June 30, 1961
Tension spoiled Liverpool’s promotion bid, says manager
Club refuses A’Court’s transfer application
The application for a transfer by Alan A’Court, Liverpool’s international winger, has been refused by the club directors, it was sorted at the annual general meeting last night. And Manager Bill Shankly added that, after a chat with A’Court, he was hopeful that the player would resign soon as “the air had been cleared.”
Mr. Shankly also said that the only other player not yet re-signed was Johnny Morrissey, and here again he believed he would do in the next week or so.
Once again, for me, it was Mr. Shankly, with his incisive way, who put his seal on the meeting with his views on last season’s disappointment in not gaining promotion, and his ideas for next season.
After referring to the disappointment everyone connected with the club felt at another year in the Second Division, he went on: “I think the tension on the players was too much for them to carry. It’s tension created over the past seven years of just failing to gain promotion. Before the season started, everyone was talking of Liverpool for promotion and this created a tense atmosphere.
“We were in a challenging position after a run of 14 games without defeat, but in spite of that, it became evident that we were just short of the necessary.
“It seems little achievement to the people of Liverpool that we finished third in the Second Division, and second in the Central League. But I am proud of the second team performance because we played boys of 15 and 16 at times.
“The “C” team won their League and a supplementary competition, and it gives me real pleasure to see the progress these boys have made. If we can sign some more good youngsters this summer, we shall close the gap and have the greatest promise among our young players.
“We have made many efforts to sign youngsters, but the action of the Associations in Scotland and Ulster in banning boys from becoming apprentice professionals in England has been a blow to us. It has closed two of our sources of supply.”
He then went on to refer to the signing of Scottish international Ian St. John at the end of the season. “What a tonic it was to see him play against Everton in the Senior Cup,” he said.
“We have great hopes of him and that the boys around him will benefit from his skill and unselfish ability. This signing was a major step for us, and I can assure everyone, that the directors are determined to sign more players of the type we want.
“We know there are positions which need strengthening in the team. We will enter the bidding for star players no matter how hot the opposition or whatever the price. I will make no predictions, but I can say genuinely that I will do my utmost for complete not part success next season.”
Chairman Mr. Thomas Valentine Williams also reiterated the directors’ determination to gain promotion, and go all out for any outstanding player whom they wanted. Money would be no object, and the directors would guarantee themselves the spending of cash on big transfer fees.
Tribute to Liddell
He also paid tribute to Billy Liddell on his retirement and described him as the most loyal player Liverpool had ever had. The Liverpool team would not seem the same without him.
Mr. Solly Isenwater, chairman of the Shareholders’ Association said that he thought the directors should have done something immediately after the Lincoln game at Anfield last season to strengthen two positions, and also discipline one of the players.
Mr. Williams: “Rubbish. You don’t know that we haven’t had that player before us, and you don’t know how many miles the directors have travelled trying to sign players.”
At this, another shareholder, Mr. Adler, jumped up and proposed a vote of no confidence in Mr. Williams for “he had no right to talk to a shareholder in that manner.” There was no seconder.
The three retiring directors, Mr. Williams, Mr. Sidney Cecil Reake and Mr. Cecil Hill, were re-elected unanimously. Nominations by Mr. W.H. Bodley, Alderman Arthur Collins, Mr. G.W. Hawkins and Mr. H.E. Roberts were withdrawn.
Thomas Valentine Williams.
There was a good deal of discussion by the shareholders, and a certain amount of underlying annoyance, over the repeated failure to gain promotion, but no concrete proposals were put forward, and the meeting ended with a feeling that the board were doing everything in their power to strengthen the team. There was unanimity that there was an urgent need for more class players of the St. John type.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: July 1, 1961)