ENOUGH OF THE GELT, ALREADY
Mickey Blue Eyes
As we prepare for our latest exotic and expensive venture in the Europa League you might be interested in the article hereunder. It is taken from the London Football Evening News of 30th September 1893, an item stumbled across quite by accident while pursuing a totally different subject.
By that date organised professional football and the Football League had been in existence for just eight years and five years respectively. So what you have here is a sepia-tinted snapshot taken just after the dawn of the English game.
As you can see, there is bugger-all new under the footy sun. Remember that next time you think money is destroying the game. Or that rumour-mongering is new. Or that your whimpering is revolutionary. Uncanny is hardly the word.
Abramovich, Shmabramovich..... What's it matter so long as you love your Street End......
"Professional football will not collapse.
The article on "Football Professionals" in Monday's Times testifies to the growing interest of the public in football, although it will hardly establish "The Thunderer" as an authority on the game in which it shows - newly awakened interest. Much that is new in the article, is not true, and what is true is not new.
Nearly all the "facts" given in the article are stale to readers of The Football Evening News and Post, but there are two little stories which are, and which stamp the whole screed as exaggerated.
The writer asserts that a Scotch half back was paid five hundred pounds to join an English club and he follows this with the remarkable statement that a member of the Blackburn Rovers - he means Jack Southworth, of course - secured from Everton, his new masters, two hundred and fifty pounds down, and five pounds per week,
We know something of the price of Scotch players, and we utterly decline to believe the first story. We gave the truth about Southworth's transfer three weeks ago, and we then showed that this famous centre forward costs Everton ten pounds every time he plays. But the Times writer goes one better, for according to his "unimpeachable authority" the Liverpool club stands to pay no less than twenty guineas per match for this one man's services.
The Everton Club has doubtless done an infinite amount of harm to sport by its lavish expenditure - indeed, two neighbouring clubs, Bootle and Liverpool Caledonians, have been utterly swamped through it - but it has hardly become so reckless as "A Correspondent" would make out. As to the possibilities of professionalism in Association Football being "shaken to its foundations" during the next few months, our friend may rest content - the catastrophe is not quite so imminent.
Instead of professionalism being in danger, it is becoming more than ever necessary. Scotland has adopted it, and is, on the whole, pleased with the result; while Ireland from the latest indications may be trusted to follow example before next season opens.
The Rugby Union, which has for so long been held up to admiration as a bright and shining example of pure amateurism, has had to admit the existence of veiled professionalism, and is even now in danger of disintegration on that very point. Professional wages are admittedly a very heavy burden on most clubs, but they may be left to find their proper level, as any other marketable commodity does.
The abolition of summer wages, for which Mr J.J. Bentley is agitating, might give some slight relief; but, if the signs of the times have not been misread, such a measure will not be necessary.
Public interest in the game has gone up with a bound since the season opened, and everything indicates that most of the large clubs will have much bigger receipts than ever before. If this be so, we shall have to wait a long time for the threatened collapse of the professional edifice."