Football: Sidelines - This week

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The Independent Online
On 18 December 1909, Chelsea played host to Tottenham at Stamford Bridge in front of a crowd exceeding 40,000 and won 2-1.

In the Second Division, even Blackpool's 0-0 draw with Barnsley drew a crowd larger than many Premiership fixtures today. And yet, despite the huge popularity of football, stringent wage caps meant that the individual maximum weekly wage for players was pounds 4.

In a week in which a manager, Alex Ferguson, has secured an advance of pounds 1m for his autobiography, it is interesting to note that a Barnsley's best-paid player in 1909 would have had to work for 5,000 years to earn the same amount. The total weekly wage bill at Oakwell in 1909 was pounds 57.50, with three players on pounds 3 or more and most on pounds 2.50 or less.