Looking ahead to football season


June 20, 1944
The fact that the Football League Management Committee has decided there shall be no material change in the 1944-45 programme as compared with that of last season, clarifies the work of Secretary Mr. Fred Howarth, and it should not be long before the fixtures for the new season are issued.

The League, I know, had the scheme all mapped out before club suggestions came in, and had Everton’s excellent idea, giving a blank Saturday between each round of the North Cup, gone through, it would have entailed wholesale alterations. Now, however, the Everton plan must be shelved for a year, and the officials can sail along smoothly.

I hope, however, I am not too late in asking Mr. Howarth to give us a little more variety so far as Merseyside is concerned. In the past two season the only change have been in regard to Crewe Alexandra and Southport as affecting Everton and Liverpool. If Liverpool did not play Crewe they played Southport and vice versa. There were also minor changes involving Burnley, Bury, and Blackburn Rovers.

Well, they are attractive enough, but I do think the time has come when our clubs, playing in the area giving more support to football than any other, should have the chance of playing Blackpool. I grant that every club wants to play Blackpool for gate purposes, but surely it is Merseyside’s turn now?

In the past two seasons we have seen Blackpool once at Anfield and once at Goodison Park, both in the cup. Why not League matches, or at least cup qualifying games? Maybe qualifying games would be better because the big gates would provide such nice sums to the common pool.

Clubs like Preston North End – returning to activity again – and Bolton Wanderers have been far too long away, and I hope the League can fixture-plan so that at least we get one visit from these clubs.

I appreciate the travelling and geographical difficulties facing the League, and also the hard job it is to please everyone, but in the past two seasons the two Liverpool clubs have had practically the same programme, and a change would help right now.

Probable start.
No doubt the season proper will open on Saturday, August 26, and that the first League championship will continue until Saturday, December 23, providing for 18 match days as last season.

This will enable the North Cup qualifying competition to start on Christmas Day or Boxing Day – they fall on Monday and Tuesday this year – and end on March 3. Were it possible to play on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day the qualifying competition could be concluded on February 14. The season would, one presumes, end on May 5 – unless an extension were granted.

Clubs will be able to arrange charity matches on August 19, and on Merseyside we shall have the big game between a combined Everton and Liverpool team against the pick of the Western Command and RAF. This was the match suggested by Mr. William McConnell after the Army v RAF match at Anfield last May.

This is such a grand idea that I hope the machinery is put into action early on to make a dream a fact.

The League announced today that further consideration of the 1944-45 season plans will be given at a meeting of the Management Committee at Leeds on July 14. Proposals put forward by the clubs, such as Tottenham’s suggested wage increase and Everton’s idea for smoothing out fixture difficulties, are being held in abeyance because of the postponement of the annual meeting. The proposals will, however, be considered if the annual meeting can be held before the start of the season.
(Evening Express: June 20, 1944)

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