June 27, 1958
Liverpool chairman optimistic about future
Shareholders’ few queries at harmonious meeting
Despite the fact that last season Liverpool failed to fulfill their supporters’ hopes regarding promotion, there was an atmosphere of harmony and cheerfulness at the annual meeting of shareholders last evening, and only four minor questions were asked.
Two of these were speedily disposed of when the chairman (Mr. Tom Williams) replied that the board had already anticipated the points raised and the work involved had been put in hand and was now completed.
Although not the shortest annual gathering on record, it was one of the most amicable and friendly. The attitude of the shareholders in the well-filled hall was clearly one of satisfaction, combined with philosophic resignation to another year in the Second Division, and criticism was notable for its absence.
While the business on the agenda was handled by the chairman with expedition, every opportunity was given to shareholders to put questions to the board.
It even seemed at times as though unusual encouragement was being provided in this direction, judging by the pauses between the various items on the agenda. There was certainly no hasty galloping through the business of the agenda, yet everything was over in 45 minutes.
The meeting ended on a happy note with expressions of appreciation from several shareholders and a unanimous vote of thanks to the chairman and the board.
Mr. Tom Williams, reviewing the past season, expressed the disappointment felt at the club’s failure to gain promotion, particularly after the splendid efforts of the team towards the end of the season. He attributed this failure to the poor away record in the first half of the campaign.
“Despite our shortcomings,” he added “on the whole our team played attractive and entertaining football and maintained the interest right to the end.”
With regard to the coming season, Mr. Williams said the side had been strengthened by the signing of Fred Morris, an outside right from Mansfield Town, and he thought the team would give a good account of itself. “We have a grand lot of players, and with further strengthening and duplication it should be capable of restoring the prestige of the club.”
Prepared to spend
“We are prepared to pay reasonable fees for experienced first-class players of the type required, but are definitely averse to spending huge sums on players of mediocre ability.
“I wish once again to reaffirm the intention of the board to use their best endeavours towards gaining promotion this coming winter. Over the past four seasons the promotion battle has become sterner, with few points separating the top six or seven clubs. No matter what our shortcomings may have been in the past, we feel that with the experience we now have of Second Division football we can approach our task with a fair amount of optimism.
“Given reasonable luck and freedom from injuries we feel promotion will be achieved and the disappointment and heartaches of previous years left behind.”
Mr. Williams paid a warm tribute to the loyalty of the players and particularly Billy Liddell, who last season created a new record in appearances. He also referred feelingly to the disaster which befell Manchester United players and officials, and also Press, in the Munich crash.
In extending sympathy to the Manchester club and to relatives of those who died, Mr. Williams expressed the hope that Mr. Matt Busby’s recovery would soon be complete, and congratulated him on the honours recently conferred on him by the Queen.
Regarding floodlighting, the speaker said that Liverpool had originally decided to install this more for the convenience of supporters, particularly in relation to the kick-off times in mid-winter, than for any possible financial gain.
“We paid the whole cost of the installation before the end of last season,” he added, “which I think is a remarkable achievement.”
Mr. Williams concluded his review by thanking his colleagues on the board for their help throughout the season, and also manager, secretary, players, coaches, and trainers for their loyal efforts, which he assured them were fully appreciated.
Mr. Robson Roberts, chairman of the Finance Committee, dealt at length with the accounts for the year, which showed a profit of £3,911, against a loss of £4,425 the previous season.
He said that the net increase in receipts of £37,560 over the preceding twelve months was a very satisfactory state of affairs, and the club was in a healthy financial position with a balance carried forward to the coming winter of £59,148.
A minor question by a shareholder regarding travelling expenses was satisfactorily explained and the accounts were unanimously adopted.
The next question related to the swaying of the crowd at the corner of Anfield Road and Kemlyn Road. To this Mr. Williams replied that 18 new crush barriers had already been put in during the close season, at a cost of over £300.
His answer to another query relating to the state of the car park and approaches was that in this instance also the board had forestalled shareholders by having a new surface laid.
On only one question was there a hint that the board could do little. This related to the overcrowding of the paddock because the public would not spread themselves out evenly.
It was explained that even the presence of stewards would be of little help, as many spectators picked their favourite vantage spot and would not move, but the board promised to consider the matter further.
On arriving at the point of directorial elections, the chairman announced that Mr. W.H. Bodley and Mr. S.C. Saltmarsh had withdrawn their nominations, which meant that the three retiring directors – Messrs. Tom Williams, Cecil Hill and Sidney Reakes – were re-elected unopposed.
Explaining his withdrawal, Mr. Saltmarsh said he had allowed his name to go forward only in case there was an unexpected vacancy. He was quite satisfied with the work of the chairman and the board, and did not wish to oppose the retiring directors.
He considered that the board had done a good job. It was easy to criticize, but not so easy to get players. He hoped that the club would be a little ore fortunate next season and regain its senior status, but in the meantime he considered its affairs were run very well and there could be no complaints.
Mr. Bodley was not quite so definite in his views. He said he had no desire to hold a post-Morten, but the diet for supporters had been mainly bread and jam and very little cake. Even the jam was a bit thin occasionally.
At the same time he was very pleased with the younger players on the clubs’ books, and recommended supporters to give better support to the Central League side, which had been responsible for some of the best football seen on the ground last winter.
In his opinion the reserve strength to-day was far better than it had been for many years past, and he looked forward to the day when the headlines would speak less of Busby’s babes and more of “Taylor’s Tots.”
Best in the country
Mr. Phil Taylor (manager) outlining the club’s resources for next season, said both he and the players were intensely disappointed that they had just failed to win promotion. “The determination of the players to reach the First Division this coming season is very strong. I have a splendid lot of lads under my care,” he said. “I think they are the best in the country. If they had a bad game it is not through want of effort. Every player has an off day now and again. Ours are no exception, but I am very hopeful for the future, and trust that next season will see us gain our ambition.”
The meeting closed with a tribute to Mr. Robson Roberts to the chairman. “The enthusiasm and work which he puts in for our club is amazing,” he said. “I have never known anybody to work harder for the betterment of Liverpool F.C. It has been a joy to be associated with him.”
Returning thanks Mr. Williams said that the Liverpool club was his sole concern and his whole life, and he would continue to do his best for its success at all times.
At a directors’ meeting held later, Mr. Tom Williams was unanimously re-elected chairman for the ensuing twelve months, and Mr. Robson Roberts vice-chairman.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: June 28, 1958; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited