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Central – Forming a Limited Company (1906)

The following article was published in the Southport Guardian on Saturday 31st March 1906:

“A special meeting of the members and subscribers of the Southport Central Football Club was held at the Y.M.C.A. rooms on Thursday evening. Mr W. Robinson presided over a large attendance which included Messrs. J. Gregson (hon. Treasurer), H. G. Rimmer, G. H. Crankshaw, J. Hamer, G.H. Collinge, S. Ellidge, J. Bryce, J. Johnson, W.H. Grifiin, J. Edgar, F. Dunkerley, F. Leach, G. Forshaw and T. G. Shipley (secretary). The object of the meeting was to elect the committee for the ensuing year, this course being considered advisable in order that the new committee might sign on players for next season’s team.

Sir George Pilkington And The Presidency

At the outset, the Secretary said he had received a letter from sir George Pilkington, in which he regretted he could not attend the Meeting, as he had another engagement. He saw that the business was to elect officers, and he would be glad if he (the Secretary would hand in his resignation as president and appoint someone in his place who could, and would, take a more active part in the wellfare of the club. He would continue to be a subscriber to the club’s funds.

The Clubs Future

The Chairman, after expressing his pleasure at seeing such a large attendance, said it had not been their custom to call the members only together. Before it had generally been a public meeting, but there were several of the subscribers who did not think it was fair and right that they should call anyone or allow anyone to attend the meeting who was not a subscriber (Hear, hear.) Some people were subscribers for a privilege, and that privilege was to vote for members of the committee. (Hear, hear.) Of course they had done wrong for many years, and they decided to take a fresh course by inviting only members and subscribers. Their idea was that the sooner they elected the new committee the better, and the other part of the business usually conducted at the annual meeting would come on at a later meeting, say the end of May or the first week of June. They were sorry things had not gone on as they ought to have gone on this season. The team had not done so well, and the gates had not been as good as they ought to have been. The subscriptions were not equal to last year, and the moving to the new ground had been a great drawback. He might say at the very least it was £5 per match out of their pocket. Putting all those things on one side, there was no doubt if the team had been successful in the matches, both at home and away, they would have had better results and been in a better financial position than they were. They were not there to discuss that, but some might ask how they stood. As near as he could say they were about £200 to the bad. He did not know exactly. Perhaps it was a little short of that amount, or perhaps a little over, but roughly speaking it was about that. They had three Combination matches away and three at home still to be played, beside the medal competition. They wished to put themselves in a lot better position a the end of the season than they were that day. They might wan to know the reason why the meeting had been called before the end of the season. In the first place, they did not think it was right that the old committee should sign on player, and then at the  annual meeting the members might want a change in the committee. It would be far better to do as the other clubs had done such as Blackburn Rovers, Accrington Stanley, Nelson and Bury. All those clubs had held meetings just to elect the committee and held their annual meeting at the end of the season, when all things were squared up. He said the committee had talked several things over. It had been suggested that they should form the club into a company. Whether a company would do, or whether they would be able to get sufficient shares, he could not say. If they could get sufficient shares no doubt it would be the best way out of the difficulty they were placed in that day. Another suggestion was that they should have seven on the committee, including the chairman and the treasurer. Another suggestion was that they should have ten members. He was not altogether in favour of a large committee, because he thought a small committee worked much better than a large one, but the reason that was brought forward was in order that ten members would be better if they would each put down £10, or be responsible for £10 at the bank, and should they resign or be taken off at the annual meeting they would have that £10 returned. But those were only suggestions, and it was left to the meeting to decide which was the best way out of the difficulty. He might say that the three who were responsible for the overdraft at the bank Mr Rimmer, Mr Gregson, and himself’ none of them, in one sense of speaking, were very particular whether they were put on again or not. He was not, for one. Those three were also responsible for the rent of the ground. The ground was in their three names. The owners would not allow it to be in one name. The committee knew of this and voted that those three should be responsible, and they were responsible for the rent for five years. So in one sense the ground practically belonged to those three gentlemen, and if they resigned, or were thrown off the committee, they would still have a certain amount of influence, or a certain amount of pouch and they would have to appeal to those men. They would have to take the ground from them, and in a sense it was a very awkward thing to put those three men off if they were willing to stand, but as he had said, he believed none of the three were very particular. At the same time they all hoped the club would still go on. It was not for want of trying; not for want of putting themselves together; or for want of working that they were in the position they now were. (Applause).

In answer to a question, Mr Gregson said he believed the initial cost of f arming the club into a company would be betwixt £20 and £30.

Mr Watchorn: Have the committee come here with any suggestion?

Mr Gregson said the only thing that had been suggested was that the company should be formed at a capital of £1 ,000 in £1 shares, and call in 105 of each. They would then have £500 to work with.

Mr Griffin said a committee of ten was too large. He thought they should have a smaller committee, and each member should be responsible for a certain amount. It was not right that three men should be responsible for that amount for the benefit of the Southport public.

Mr Lowe said the formation of a company was the best way of working the club. Many people in the town thought the same as he did.

Southampton’s Example

Mr Edgar suggested they should elect the committee that night and have the matter considered with regard to a company at a later meeting. He was entirely in favour of a company being formed, and he knew men in the town who would be prepared to put their money into it. A capital of £1,000 in £1 shares would, he thought, be sufficient, and he would have them pay 5s an allotment, 25. 6d. in a month’s time, and 2s. 6d. later. They would be able to pay off the liabilities, and they would have £300 to work the club. They would then be able to get better players and bring a better company up to Ash Lane. He had had a conversation with a gentleman interested in the Southampton Club who was staying at his house a short time ago. He said when he went to Southampton they were in debt; had an overdraft at the bank.

They formed a company, and now they were £2, 000 to the good. He did not see why something like that should not he the case in Southport.

The Southport Central Football Club had been in existence for, he understood, seventeen years. It was well-known all over the country, and there were plenty round about Southport who would gladly support it by giving their pound for a share.

On the motion of Mr Crankshaw, seconded by Mr Griffin, it was decided to proceed with the election of the officers, the committee to consist of nine members, including the treasurer, and to elect their own chairman.

Election of Officers

Mr Gregson proposed that Councillor E. Trounson be elected president. He said he seemed to take a great interest in the doings of the club.

This was seconded and carried.

Mr Griii‘in proposed the election of Mr Gregson as treasurer. He was sure Mr Gregson had the confidence of every member of the club (Hear, hear.)

Mr Collinge seconded, and the motion was unanimously carried. The following were nominated as members of the committee: H.

Rimmer, G. Crankshaw, James Homer, 6. H. Collinge, S. Ellidge, WRobinson, J. Bryce and J. Johnson.

Mr Griffin moved, and Mr Edgar seconded, that they be elected. This was carried.

Mr P. Vickers was reappointed as honorary surgeon, and a hearty vote of thanks was passed to him for his services in the past.

Mr William Platt was reappointed hon. Auditor, and he too was accorded a hearty vote of thanks.

Sympathy With “Lollie” Halsall

Mr Griffin referred to the indisposition of Mr Lawrence Halsall. He said he was a very old and valuable player in days gone by, and they all sympathised with him in his affliction. He moved that a letter of sympathy be sent to him.

Mr Leach seconded, and the motion was carried.

It was suggested that a collection should be taken on his behalf on the held during the progress of one of the matches, and the committee were instructed to deal with the matter.

The Proposed Company

Mr Dunkerley moved that the new committee consider the availability or otherwise of forming the Central Football Club into a limited company and report to a later meeting of members of the club.

Mr Watchorn seconded, and the motion was carried.

The Retiring Committee

Mr Gregson said they were losing several valuable men from the committee and he thought the least they, as a body could do, would be to pass a hearty vote of thanks to those who were retiring. As far as he was concerned he was sorry they were off. They were all hard-working men.

This was adopted with applause, and a vote of thanks having been passed to the chairman for presiding the meeting terminated.”

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