We regret to announce the death of Mr. Tom Watson, the secretary of the Liverpool Football Club, which took place yesterday afternoon, after a few days’ illness, from pneumonia, at his residence, Priory-road, Anfield. Deceased was a native of Newcastle, having been born at Heaton Terrace in 1859. He celebrated his fifty-sixth birthday during a visit to his relatives in the city a fortnight ago.
Mr. Watson was one of the leading pioneers of professional Association football and for a quarter of a century he played an important part in controlling the fortunes of the Sunderland and Liverpool Clubs in the First Division of the League. A keen, enthusiastic amateur player in his youth, Mr. Watson early assumed the role of an official.
He acted as secretary of both the Newcastle West End and East End Clubs. Whilst associated with the first-named institution, he headed a deputation which resulted in the Newcastle Freemen and the Newcastle Corporation granting permission for football to be played on the site now known as St. James’s Park, in the occupation of the Newcastle United Football Club.
For the purpose of cultivating the game on the scientific lines practised in Scotland, Mr. Watson introduced several smart Scottish professionals into the ranks of the two leading Newcastle clubs. At that period the young Scots readily accepted a £5 note and the offer of a good job in a Tyneside factory. Upon leaving Newcastle, Mr. Watson took over the secretaryship[ of the Sunderland Club, and under his shrewd management and enterprise the Wearsiders attained great fame as “The team of all the talents.” He was chiefly responsible for the organisation of the team, including such famous players as Doig, Auld, Gillespie, the Hannah’s, Johnny Campbell, Jock Scott, Donald Gow, and Hughie Wilson.
Mr. Watson also had a signally successful career in establishing the prosperity and popularity of the Liverpool Club. Deceased was a brother-in-law of Mr. J. Oliver, a member of the Newcastle United directorate, and his death will be mourned by a large number of Tyneside friends and sportsmen.
It may be added that he was engaged in his office at Liverpool as late as last Friday, when he was seized with the severe chill which so quickly developed into a fatal attack of pneumonia.
Copyright - Newcastle Journal, 07-05-1915 - Transcribed by Kjell Hanssen