The Premier League hit the headlines with their fining of teams in recent seasons, defeating the purpose of the squad system by declaring that using 11 of the 25 players deemed good enough for their list, weren’t good enough for the starting line-up. No, I couldn’t work the logic of those punishments either.
But like everything in the new Premier League era, it was not new at all. Arsenal had been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, paid the fine. In this case, £250 (£75,000 today) is more or less in keeping with the penalties meted out in recent years.
So which matches were the Football League Management Committee unhappy with. Looking at the line-ups, they surround the time of the FA Cup semi-final and final. Arsenal were out of the title race, never having really been in it, the knockout competition proved to be more successful with Sheffield United defeated at Wembley. Arguably that more than paid the fine.
Arguably, the matches were Preston, Everton, Wolves, Bolton and Brentford, probably Leeds as well. Arsenal failed to win any of them, five draws and a defeat probably irked the football authorities and weakened any defence put forward as the club finished sixth in the table.