Mr. President, what about our wages?

August 12, 1916
The wage topic is troubling footballers. They were willing to help the clubs to carry on last season. That was an exceptional season, in which it was difficult to say which way the cat would leap. Now that clubs have made –their number is fairly numerous – a profit out of a charity session, the players rightly think that they should be paid a wage of so much per week or so much per match. Can the clubs stand the expenses? Our city clubs and Manchester City certainly could. Whether others could is aside the point at the moment. What the players want to know is, “How do the pros, stand.”

The Everton and Liverpool players formed a deputation to seek Mr. John McKenna’s advice, and this meeting took place last week. What happened I don’t pretend to know, but I do know that Mr. McKenna could, having no mandate from the English League clubs, not make a move in this matter, though he could, and probably did, promise to help the players in their cause. The fact to be borne in mind is this: The F.A. control these matters, and they have so far said they will not allow payments to footballers during the war. It is deviously to be hoped they have better grounds for refusal than those advanced by Mr. Wagstaff Simmons, who fears that payment to players raise an outcry against the game. Who, when, and why could anyone cry “shame” to football? They didn’t scoff at Scotland last season, and now that the eligibles must have been put into khaki there could not possibly be an outcry against the players. The Management Committee of the League met this week, but not for the purpose of considering the wages topic, albeit Mr. McKenna mentioned the matter to the members. It is greatly to be feared that players will be difficult to find if some payment is not made? Is the footballer to be the only person to suffer financially? In addition do let us guard against the possibility of under-the-table payments.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: August 12, 1916)

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