Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 15 June 1912
Denaby United Football Club
Lively Annual Meeting
Deficit of £240
A Host of Enquiries
A New Management
Unusual interest was taken the annual general meeting of the Denaby United Football club, held on Friday night in a classroom of the Large Hall, Denaby Main, and being probably more largely attended the any other previous meeting of the club. The financial affairs of the club were subjected to keen examination and a certain amount of criticism. Several of the members got into open conflict, and but for the admirable way in which Mr Douglas Chambers conducted the meeting it might have got out of hand at any time.
Mr Douglas Chambers was supported by Mr H.H. Wray (financial secretary), Mr H Smith (corresponding secretary), the Rev Father Kavanagh, Mr C Bury, Mr W.I. Gibbs, Mr G.L. Robinson, Mr A Robinson, Mr E Robinson, Mr G. Mills, Mr J. Springthorpe, Mr W Astbury, Mr Wright, Mr J Bateson, Mr T Dabbs, Mr O Boylan, the Rev. S.F. Hawkes, Mr B.J. Hadfield and others.
At the outset the Chairman said the Denaby United Football Club was in the position of a patient who was recovering from a serious illness, and the doctor had informed them that it was getting better and would be stronger than ever this (Hear, hear.) Under those circumstances it was a great pleasure that he took the chair that night. They had got the worst of things over, and he hoped they would start with a clean sheet and grant a better success than ever. (Applause.)
A host of questions arose out of the reading of the minutes of the last annual general meeting.
Mr Gibbs wanted to know why the venue of the meeting had been removed from the Reresby Arms to the Institute?
Mr Cusworth: I don’t know.
The Chairman: The present officials only took over the management of the club in February of this year, and if any questions are asked as to the management of the club pride that time, these officials cannot be expected to give an answer.
Mr Astbury: I understand from those minutes that at the last annual meeting Mr Chambers cleared the club debt. Is that so?
Mr W Wray: He did not.
Mr Hatfield: Did he clear off what there was at the time?
Mr Wray: He cleared off what date he was given to understand existed. He has not cleared off the full debt.
Mr Hatfield: Why was he not told of the remainder?
Mr Wray: You must ask the previous management.
Mr Gibbs: With all due respect to you, Mr Chairman – I know you’re in a difficult position tonight – we quite believed off the last annual meeting that Mr Chambers cleared off the debt of the club, I think he believed so to.
The Chairman: From remarks he made to me, I believe he was under that impression.
Mr Gibbs: We want to know if the new committee are prepared to take over the liability of the former management?
The Chairman: I should say not.
A Sad Tale
Mr Cusworth, reading the secretary’s annual report, said he was sorry to have to present such a report in relation to the work that the teams have done. The first team had played 40 matches, won 9, lost 27, and drawn four with 19 Midland League points. They scored 44 goals and add 129 scored against them.
The second team played 30 matches, won seven, lost 20, and drew three, with 17 Sheffield Association League points. They scored 43 goals against 91.
Both teams were at the bottom of their respective Leagues.
With regard to the coming season, the cost of goods required would be a good deal less than in the past, and so will the cost of printing, for the club was already well stocked. They were hoping that the membership will be up, and that the players they were obtaining would improve the team. Recently they had signed on some fresh men, one or two of whom, one in particular, had made their reputation in better class football. Since he took over the secretaryship the average attendance at committee meetings had been about 10. It had been 5 before everything and been topsy-turvy consequence of the change of management, and he hoped next year to be in a position to give full and more complete details of the working of the club.
The Balance Sheet
Mr H.H. Wray presented a balance sheet, which was divided into two periods covering the jurisdiction of the old and the new management, i.e. .from September 1st to February 9th , and from thence onward to April 30th.
Gate receipts amounted to £173 2s 6 ½ d, subscriptions to £85, transfers to £45, loans to April 30th 1912 to £45 8s. At the commencement of the year there was down on the books to amounts which accounted for a deficit due to the treasurer of £37 13s 11d, and there was a loss on the years working of £28 19s 3d. Loans amounted to £39 10s and there were tradesmen accounts owing to the amount of £183 0s 9d, making the total deficit of the club £239 3s 11d.
On the expenditure side player’s wages amounted to £150 19s 9d, travelling expenses £42 5s 10d, refreshments £7 11s 6d, referees £19 1s 11d, linesmen £7 10s 9d, printing and police £18 13s 3d, sundries £33 0s 1d, repaid loans £3 8s, Colliery Company for stand account £13 12s, and there was cash in hand to the amount of £5 6s 9d, the turnover of the club being £506 14s 5 ½ d.
Mr Wray added that on 9 February when he took over, the deficit was £228 8s 11d and the deficit was now £239 3s 11d. He also complained of unpaid subscriptions, and said he could not see how they could expect the club to meet its liabilities if the members did not meet theirs to the club.
The Chairman said it had surprising very much to see how Mr Wray had been able to produce very creditable order out of unmistakable chaos. He had done very well indeed to work out the figures in the way he had done (hear, hear)
A Transfer Fee
In answer to a question, Mr Wray said the club received £25 from Sheffield Wednesday for the transfer of Glennon, and £20 from the same club for the transfer of Dawson.
Mr E Robinson said he understood there was £5 down on last year’s books for the transfer of Gregory to Doncaster Rovers. He understood that the transfer fee paid for the player was more than £5.
Answering a further question Mr Wray said that the amount due to tradesmen other than the Colliery Company was £60 3s 2d.
Questions by Mr A Robinson elicited the statement that £6 of the tradesmen’s account were for a watch and some clothing supplied to the club by Mr Wray.
Mr Wray said the watch and clothing were ordered by the ex-secretary and ex treasurer apparently on behalf of the club.
Mr Gibbs: Those who ordered these things should be responsible for payment for them if they had not the sanction of the club.
The Chairman: I will make it in my way to see the ex-secretary and ex-treasurer, and to learn from them whether or not the order the things in their own responsibility.
Mr A Robinson said it had been stated that they owed £30 to a former treasurer; but there was nothing on the books of the club to show that they actually did owe this money. The former treasurer might just as well said that they owed him £130.
The Chairman: It is down in the books of 1910 and was passed at the last annual meeting.
Mr A Robinson said it was amusing to him to find that they could trace all the money they owed, but none of the money that was due to them. If they could get information of the one, they could get information on the other. He was referring particularly to the matter of Gregory’s transfer. The Denaby club had received more than £5 for the transfer of Gregory. That was a matter that could be seen into. The money had come and gone, but there was nothing to show for it.
The Chairman: Allow me to throw out a suggestion. If you’re not satisfied as to the finances of the club prior to the present official taking them over, then appointed a small committee from the meeting to investigate the accounts prior to February 9, and to draw up a report. That will clear the air and will be the best thing to do.
Mr Gibbs proposed that enquiry committee be formed, and that the Chairman and two secretaries be executive members of it.
Mr George Mills, the former treasurer to whom the £30 was said to be owing, said the money was unquestionably owing to him; in fact, the indebtedness of the club towards him stood at about £35, money paid out of his own pocket principally for signing on players and sundry expenses. Regarding Gregory’s transfers Doncaster, he said he negotiated that matter, and the fee was fixed at £5. Referring to Mr Gibbs resolution, he pointed out that the Chair was not in order to receiving that resolution, and when the accounts were closed and passed by a general meeting the time gone by to deal with them. Personally he did not fear any investigation that might be brought to bear upon his share of the management of the club.
On the proposition Mr Springthorpe, seconded by Mr Wright, the balance sheet was adopted.
Not a Lawyer
Mr Gibbs again asked if the new committee was to be liable for the old debts?
The Chairman: I cannot tell you; I am not a lawyer. I’m only a humble colliery manager. (Laughter.)
Mr Wray: if the committee don’t help to work them off, how are we ever to get out of debt? (Hear, hear).
Mr Gibbs: If the old committee have got you into trouble the ought to help you get you out of it
Mr Hadfield: If the club owes money it has the right to be paid
Mr A Robinson: If there is proof that it owes money, I say that it should be paid.
Mr Wray: If I am not prepared to work to help to rub off this £239, I’m not prepared to put up for the committee.
Mr Gibbs: I don’t think it is satisfactory.
The Chairman: if you like I will refer it to a lawyer and communicate the answer to you. (Laughter).
Mr A. Robinson call attention to the method of keeping the stand account. When the stand was built, he said it was arranged that the account should be kept separately. They were not being kept separately, and he contended that the guarantors would not have had to pay what they had had to pay if this had been done, for the stand was the only paying concern in connection with the club.
Mr Springthorpe proposed that the stand account be kept separate, and that half a crown be taken from each seven and sixpenny ticket, and put in the stand fund.
Mr Wray said that if they did that they would also have to find a separate secretary for the stand, because he was quite sure that he should not do that work.
Mr A Robinson: Excuse me, Mr Wray but you are not yet elected financial secretary.
The Chairman: Mr Robinson is not out of order, but it is a personal question, and there was really no need to bring it up.
Mr Springthorpe then amended his resolution and moved that the stand accounts be kept separately.
The Chairman: That is a different thing, and is much less complicated.
The resolution was carried.
Mr C Bury then moved an addition to Mr Springthorpe’s resolution,that after £25 and interest had been repaid to the Colliery Company each year, the remainder of the stand receipts should be paid into the fund of the club.
Mr Mill seconded.
The Guarantors Point of View
Mr A Robinson objected that the guarantors had the right to retain some money in order to provide for unsuccessful seasons.
Mr Mills said he was only by the kindness of the committee that the guarantors were allowed to take the proceeds of the stand, besides which the F.A. did not allow private enterprise to interfere with the working of the football club at all, unless with the consent of the club.
Mr E Robinson said he thought the club ought to help the guarantors to get the debt off the stand. If it had not been for the guarantors the club would not have had a stand at all.
Mr Bury’s resolution was ultimately carried.
Election of Officers
Proceeding to the election of officers, the name of Mr Douglas Chambers was substituted for that of Mr Tom Weston in the list of patrons. Mr W. H. Chambers was re-elected president, and the following were added to the list of vice presidents: Mr B. J. Hadfield, the Rev J Tunnicliffe, Mr W.I. Gibbs, Mr B Gibbs, Mr S Baines, senior, Mr S Baines, Junior and Mr W Wright.
There was a long discussion on that point of the committee, but ultimately the following were selected:
Messrs G Bateson A Bateson, F Lowther, C Farrell, DJ Hadfield, W Humphreys, J Bullock, G Holmes, J.E. Esland, G Hirst, G Chadfield, E Bromfield, F Westlake and E Vernon, with the officers ex officio and the stand guarantors.
Professional Auditor Proposed
When the meeting came to election of auditors, Mr Hadfield moves that a professional auditor be engaged.
Mr Wray: If you mean that we pay a professional auditor his fee for auditing the accounts, I shall refuse to have anything to do with it.
The Chairman: The cost would, roughly, be about £10.
Mr A Robinson: it’s worth it. It’s money well spent.
Mr W Astbury: As an auditor, I support that
Mr Wray: Here they are, grumbling about the debt on the club, and one the first thing they do is run the club into further debt.
Mr E Robinson: Mr Hadfield is in perfect order in bringing this matter forward if he thinks a professional auditor would be a benefit. I don’t see what it has to do with Mr Wray. A lot of these debts have been accumulated through bad management, and no one can dispute it. With a professional auditor we might have gained £50.
The Chairman: I might point out that if you appoint this auditor, he will take effect from now, and will have nothing to do with the past.
Mr Hadfield: If it costs a few guineas we get it back in other ways. The sporting public are more satisfied if they see a professional auditor’s name attached to the balance sheet. Local auditors have not the time, apart from anything else, to go through the accounts properly.
Mr Cusworth: I shall nothing to do with the club further, because I think that this is practically a vote of censure on the management.
Mr Hadfield: It is most unfair, Mr Cusworth to say that. If he is a businessman, he will welcome a professional audit.
Mr Wray: I am not going to work to pay for professional auditors, although I’m not afraid of any man going all through my books. Still I will not work see a man being paid for auditing my books at the end of it all.
Mr Springthorpe: I don’t believe in paying a professional auditor. We spend our time and labour all through the winter for nothing. (Hear, hear.)
Mr C Bury: There are certain members of the committee who attend committee meetings regularly, and then at the general meeting these all this rumpus by those who don’t.
Father Kavanagh said that in all voluntary association of this kind they ought not to elect anyone to take charge of their financial affairs, unless they could absolutely trust him. If he were elected to that position, he should certainly object to any professional gentlemen, coming in to be paid while he was not getting paid.
Mr Hadfield: My own experience of voluntary work even in this village is that the men who do this kind of work find it much better to have Professional auditors to go through their work.
Mr A Robinson: The tone appears to be going the wrong way. It does not bear upon any person here, because no one knows who is to be secretary, and who is to be treasurer, so that it cannot possibly have any personal bearing. If the meeting does not agree to have a professional auditor, there will not be the support for the proposal in the future that there has been in the past. It is the proper thing to do, with all the money that we turn over. No official ought to object to it. It is a safeguard to themselves.
Mr Springthorpe moved an amendment that no payment be made for auditing.
The Chairman and Professionalism
The Chairman: Personally, I am absolutely dead against any professional auditor been employed by this club, against professional players, or anything professional whatsoever. I would run it without, if I could. I think that when the club’s been put on a satisfactory basis, with the committee working hard on the expectation of having to work still harder, it is discreditable to attempt to saddle the club with a further debt of £10. If things are not satisfactory at the end of the year, then the club can hold a meeting and appoint an auditor, if they like. But at present there is no fault to be found.
Mr John Dunk and Mr Percy Chambers were appointed auditors.
Mr H Cusworth, and Mr H.H. Wray were appointed secretaries with a good deal of acclamation.
Mr Wray said in response that the club might have what auditors it liked. He had not spoken from the personal point of view, but what he had said was intended for the good of the club. The club was in need of money. When it was not in need of money, then they might have as many professional auditors as they liked.
Mr W.I.Gibbs was appointed treasurer, and it was agreed that the price of membership, 5/– and 7/6 should remain as before.
On the proposition of Mr Cusworth, a vote of thanks was accorded Mr Douglas Chambers for presiding, and the Chairman, in response, said he would do all he could to help the football club. If that evening he had trod on anyone’s corns, he was sorry, and he apologised. He had thoroughly enjoyed himself. (Laughter and applause.)