Football’s post war planning


June 30, 1942
Next season’s possible snags.
William John Harrop tops poll.
The most important decision made at the Football League’s annual meeting, which may have far-reaching effects on the game for years to come, was the acceptance of the Management Committee’s proposal to set up a special sub-committee to consider problems of post-war football.

Football thus falls into line with Government departments, local authorities, and other bodies now looking ahead and seeking, by intelligent forward planning, to avoid the mistakes made after the last war.

Soccer has its problems the same as any other sphere of activity, and this is a move in the right direction. While the question was first raised at the Nottingham meeting by Birmingham F.C., Mr. William Cuff, president of the League, made it clear the Management Committee had been giving ut earnest consideration for some time.

Mr. Cuff dropped one significant hint in his review of post-war possibilities. He envisaged a transitional period to give clubs time to change from war to peace organisation – “a period in which clubs could set their home in order, without the bogey of relegation, ready to start te competition proper the following season.”

While it may seem early to talk of post war Soccer, there’s nothing like being prepared, and far better take time by the forelock than rush important matters without full consideration.

The clubs approved the formation of “a special sub-committee, on which representatives of clubs will co-operate, to examine, consider, and report to the Management Committee all problems of post war football and the best methods of dealing with them.” Thus, in a matter of a few minutes, was taken a decision which may prove one of the most important in the history of the game.

Two years too soon.
Though the League’s plans for next winter also received approval, the President warned clubs that the coming season might produce even greater difficulties than past ones.

The Home Office have intimated their desire that competitive football should continue as comprehensively as national circumstances permit, but the plans have yet to receive Ministry of Transport sanction. There is a possibility still further curtailment of travelling may be necessary.

Everything depends on national needs. Clubs realise only too well they must cut their cost according to the national cloth, and make the best of whatever circumstances permit. If they allow something approximating to last season’s successful competitions it will be as much as can be expected.

Time brings its changes. Two years ago, discussing fixture problems for isolated clubs, I suggested they should play in semi-local competitions, which should be granted League recognition, and that a percentage of all League gates should go to assisting members playing in such competitions.

The idea was before its time. Now, however, that suggestion is embraced in practical football politics, and will be applied next season to those clubs who cannot be fitted into the framework of the League arrangements. A maximum levy of 2½ per cent will provide compensation for isolated clubs, according to their need.

“W.J.” top of the bill.
Apart from matters of national interest, Merseyside was concerned in several matters. Firstly, it was gratifying to see Mr. William John Harrop, ex-chairman of Liverpool, top the list for the four management vacancies. He polled 41 votes, the other three successful candidates getting 25, 17 and 15. There could be no more eloquent tribute to William John Harrop’s solid popularity throughout the football world.

Mr. Richard Lawson Martindale made his maiden speech, short but to the point, in well-chosen remarks on the London squabble, now happily settled; Mr. Will Gibbins, Everton’s chairman, had an amendment carried increasing referees’ fees from a half to one guinea, and last but by no means least was the masterly handling of the meeting by President Will Cuff.

Mr. Cuff has had the most onerous task of any present in the history of the game. The war broke out before he had been twelve months in office, and since then he has had to meet difficulties which at times might well have daunted a man of less sterner mettle. Thanks to his good work, however, ably supported by an admirable secretary in Fred Howarth and the members of his committee, football has kept going in a manner which at one time seemed hardly possible. The game is fortunate to have such a capable management team in these difficult days.
(Liverpool Echo: June 30, 1942)

Ex-Liverpool chairman, William John Harrop.
1942 Will Harrop

Mr. Richard Lawson Martindale.
1944 RL Martindale

 

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