The annual meeting of the members of the Wigan Football Club was held at the head quarters, the Legs of Man Hotel, on Friday night. Mr. C. cronshaw was voted to the chair, and there was a large and enthusiastic attendance.
The SECRETARY (Mr. E. Wardle) read his report as follows:- "I have the pleasure of presenting for your consideration my report for the season 1889-90, which has just closed. The officers that were elected at the last meeting have acted all through the season with the exception of Mr. J. Hunter, who, owing to an accident in the Widnes match, I am sorry to say, was compelled to resign his position as vice-captain. The committee elected Mr. Richard Seddon in his stead, and it is unnecessary for me to add that he has filled the position admirably. The first team during the season has not only been the strongest since the club was formed, but has shown itself to be the best in Lancashire. The season has been a most successful one, having played 43 matches, won 33, lost 6, drawn 4, and scored 38 goals, 68 tries, and 111 minors, against 15 goals, 21 tries, and 49 minors, leaving a balance in our favour of 23 goals, 47 tries, and 62 minors. The results of the matches are as follows:-
"The tries were got by - J. Anderton, 19: J. Slevin, 17; W. Halliwell, 13; brayshay, 10; Bullough, 9; dempsey, 6; Richard Seddon, 4; Atkinson, 4; Robt. Seddon, 4; Mitchinson, 3; Jack Hunter, 3; Hatton, 2; Roberts, 2; Wardle, Swift, Hulme, Houghton, Jack Seddon, and Bibby, 1 each.
Mr. Sam Bithell has captained the "A" team, who have also done very well having played 22 matches, won 13, lost 7, and drawn 2. During the season we have had the honour of providing three players for the county, two of whom, Atkinson and Bullough, have played through the whole of the matches, whilst Jack Anderton played in the match against Yorkshire at Bradford. We hope next season to be honoured with our fair share of representation. Mr. J.W. Clegg was successful in obtaining a seat on the county committee, which he now resigns, and my committee have passed a resolution to nominate our president, Mr. C.A. Cronshaw as a candidate, which course I am sure you will cordially endorse. The Wigan Charity Cup Competition and the West Lancashire League have been gone through with the greatest possible success, having again won both cups. The attendance of the committee, which I hope you will pay particular attention to, out of a possible 52, are as follows:- Jos. Wardle, 48; W. Marsden, 48; W. Millington, 47; J. Underwood, 45; J. Saxon, 45; J.W. Clegg, 43; J. Harrison, 41; Dr. Bradbury, 35; Dr. Parker, 39. The list of matches for the coming season is not quite complete. The new matches will, however, be Runcorn, Salford, and Manchester Rangers. We have now arranged fixtures with Swinton, Warrington, Tyldesley, Leeds St. John, Brighouse Rangers, Mossley, Broughton, Broughton Rangers, Leigh, Walkden, Aspull, St. Helens, and Widnes. I am glad to say that the finances of the club are in a favourable state, particulars of which will be submitted to you by our honorary treasurer, Mr. Armstrong, in his report - I have the honour to remain, your obedient servant, E. WARDLE."
Mr. CHARNOCK proposed the adoption of the report and spoke of what they could only achieve in the football world in the future if the men would only stick together.
Mr. J TAYLOR said the secretary had mentioned that the second team had had a successful season. If more attention had been paid to it it would have been more successful. So long as they required recruits, so long would they have to support the second team. It was gratifying to hear how well the first team had performed. They had only lost six matches, and in his opinion those were lost - mainly in the holiday season - through over-pressure. (Applause.) He seconded the adoption of the report.
The TREASURER (Mr. J. Armstrong), in his statement, reported that the club had commenced the season with an adverse balance of £65. The total receipts for the year were £929 17s. 9d., and the payments £852 12s. 2d., leaving a cash balance in hand of £77 4s. 7d. Their plant on the ground had been valued and after allowing for depreciation was put down at £265, and with the cash balance in hand that made the club worth at the present time £342 4s. 7d. (Loud applause.)
Mr. THOMAS said he had not noticed any item in the accounts for the insurance of the playing members of the team. If they were not insured he would suggest that it was a thing which ought to be attended to immediately. The least they could do if ay of their players were disabled through accidents, was to see that they were not out of pocket through it. (Applause.)
Mr. CHARNOCK asked for the amount of one particular gate at any match on the Wigan ground - Swinton, Tyldesley, or Leeds St. Johns.
Mr. ARMSTRONG said he knew the amount of the Tyldesley match was £80.
Mr. JOS. TAYLOR said that was hardly a matter for them to discuss. They had an auditor who had gone through the accounts, and in whom they had every confidence.
The statement of accounts was then passed.
Mr. CHARNOCK proposed a vote of thanks to the business officers who had seen them through a year of great prosperity.
Mr. WHITEHEAD seconded.
Mr. CLEGG, responding, said the annual meeting which they were holding that night had up to that time been one of the pleasantest in the history of the club. Each and every one of the committee-men had done their utmost for the club, and it was to be hoped that with the rising success of the club that the (sic) would diminish. He was much obliged to them on behalf of the committee. (Applause.)
West Lancashire and Border Towns Union Cup
Mr. R. HILTON proposed a vote of thanks to the members of the team together with the captain and vice-captain, for the admirable work they had done during the past season. (Applause.)
Mr. J. TAYLOR, in seconding, said they could scarcely have a better team or have gained more victories. They were the champions of Lancashire, and if they would only go on as they had done they would very soon be able to call themselves the champions of the North of England. (Applause.)
The resolution was carried amid great applause.
Mr. SLEVIN thanked them very much for their kind appreciation of his services to the club. There was no player prouder of the position of the Wigan Club than he was. It was the first time during the whole career of the club that such a favourable balance sheet had been read. He had been connected with the club since its commencement, and it had never been declared out of debt before. (Applause.)
Mr. BEST proposed, and Mr. WILKINSON seconded a vote of thanks to the members of the second team, the latter remarking that if they had better fixtures the gates would be better.
Mr. W. MARSDEN stated that they had now the same fixtures as the first team.
The resolution having been passed, Mr. BITHELL, the second team captain, returned thanks.
The next business was the revision of the rules, the CHAIRMAN reading them through seriatim.
Mr. JOSEPH TAYLOR said he wished to propose an addition to rule 2. He wanted to insert, with the permission of the meeting, before the word secretary "paid," making it paid secretary. The club was out of debt, and, considering its standing, it could afford to pay a secretary who should be held responsible for everything that came through his hands. With all respect to Mr. Wardle, it was hardly right that a club of such a standing in the county should have a secretary who was also a playing member. He had not the time to attend to the business on a match day that the secretary ought to do, and there were many things which might be remedied both on the ground and in the dressing rooms if they had a man on the spot. More particularly was that the case at the second team matches. There was no one present but Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Joseph Wardle, and he knew it was a great tie upon the treasurer. If they had a paid secretary he could be on the spot, attend to the gates, take the numbers before the match commenced, take them when the match as finished, see that there was a proper team up, and that they had proper jerseys, and in fact every minor detail connected with the club. If the proposition met with the approval of the meeting he would suggest that the matter be adjourned for a week, and then they could all a general meeting and find someone to take the position. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. HILTON supported Mr. Taylor, and remarked that at present Mr. Armstrong, as treasurer, had many more duties than he ought really to be called upon to perform. (Hear, hear.)
Dr. PARKER said it was quite possible that they might still retain the same secretary, but was hardly the wish of the meeting that Mr. Ellis Wardle should withdraw from the field of play. A paid secretary, however, would be of service both to the treasurer and the committee at large. (Hear, hear.) If Mr. Wardle gave over playing his absence would be a great loss, because he was always worth a place in the team. If he would withdraw and go in for the post of paid secretary there would not be the slightest hesitation about appointing him. (Hear, hear)
Mr. CLEGG, as chairman of committee, saw no objection to the proposal if they could only agree upon a proper man.
Mr. T. ASPINALL proposed, as an amendment, that the secretaryship remain as it is, which Mr. LOWE seconded.
The CHAIRMAN said it was an important matter, because they were losing sight of the principles upon which they had been working in the past. Hitherto they had always been able to find some member of the club willing to do those duties honorary and if they could still do that it appeared to him advisable, but if they as a general meeting thought that the duties had not bee carried out with that attention to detail which ought to be, and which could not be expected from an hon. secretary, then they had better consider the advisableness of getting a paid secretary.
Mr. TAYLOR said he did not wish to cast any reflection upon Mr. Ellis Wardle because that gentleman had not the time at his disposal.
The feeling of the meeting was then taken. For the amendment, which was put first, 43 voted. Only 20 votes were recorded for the motion, and the amendment was declared carried.
Mr. THOMAS said he would like some expression of opinion on the question of the insurance of players.
Mr. CLEGG replied that the question had been before the committee, and probably the new committee would deal with it. There were several ways of insuring players. They could constitute an insurance fund of their own, or insure in other offices.
The patrons having been re-elected,
Mr. CLEGG proposed Mr. C. Cronshaw as president for the ensuing season.
Mr. MILLINGTON seconded. He also explained the reason of Mr. Cronshaw's absence from the annual dinner. That gentleman had sent a letter, which did not reach Mr. Millington until Thursday morning, excusing his absence and enclosing a sovereign to fill the cup in his name. (Applause.)
Mr. CRONSHAW, who was enthusiastically received, said he could only accept the position of president with great thankfulness to the for having appointed him to that position. He had previously said that whenever they felt disposed to put him on one side for some other person whom they thought would be of advantage to the club, he would always willingly step down; but his interest would ever be the same in the Wigan Football Club whatever position - even if it might be none - that he might have at their hands. He had listened with great pleasure to the remarks made with reference to the second team. From the very origin of the club in 1879 it had always been a tenet which the committee had held that the second team must be looked after. The second team must be taken care of, and the first team would take care of itself. (Applause.) That had worked very well, and in future - if there had been any lacks in the past - he hoped the committee would take that proposition to heart and see that it was properly carried out next year. If they did he was certain that the Wigan Football Club would never look back, but would have a wonderful nursery in the second team to provide men for the first team in place of those who had to give up the great game. He was much grieved to find that the two local papers mentioned the fact that the Wigan Charity Challenge Cup Competition was going down. He was sorry to hear that if it was a fact. He did not know himself what the feeling of the public was i the competition, but it had antiquity on its side. It was the first charity challenge cup that was constituted in Lancashire in the Rugby game. It was an honourable institution, and ought to be respected. The Wigan Charity Cup Competition had been the foundation of Rugby football in that district. It had set an example and disseminated its influence throughout the whole of West Lancashire.
That influence had been felt in East Lancashire, and it was simply a question of time when the whole of the county would feel that influence which had emanated from the very small cup - The Wigan Union Charity Challenge Cup. (Applause.) He would venture a suggestion, though in doing so he was hazarding somewhat. He would suggest to the committee that if possible they should extend the area of the competition. If they have found that the Wigan Union to which it was confined, with the exception of Blackrod, was not enthusiastic enough to support the competition, he should suggest that it include the whole of the district from which contributions were received to the Wigan Infirmary. (Applause.)
By doing that they would have a resuscitation of the old competition and increase the funds of the Infirmary, and prevent what he looked upon as a time-honoured and respectable institution suffering from want of interest. (Applause.)
He would now congratulate them upon having such a team which was the envy of the whole of Lancashire. (Applause.) Their position was really - and he did not know who would deny it - the champions of Lancashire. They had beaten all the teams of any notoriety with whom they had come in contact, and there was not a team which could be picked out of any club in Lancashire which could give them the "go by". He only hoped they would never let it go down. He had also to congratulate them upon their financial position. They had been struggling against great odds and a great incubus of debt for a long time, and which had almost threatened to convulse them and break them up. It had almost disheartened the weaker-kneed members of the committee, but they need not be afraid any longer. There was no millstone round their neck, their head was above water and they would swim on, and sometime or other they would have a large balance in hand, and it would be for general meeting to decide to what particular object that would be applied. He imagined he was seeing erected somewhere in the immediate locality a gymnasium, and if it was not erected before by some public-minded man, he thought the football club would forestall him by building one which would be like the Rugby Football Club - a gymnasium for the people, and he hoped the people would appreciate it when it would be erected. (Loud applause)
The Wigan Cricket Club, which was a sister association to theirs, and which ought to be supported by them as far as they possibly could, was in difficulties. Financially it was in a very low water, and he for one would be very sorry indeed to see the Wigan Cricket Club go down. It was an institution which certainly should be kept up - there ought to be no doubt about the possibility in Wigan, and there was no reason why it should not be raised to as high a position in the cricket world as the football club raised in football world. The old committee had decided to give them a benefit match next year to help them out of their difficulties, and he mentioned that in the hope that the newly constituted committee would carry out that resolution, and do a gracious and good act by confirming the resolution, and giving the benefit match to the Wigan Cricket Club in the ensing season. He could assure them how pleased he was to be elected once more president of the Wigan Rugby Union Football Club. (Applause.)
Mr. MARSDEN proposed the re-election of the two late vice-presidents, Mr. Mills and Mr. Jas. Ashton. - Mr. HOLDING seconded.
The CHAIRMAN aid he would like to see Mr. Clegg's name upon the list of vice-presidents, as he would not be able next year to perform the arduous duties which he had done last year. He had been chairman of the committee for over four year, and during that time he had worked most assiduously with only one idea, that of furthering the interests of the club. (Applause.)
To enable Mr. Clegg's name to be added to the list the rule was altered, making it permissible to have three vice-presidents. - Dr PARKER seconded the resolution, which was passed with acclamation.
Mr. CLEGG said having been made a vice-president of the club, he began to think he was almost getting an old man. (Laughter.) He was much obliged to them for the honour, and it would always be his anxious desire to do whatever he could for the club. He hoped the Charity Cup competition would go on but as to extension that matter was left to the committee. He felt a peculiar interest in the competition, because he acted as treasurer and secretary of it when it was inaugurated and he had also the pleasure of playing under Mr. Cronshaw's captaincy when Wigan carried the cup off the first time. (Applause.)
The CHAIRMAN moved, and Mr. CHARNOCK seconded, that Mr. Slevin be captain of the first team for the coming year.
Mr. SLEVIN said he had thought the matter over for some time, and he did not wish to take the captaincy any more. It would be fresh upon their memories that for about the first three months of last year he made a rather poor show. It came to so much that there were letters in the local papers saying it was time for Slevin to give over playing. However he tried his best to get into form, although he did not know whether he succeeded or not. He thought it was far better to retire with the laurels that the club had gained, than after the first few months when the complaints were being made.
The CHAIRMAN said they were sorry to hear that, because they all appreciated Mr. Slevin's good play, and there was no one in the team whom they could appoint to his position. He trusted that it was a premature decision, and that he would think over it well. (Hear, hear)
Mr. SLEVIN said he thought it was time for someone else to take his position.
The resolution was put to the meeting and carried unanimously, the applause being loud and continuous. The general wish was that Mr. Slevin might reconsider his decision.
Mr. CLEGG, in proposing Mr. Richard Seddon as vice-captain, paid a high compliment to his skilful play on the football field, and was sure they could not have a better man.
Mr. JOHN KNOWLES seconded the resolution, which was carried with applause.
On the motion of Mr. COUNSELL, seconded by Mr. GIBSON, Mr. Bithell was elected captain of the second team.
Mr. Houghton was unanimously elected vice-captain on the motion of Mr.BITHELL, seconded by Mr. BRAYSHAY.
Mr. E. WARDLE was re-appointed secretary, on the motion of Mr. T. ASPINALL. Mr. Wardle returned thanks for the appointment.
Mr. CHARNOCK proposed, and Mr. MARSDEN seconded, an it was unanimously resolved that Mr. Armstrong be re-elected treasurer.
The retiring members of the committee were Messrs. J.W. Clegg, J. Wardle, W. Milligan, J. Harrison, W. Marsden, J. Underwood, Dr. Bradbury, W.R. Grime, and Jno. Saxon. In addition to these there were nominated Messrs. T. Lymn, J. Wardle, J. Lowe, T. Charnock, J. Molyneux, J. Hunter, J. Knowles, F.H. Taylor, H. Harrison, T. Aspinall, and W. Kay. Mr. Clegg having been appointed a vice-president, it left another vacancy on the committee. The voting was a follows: - J. Wardle 77, J. Hunter 76, W. Millington 70, J. Underwood 60, W. Marsden 52, J. Knowles 62, J. Harrison 50, T. Aspinall 48, Dr. Bradbury 45, and W.R. Grime 42. Messrs. Thomas and Best were the scrutineers. The above gentlemen were appointed the committee on the motion of the CHAIRMAN, seconded by Mr. CLEGG.
A hearty vote of thanks to the chairman for presiding was passed, and the meeting then terminated.
Charlie Cronshaw had missed an annual dinner a couple of days before this AGM at the end of May,1890. He was feeling unwell so sent a letter to those in attendance, which was mentioned in this meeting. Sadly, Charlie died two weeks later on 13th June, 1890 from typhoid. His tombstone was paid for by the Wigan club after fundraising and a benefit match with Walkden. Atop, lay the Wigan Union Challenge Cup replica, along with masonic symbols which he was associated with the local masonic movement. Charlie died young, in his early 30s. His death was a shock and Wigan felt it hard. Without Charlie Cronshaw and his efforts, Wigan and rugby may have never existed to see any sort of success.