Friday, November 30 – 1966
London, Glasgow and nine other cities stage more than a quarter of Britain’s League football. None is closer to co-operation in the presentation of a community’s Soccer than Liverpool.
The rivalry and excitement of the game on Merseyside are familiar. Less know is the friendly and financial association between Liverpool F.C. and Everton, two clubs which had a common origin at Anfield.
Today, Everton shareholders own 40% of Liverpool’s £12,000 capital, and Liverpool shareholders have 25% of Everton’s £2,500. Everton’s financial interest in Liverpool F.C., according to the October list, was £4,760. That is more than twice the holding (£2,341) of Liverpool’s directors.
The extent of this common investment in Merseyside football is due largely to the holding of the Moores family and associates in the business of Littlewoods’ firms. They have made it very much Liverpool United. Twenty-nine shareholders, including directors, own £5,396 of the city’s two football clubs’ £14,500 issued capital.
Neither club interferes with the affairs of the other, but major shareholding groups could do so decisively of a situation demanded common action. I see no disadvantage in this. It is in these multiple-club centres that the opportunity for municipal c0-operation exists more strongly and should be encouraged.
Amalgamations of clubs in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Nottingham, Bristol, Dundee and Bradford is not even worth discussing, so strong is tradition. But it is within this area of football promotion than an example could be set to other localities.
What has to be avoided is waste. More than one million places are unused at Britain’s football grounds every Saturday. Yet the demand for seats cannot be met at some grounds. Their cheapness, at as little as 8s. each, is surprising in such circumstances.
This means that Britain’s League football grounds consist mainly of accommodation which the public accepts only as second best, even if it does not reject it entirely. Keeping football heap has also made it unenterprising.
What is lacking are modern and comfortable facilities for which the public would gladly pay much more. The loss of revenue, the waste of capital and the slow leak of support threaten the business of football. One day the clubs must face this problem.
The Football and Scottish Leagues have not surveyed this situation. Local authorities have not been approached about the role they might usefully play. There is little co-operation. There is certainly no planning.
So the Soccer slums get worse, the prospects of clearing them diminish, and the cost mounts. Here us much work for clubs and communication to tackle. Here is the need for co-operation. It must start from a clear appreciation of a national problem.
The great popularity of Soccer is a guarantee that the first municipally to seek a solution will set the pace of sport’s most comprehensive development this century.
(Daily Mail, 30-11-1966)