Players wages is a continually thorny issue throughout the history of football, from the birth of professionalism through maximum wage to the modern era’s ravenous desire to milk the cash cow for all its’ worth.
Debate rages about whether or not the players are paid at market values – they are: supply and demand dictates their salary, as much as any egalitarian wage structure that the club adheres to. It is a curiousity that whilst the players wages appears suppressed by the standards of their peers, managers have always been very well compensated.
When the club is in a fallow period in terms of silverware, the issues become more thorny. Fans are easily and singularly unimpressed by the fare on offer with the lack of return for their investment. Players are not earning their corn, the theory expounds. Or some players are whilst others are overpaid.
Whatever feelings we may have now about lack of silverware were replicated in 1958. No title in five years was dismal pickings given the richness of the rewards pre- and immediately post-, World War II. The club’s finances had meant that the star players purchased in that earlier spell were never replaced, or not to the same glamourous levels.
That also meant belt-tightening wherever possible although this was judged by the squad to be a step too far. In truth there was little they could do about matters since the contractual power was still very firmly in the club’s hands. Even if the players had not re-signed for the club, Arsenal would have been owners of their registrations, effectively able to demand transfer fees if they so desired.
It is a useful warning to those who want to radically overhaul the current wages structure, as comments in the report show the envy of some players.