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Is Money Ruining The Game That We Love?

My first thought was that football had well and truly gone mad when Liverpool signed Andy Carroll for £35million back in January. I have nothing against Carroll who it seems has a good career ahead of him, but is he really worth anywhere near that kind of money?



My first thought was that football had well and truly gone mad when Liverpool signed Andy Carroll for £35million back in January. I have nothing against Carroll who it seems has a good career ahead of him, but is he really worth anywhere near that kind of money?

Personally I don’t think so he has not proved anything in the last couple of seasons to justify that sort of transfer fee. After all two seasons ago he was playing in the Championship and was not even the leading goal scorer in the division.

One thing that struck me is that the amount of money that these big transfer-deals are going for added up is akin to the amount that of money could be used to help reduce the country’s debt let alone set the NHS back on the right track.

Looking at our team Manchester United, we all know that certain players at the club are earning the best part of £180-200k or more a week.  Of course when you add in sponsorship deals into the mix, that total may well rise to something like £250k a week which of course is an incredible amount of money.

I would like to stress at this point that I am not an accountant, so have no idea what those players may have to pay out as a result of tax, but does anybody really actually need that kind of money for maybe playing only 2 games a week – which roughly works out as something like £150k per game.

One match in effect could buy the average Premier League player a house and a car, which compared to how the majority of the country is coping with the recession does come across as ‘unfair’ to say the least.

How do you spend this sort of money after you buy a mansion or two? Maybe you buy five cars and a couple of houses abroad. Maybe you buy your family the same and make sure all your friends are fine as well. That’s 2-3 months wages gone there before you know it.

No disrespect to players who do their fair share of charity work – as there are loads of footballers who do great things for charity like our very own Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen. But if every player gave for instance 5-10% of their wage bill every week (which I am sure some do) it would make a huge difference for charities.

After all most charities only ask for £3-5 a month on Television adverts. The majority of Premier League players could very easily over a year give out 1-2 months wages to a major charity anywhere in the world, which would help people be fed, watered and medically care for a number of years.

When I see ex-professional footballers talking about the finances of the game today and that players have ‘short careers’ and many of them often ‘worry’ about what they are going to do when they are retire, it really does irritate me.

it will be interesting to see what this current crop of high earning players say when they can no longer play on the top stage, picking up punditry jobs on TV. & radio, or indeed  if they go into coaching or management themselves.

I know I wouldn’t be complaining if I was in their position. After all for example if you’re a top Premier League player earning around £200k a week, every week over a 12 year career that works out to £124.8million which (barring a gambling addiction) would easily see out the player and their family for the rest of not only their lives but their children’s children as well.

On a side-note, after working that out I feel a bit like a contestant on Countdown. Of course for those of you who have read my previous articles, where I mentioned my Nan and her passion for United, its ironic really as she loved that show.

Will this madness ever stop as when the wages climb, players valuations will increase as well which tells me only one thing: that everything else in football will be more expensive as well as clubs will need to make sure that the players and staff are paid.

That of course hits the ‘average fan’ who during the recession still has to fork out large amounts of money to see their team if they want to continue doing so.  I know of someone recently who brought new footy strips for their children.

Two full kits cost an estimated £180, which for an average family is a huge investment. When you then add the cost of boots on top of that, because of course for any kid playing they have to wear the same as their idol, and boots like this can set you back £50-£150 a pair.

I don’t blame the kids for wanting the best boots,– after all as I said in a previous article, I remember my parents shelling out to get me the latest Bryan Robson Sondico Shinpads so it’s understandable they want to look like their heroes.

Fans who take their families to games will also be hit if prices continue to go up. For 14 years, my wife and I have attended games at Old Trafford together. Sadly now I will have to attend Paul Scholes’ testimonial alone, as financial situations prevent us from going together.

Do the players really have any idea of the turmoil, or indeed the debt that their fans go to – so that they can live their lavish lifestyles. Of course it’s no fault of the players involved that today money dominates the game and who can blame them for trying to earn as much as they can, after all a career does not last forever. 

My question to you guys is how much is enough, is it ever going to stop, and if it is how?

And which club will have to make the sacrifice first, or is it something that the FA/FIFA has to impose. What if any differences will UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations have on the game for the fans and will football at the highest level ever go back a financial structure that’s fair for the fans. Only time will tell.

By Paul Fox – @foxythered7

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