Thomas Valentine Williams: De Gaulle of soccer

April 30, 1964
Chairman Thomas Valentine Williams, who was T.V.. Long before Logie Baird invented those illustrious initials, saw football first at Anfield fro the shoulders of his father, himself an Everton player in the days before the split produced the new Liverpool playing on the old Everton pitch at Anfield, and the old Everton playing on a new pitch at Goodison Park.

From that moment T.V. Williams was a red and has remained one ever since, though some of his club’s vicissitudes in the post 1939-45 war period would sometimes have made a saint change his footballing favours. Amid all the unpredictability of the team, and there were times when Unpredictable became their official title, T.V. Williams’ enthusiasm and love for the club remained constant. It was often hard going. He took over during the illness of that greatly-respected pillar of Anfield for so many season, the late William John Harrop.

The Liverpool chairman is the De Gaulle of soccer – tall, unswerving in his aims, unshakable if he feels he is right, never one to court popularity at the expense of anything he considers best for the club.

His aim
It was just after the war when he was a junior among Liverpool directors, despite his long spell as a shareholder and follower. Immediately he assumed office as chairman, he set his sights of Liverpool gaining a major trophy in Britain. Within a season or so they were so far from winning a title they dropped to Division II and stayed there so long we wondered whether they would ever get back.

Managers, including Don Welsh and Phil Taylor, came and went, and always promotion was just too far round the corner. Then Liverpool chose Bill Shankly for the job and, hey presto, where there had been near misses there was now the joyful return to the top class and then the steady rise to the pinnacle the club touched when they beat Arsenal.

The chairman, always believing that club business must be club business and that the Board should have the final say in which players came, which went – and at what cost – has been an invaluable aid to Manager Shankly in his scouting and signing missions.

T.V. Williams, once in Cotton as they still say around Old Hall Street, has been out of action on the Exchange for some years; his ample time he has used to further Liverpool’s interests. For some years now he has been an FA Councillor and selector, and if I know him aright, he has left other selectors in no doubt as to the potential of such men as Roger Hunt, Ian Callaghan, Jimmy Melia, Peter Thompson, Gordon Milne and Gerry Byrne, who gained his cap against Scotland last season.

Most chairmen of Football League clubs spend much time at their clubs; none has put in more hours of work and worry than the man who has guided Liverpool these past eight seasons. If he decided to call it a day now and spent the rest of his years letting others do some of the spade – work (the amount of travelling he has done has been phenomenal) none would be surprised.

One mission
As he says: “I feel I have accomplished at least one of my missions – success in one of the major tournaments in Europe. I would have liked, of course, to have see the side win the Cup which has always eluded us, but you can’t have everything and I feel that in winning the Second Division championship and now the championship of the First Division, we have set the club back where it should be.”
(Source: Liverpool Echo: April 30, 1964; via © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited


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