January 12, 1976
T.V. – Super Reds his memorial
The man entitled to be called Liverpool’s greatest fan has died – Mr. Thomas Valentine Williams, life-president of the club (writes Michael Charters).
Born in 1890, he would have been 86 in a month’s time … on St. Valentine’s Day. He was known throughout football as T.V. rather than by his Christian name.
And wherever he went, the cause of Liverpool was his first concern. He remembered going to Anfield with his father as a boy of five and his devotion to the club grew from that day before the start of the 20th century.
Thomas Valentine Williams (T.V. Williams).
Although he had been failing in health for some time, he still managed to go to his beloved Anfield on match days. The club was his whole life, particularly after the death of his wife.
He and the late John McKenna (Honest John), one time president of the Football League, and the original father figure of Liverpool will be remembered as Liverpool’s greatest directors and administrators. Mr. Williams served on the FA Council for 18 years until his retirement last summer, and he was a member of the FA international committee for many years.
But T.V. will also be known as the man who brought Bill Shankly to Liverpool and thus began the club’s greatest run of success in their history. Tired of Everton’s domination as the leading club in the City, Mr. Williams sought out the managerial figure he thought could change that. The success of the partnership they created is now history.
He first became a director in 1948, having been a shareholder since 1918. His family had been involved with Liverpool since the start of the club. His father and two of his uncles were members of the original Everton (St. Domingo) and joined Liverpool when the original split occurred in 1892.
By profession, he was a cotton broker but “compulsorily” retired when the Government closed the Liverpool Cotton Exchange. He did not return to his business after the last war and was able to devote most of his time to Liverpool affairs. He was at Anfield most days.
He became chairman in 1956 after earlier serving as “caretaker” chairman for some time. He was chairman for eight years, during which Liverpool won the Second and First Division championships.
Within a year of relinquishing the chairmanship, when he was made the club’s first life president, Mr. Williams saw the club attain its – and his – greatest ambition of winning the FA Cup for the first time in 1965.
He was particularly proud of the part he played as chairman in developing a youth policy at Anfield. Ian Callaghan and Gerry Byrne were just two of the lads he encouraged – “my boys,” he used to call them all.
His other great sporting interest was golf, and he was a past captain of West Derby. In later years, he also became a member at Formy with his great friend, John Moores. Although they were chairmen of the rival clubs in the city, their friendship grew on this basis rather than foundered.
As the majority shareholder in Liverpool, with more than a thousand shares, Mr. Williams controlled the incoming and outgoing of directors with his voting power. That he used this control wisely is proved by the growth and standing of the club in football.
Mr. Williams lived to see “his” club grow into one of the best known in the world. That made him a very happy man.
The family have asked that the funeral, at Anfield Crematorium on Friday, be kept strictly private for family only. No flowers are requested.
** Mr. Williams brother, Alec, died only a fortnight ago. He too was a past captain of West Derby Golf Club – the only brothers ever to hold this office.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: January 13, 1976)
Liverpool Echo: January 13, 1976.