cheap and good players than any secretary in the world. He had a faculty not so much for finding a player in the rough, but for tapping sources that led to players coming to Anfield.
I never knew a man who could tap so many parts of the country. His correspondence was abnormal. You could not mention a club’s district without he could reply: “Aye, I’ll write So-and-So. He’s sure to know.”
He had great ideas about keeping a team together, and once in the long ago he had fears that a team would run riot prior to a big cup-tie. He kept them together very cutely.
Billy Dunlop being the instrument by which he kept the players together. Dunlop was a very fair musician, and Tom timed Dunlop’s appearance in the clubroom to a nicety, and the players passed time away pleasantly and forgot all about the passing of the hour. Last season at Chingford Town asked the writer to give them some music, and we eventually had a nightly concert, Tom being M.C. and demanding an giving songs ad lib.
His very best was “Bricks and Mortar,” but latterly he was loth to sing it. A regular church attendant, Tom was a white man, and his charity extended to all parts. I’ve heard him say harsh things to a woman who merited chastisement, and then he proceeded to help her way in a practical manner. However, more to-morrow.
(Liverpool Echo: May 7, 1915)
Note, Bee’s notes about Watson did not appear until Saturday 15 May in the Football Echo. I have not yet got access to this paper.