August 6, 1915
The English Football League Management Committee met at the Exchange Station Hotel, yesterday, and selected the referees for the coming season, &c. Afterwards they were entertained by the League Champions (Everton) to dinner.
The League members present were Mr. John McKenna (chairman of the English Football League), Dr James Baxter (Everton), W. Hall (Arsenal), H. Keys (West Bromwich), C.E. Sutcliffe (Rawtenstall), J. Cameron (Newcastle), John James Bentley (Manchester United), Arthur Dickinson (Sheffield Wednesday), T. Harris (Nottingham), and Tom Charnley (secretary).
Mr. William Clayton (Everton chairman) presided, and Mr. Richard Lawson Martindale Snr. represented Liverpool F.C., and Robert Edward Lythgoe, the Liverpool Football Association. Other Everton directors present were Messrs. B. Kelly, A. Coffey, H. Halsall, J.G. Davies, and Mr. J.G. Davies jun., with Mr. W.C. Cuff (secretary of Everton F.C.).
After Royal honours had been observed, Mr. W.R. Clayton, in proposing the health of the English League Management Committee, said that some people had got into their heads the notion that football directors received a pecuniary reward.
The interest of directors, however, cost them as much as the man who played golf or the man who was a fisherman.
“Football is our hobby,” said Mr. Clayton, “and directors receive no reward in any manner, and it was wise that the public should be informed of this fact. If we dealt with as certain critics would desire, we should be interned. I believe that football is a great institution and benefit to mankind.”
Outdoor sports are one of the greatest factors towards social reform. Football provided mental and physical recreation for the munition and other worker. It had been thought that the game should be suspended at this time.
If it was necessary, it was necessary to-day.
Human nature will not stand a great strain if there is no relief. There must be hours of recreation. What was there to look to in the winter months? Only football. It was a most beneficial thing that workers should be given a chance of recreation.
“I claim,” contented Mr. Clayton, “that the man who opposes reasonable recreation at this special time is an enemy to his country.”
He paid tribute to the magnificent organisation of the Management Committee and to its headpiece, Mr. John McKenna, and said that everyone had the highest esteem for the committee, which had retained the standard of purity and of right in the game, and those standards could be taken as a monument of the exertion and the work of the committee.
Mr. John McKenna, League president, replying, said they had always looked upon Everton as one of the foremost clubs of the country, and they congratulated their directors and their players upon their success in winning the League last season. They had won in a season when transfers were very rare, and, he added amidst laughter, that “some club had made transfers with money – and other with bills.”
There had been a tirade against football all through the season. However, the relief which the wealthier clubs like Everton gave to the weaker links enabled the smaller clubs to carry out their season’s programme.
Mr. McKenna went on to say that here was evidence that it was in the interests of the country to continue the game in the forthcoming season. There would be no compulsion of clubs, however, “We believe,” said the speaker, “that we shall fulfil a duty by giving the nation recreation on Saturday’s.
Professional clubs, it had been suggested, were run purely for money-making purposes. It was not true. They aimed only at making ends meet and giving the public some antidote for their holidays.
He hoped that the games would be a distinct relief to the workers. Some directors of clubs not participating in the game next season said they put their country first and their club second. He objected to this slur.
There was no club that put its sport before the country. They knew their duty, and he was all against anything that would draw the public from their work. Players and public must not neglect their work. There had been a suggestion in a newspaper that illegal payments would be made next season. He did not believe that would be the case.
If there were any club foolish enough to do so, then he trusted that they would be found cut and out of the football. He honestly believed that there would be no underhand work, and that the season would be a successful one. He offered the congratulations of Liverpool F.C. to Everton upon their League victory last season.
Mr. C.E. Sutcliffe, in proposing the toast of the Everton club, said they were a proud, honest, persevering club, always out for the best of sport, and not for personal aggrandizement.
Mr. B. Kelly replied, and, mentioning that he had been connected with the club for over twenty-one years, said Everton had always been loyal and true, and would never be a party to any breakage of the rules of the game.
(Liverpool Daily Post: August 7, 1915)
Arthur Dickinson, the Football League (Lancashire Evening Post: October 1, 1898).