Arsenal Don’t Want To Pay Big Transfer Fees On This Day, 27th May 1923 (Or Any Other Day For That Matter)

With hindsight, there is nothing unusual about Arsenal not wanting (or being able) to pay high transfer fees. Nearly ninety years ago they actually tried to limit them; how would the history of football look now? In today’s game, player salaries would no doubt be considerably higher although matters might not be so simple with clubs who survive on transfer income, severely limited in their ability to pay high salaries. In all likelihood, the status quo would have been maintained with the rich getting richer.

Combined with the maximum wages for players, it would have made football finances a lot more certain, with the transfer market possibly regulated by how much money clubs needed to make to survive.

Setting the fee at £1,650 seems perverse and it is little wonder that Norris’ proposal failed. Early in 1922, the English transfer record had moved from its pre-war record of £2,500 through £5,000 to £5,500. The level proposed by Norris was unfeasibly low which begs the question as to why it was suggested. It is unreasonable to view the move as saying more about the state of Arsenal’s finances than anything else.

Quite possibly, it was a move on his part to allow Arsenal to make the leap into challenging for silverware, enabling them to buy sufficient quality of players ‘on the cheap’. We may never know the true motives of the move.

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6 thoughts on “Arsenal Don’t Want To Pay Big Transfer Fees On This Day, 27th May 1923 (Or Any Other Day For That Matter)

  1. Pingback: Transfer Round-Up, Ramsey On The Future With Euro2012 Injury News « A Cultured Left Foot

  2. My guess is that Arsenal were still suffering from the burden of the heavy debt incurred in building Highbury and were unable to afford anywhere near £5,000 to buy players. At the time I think the most that the club had paid for a player was about £1,500.

    The 1920 accounts show that the club still owed £39,000. Even though crowds increased post-war I can’t see that the this debt would have been significantly reduced in the next 3 years. Arsenal were yo-yoing between mid-table and flirting with relegation. The only way out of this was to buy top players, which they couldn’t afford. So, Norris being Norris tried to do something about it.

  3. There I was hoping that this would be a review of the partying/hangovers from last night 33 years ago. I can remember mine like yesterday!

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