Liverpool F.C.: The annual meeting of 1920 (Liverpool Echo)

June 23, 1920
Liverpool F.C. meeting brings out points.
The Law Rooms in Cook-street resemble a church in many ways, and when Liverpool F.C. met to “celebrate” an annual meeting instead of slanging directors for not doing miracles the air was hot but not fiery, as in days gone by. One shareholder suggested that in that room years ago the directors had been responsible for a debt of thousands of pounds.

Mr. John McKenna instantly took up the word, and said “Yes, that’s true. We were responsible for that amount, but, thank goodness, we have lived to wipe it off, and can now rest content in the knowledge that overdrafts, &c., are not attached to the names of directors of the club.”

John McKenna.
John McKenna

It was a happy meeting throughout, and there were many points to interest, notably that which bore references to the 20 per cent scheme between clubs wherein some clubs could take 20 per cent of all receipts and on their return game they were barred from taking grand stand receipts.

The League, it was mentioned, was taking note of all these changes, and is moving in the matter. Another feature was the announcement that another member of the William Scott family had been signed by the club. John, like William and Elisha is a goalkeeper.

Perhaps the most sterling speech of the evening was that delivered by Mr. Howarth, who made a telling speech for the election of the three retiring directors. He had some figures to help him, and I quote the following “account” from the gentleman named as showing the rise of the Anfield club from a state of bankruptcy to affluence;

Liabilities, 1909:
Reverse account: £1,909 6s. 0d.
Mortgages, Debts & int: £18,920 5s. 1d.
Loans to directors and shareholders: £4,105 8s. 1d.
Bank overdraft: £1,796 0s. 8d.
Total: £26,122 19s. 10d.

Assets, 1909:
Clothing, stores on hand: £40.
Sundry book debt: £206 17s. 8d.
Cash in hand: £25.
Total: £271 17s. 8d = £25.841 2s. 2d.

Liabilities, 1920:
Mortgages, Debts & int: £5,946.
Loan: £1,025.
Sundry condition: £705 13s. 2d.
Total: £7,576 10s. 11d.

Assets, 1920:
Clothing, stores on hand: £40.
Sundry book debt: £718 9s. 0d.
Cash in hand: £83.
Bank of Liverpool Deposit Account: £8,645 11s. 4d.
Bank of Liverpool General Account: £8,339 11s. 2d.
War stock cost: £680.
Total: £16,346 11s. 0d.
Deduct Liabilities: £7,576 10s. 11d.
New total: £8,770 0s. 7d.
Add Gross Liabilities: £25,841 2s. 2d.
Grand total: £34,611 2s. 9d.

Mr. W.F. Crosbie, a shareholder, moved the re-election of Messrs. John McKenna, John Asbury and Richard Lawson Martindale Snr. He referred to the club’s success and to the fact that they had gained class players without sensational transfer fee-payments, and specially pointed to the signing of locals such as Tom Bromilow, and the trial of Donald Mackinlay at full-back. He recalled the former secretary’s (Tom Watson) prophecy that Mackinlay, then a junior, would one day play for Scotland, which honour came to the player last season.

Mr. Howarth, seconding, said he thought it would be gross ingratitude to turn away the men who had at last, by monumental effort, put the club on a strong foundation. Other gentlemen added their testimony.

Mr. Walter Henry Cartwright, proposed for a directorship had support, and in a speech he pleaded that the shareholders should not allow the officers to fill vacancies on the board without consulting them. There had been neither secrecy nor spleen about his nomination – he simply wanted the shareholders to have the opportunity if exercising their right.

The voting resulted: Mr. John Asbury, 5346; Mr. John McKenna, 5306; Mr. Richard Lawson Martindale Snr, 5211; Mr. Walter Henry Cartwright, 4364. The retiring directors were therefore re-elected.

Mr. William Robert Williams, moving the adoption of the report and balance sheet, congratulated Mr. McKenna on his twenty-eight year of service of the Liverpool club. Mr. Matt McQueen, who had been given a seat on the board, he said, had already proved of great service to the club.

In 1909 Mr. McKenna appealed, in the room in which they were now gathered; for assistance, as the club had but £25 in hand, and owed £26,000. That had been turned in the meantime into a balance on the right side of £8,730. Eleven years’ working had showed them a profit of £34,600. The loyalty and character of their players was worthy of special comment.

On December 6 – 1919, the club were third from the bottom of the chart, and at Middlesbrough a player approached him and said: “Don’t look so gloomy; we shall not lose again.” The club lost that day, but after that came their long run of success. He was especially proud of the movement of the players to invite the directors to dinner at the end of the season. The Liverpool players had been pioneers in this scheme for cementing the bond between club and players.

The signings.
The chairman eulogised the services of their new manager, Mr. David Ashworth, who, in reply, said he knew no better board of directors and no more loyal players. He read the following list of players signed for next season:

Goalkeepers: Elisha Scott, Howard Baker, and a younger member of the Scott family, also an amateur (John Scott).
Backs: Ephraim Longworth, Donald Mackinlay, Tommy Lucas, Billy Jenkinson, Jim Penman.
Half-backs: John Bamber, William Lacey, Walter Wadsworth, Tom Bromilow, Billy Matthews, John Ford, Frank Checkland, John McNab and William Cunningham, of Blyth Spartans.
Forwards: Jack Sheldon, Dick Forshaw, Tom Miller, John Miller, Harry Chambers, Pearson, Dick Johnson, Harry Lewis, Peter McKinney, Harold Wadsworth, and a local amateur Tommy Cox.
(Liverpool Echo: June 24, 1920)


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