March 22, 1936
One of the foremost leaders and legislators of the Association football game of all time, Mr. John McKenna, president of the Football League since 1910 and vice-president of the Football Association since 1928, died in Walton Hospital, Liverpool, Sunday. He was in his 82nd year.
Mr. McKenna was taken ill at his home in Anfield, Liverpool, last Tuesday and was transferred to hospital late on Saturday night. He was unconscious towards the end.
Devotion to duty hastened Mr. McKenna’s death. Although far from well, he went to Inverness on March 14th in his capacity as a member of the International Selection Committee of the F.A. to watch the Scotland v. England amateur international match. He become very ill on the return journey.
Three weeks ago, while hurrying to catch a train at Manchester, he tripped and fell flat on his face on the platform. He never really recovered from the shock of this accident and the strain of his visit to Inverness.
Mr. McKenna played a prominent part in the pools controversy. He expressed the view that the Football League fixtures should not be interfered with, and when he situation was cleared up he seem much relieved.
Although Mr. McKenna was a prominent official in the football world for nearly half a century, his connection with the game came about in chance manner. As a volunteer he joined the Lancashire Artillery, and when it was decided to form a Rugby football club, he accepted the chairmanship besides playing in the team. He was then a battery sergeant-major.
Then one day he was persuaded to see an Association match – between Everton and Bootle – played almost on the same stretch of turf where the Liverpool club now contest their games. From that time he become a convert from Rugby and devoted his life to the furtherance and improvement of Soccer football.
He was a Board of Guardians officer in Liverpool for 35 years, and a director of the Liverpool club for over 29 years.
Mr. McKenna will be remembered for his great service to the legislative side of the game. He was elected a member of the Football Association Council in 1905, and succeeded the late Mr. John James Bentley as president of the Football League in 1910. It was not his intricate knowledge of the laws and regulations of the game that influenced the League in their choice, but the fact that by temperament and practical conception Mr. McKenna was particularly created to lead.
(Nottingham Evening Post: March 23, 1936)