EVERTON SHOULD BEGIN TORE-BUILD BEFORE SEASON STARTS
June 5, 1957. The Liverpool Echo
Mr. Ian Buchan, Everton’s chief coach was back on duty at Goodison Park to-day after his fortnight’s scouting trip in Scotland. Although he has completed no signings which was not the main purpose of his visit, he anticipates that the contacts made will bear good fruit in the near future. As a first step forward this three young players are coming to Liverpool for a few days shortly to have a look around a Goodison Park and decide whether to throw in their lot with Everton. Two are inside forwards and the other an extreme winger. This is all right, but what Everton’s followers are hoping to hear more than news of youngsters to coach on for future needs is something about the club’s intentions regarding experienced players ready to step into the team and remedy the various weaknesses of last season. To my mind this is most imperative now that the board is cutting down the professional staff so drastically. If all the seventeen players put on the transfer list eventually leave, and no newcomers take their places, Everton will start the new campaign with by far the smallest professional staff in their post-war history. When the present contracts expire at the end of this month they will have only 19 full timers, nine part-timers and eight players still in the Forces. If they do not augment that and strike a crop of injuries or find some players losing form badly –or maybe both –they are going to be in a sticky position. While there is time yet, so long as it is really intended to do something about it reasonably quickly , if the idea is to wait and see what happens, and them embark on a make-do-and-mend policy after the season is under way there may be trouble in the offing. I don’t envy Mr. Buchan his job if he is expected to produce better results next season with a staff which is so drastically reduced numerically.
EVERTON’S EARLY DAY
June 3, 1957. The Liverpool Echo
I am indebted to several readers who have come to the rescue regarding a query as to whether Everton even played on Coney’s Green before going to Anfield, and whether the pitch was roped off in those days. Mr. Edward Riley, of Summerfield , 3 Moss Lane, Orrell kindly sends me a long extract from an early history of Everton, in which it is stated that in 1882 in pursuance of a decision that a private ground must be secured where gate money could be taken, Mr. Cruitt, of Coney Green allowed the club to play on a field off Priory Road adjoining his house. There is no mention of the pitch being roped off but a later extract referring to a subsequent move to Anfield, says that members and players turned themselves into labourous and erected a boarding around the ground and rails around the playing pitch.
EVERTON F.C. LOST £20,401 LAST SEASON
June 4, 1957. The Liverpool Echo
Big Drop In Gate Money
Everton’s accounts for the year ending May last show a loss on the season of £20,401 compared with a profit of £7,593 the previous year. The balance carried forward to next season is £38,203 against £6,499 brought forward twelve months ago. The balance sheet discinses a bank overdraft of £14,073 liabilities to sundry creditors of £8,048 and other items of indebtedness which bring the total to £23,468. Against this sundry debtors and cash in hand total only £1,951. No provision is shown for future taxation or deferred repairs whereas a year ago £16,242 was set aside from gross profits for this purpose. Under the heading of property and assets appears an item of £3,899 for Goodlighting installation, so that apparently there was something in the neighborhood of £35,000 outstanding for the lights when the accounts were made up. The club’s freehold land and houses are waited in the balance sheet at £49,530 but the stands and other erections at Goodison Park have gradually been written off until they now stand at only £8,244 which is considerably less than a small third rate Third Division club stand would cost today.
Drop In Receipts
The following are the outstanding items of income with the corresponding figure for the previous season in brackets. Gross receipts for home game £83,212 (£10,820); Cup-tie and other receipts £23,747 £21,619; percentage from away games £7,623 (£7,793) and sale of season tickets £14,974 (£13,535). These four items total £129,579 which is a crop of £19,189 on the previous season. There is no net income from transfer fees on which there was a profit of £54,575 a year ago, as the money laid out for Gauld. Glazzard and other incoming players exceeded by £965 that obtained for players who were sold.
Where The Money Went
On the expenditure side the main items with the previous season’s comparable figures in brackets are Players wages and bonuses £25,466 (£24,394) benefits £6,252 (£5,650) gate division to visiting clubs £10,212 (£13,985); percentage to League and F.A’s £6,018 (£7,847) F.A. and sting clubs share of Cup-ties £5,375 (£4,500); travelling and match expense £8,747 (£19,892; ground expenses and maintence £29,791 (£23,568); gate expenses £5,047 (£4,536) rates and water £6,633 (£4,081); entertainments tax £23,176 (£24,251); office expenses (£4,211) (£6,013) players requisites £547 (£2,250); and training expenses £5,942 (£6,404). The shareholders annual meeting has been fixed for Wednesday evening June 26, at seven O’Clock at the Chamber of Conmere, Old Hall Street. The retiring directors are Messrs T.C. Nuttall (vice-chairman) C.E. Balmforth and N.W. Coffey. As no other nominations have been received they I will be re-elected unopposed.
• Cyril Lello the former Everton players, the joined Runcorn F.C. as player manager after a short spell with Rochdale.
“COME UP AND SEE US SOMETIME”SAYS EVERTON CHAIRMAN
June 10,1957. The Liverpool Echo
Mr. R.E. Searle, chairman of Everton, is initiating something that, so far as I know, is new in football circles, certainly in this area. He is extending an open invitation to all share holders of the club to go up to Goodison Park on one of two stipulated days next week to see for themselves what has been done during the last eighteen months in the way of improvements and maintenance behind the scenes. “I have thought for a long time that we ought to do this, Mr. Searle told me,” our shareholders have a right to know what is going on and how the club’s money is spent. While I can tell them about it at the annual meeting as I did last year, that is nothing like so good as actually seeing for themselves what has been done and what is now in progress or hearing personally what we contemplate, for the future.” While Everton have about 700 shareholders, it is rare for more than a hundred or so attend the annual meeting, even when it is noised abroad beforehand that there may be “fireworks” so I don’t suppose more than that number are likely to avail themselves of the opportunity now presented. Everybody who likes to go however will be welcome says the chairman. All they need do is write to Mr. W. Dickinson, secretary of the club asking for an official invitation, which must be presented on the day appointed. Shareholders can choose one of two days, either Wednesday June 19, or Thursday, June 20. For obvious reasons the club cannot extend this facility to other than shareholders. It will not apply to season ticket holders or ordinary members of the public. Early application for permission will facilitate making the necessary arrangements, so if you are a shareholder and intend going please write as soon as possible.
Where The Cash Goes
The most impressive job of work on hand at Goodison at the moment is the floodlighting scheme. The evidence of this however, is visable to anybody passing the outside of the ground, for three of the massive 180 foot towers have now reached their zenith and the other is almost completed. The lights themselves have yet to be installed. Behind the scenes shareholders will be able to see the gymnasium which was completed last season, the improvements in the visitors dressing room the modern treatment room and all the work which is now going on in the way of ground preparation, painting, general repairs and so on. Whether they will be taken through the boardroom and offices they depend on the number attending. If they are they will see appointments which bear comparison with any in the country. shareholders who are curious to know where the money goes from the club’s six-figure income have only to consult their balance sheets for the past few years. The ordinary supporters who cannot do so, may be interested to know that repairs and maintence alone over the past two seasons absorbed £53,359. Last season’s figure of £29,791 was as near as makes no difference, one-quarter of the total income from all sources. There are certain disadvantages attacked to have such a vast ground and four double-deckers stands especially when the average attendance is only half the ground capacity. The hole estate still needs the same care and attention no matter what the gates may be. It is a heavy drain all the time. We have been reading a lot recently of the alleged niggardly wages and emoluments of professional footballers. Scathing comparison have been made between what a Britishes can earn in Italy and elsewhere and what they are paid here.
Some ridiculous suggestions have been made regarding what should be done to improve matters. If those who made them studied the balance-sheets of a few clubs –and not necessarily those with such big liabilities as Everton, but such as Leeds United, Huddersfield, Bolton, Burnley, Blackpool, and many others –they would realize that so long as admission charges remain t the present level most clubs are living little more than a hand-to-mouth existence. Certainly they all be much better of next season when entertainments tax will be no more, I hope as big a proportion as possible of this saving will go to the players, and particularly those who are not so much in the limelight, but are just as necessary to the continuance of the game as the outstanding stars. But at the same time many clubs could usefully devote quite as substantial a proportion of the saving to improving the comfort and amenities of their ground for the benefit of those who provide the income at the turnstiles. Football supporters get less consideration in this respect than followers of any other sport. A first essential is more extensive covering. It would be a paying move in many cases, for spectators would then attend in greater numbers on rainy days. This is only one item. There are many other ways to improve conditions for the paying customers such as more turnstiles, more and better lavatory, accommodation –some grounds re disguising in this respect –more seating accommodation, and so on I have mentioned these and other needs so often before that I do not propose going into the matter at length how. It will be the responsibility of clubs in the next year or so to hold the balance fairly between players and spectators in laying out the money they save on entertainment tax. I hope they did the job conscientiously and well, and that the money is not frittered away in the transfer market, which I am afraid, is likely to return to the spate of bigger fees that we had before the credit squeeze clipped the wings of the adventurous.
June 24, 1957. The Liverpool Echo
Tranmere Rovers who have been making strong efforts to sign Everton’s Tommy Eglington for several weeks, hope to bring the deal to a successful conclusion within the next 24 hours, if they do it would be a most helpful signing, for Eglington should do well in Third Division football. Everton have fixed the prices for seats for their inaugural floodlit match on October 9, when Liverpool provide the opposition at 10s 6d, 7s 6d and 5s, and the paddock at 4s. Entrance to the ground will be by payment on the night. Shareholders attending the club’s annual meeting on Wednesday will be able to purchase tickets them.
SHAREHOLDER’S PLEA FOR EVERTON TEAM IMPROVEMENT
June 27, 1957. The Liverpool Echo
Only one shareholder among the seventy who attended Everton’s annual meeting last night had anything to say about the performances of the team and the anxiety which is felt by many of their supporters about the coming season. Yet it was obvious from the murmur of approbation which greeted his brief excursion into this debatable and controversial field that despite their silence, some of his hearers were similarly perturbed. You can count me among them. The questioner was Mr. W. Macaulay, of Wallasey, who is not unknown for his pointed remarks at previous annual meetings. To say that be introduced a discordant note would be putting it far too strongly but at least he got to the crux of the matters. Up to this stage the meeting had been devoted to a review by the chairmen of the various sub-committees of the work done by their department. Each had given a succinct and pithy summary; none had neglected to pay tribute to the excellent work done by his colleagues which though doubtless well earned, seemed to verge a little towards a mutual admiration society. The shareholders listened carefully and undoubtedly learned much of which they had previously not been aware regarding the inside workings of the club.
“What About The Team?”
Mr. Macaulay, referring to the drop in gate income last season –which was subsequently explained by the secretary, Mr. W. Dickinson –said that for a company which lived on public support something should be done about the team, a remark which drew the first “hear, hears” of the evening. “It is all very well talking about the ground and what you have achieved,” he went on. “Admittedly you have done a good job but all that will not bring one extra supporter into the ground. It is the team which counts and something should be done to improve it for next season. Replying to Mr. Macaulay, the chairman (Mr. R.E. Searle) said that the shareholders had already heard the report of Mr. T.C. Nuttall –read by Mr. C. Balmforth in Mr. Nuttall’s absence in hospital –in which an assurance had been given regarding the future. “We at to strengthen the team,” he continued, “and I think within the next twelve months we shall do so, but I have my own opinion about the wisdom of spending £20,000 and putting a player into the dressing room who might possibly create disloyalty. “In any case we cannot spend money, because the bank will not lend it to us. We have a coach, and we are all satisfied with him. He has not yet been with us a year. You must give him a chance.”
Prior to this passage at arms, which was conducted with perfect friendliness on both sides, the sub-committee chairmen had all spoken. Mr. Jack Sharp head of the Finance Committee, detailed the work of that body and the need for economy. Mr. Fred Micklesfield spoke of the Floodlighting Sub-committee’s labours, explained how far the work –which was six weeks ahead of schedule- had progressed, and said that everything would be ready for lighting tests as soon as the nights drew in around the middle of August. Mr. C. Askham likewise reviewed the work of the Maintence Committee, and gave details of how £27,886 had been spent during the past year. He instanced one example on a painting job, done by the permanent staff at a cost of £2,000 for which contractors had asked £4,600. “We were forced to do all the work,” he added. “Some of it should have been done a long time ago.”
Mr. T.C. Nuttall’s report stated that the Playing Staff Sub-Committee had been faced with many problems. “We had to regretfully recognize,” he said” that several members of our staff were past their usefulness as First Division players whilst at the same time there was an inadequate supply of even partly experienced young players of the requisite standard in our reserves. “There was an urgent need for a complete reassessment of our resources and we decided to follow the bold policy, which may not have pleased everybody of including in our senior team some of the young men who had for several years been languishing largely in our junior teams. “We feel that the promise of several of these boys has to some extent justified our policy. Whether they will all make the grade only the future can tell, but they cannot be denied the opportunity of doing so.”
Another pleasing feature of the policy, had been its effect on the other young players, several of whom had shown marked progress during the past season. This was –attributed to the fact that they realized that there was now room at the top at Goodison Park for any lad who had what it takes to make a First Division player. In the last fifteen months nine young players had been introduced into the first team. Some had expressed the view that too many inexperienced boys had been played last season. The answer was simple- better that than allow the young potentials to rusticate for years and lose heart in the junior teams. The board were determined to persevere with and intensify their youth policy. From now on, names and reputations would have no meaning in the club’s plans. The men who would hold their places in the League team would do so on merit and on merit alone. Competition for places would obviously be keen but to young players with the desire determination and ability to get to the top and stay there, they would gave the utmost encouragement.
No Magic Wand
The building of a successful first team was not something that could be done overnight by the wave of a magic wand. Neither could it be done by means of an open cheque book as Everton along with other clubs had found to their cost. Mr. Searle spotted Alderman John Braddock in the room and suggested he might like to say something of what he saw when he, and other shareholders, were taken round the ground recently. Alderman Braddock said he could not think of any more improvements which could be made. There was evidence that maintenance of the ground during the last few years had been badly neglected. From what he could see, the ground, was in first rate condition, and those responsible were, to be congratulated on spending large sums of money on work that should have been done years ago. Mr. W. Dickinson (secretary) said that Everton drew a lot of their supporters from faraway places and they came by car. When petrol rationing was introduced they did not turn up. Bad weather on Boxing Day and matches with attractive opponents which had to be put off until mid-week had robbed the club of several thousands of spectators.
At The Bottom
Mr. Macaulay had an answer to that. “They stayed away on Boxing Day because the B.B.C broadcast the Christmas Day game at Tottenham, and everyone heard the six goals going in the Everton net.” Mr. Micklesfield tried to come to the rescue by pointing out that up to petrol rationing, the club’s average gate was 42,367. By the end of rationing it dropped to 31,500. Mr. Macaulay was not to be put off. Waving a cutting from a newspaper he said. This is a chart of popularity away from home Everton are at the bottom. Mr. Askham agreed that some of the criticisms about bad play were justified, but claimed that all clubs had reduced gates. Mr. Searle announced that letters expressing a wish that they would soon be well had been sent to Mr. Nuttall and Mr. E. Green both of whom were in hospital. The meeting finished with a few shareholders complaining that they could not always get the seats they wanted in their stand because children and others with complimentary tickets had got there before them. Mr. Searle promised to see what could be done about this.