Liverpool F.C.: The annual meeting of 1972

July 21, 1972
Liverpool are set for the big spend.
“We can only get better.”
Liverpool F.C. shareholders were warned last night that the big-spending, of which the club’s new £500,000 stand is a part, may only just have begun. At the club’s annual meeting at Anfield last night, the chairman of finance committee, Eric Sawyer, mentioned the large sums spent by the club recently on improvements.

“In the wake of the Ibrox disaster and future legislation implementing the Wheatley Report recommendations, it would be rash to say that this will be the end of it,” he said.

Next April the new 10 per cent V.A.T. surcharge comes into effect and he forecast it would cost Liverpool £60,000 to £70,000 a year.

“The whole thing is an ass,” said Mr. Sawyer.
“We must be on our guard to ensure that the game at Anfield which today is so attractive will continue to be so and that we will enjoy the marvellous support that is essential to our survival.”

The cost of any ground alterations as a result of any Wheatley Report recommendations becoming law would also be tremendous.

The Wheatley Committee inquired into the Ibrox disaster and among their recommendations is one that both standing and seated fans should have a certain amount of room, well above what is required at the moment.

“That, plus other recommendations regarding gangways could cut the capacity of terracing like the Kop to about 15,000,” Mr. Sawyer said after the meeting.

Another costly item which may face top clubs in the future is the possibility of UEFA making a seven-foot high fencing or a moat round a ground, a condition of entry into one of their tournaments.

Mr. Sawyer reported a profit on last year of £107,079, which included Liverpool’s share of the 1971 Cup Final gate.
“We end the year a little stronger than we began it and with more liquidity,” he said.

After the meeting the club chairman, Eric Roberts was re-elected for a fourth year, the longest term a chairman has served since the current club president, Thomas Valentine Williams (T.V. Williams), left the chair after eight years in office in 1964.

After one year on the Board, Jack Cross has been elected vice-chairman.

Bill Shankly, who has led Liverpool to the FA Cup Final and to within a point of the League title in the last two years, last night warned the rest of the First Division: “We can only get better.”

“We’ve got the youngest and, incidentally, the smallest staff we’ve ever had with most of them either still in their teens or in their early twenties. We can only get better,” he said.

Speaking to more than 100 shareholders at Liverpool’s annual meeting at Anfield he said: “Two years ago a lot of men came here, and ripped it to pieces. All the inconvenience that was possible we had – everyone at the club.

“During that time, the season before last we nearly won the Cup and last season we nearly won the League. We didn’t lose it at the beginning of the season and we didn’t lose it at the end.

“We lost it in the middle. It is difficult to put your finger on any particular occasion but we suffered injuries to Tommy Smith, Larry Lloyd and Kevin Keegan and were without them for long periods.

“Any one of those three players, great players, could have won us that extra point.”

He paid a tribute to Tommy Smith’s captaincy and also to the work of Youth Development Officer Tom Saunders.
“A team can only survive if it has got the players and we’ve got Tom Saunders. We’ll go on trying to make Liverpool a better team.”

(Source: Liverpool Echo: July 22, 1972; via © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

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