Can someone please convince me that the football world is completely sane and it is I who has gone absolutely crazy! On the anniversary of 50 years since the maximum wage was abolished in 1961, The Professional Footballers’ Association says that in 1957 a top England player would have earned a total of £1,677 in wages, bonuses and international match fees in a year. That’s the equivalent of about £75,000 in today’s money – about the amount that many average Premier League players would earn in a week in 2011.
A report in the Daily Telegraph this week revealed that a championship winning Manchester United and England player in 1956-57 would have earned £744 in wages, £72 in league match bonuses, £45 in league talent money, £60 in European Cup bonuses, £150 in accrued benefit, £80 from Provident Fund credit, £56 in FA Cup bonuses, £50 in FA Cup talent money, £400 from international match fees, and £20 from an inter-League match fee.
Believe it or not, that’s a total of £1,677 PER YEAR. Compare that to the reported £250,000 plus which Wayne Rooney and Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez are reported to be raking in EACH WEEK and you have to wonder how the game was allowed to reach such a level of madness. This may give you some idea!
THE MAXIMUM WAGE AND FOOTBALL’S MONEY TRAIL
1879: Lancashire club Darwen causes a scandal when it is revealed they had been paying two Scots, Fergie Suter and James Love.
1885: Professionalism is legalised.
1901: A £4-a-week wage limit is introduced.
1905: The first £1,000 transfer fee is paid when Middlesbrough sign Sunderland’s Alf Common.
1922: The maximum wage grows to £8 a week (£6 in the summer), plus a loyalty bonus of £650 after five
1928: The first £10,000 transfer – Arsenal sign David Jack from Bolton.
1947: Jimmy Guthrie takes over as chairman of the Players’ Union with the maximum wage still only £12 a week (£10 in the summer).
1961: New PFA new chairman Jimmy Hill finally wins abolition of maximum wage. Johnny Haynes becomes first £100-a-week player.
1962: The first transfer over £100,000 takes place as Manchester United pay £110,000 to sign Denis Law from Torino.
1979: Nottingham Forest pay the first £1million fee, signing Trevor Francis from Birmingham. Peter Shilton becomes the best-paid player in Britain with a new contract at Forest worth £1,200 a week.
1988: First £2million transfer as Paul Gascoigne moves from Newcastle to Tottenham.
1994: Chris Sutton becomes the first £10,000-a-week footballer when Blackburn sign him from Norwich.
1995: The Bosman ruling allows out-of-contract players free transfers and therefore higher wages.
1996: Newcastle smash the transfer record, signing Alan Shearer for £15million from Blackburn.
2000: Roy Keane becomes the first player to top £50,000 a week with a new contract at Manchester United worth £52,000 weekly.
2001: Sol Campbell’s free transfer from Tottenham to Arsenal sees the England defender become the first £100,000-a-week player.
2002: The £30million transfer fee barrier is breached when Manchester United sign Rio Ferdinand from Leeds.
2010: Carlos Tevez is the first £1million-a-month player – his weekly wages from Manchester City are claimed to be £286,000 a week.
Does that make any sense to anyone? When the time comes to pay for a season ticket, buy a replica kit, a match program or even a pie at the game do not blindly put all the blame on the Glazers or any other club owner. The major reason is clear for everyone to see.
Is there any way that today’s player wages can be justified?