While our researcher was going through the Everton Collection Charitable Trust website recently he came on the following (transcribed) cutting taken from The Athletic News issue of 17th April 1922. Its Collection reference number is 796 EFC/20/2/13.
Unfortunately some of it isn't clear. We have marked this with bold underlined question marks.
What it shows is there is nothing new under the sun.
The position of Everton has aroused the criticism of a considerable body of shareholders of that club. At two recent meetings it was unanimously decided to propose the removal of the board of directors and to "instal in their place men of experience and ability."
Mr. J. E. Hindle, the chairman, and Mr. Thomas Heaton, the secretary of the dissatisfied shareholders have issued the following circular dated April12:-
'We are seriously concerned with the reputation of the Everton Club, not only from a football point of view, but also as regards its consideration by the other League organisation in this country. The chairman's ? have pulled it from the pedestal: we intend to replace it on a firmer basis than ever, and we have sufficient conceit in ourselves to know that we can do it.
In one League match last season the team as chosen by this majority was the laughing stock of the spectators. "Is this Everton?" they said. The syndicate candidates simply could not do worse than the ? five. Why not give them a chance of doing better?'
It will be observed that they admitted that the club had a good name and was on a pedestal, a position due to the good work done by the men they were striving to displace.
They claimed that it had fallen from its high estate, and they had the "conceit" that they would lift it again.
'What have they done?
1. Spent over £?? 000 for the transfer of players, a great dissipation of the club's resources, for what result?
2. After two years of their government the club is a weaker force, from a playing standpoint, than it ever was, notwithstanding the large expenditure on transfers. During practically the whole of this season the club has never been far removed from the bottom of the league table, and today is in imminent danger of relegation to the Second Division.
3. The English Cup was lost in the first round to a poorly placed Second League team by the phenomenal score of 5-0, the game being played at Goodison Park. The result of this game makes the club the laughing stock of the football world.
4. We have ? that the players are dissatisfied; one first team man said, "The games are lost in the boardroom not by the players on the field." Others have expressed themselves in similar ? . How can the players do well if they have lost confidence in their directors?
The old directors, ever since the foundation of the League, kept the club at the head of affairs, as they had the best ? ? of any club in the country. This is the real test of merit. Compare this ? with the present position of the club.
A feeling of intense dissatisfaction at the present precarious position of the club (which we attribute solely to bad management) has found expression in a proposal to remove the whole of the present board, who boastfully promised so much and who have shown that they have not the ability to perform. We wish to replace them by men who will command the confidence and respect of the shareholders, the players and the leaders and legislature of the football world.
We claim the assistance of the body of our fellow shareholders to accomplish the object we have in view.'
It is stated that this circular is signed by 101 "members." We notice among the autographs seven persons with the surname of Clayton and six with the surname of Davies. This may be nothing unusual, as such a patro? as either of them is not rare. If these 101 are all shareholders they are not more than one sixth of the entire body.
The circular may or may not be justified, but there is a tone of hostility which is deplorable as this crisis in the affairs of Everton.
* * * *
The Only Way.
The authors of this effusion display a confidence that we cannot espouse. Nor do we accept as beyond argument all that is expressed. It is very doubtful if Everton's average points since the foundation of the League were the best of any club in the country even prior to 1920.
Apart from details this circular reeks with envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness. Statements so intemperate as to ? defeat the object in view.
This should be the rebuilding of the team and the restoration of goodwill among all those who call themselves Evertonians. So long as Syndicate shareholders and Non-Syndicate shareholders are at loggerheads and accusing either old or new directors of incompetency, how can a club succeed?
Abraham Lincoln preached his policy for unity of America on the text:- "A house divided against itself cannot stand." This is an axiom as much as any in the pages of Father ? . A certain feeling and united ? are the principles of success in a football club, as in other bodies.
Everton is passing through a tremendous crisis. The first thing for the directors, shareholders, and members is to save the club from relegation. Then, ? by ? , to close their ranks and work for the good of the organisation.
Personal dictation and divided ? have ? ? ? in football clubs than had play and feeble refereeing." "
What do you think?
(The Athletic News was established in Manchester in 1875 as a "weekly journal of amateur sport". In 1886 James A. Catton began to contribute football reports for the newspaper. He initially used the pen name of "Ubique". Later he took the name "Tityrus". Catton eventually became the editor of the newspaper and was acknowledged as the most important football writer in Britain.
The first season of the Football League began in September, 1888. James A. Catton responded by publishing The Athletic News on Monday instead of a Saturday. Much to the delight of Catton, Preston North End won the first championship that year without losing a single match and acquired the name the "Invincibles".
In 1891 sales reached 50,000. Two years later he had doubled to 100,000. Another famous journalist who worked for the newspaper was William Pickford. In 1905 he joined forces with Alfred Gibson, who worked for The Football Star, to publish Association Football and the Men Who Made It.
The Athletic News continued to prosper and by 1919 it had a circulation of 170,000. As one football historian, Tony Mason, has pointed out in Association Football and English Society, 1863-1915, by the end of the First World War "the Athletic News was the voice of football and the paper of the discerning football enthusiast."
By the late 1920s Sunday newspapers such as the News of the World and The Sunday People devoted about 25% of its space to sport. Most of this involved reporting on football. The Athletic News tried to compete with this type of coverage but in 1931 it accepted defeat and merged with The Sporting Chronicle.)
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