Arsenal Fined On This Day, 6th June 1936

Having seen one team win four of the previous five titles (including three in a row), the Football League could have been happy with Arsenal fielding weakened teams during the 1935/36 season. If nothing else it could have been construed as sporting, giving other teams a chance, making the title race more open. It certainly did that, Arsenal finished sixth.

The thanks the club received was a £250 fine. In economic terms that is the equivalent of £75,000 today. If it were applied as percentage of turnover – perhaps a better benchmark – the Premier League would be issuing a fine in excess of £500,000. Or more likely, ignoring the indiscretion entirely since they have instituted the squad system in recent seasons that essentially makes it impossible for this offence to arise.

Looking at the teams for that season, I identified fifteen games where the accusation might have been levelled against Arsenal: drawing 6, losing 5 and winning 4. Had Arsenal gained one more point in the games not won, they would have been champions so perhaps the League had a point.