Feeling the pinch? Don't worry, writes Jon Spurling, history suggests you don't always need to raid the sofa cracks to break even. Or on second thoughts...
1) “Bah humbug,” say the Gunners
With crowds plummeting, and the club mired in mid-table in 1983, Arsenal’s board of directors decided that they needed to cut their cloth accordingly. One of the Gunners’ more unusual money-saving schemes was to announce that during the festive season, “free turkeys will no longer be given out to club employees”. “It’s amazing how money gets gobbled up these days,” one office employee told The Sun.
2) Clough: managerial genius and coach driver
Even as Clough and Taylor worked their magic at Hartlepool in the early ’60s, the North East outfit, in Clough’s words, “still never had two pennies to rub together”. Clough bought into the “tight ship” mode of thinking, gaining his HGV licence so he could ferry the team to away matches rather than “waste the club’s brass on paying a driver”.
3) Halifax’s Depression-era pay freeze
Keeping a football club alive during the Depression years of the 1930s was tough, and Halifax Town seemed to perpetually totter on the brink of extinction. The club needed the revenue from lucrative FA Cup ties, often played out against the backdrop of annual blizzards at The Shay. Halifax couldn’t afford to pay the council to clear the snow, so used an army of willing volunteers instead. Their reward was free tickets to the games where, like the rest of the crowd, they nearly froze to death.
4) “Mr Ferguson, can have I my ball back please”
After netting three for Aberdeen against Celtic in the late ’70s, Steve Archibald was prevented from keeping the match ball by boss Alex Ferguson. It wasn't because Fergie didn’t want his striker to get ideas above his station; instead, Archibald claimed Ferguson simply didn’t want to shell out for another ball. Later, he punted it into Fergie’s office and shouted: “Here’s your bloody stupid ball, man,” as it rebounded around the walls.
5) Man City’s muddy bandage shame
When Trevor Francis joined Manchester City in the early ’80s, it caused friction behind the scenes at Maine Road: the club couldn’t afford his gargantuan wages, after previously blowing huge amounts on the likes of Steve Daley and Kevin Reeves. Even the club doctor was under orders to make cutbacks, and Francis and other crocked stars were sometimes provided with second hand, mud-stained bandages as City tried to make ends meet. Ultimately the club made the most effective saving of all, by selling Francis to Sampdoria less than a year after signing him.