Liverpool F.C.: The annual meeting of 1955

June 28, 1955
Two new Liverpool F.C. directors
Ex-Chairman defeated
Future hopes
Liverpool F.C. Shareholders at their annual meeting last night, elected two new directors to the board, along with two of the three retiring directors, but Mr. Stanley Ronald Williams, who has been a members of the board for 24 years, and is a former chairman, failed to gain re-election.

There were six candidates for four seats – an additional vacancy arose because of the recent death of Mr. John W. Morris – and the voting resulted.
* Thomas Valentine Williams (T.V. Williams) (9,720);
Sidney Cecil Reakes (8,142);
Cecil Hill (7,417);
* George Alfred Richards (6,381);
* S.R. Williams (2,093);
H.J. Green (2,001).
(* retiring director).

The three first-named candidates were elected for three years, and Mr. Richards for the two unexpired years of the late Mr. Morris’s term of office.

After the candidates had briefly addressed the meeting prior to the election, a shareholder asked why the board had this year departed fro the usual custom of not supporting the three retiring directors, which had been the practice for about 30 years.

In his speech Mr. S.R. Williams had referred to this point, but said that he had not been given any reason for the decision.

Admission of discord.
Mr. William John Harrop (chairman): “It is true we have usually done that, but it does not follow that it is a strict rule. There are times when conditions and opinions change. The decision was not arrived at hastily but was carefully thought about, and it was felt that a possible change on the board might do the club good.”

In reply to the question: “May we take it that there is discord on the board?” Mr. Harrop replied.
“Yes, you can take it that way.”

Prior to the election Mr. Harrop had reviewed the club’s progress last season, and said he hoped the board would not be taken to task because the team had failed to gain promotion at the first attempt. The directors were just as disappointed as the shareholders.

The change from First to Second Division football had proved a thriving period to players, officials and supporters alike. The going had been very tough, and it took time for the players, particularly the younger ones, to become accustomed to the faster play and more robust tackling.

No illusions.
“Competition for promotion grows ore intense each year,” continued Mr. Harrop.
“Your board has no illusions. They know that the task is going to be very much harder than was envisaged at this time last year. It is far harder than most folk imagine, but the board, players, and officials are going to make an all-out effort to obtain our objective in the coming season.

“We know that there are certain positions that need strengthening and duplicating. We shall tackle the job with the utmost vigour and use all the resources at our disposal.”

Dealing with the question of buying players, Mr. Harrop said that the club had no intention of paying fantastic prices for players of only ordinary quality. In any case they could not do it, as they had not got the money.

Lessons learned.
“The board have read, marked, and learned the lessons of the past two years, and I sincerely hope that when we meet again next year the policy of both directors and officials will have been completely vindicated.”

Before dealing with the accounts and balance-sheet, Mr. Harrop paid a tribute to the work of Mr. Don Welsh and Mr. Jimmy McInnes, the acting secretary. The latter had done a magnificent job under difficult circumstances. Nobody could possibly have done better.

He also thanked the players and other members of the staff, and made a sympathetic reference to the loss sustained by the club in the death of Messrs. John Charles Rouse, J.W. Morris and George Patterson.

Mr. Don Welsh, who also reviewed last season’s record, said that the breaking up of such a team as Liverpool had a few years ago meant a very difficult time for the board and himself.

Too “money conscious”
Football in general was also having a difficult time. One problem was that as in many other walks of life, the present-day attitude of some players was to get as much out of it as possible, rather than considering what they could put into it.

“Certain players are money-conscious instead of playing-conscious, and too many youngsters are security-minded from the time they leave school. There are so many interests provided for them nowadays that they do not practice as much as boys used to do a generation or two ago.”

Contentious points.
While the shareholders were waiting for the result of the directorial voting Mr. Welsh and Mr. Harrop answered a number of queries from the body of the hall. These dealt with the system of training, the tendency of some players to fade out in the later stages of a game, the wisdom of otherwise of the ‘defence in depth’ idea, the proposed flodlit league, the poor standard of refereeing, and many other debatable topics.

One shareholder caused amusement by maintaining that the goal scored by Middlesbrough at Anfield last season was clear proof that there ‘was no planning in the board room’ – but did not explain how one isolated instance justified that assumption.

Mr. T.V. Williams, who earlier had said that it was the club’s duty to the Kop supporters to give them First Division football, intervened in the discussion to say that promotion was the ambition of their chairman, who had declined to go forward with his nomination for the presidency of the Football League in order to devote his whole energy to that purpose.
“He was a cast-iron certainly for the League post if he had gone forward,” added Mr. Williams.
“He has sacrificed football’s greatest honour for the sake of Liverpool F.C.”
(Source: Liverpool Echo: June 29, 1955; via © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

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