June 19, 1958
Shareholders of Everton critical
There were some lively interludes at the annual meeting of Everton F.C shareholders at the Commence last evening, and when the proceedings terminated after two hours there was some opposition, though rather half-hearted, to the vote of confidence passed in the board of directors.
The meeting opened quietly enough and Mr. C.H. Askham, chairman of the Finance Committee and of the Ground Committee was allowed to give his review of the activities of those committees without interruption. He said that the club had a very satisfactory year, thanks to the loyal support of our long-suffering spectators, with whom sympathise (applause).
“A profit of £35,122 now took the place of a loss of £20,401 the year before. The board would have liked to spend a considerable sum on new players before the end of the financial year but they could not get the players they wanted before that date. The expenditure on Alex Parker and Eddie O’Hara will come into next year’s accounts.”
After detailing at length various items in the balance sheet, Mr. Askham referred to the replying of the pitch and the installation of automatic soil-heating apparatus, which he described as a big step forward and not an experiment. He said that new crush barriers were being put in to stop crowd swaying and gave instances of other improvements. He thanked the maintence foreman and staff for their co-operation and also the club’s secretary Mr. Bill Dickinson.
The First Shot.
The first shots in the fusillade of criticism which later developed came from Mr. V. Winfield who referred to current liabilities of £38,859, a deferred liability of £12,400 and the fees for Parker and O’Hara the whole totaling around £74,000 and asked where the money was coming from.
“Unless you give the spectators better football than last year you will not get the crowds to enable you to pay your way” he concluded.
Mr. Askham “We have over 39,000 spectators at every game and you can pay a lot of debts out of that.”
Mr. Winfield’s reply was the rejoinder that there was no guarantee unless they gave the public better entertainment that the club would enjoy such gates next winter. Another shareholder pointed out that £23,176 had been saved by not having to pay entertainments tax and that £15,450 had come from transfer fees.
“Without these two items you would have been in the red to the tune of over £1, 000,” he added “and I see no occasion for you to pat yourselves on the back.”
When the meeting arrived at the point of electing directors Mr. P.L. Parry, secretary of the shareholders Association referred to a letter from the Football Association dated June 2, stating that one of the candidates (Mr. E. Holland Hughes) was not eligible for election at the time.
He asked whether the position had changed since then. Mr. Bill Dickinson (secretary) said a communication had since been received from the F.A stating that as Mr. Hughes has resigned his position as secretary of the Pool Promoters’ Association there was now no objection to his election.
Mr. Macaulay then took up the cudgels. He wanted to know when Mr. Hughes resigned from the Pool Promoters’ Association secretaryship and claimed that his nomination on May 1 was not eligible.
This point was argued rather heatedly for some time, but eventually the objectors accepted the fact that it had been officially established there could now be no objection to Mr. Hughes, and the names of the six candidates – including the two retiring directors – were submitted to voting by a show of hands.
No figures were announced when the votes were counted individually, or at the end of the six rounds of voting. Instead it was stated that a poll had been demanded and would be taken. This resulted in the reelection of Messrs J.C. Sharp (1,249) and C.H. Askham (1,242) – the two retiring directors – and the election of R. A. Joynson (1,235) and E. Holland Hughes (1,195) to the two vacancies caused by the deaths of Messrs E. Green and T.C Nuttall.
Mr. T. Birch and Mr. Donald McPhail, the nominees of the shareholders Association, pooled 400 and 390 votes respectively.
Mr. Parry and Mr. Macauley made it clear that they had nothing personal against Mr. Hughes and bore him no ill-will. They had raised the question purely on a matter of principle.
Prior to the voting there had been another burst of laugher when, after the secretary had stated that nobody who had given a proxy would be allowed a voting paper, one shareholder said he had such a paper although he had previously handed in his proxy.
It was later explained that his proxy had arrived a day too late to be effective which was why he had been given voting rights at the meeting.
Mr. C.E Balmforth, outlining the work of the Playing Staffs Sub-Committee, reviewed the next season’s working, and said that every effort had been made to get players to strengthen the team. This went on for several months, but the club either met with blank refusals or were asked prohibitive prices.
On one occasion Mr. Buchan had been empowered to spead £35,000 but had to come back empty handed.
Search Not Ended.
The club had not finished its search with the signing of Parker and O’Hara, but the names of the players they were now seeking must be withheld in case the market was spoiled by prior publicity.
“We are after another international player at the present moment,” he added, ”and hope to sign him within a week or so.” (Applause).
Mr. Balmforth also referred to the reorganization of the scouting staff under Mr. Harry Cooke, whom he was convinced would make an excellent chief scout and give the club the same good services that he had done in past years. He also paid a warm tribute to Mr. Ian Buchan, in whom he said, the club had the greatest confidence.
(Liverpool Echo: June 20, 1958; by “Rangers”)