Denaby United – A Successful Year – More Plain Speaking

June 1923

Mexborough & Swinton Times, June 30

Denaby United Football Club

A Successful Year

Present Liabilities and Future Hopes

More Plain Speaking

The annual meeting of the Denaby United Football Club was held on the ground on Wednesday evening, the president, Mr. H. C. Harrison, in the chair.

Mr. W. Astbury presented the balance sheet, which showed the “gates” during the season for Midland League matches to have amounted to £1,389 16s. 3d., and for the Sheffield Association League £144. 9s. 5d. From these amounts had to be deducted £404 8s. 7d. which had been paid in tax, leaving the net receipts from “gates” £1,119 17s. 1d.

Members subscriptions had realised £378 7s. 3d. (which was double the amount raised in the previous year), and the receipts from the English cup matches amounted to £199 8s. 7d., as against £231 14s. 9d. the previous season. The total receipts were £2,978 10s. 4d.

In players wages £1,226 14s. 9d. had been spent, and there had also been expended £212 15s., on the repayment of loans, in addition to which £218 17s. 4d., had been spent in the settlement of outstanding accounts. During the year no less than £430 had been spent in the settlement of outstanding accounts and repayment of loans. The club still owed £565 for loans and £132 17s. 10d. for outstanding accounts. On the season´s working the club finished practically on the right side, having paid off many debts during the course of the season.

A Winning Team and Diminishing “Gates”

The chairman said there were several things about the balance sheet which were rather comforting and several things which were rather disturbing.

During the season they lost about £300 on the “gates” but they had to remember that the charges were reduced from 1s. the previous season to 9d. last season. Against that he thought they could reasonably say that their performance in the Midland League merited a little more appreciation than that of the year before, because the results were better. Their average gate was £55.

They occupied the fourth position in the Midland League at the finish and the second team also finished fourth in the Sheffield Association League. The position at present was that they owed £805 3s. 2d., and they had in hand £75 2s. 10d. Included in the £805 was an item of £565 for loans and some accounts which required payment amounting to £132 17s. 10d. Except for the loans they had contracted, and which had been necessary in connection with the re-making of the ground they would have finished the season not far on the wrong side. It was not altogether satisfactory, as they could readily see, but it might have been worse.

He did think however, taking into consideration the great improvement which had taken place in the football played during the last three years, the team and the club as a whole merited a little more consideration. He thought the attendance at the matches had been very poor indeed and nothing like what could have been reasonably expected. They could not, and did not, expect to get £120 “Gates” at each match, but if their gates had been £10 a week more they would have been able to meet all their demands, and finished up with a balance on the right side.

They were told repeatedly in 1921 that if only Denaby could get a winning team there would be no difficulty about the finances, that they would get big “gates” and have as much money as they wanted. No one could deny that last season they had a winning team. They had one of the best teams in the Midland League, and their performances had been as good as any in the League. He would have thought that, if there had been anything at all in the arguments of the people who criticised the club in 1921, they would have shown much better results last season.

With regard to next season, they hoped to do even better in the Midland League. They had got a great team which might have finished at the top, and next season he did not see why, with a bit more luck, they should not finish higher than they did last year. They hoped, of course, to go to the top. They had already jumped from the bottom to the fourth place and they had only four more places to jump. During the process of jumping from the bottom to the fourth place in the League, their gates were reduced by something like 35 per cent. If they jumped up from the fourth position to the top, what was going to happen? Were they to suffer a still further reduction in “gates”? If that was to be the case, there did not appear to be much object in going for the top. The higher they got in the table the lower their finances sank. It was not right. If their finances had been increased proportionately to their rise in the Midland League they would have been a very wealthy club to-day. They hardly expected that, but were they to expect that, if they went to the top of the League, they would suffer financially as they had done in the past?

The attendance there that evening encouraged him to believe that next season would be an improvement. They could assure their members that, so far as playing ability went, their next season would, so far as anyone could predict anything, be a very successful one. Last season, although it was a bad one financially, had enabled them to pay off £430 in old debts, and, had they not had that liability, they would have had a much better balance. In spite of all difficulties they had finished up very well and with a little deficit which it should not be difficult for them to wipe off next season. It was very encouraging to see members subscriptions increased nearly three times. Last year their wage bill was about £27 a week and next season they expected it to be £5 or £6 less. They had not thrown money away because they had not had it to throw away. They tried to give their supporters the best football they could and still keep on the right side of the balance sheet.

The balance sheet was adopted.

Mr. J. Hancock (secretary-manager) said the work had been a pleasure to him. He was one of those who inaugurated the club and was, he believed, its first secretary when it was started 29 years ago. They had, he thought , a good prospect. They had lost some good men, and he wished them good luck. They had tried to get a good team together, but they had always to keep one eye on their finances. He honestly believed that they had got a good, sound team together for next season. There had been a lot of comment when he first came to the club about not giving opportunities to local talent. Last year, the club ran a second team to give trials to local talent and during the season no less that 65 players were given chances with the club. They had not found any Midland League players, however,, and they had not found a Midland League player in Denaby since time Peters. They hoped to have better luck next season, though. He had no doubt that, next season, they would, with better support, be able to run to the top of the Midland League. They could not afford to get into debt and they could be assured that he would always be out to get the best team possible and at the same time keep the right side of the balance sheet.

Election of Officials

The chairman said he wished to offer a suggestion with regard to the election of the officials. He thought if, in electing the Management Committee, they had representatives from the various clubs in the district they would increase the support of the football club. Last year they had two committees, a general committee and a management committee, but the latter did all the work and there was no real necessity for a general committee.

He suggested they should elect a management committee to include representatives of other organisations, and the United club would then be assured of representatives to plead for its support in the various clubs and institutes of the district. It seemed to him that that scheme would spread interest in the club all over their district.

They did not want it to be said, as it had been said, that the club was run by colliery officials. If he thought that that was an objection seriously raised he should feel very much inclined to have nothing at all to do with it. The officials considered it just as much their duty to assist the sport of the place as it was to assist the industrial success of the place. It had been said, he believed, that nobody except colliery officials had any say in connection with the club´s affairs. He did not know why that came about. They did happen to be colliery officials but he was sure nobody could accuse them of imposing their official positions to the detriment of the club. If they thought they could manage without them, he would find that he had a lot more spare time and possibly, some spare money, and he thought he could speak for the other officials as well when he said that if they ever found they could do without them they would gracefully retire.

It was very unfair to say those things of men who gave up valuable time to the service of the club in order that Denaby might have good football. It was not playing the game and he did not think they seriously meant it. If they did he would “chuck it” at once. When they went to the meetings of the management committee they ceased to be colliery officials and were only members of the Denaby United Football Club trying to get good football for them in Denaby. (Applause). As officials, they probably enjoyed certain advantages which others did not and they were often able to turn these advantages to the favour of the football club. As long as the members desired their service they could be assured of it and could depend that those advantages would continue to benefit the club. (Applause).

Mr. H. C. Harrison was re-elected president, Mr. J. Hancock, secretary-manager, and Mr. W. Astbury, financial secretary. The members of the finance committee were re-elected, with the exception of Mr. F. Wheatley, who resigned, and the committee was empowered to co-opt one other member in his place. A management committee consisting of 32 members, and including representatives of the various clubs in the district, the tradesmen, glassworkers and the underground and surface workers at the Denaby and Cadeby Collieries, was appointed.

Next Season´s Players

The Chairman stated, during the meeting, that the following players had been signed on for next season:- Goal: Harrison (Grimsby Town) and Bromage (Bentley); backs: Taylor, Coope and Haslam; half-backs: Hill, Kennedy, Peters, Finney (Wath Athletic) and Illingworth (Prospect United); forwards: Hamilton, Godfrey, Homer, Chambers (Rotherham County), Dick Shaw (Wath Athletic), Damms (Gainsborough Trinity), Cooper (Maltby, Scriven (Warmsworth) and Scott (Frickley).

On Wednesday night Denaby United also secured the signature of Charlie Taylor, of Kilnhurst, a member of a well-known football family. Taylor has played wing half-back for Mexborough ever since the club was re-formed in 1919. He is 24 years of age, 5 feet 7 inches, and 11 ½ stone.

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