Spiralling Wages! A Threat Once Again To The Beautiful Game?

Have I heard this before?

Manchester City have taken over from Chelsea and Man Utd, and are now certainly being a ‘pain in the backside’ to the poorer clubs in the Premiership.

I feel this inequality will cause some clubs to overspend and possibly we could well see a number of clubs going into administration.

I saw this comment in a local paper last week and because as of yet; I hadn’t mentioned The Wanderers in my posts I thought the following insight into my favourite team and the state of the game of yesteryear might interest some of you.

A quote from a leader column in the Express and Star dated August 28th 1901.

“The huge wages which first class association football players have been in receipt of, have impoverished many of our leading clubs and if not the subject been dealt with in a bold manner by the fixing of a wage limit the continued drain would have brought about the collapse of many of our best clubs.

As it was this bogey was threatening the very existence of the first division of the league and the subject was tackled just in time”

How to make things pay

Cartoon from the Birmingham Argos Series 1946
Cartoon from the Birmingham Argos Series 1946

In 1908 Mr Sidney has to step in again

On may 30th 1908 the Annual General Meeting of the Football Association was held at the Holborn Restaurant.

Lord Kinnaid being absent, Charles Crump as senior Vice-President took the chair. It was an important meeting, for Mr Clegg was to propose the abolition of any restriction on wages and bonuses. The existing regulations, he said, were being flouted.

But Mr Sidney of the Wolverhampton Wanderers, and former member of the league Management committee, opposed the suggestion. The present rule he argued worked excellently, and Wolves had no trouble in re-signing their players.

Every thing in football must not be sacrificed to money, and clubs with little money, but any amount of enthusiasm must have a chance to carry off the highest honours of the football field.

Supported by the representative of Preston North End, Mr. Sidney carried the meeting with him, and the motion was defeated.

Just weeks after Wolves' 1908 English Cup Victory
Just weeks after Wolves’ 1908 English Cup Victory

Sydney went on to say –

“Today we find many old established clubs in anything but a sound financial position and the directors of these combinations are now taking advantage of the rules in place related to the payment of players in the hope of being able to steer their barques away from the sands of financial disaster”

It strikes me that these words although over a hundred years old, ring true once again today.

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