Everton Independent Research Data



June 12, 1951. The Evening Express

Blues' Futures Lie in Hands of Youth

By Pilot (Don Kendall)

Jimmy Gregory, the brilliant centre-forward of Liverpool Schoolboys all-conquering team has signed for Everton as one of a dozen schoolboys stars who have decided to place their football future in the hands of the Blues. It was anticipated that Gregory who attends Gilmour Scholl, would follow his team mate Hamblett to Liverpool, but he goes to Goodison to join Everton's extended scheme to develop the youth of Merseysde. Everton hope to exceed in the junior fields their amazing triumphs of last season when with five junior teams they won no fewer than eight trophies and in three others finished as runners-up. This is the list of school-boys stars who have joined the Blues. Jimmy Gregory (England, Lancashire and Liverpool). Alec Farrell (England, Cheshire and Wirrrall), Ken Hayes (England, Lancashire and Newton –Le-Willows), Ian Hughes (Lancashire and Liverpool), Atony Bowness (Lancashire and Liverpool), John Parkes (Liverpool), John Parker (Lancashire and Liverpool), Terry Stephens (Cheshire and Birkenhead), Alan Damen (Cheshire and Birkenhead), Frank Parnell (Cheshire and Birkenhead), Alf Garner (Birkenhead and Ralph Farrell (Birkenhead).

Right Policy

The successes gained last season prove that Everton are pursing the right policy in developing their own stars of the future. No doubt Everton were disappointed in missing the Liverpool County Combination “double” for they finished runners-up in both the league and the George Mahon Cup, but they had compensations in plenty. Each of the five junior teams finished among the honours. Three won their championships, two finishing as runners up five knock-out competitions were won and they were runners up in another. The “B” team finished with a 100 per cent record, winning everything for which they completed –the Combination Second Division and the Wavertree and Liverpool junior cups.

The “C” team also made a clean sweep, winning the Bootle J.O.C under 21 League, the Warburton, Liverpool Minor, and Royden Benevolent Shield.

The “D” team won the Bootle J.O.C under 19 League, and the Colts finished as runners up in the Prescot League Division 3. In all these competitions Everton often were called upon to give age and weight to their rivals. And they are part and parcel of the Everton club and, indeed they are. The boys are coached in similar manner to these who go to join Liverpool's junior teams the number of which is being increased this season. Verily Liverpool and Everton futures lie in the hands of youth.



June 14, 1951. The Liverpool Echo

Ranger's Notes

Unfounded Rumour of Everton

For the past few days a disturbing rumour, fortunately without any foundation in fact has been circulating about Eddie Wainwright. Everton's star inside forward, who broke his leg in the match against Derby County last December. It is being stated that Wainwright is not likely to play football again, owing to one leg being much shorter than the other. It is time this cruel rumour was scotched. Mr. Cliff Britton, Everton's manager tells me there is absolutely no truth in it. Mr. Britton went to Southport to see Wainwright last Friday and found him very cheerful and progressing as well as had been expected. He is still on crutches for the break was a bad compound fracture which takes a long time but he is having daily rehabilitation treatment at the Southport Emergency Hospital. When he was examined by the specialist a fortnight ago the report was that he might be fit to resume training at the start of next season. He is having a further examination in another fortnight. It is good to know that even if progress is slow Eddie is on the way to complete recovery. Everton might not have gone down had he been available last spring. The club will need him next winter.



June 18, 1951. The Liverpool Daily Post

By Leslie Edwards

Although football should be dormant its hold the summer month, is such that it is still number one topic. Everywhere from whence people come to the city to watch Everton – and they have a tremendous following in North Wales and South West Lancashire –there is chatter about the club and the battle which rages, quietly, but without cessation for places on the Board of Directors. No one can say until next week, when the annual meeting takes place, how this will go, but each side has confidence. Although the ban, by Football League clubs, on broadcast commentaries raised great anger – and not only from those incapacitated from attending matches – I hear that the decision will not be rescinded. It is not the Football Association or the Football League which must bear criticism for the ban, but the rank and file of League clubs who are solely responsible. This is a further case which followers of football pine for some centre organization through which they might let their feelings be known. Long ago I suggested a remedy. Let the match broadcast be advertised “blind.” Few would stay indoors on the off-chance of hearing a broadcast commentary of their own team once a season.



June 22, 1951. The Liverpool Daily Post

Mercer Calls for Loyalty

Loud cheering and prolonged applause greeted the result of the poll at the annual meeting of Everton Football Club Co, Ltd, last night which resulted in the defeat of Mr. R.E. Searle, one of the three retiring directors who sought re-election. The two other retiring directors –Messrs F.W. Lake and N.W. Coffey –were successful, and the third was Mr. T.C. Nuttall nominee of the shareholders Association who had the backing of the majority of the other members of the Board. Mr. W.R. Williams, who presided over the crowded meeting attended by many women, announced the result of the poll as follows; - Mr. E.W. Coffey, 1,377; Mr. F.W. Lake 1373; Mr. T.C. Nuttall, 1,325; Mr. R.E. Searle 935; Mr. R.F. Murphy 879; Mr. J. Carson 869. There were some heated passages but at the close Joe Mercer (Arsenal captain and an Everton shareholder) told the meeting; “The greatest thing in football is loyalty. The best thing is to rally around the club once more. We are all a part of a big family and success in football is brought about everyone pulling together. All that has happened must be forgotten, and everyone must play their part.” He said that the club were on the right lines when they talked about giving the youngsters a chance. They had a great tradition and there was only one way of maintaining it and that was by sticking together and having confidence in one another. A voice “What about coming back to us Joe? “ Mercer's replay was I will if you ask me.” Several speakers expressed confidence in the newly elected board and in Mr. Britton and his staff. One member said; “We feel sure that Mr. Britton's policy is the right one, and in the future will play dividends.” Interruptions were frequent throughout the meeting many of them coming when Mr. R. F. Murphy several times asked permission to address the meeting on the terms of a letter containing rejections to certain proxies put forward which he said, had been ledged late yesterday afternoon. He was not allowed to speak or reveal the terms of the letter, and after the result of the poll was made known, a request was made to the chairman that the voting papers should be preserved.

Cleavage of Opinion

At the outset Dr. C.S. Baxter a director, said; “I have received a letter tonight accusing me of labeling and slandering Mr. Searle. I stated that it was lust for power, and that he had been acquiring shares. I quite agree I was not entitled to write this and I wish unreservedly to withdraw the remarks I wrote and apolgise to Mr. Searle. The Doctor and Mr. Searle then shook hands. The difference of opinion began when Mr. W. R. Williams (chairman) came to the item “election of directors,” He said there were three retiring directors and three additional candidates. The six who were formally proposed and seconded were Messrs F.W. Lake, N.W. Coffey, R.E. Searle, T.C. Nuttall, R.S Murphy, and J. Carson. There was a demand from the body of the hall for all the candidates to address the meeting but the chairman said he did not think that necessary. One man said they wanted to see for whom they were voting. Let them stand up. The candidates apart from Mr. Carson who apogised by letter for absence stood. Mr. Searle interposed that he thought that in the interest of those present the candidates should have a chance to speak. Mr. D. G. Stephenson then referred to a letter; he said he had received, purporting to come from seven directors. It said that owing to a cleavage of opinion among the Board it had become necessary for an election, but added that they were not prepared to make a statement and would leave matters in the hands of the shareholders.

One man, one vote

“I consider that to be entirely wrong, I now ask for a public statement as to what is that cleavage of opinion before any vote,” he said, proposing a motion to that effect. This was seconded. Mr. J. Hemphill said that Mr. Searle had stated to shareholders that he had on many occasions crossed swords with fellow directors. Perhaps the partial absence of harmony, or friction might be partly responsible for the position of the club, now in Division Two. Some years ago he opposed the principle of one shareholder holding, or controlling a number of shares which would enable him to direct the policy of the club. At this there were cries of “Hear, hear.” There was more applause when he suggested they should return to the former position of one man one-vote. It was right, just, and democratic. If it did nothing else it would put an end to fantastic offers they had heard, with control passing into the hands of the very few. Mr. W.C. Gibbons (a director) said; “Our friend might not have heard from where Mr. Searle got his shares. He was approached by the late Mr. Coffey and said he would take them, at Mr. Coffey's price. He also brought from Mr. W. C. Cuff. Mr. Searle was also approached about other shares which he brought. It was a perfectly legitimate transaction to buy shares. “I defy anyone on this Board to say that Mr. Searle has in any way attempted to be a dictator. He has not attempted to dictate the policy in any way whatever.” There were also “Hear, hears” at this, and Mr. Gibbins added; “If we as a Board had been loyal to one another there would not have had to be an election.”

No Personal Attack

Mr. Gibbins was remarking, amid applause, that he did not think that any man in the room was satisfied with the position of the club, when the chairman said that was not a candidate. Mr. Hemphill got up again and said that there was no personal attack on Mr. Searle.

Mr. Gibbins. You definitely made an allegation.

Mr. Hemphill; I did not. It is an attack on the principle, whereby one shareholder, or a few, may by buying shares at exorbitant figures, direct the policy of the club. It has nothing to do with Mr. Searle. While the chairman and other directors conferred, there was a prolonged buzz in the hall as everyone talked. It was ended by Mr. Searle saying that he thought it was the chairman's prerogative to make a statement first.

Mr. Stephenson; The time has come for the stuff to be brought from underneath the counter. We must be frank. I insist on it. What is this cleavage?

The chairman said that as a rule he did not talk about what went on at Board meetings, but the question arose when there was the re-election of directors for the coming year. The retiring men were Messrs Searle, Lake and Coffey. He asked if they were going to stand together and support each other.

Mr. Coffey said “Yes” and Mr. Searle said. “I won't make any promise.” That was the cleavage of opinion.

Mr. Stephenson; Is that all? Surely there must be more than that?

Some voices shouted for Mr. Serale to give his side of the case but one, that of Mr. K.F. Smith, asked for Mr. E. Green, a director. Mr. Green said the situation was quite clear, and had been rightly stated by Mr. Williams, Mr. Searle right through the year, had been a thorn in the flesh. Mr. Sharp, another director came to him one day and said Mr. Searle was going to put him off the board,” because I am no good.”

One Exception

When it came to the Board meeting night. Mr. Williams asked, “All those in favour of supporting the three retiring candidates?” Every hand went up, including Mr. Gibbins, except that of Mr. Searle, who as the chairman had said remarked that he was making no promise. A meeting or two previously a new shareholder had been quite. He had acquired three shares. They knew that was a qualification for becoming a director. He did not know Mr. Murphy but there was no doubt that Mr. Searle was getting Mr. Murphy qualified to become a director. What were the board to do? They were willing to vote for Mr. Searle it was because he would not agree that they were having an election. Then there was a communication from the shareholders' Association asking if they would accept a nominee in event of a vacancy. When we knew there was going to be an election we told the Association we would accept Mr. Nuttall as our candidate.”

UnFair Ones

You can take it from me emphasized Mr. Green, “that the only reason we are having an election is that Mr. Searle would not support his two colleagues. “We thought it very unfair, because we had been relegated, that the onus of the relegation should be thrown on to Mr. Lake and Mr. Coffey. Surely they should not bear the brunt of the relegation?” They felt that should Mr. Searle win the election, then off went Mr. Lake and Mr. Coffey, and that would be only the beginning; they could take it from him. Mr. Searle now stated his case. He said it was bad luck that such a “red herring,” should have been drawn in the last ten years. Dr. Baxter, who had been kind to him at the beginning of the meeting had said once on the platform that if anyone wanted to buy shares there was no reason why they should not do so. “I am here tonight objecting to the policy of the Board. It has been going on for two-and-a-half years without disclosing what has caused the policy,” said Mr. Searle. “I don't feel inclined to lie down. I have come tonight so that I might e up for election, I could have put my hand up and agreed as you have heard, and I would have been safe for three years.” “Mr. Searle said he had listened to the public making all sorts of remarks. “If you are satisfied with the team I am not, I am not saying anything about directors that has nothing to do with the matter; but I have had quite a long time at it and I am sorry for the position of Everton, in which I am more interested than buying or selling shares,” he said. H also said he had tried to get rid of shares. He had been offered shares and he had refused them. If anyone would like to buy any shares for the next year he would be very pleased.

“Everton Lad”

A vote; What price?

Mr. Searle said at the price someone else sold them a few months ago. He had been put on the carpet by the shareholders, but he was not looking for honours or going round telling all sorts of lies. There were groans at this, and Mr. Searle remarked. “All right, you don't like it.” He went on, amid laughter, “I wear a blue shirt and a blue tie, I have no interest in shares. I am an Everton lad. He said his only interest was in getting Everton from where they were to where they should be. The tradition of Everton was too great to be messed about through a few shares.

Mr. Vauxhall; Surely the issue is –Are we shareholders satisfied with the manner in which the mamangerment have ran the club? That is the main issue. If they are satisfied they will support the present board, and if they are not, they will vote against them. As Mr. Searle has said, he could have taken an easy seat on the board and have been safe for three years. It is up to the shareholders to either support the board, or support Mr. Searle and his two confederates. Let us get on (laughter and applause).

Letter of Objection

Mr. R.F. Murphy then rose to “a point of order,” and said he thought he was entitled to address the meeting on the terms of an objection he lodged that afternoon. At the request of the chairman, Mr. Bryson (club Solicitor) told the meeting that at 4.45 p.m, he received a letter containing objections, intended to be raised, in the event of a poll being taken, to certain proxies. It was stated in the formal objection that the proxies put forward were not valid. “If the chairman directs that a poll is to be taken now it will be taken,” said Mr. Bryson. “If objection is to be raised let it be taken when there is something to object to. Mr. Murphy – I don't know that the shareholders are aware on what grounds I am objecting. I feel I am entitled to put the objections of them on a point of order.

A Voice –Go ahead.

Out of Order

Mr. Bryson –Objection can be taken in court if you like. You have based the objections on certain proxies and the objections are valid only if certain proxies have been taken.

Mr. John Moore –I ask that the point of order be taken.

Mr. Murphy was about to speak when there were cries of “No,” and the chairman's ruling; “I really think you are out of order sir,” was applauded. The chairman then directed the poll to be taken.

While the votes were being counted, Mr. Cliff Britton (manager) addressed the meeting. He expressed regret that his report must be such a dismal one –the fact that Everton had gone into the Second Division. “One of my objects in coming here was to prevent that happening,” he said.” “But it has and I am extremely disappointed. The directors know the efforts I have made to prevent that, and I think they are in the best possible position to judge. It is doubly disappointing because I think that last season was the best season we had from a general playing point of view.

No Option

“In the first year I came we were criticized for continually going on the defence in the last half-hour or twenty minutes, when we had just one goal lead. The truth is that we had no notion. Our opponents were so much better and stronger than we were that was the only thing we could do. “The following season we begin to hold our own a little. We did not gain a much higher position but we did reach the semi-final of the Cup which was an achievement. Last season apart from half a dozen games I should say we more than held our own territorially and that in the majority of games we overplayed more of our opponents than the number who overplayed us.

“Goodison Hoodoo”

“The trouble was that we did not get the right results and when all is said and done results are the only thing which counts.” Commenting on the players Mr. Britton said they had all done their best. It was a struggle for them all season to try and overcome what was described by some critics as the “Goodison Park hoodoo.” Despite all the efforts they made they had little to show for it. The players never had that opportunity where they could reflex and play with something in hand. That was one of the troubles or faults, of the team. Any team that continually played up to their 90 per cent effort were bound to become mentally and physically weak. That was his explanation for the bad showing in the last month of the season.

Young Players

Mr. Britton assured the meeting that while the policy decided on at the extraordinary general meeting was that they should try to produce their own young players, they had at no time overlooked the finding of good players who might help to improve their strength. Certain fees asked were beyond all sense of value. Mr. Britton went on to state that two of the most successful teams in the post war period were Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. Each had been developed through their junior sides. The team building which Everton had to do could not be achieved as quickly as they would like. That did not mean that progress had not been made. The average age of the team two years ago was 31-6 years. Last year it was 27-4 and when O'Neill played instead of Sagar the average age was 25.4. He considered that the only sound policy to adopt in football today was to develop the players from their junior sides (Applause).

Mr. Searle's Regret

“I regret I am not appointed, but I wish Everton great success next season,” said Mr. Searle before he left the building following the announcement of the polling. Thanking those who had voted for him, Mr. T.C. Nuttall said he was conscious of the honour they had conferred on him and the responsibility coupled with it. “I assure you that I undertake the responsibilities without hesitation.” It was their duty to do what they could for the club and no effort should be spared to impart confidence relieved of all anxiety at all levels. Unless the club had that confidence they would not return to their normal home – the First Division.



June 22, 1951. The Liverpool Echo

Straight-Talking Clears Air at Lively Meeting

Manager's Hopes and Plans for the Future

Ranger's Notes

After one of the liveliest Everton shareholders meetings for many years, voting for three positions on the board resulted in the return of two of the three retiring directors (Messrs N. Coffey, and F. Lake and the defeat of Mr. R. E. Searle, who has been a member of the board for ten years, in his stead the shareholders elected Mr. T.C. Nuttall, the nominee of the Shareholders Association. The election which was by poll, resulted;-

*Mr. H.W. Coffey…1377

*Mr. F. W. Lake……1373

Mr. T. C. Nuttall….1325

*Mr. R.E. Searle…….935

Mr. R. F. Murphy…..879

Mr. J. Carson…………869

*Retiring director.

Prior to the voting Mr. R. F. Murphy one of the candidates said he had that day lodged an objection t the club offices, and asked the permission of the chairman (Mr. W.R. Williams) to gave his reasons. Mr. J.C. Bryson the club's solicitor said the objection contended that certain proxies were not valid. That had nothing to do with the taking of a poll. If objection was to be raised it should be done after the poll when there was something to which to object. Mr. Murphy then endeavored to get a hearing on a point of order. It is only fair to put it to the meeting” he began, when his remarks were drowned in a chorus of “No, no” and the chairman ruled him out of order.

Candidates “Ejected.”

There was another unusual incident when following the collection of the voting papers and the scrutinizers had passed into an adjoining room; a shareholder asked whether candidates would be present at the count. Mr. Bryson ruling against this, loud cries of “Come out of there” were raised by several shareholders, left the platform and ushered out from the counting room, Messrs Searle and Murphy. He shook hands with Mr. Murphy after passing some jocular remark. Prior to this there had been other unusual angled to the meeting starting with an apology by Dr. C.S. Baxter a former chairman, Dr. Baxter said he had that evening received a letter accusing him of libeling and slandering Mr. Searle.

“I stated in a letter that it was just for power” he said,” and that Mr. Searle had been acquiring shares for some years for the purpose, I agree that I was not entitled to write this, I wish to withdraw my remarks and apologies to Mr. Searle. A couple of minutes later protests came from both ends of the crowded room, in which were about 400 shareholders including several women that they could not hear the remarks from the platform. “You should have had a microphone” shouted one shareholder. Following this another shareholder asked. “Before we let any more hot air loose can we have the windows open” a request which was obviously popular. The meeting then pursued a fairly quiet course as the chairman reviewed the previous season's record. I am unable to explain our failure “he said. “The players were substantially the same as in the early part of the season apart from chances entailed to injuries. Our training methods were not diverted and I can find any excuse for our amenable lapses of form.”

Lacked Penetration

After referring to the “extenuating circumstances of the absence of Lello the retirement of Dugdale and the accident to Wainwright, Mr. Williams said that in the main the team played good and attractive football (cries of “Oh”) but lacked penetration. Mr. L.B. Osborne asked whether Mr. Britton would be allowed to speak in defence of the board as he had done previously; and would the chairman say how many first team matches, individual directors had attended during the past season.

Mr. Williams said Mr. Britton was entitled to speak of so requested. The latter part of Mr. Osborne's question was not answered. Replying to Mr. C. Quinn, who wanted to know why the salaries and expenses of directors and officials were not detailed individually in the balance sheet, the club's auditor stated that directors received no fees or salaries. Their expenses last season amounted to £1,122. A promise was made to consider including officials salaries as a separate item in future.

“Cleavage of Opinion

After a period of comparative quiet another lively spell occurred when Mr. D.G. Stephenson asked for information regarding the “Cleavage of opinion” to which the majority group of directors had referred in the circular, and Mr. J.W. Hemphill suggested that the absence of board room harmony might have had something to do with the position of the club. Mr. Hemphill suggested a return to the former method of “one man” one vote” as a means of preventing the offer of “fantastic prices for shares in an effort to gain power.” Mr. W.C. Gibbons the oldest director on the board at once jumped to his feet. After detailing several sources from which Mr. Searle had obtained shares, he added;-

“I defy any director to say that Mr. Searle ever attempted to dictate to the board. If we as a body had been loyal to one another there would be no election to-night. “It is because Mr. Searle and I disagreed with the policy that this trouble has arisen. I am not satisfied with the position of the club.” Mr. Williams pressed by Mr. Stephenson as to the cleavage said he answered with reluctance. It arose over the question of the retiring directors” he said. “I asked.” Are we all going to stand together and support each other?” Mr. Lake and Mr. Coffey said Yes' Mr. Searle said I will not make any promise. That was the cleavage of opinion. Mr. Stephenson –Is that all?

Mr. Williams –Yes (Cries of Surely not and “No”).

Mr. F.K. Smith –will Mr. Green tell us something about it?

Mr. Ernest Green –I am sorry to be drawn into the controversy. The position has been rightly stated by the chairman, Mr. Searle right through the year has been a thorn in the flesh. Mr. Sharp (another director) told me that he had heard that Mr. Searle was going to put him off the board.

A New Shareholder

Mr. Searle said to a colleague of mine “It is a pity Green has another year to go –otherwise I would be off.” Referring to the occasion when Mr. Searle declined to make any promise regarding his retiring colleagues Mr. Green stated that a little earlier a new shareholder had acquired three shares the minimum qualification for a director. “There was no doubt Mr. Searle was getting Mr. Murphy qualified to become a director. At this juncture the Shareholders Association asked whether we would accept their nominee in case of a vacancy. We said we would. When we knew there would be an election we told the Association, we would accept their candidate which turned out to be Mr. Nuttall. “The only reason we are having an election tonight is that Mr. Searle would not support his two colleagues. We thought it very unfair that because we had been relegated the onus should be thrown on Messrs Coffey and Lake.”

Mr. Searle's Statement

Mr. Searle said for some time he had been objecting to the policy of the board. “It has been going on for two-and-a-half years and I have been most dissatisfied. I did not feel inclined to lay down.

“I have come to you tonight, when I am up for re-election, I could have put up my hand at the board meeting and been safe for another three years. If shareholders are satisfied with the team I am not. “I am more interested in the position of Everton than in buying or selling shares. I have been offered shares and refused them. If anybody would like to buy shares I will sell. My only anxiety is to see Everton club where it ought to be.

Mr. Foxall –The issue is solely whether shareholders are satisfied, if they are they will support the board. If not they will oppose them, if we go on as we are doing, we shall never again see the First Division.

At this stage the poll was taken and during the counting Mr. Britton (the club's manager) addressed the meetings. He said he was sorry the report was a dismal one. The director's knew what he had done to improve matters, and he thought they were the best judges.

Players Did Their Best

“Our position is doubly disappointing, because last season was our best, from a general playing point of view, since I came. The first season we were criticism for continually going on defence when we had a goal lead. We had no opinion. Our opponents were so much stronger that it was all we could do. The following season we began to hold our own a little, and got to the semi-final of the Cup. Last season we more than held our own territorially in all except about half a dozen games, but did not get the right results. “The players did their best. It was a struggle for them all season, but whatever efforts they made they had little to show for them. They never had the opportunity to relax and play with something in hand. The team had to play up to 90 per cent of its ability before it had a chance to win. A good team can often play up to only 60 percent, of its ability and still win matches. “With a team which is continually playing up to 9- per cent there is bound to come a time when something will blow mentally or physically. That is my explanation of the bad showing in the last month of the season.

“Doubtless you would like to know when we are going to have a team which can play to 60 percent of its ability and still win (Hear, hear). We on this platform would like to know that just as much as you. Our policy is to try to produce our own young players but if we can see any player in the market who would increase our strength we could sign him if the fee came somewhere near his value. “The mere spending of money is no proof that a club will solve its team-building problems. Many clubs have tried that and failed. The spending of money may possibly make the problem more difficult because no club has an unlimited supply of cash and when you get in the region of £30,000 how many players can you buy?

“Under the Counter.”

Mr. Britton drew an analogy between the football transfer market and the cigarette shortage. “Under the counter” cigarette clients had a chance of getting what they wanted. If they were not in that category they had to take what was offered or leave it. That was the best illustration he could give of the present position in the transfer market. The two most successful teams since the war, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs, had not spent money. This question of team-building which we have had to tackle from rock-bottom cannot be solved as quickly as we would like, but that does not mean that no progress has been made. “The average age our team two years ago was 31.6 years. Last year it was 27.4 and when O'Neill played instead of Sagar it was 25-4 years. One of our troubles last season was that we had one of the youngest defences in the country, through a series of misfortunes over which we had no control.” Referring to the retirement of Dugdale and the transfer of Hedley as a disciplinary measure, Mr. Britton said it meant they had to bring in players like Moore, Rankin, and Jones, who though doing well, lacked experience. He detailed at length the successful performances of the five junior sides run by the club and paid tribute to the excellent work of Mr. Harold Pickering, who is in charge of these. “His knowledge of young players in this area is unsurpassed,” he added.

Long Term Policy

No fewer than 290 trips had been made during the season to watch players, 350 players had been “vetted” and 239 have been given a trial in the various junior teams.

“This policy of youth is a long term one, and perhaps rather irritating to some. All of us would like to see the club back in its former position, but I think our policy is the only one to adopt. So long as we are on some road, that is better than being on no road at all,” (Applause).

At the conclusion of Mr. Britton's speech and following the announcement of the voting which was received with prolonged applause Mr. R.E. Searle said that although he was naturally disappointed, he wished Everton every success next season. Mr. T.C. Nuttall thanked the shareholders for the confidence and said that anything which would further the best interests of Everton would have his support. Mr. C. Bainforth paid a tribute to the directors for their work during the past anxious season, and Mr. Joe Mercer, captain of Arsenal and a former Everton player appealed to everyone to rally round and pull together. “There is no better trained club in the country today than Everton” he said, “otherwise they would have been in the Second Division two years ago. Mr. Britton is on the right lines in concentrating on youth.” Mr. F. Micklesfield expressed his confidence in Mr. Britton and his staff and said he was sure his policy as the right one and would pay dividends in the future. A vote of thanks to the chairman, proposed by Mr. Alf Denaro concluded the meeting.



June 1951