There is a widely held belief that football is cyclical; this time of year seems to prove it. Having secured the Fairs Cup in April, Bob McNab and George Graham were named as two of five contract rebels. It is a beautiful irony in the latter’s case given his own attitude toward negotiations during his time as manager.
Interestingly, the core dispute seems to have been the move away from attendances to points secured as the basis for any bonuses. In hindsight, the club ended up paying more out over the years as attendances would noticeably decline in the coming decades. But it also signalled a change in attitude, one where success was rewarded and ensuring that the collective performance levels were raised. That clean sheet, the extra goal from range, bring the squad reward as well as the individual bonuses that those outcomes brought.
Problems would be resolved but there was a theme building; the following summer’s would all be marred by similar disputes but for the time being at least, the dissension was quelled and the double campaign could begin with a relatively settled group.
Note also that Arsenal then had one of the highest wage bills in the old First Division. Somethings never change.