Burnley F.C.: The annual meeting of 1916

Thursday, June 15 – 1916
Annual meeting of shareholders.
Loyalty of the players.
The annual meeting of the shareholders of the Burnley Football Club took place in the billiard room of the club on Thursday evening. The chair was occupied by Mr. H. Windle, and the other directors present were Messrs. W.E. Bracewell, A. Cooper, F. Slater, J. Harrison, and G. Hapwood, with Mr. J. Haworth (secretary). There was only a small attendance of shareholders.

The Chairman, in moving the adoption of the repor and balance sheet, thought everyone would agree that the unanimous decision of the directors to continue the game during the past season had been thoroughly justified, both from a playing and financial point of view, as well as in the national interest. They had provided the public with that recreation which was necessary under the present conditions for those who could not join the forces, and there was no other game that could approach football in providing that outdoor recreation. (Hear. Hear).

The players had, in his opinion played exceedingly clever football, under very arduous conditions, and he thought that the public were well satisfied with the quality of the football they had provided.

Turning to the financial side of the report, Mr. Windle said the club had lost £273 17s. 11d., but if they had not played football they would have lost another £1,000. Along with the secretary, he had gone into the various items of expenditure to which they were actually committed, and they estimated that it would have cost them over £1,600, had they not continued the game, and they would not have had a penny coming in. So that their present financial position was very much better through having played the game, apart from any other considerations.

Further they had been enabled to hand over to local charities £181 13s. 7d., and in addition they had contributed as the club’s share £107 3s. to the League Management Committee to be divided amongst national charities. They had also made collections for footballs for soldiers which had realised £34 16s. 8d., and they had already sent out 59 footballs and one set of jerseys, while to the Footballers’ Battalion Comforts Fund they had forwarded £10 18s. 4d.

Taxes amounting to £884 and contributions to charities of £288 accounted for £1,172, or nearly half the gross income of the club for the past season. The total collections amounted to £45 16s. 6d.

The item of £10 16s. 9d. for sundries included the presentation of caps to English schoolboys who player in the international match in Scotland; cigarettes for soldiers; and wreaths for the late Harry Langtree and Tom Watson, late secretary of the Liverpool club. The credit balance of the club to be carried forward after allowing £800 depreciation on the stands, was £9,404 11s. 4.

In the nation’s interest.
He would like to ask the shareholders to record on the minutes their appreciation of the loyalty of the players, for they had given of their best and done their utmost to assist the club in this very unfortunate crisis. The Rovers players as well, whenever they had been called upon, had rendered them excellent service. (Hear, hear.)

While he would not say they were unfortunate in not winning the Lancashire section of the competition, they certainly looked once as if they would run away with it, but they failed to stay the course and away from home perhaps did not give the same excellent displays they did at home. But they finished as runners-up and won the subsidiary competition, fully meriting the positions they attained.

With regard to next season, it was very problematical as to what would take place, and a lot would depend on the way the clubs would be met by the military authorities in order to enable the clubs to put in fairly representative teams, which would merit fairly reasonable patronage. He thought that something ought to be done by the heads of the Association and the League in order that such an arrangement might be made possible.

He knew the League Management Committee had the opportunity of discussing the position with the heads of the military authorities, and they came to the conclusion and passed a resolution that it was in the best interest of the game that football should be continued. He had never heard of that being rescinded or any likelihood of it, and he honestly believed that it was in the best interests of the nation that football should be continued in order to give that recreation to industrial and munition workers unable to be with his Majesty’s forces. He though it would be better if instead of utilising the several soldier footballers in inter-regimental matches they could be allowed to come to their own towns, without any loss of training, and participate in the game which would give amusement and pleasure to thousands of people or enable those players who were too far away to assist their own clubs to assist other clubs in the largest provincial centres in the country.

In conclusion Mr. Windle mentioned that the auditor informed that that next year the income tax would amount to £1,250 and the rates £107, a total of £1,357.

The report and balance sheet having been seconded.

Mr. Worrall, a shareholder, though the directors were entitled to congratulated on having produced such a favourable balance-sheet under the conditions they had been labouring.

The report and balance-sheet were adopted unanimously.

It was decided to declare a dividend of 5 per cent, the payment, as last year, to be left to 5the discretion of the directors.

18 players in the Army.
Alderman E. Whitehead, J.P., was, on the motion of Mr. J.H. Ashworth, unanimously re-elected president of the club. Mr. E. Hope was also re-appointed auditor, at the same remuneration as last year, and Mr. Ashworth the shareholders’ hon. auditor.

Mr. Bracewell mentioned that 18 of the club’s players had actually enlisted. They had lost one in Lorimer, and Bates, their trainer, has been a prisoner practically since the beginning of the war. He thought the Burnley players had done their duty to their King and country. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. J.H. Ashworth moved that a hearty vote of thanks be passed to all the players who had so willingly assisted the club during the past season. He was sure they deserved all the tanks they could give them, for they had given them of their best. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. Eltoft seconded the proposition, which was carried with acclamations.

A hearty vote of thanks to the Chairman closed the meeting.
(Burnley News, 17-06-1916)


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