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Madejski right to hit out at wages

Paul Fletcher | 20:49 UK time, Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Reading chairman John Madejski once said that the best way to make a million in football is to invest 10 million, the suggestion being that for whatever reason the other nine disappears along the way.

It would be a fair assumption that the Royals chairman had players' wages in mind to at least some degree.

After all, as far back as May 2003 he opined from his luxury home: "There are three things wrong with football: players' wages, players' wages and players' wages. If you sort that out, you sort football out as far as I'm concerned."

As such I guess nobody should have been all that surprised when the 67-year-old recently told BBC Radio Berkshire that footballer's wages are "obscene".

madejski438.jpg"I think players are paid quite enough already and they don't need to be as high as they are," said the man who made his substantial fortune as the founder of Auto Trader.

"I'm pleased they get good salaries - that's only right - but it's gone off the Richter scale."

I've spoken to a couple of Reading fans about this and I wouldn't say it was exactly the news they wanted to hear. They are more than familiar with Madejski's fiscal prudence and his theories on the salaries of his key assets.

What they what to hear is that most of the £8.5m raised from the sale of David Kitson to Stoke and Nicky Shorey to Aston Villa will be reinvested in the transfer market.

It isn't going to happen.

Reading received a parachute payment of £11m but Madejski reckons relegation from the Premier League cost his club £22m. What's more, he has made it clear that plenty of funds have been used in extensive "remedial work" on the stadium. Add to that the large squad of players at the club and reduced season ticket sales of 14,000 and the owner has a strong case for suggesting that the club need to "cut our coat according to our cloth."

I've been told that the staff at the club took a substantial pay cut as a consequence of relegation, while the cash raised from the sale of players will be used to underpin the deficit incurred as a result of Reading dropping out of the Premier League.

I think there is a lot to admire in a chairman running his club with a very definite eye on the bottom line. Football is littered with tales of boom and bust, ridiculous overspending and chronic mismanagement. Fans want to hear about exciting new arrivals, though surely not as much as they don't want to hear about their club entering administration.

But is Madejski correct when he suggests that the biggest problem in football is players' wages?

I have trouble computing the supposed figures involved in Frank Lampard's new contract at Chelsea. Can any sportsman be worth a reported £150,000 per week?

Some would suggest that football is now entertainment, not to mention a business of supply and demand. Footballers are the stars of the show, the reason people pass through the turnstiles and buy replica shirts and all the other merchandise that is now available, and if a club is generating huge sums of money as they mine ever-expanding markets then why shouldn't players be paid their slice of the pie?

And to an extent I think the aforementioned argument holds water. The top players in the Premier League are the faces of global brands, superstars. Whether they are cosseted, pampered and spoilt with no idea of what it is to be a normal human being is another argument entirely.

But what about wages in the Football League?

A survey in 2006 revealed that the average Championship footballer earns £195,750 per year, or to put it another way £3,764 a week. The figure dropped to £67,850 in League One and £49,600 in League Two.

I would be absolutely staggered if there were no footballers in the Championship earning at least £20,000 per week - just over £1m each year.

You could argue that if your club brought in a top player who made the difference between promotion and a near miss, then he would certainly be worth every penny of a £1m a year contract. But how many of these are there in the Championship? Not many.

And as I have read story after story over the summer months of managers talking about their frustrations in the transfer market because players are waiting on deals, hoping something better will come along, it underlines the belief that for most footballers, or their agents or a combination of the two, cash is a prime motivation. Yes, footballers have short careers and must look after their own interests, but the relationship between club and cash is one that often ruptures a player's loyalty.

Looking at the bigger picture can it really be right that a footballer in the second tier of the English game earns so much for playing football when so many other people in unquestionably important professions, people who save lives, or educate children or serve the public in so many other ways, earn a pittance in comparison? It is part of the reason why my Dad no longer bothers to watch the team he supports, the price of admission being another key factor. The argument sounds a bit worthy but that doesn't mean it isn't right.

I think Madejski is right when he says that salaries have gone off the Richter scale. Do you?

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Of course he's right. Incomes around the world across the entire global consumer economy continue to polarise and the football industry surely awaits its own credit crunch. Yes, they have short careers, but even footballing premiership journeymen can earn a lifetime's wages in one season. Anyway, who can really be comfortable earning such sums, knowing that somewhere in the world, a child dies every three seconds for a lack of even an extremely basic standard of living?

  • Comment number 2.

    I fully agree with you Andie, theres dark days ahead for professional football. Its just not feasible that Championship clubs can have wage bills in excess of 100 grand a week when they only take maybe 150 grand at the gate. That still has to cover transport costs, maintenance, insurance etc...
    Morer people should support Madejski on this one, Ive recently heard the commentators on Sky Sports News propose a protest or a petition about the ridiculous level of players wages. I personally think the cap should be 100 grand and that would be only for players like Giggs or Gerrard or talismen who have worked hard over the years to earn that kind of cash.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think it's a bit daft constantly blaming players for their wages. If the clubs and chairman are willing to pay the wages then why shouldn't the playes take them. It's the clubs and on a smaller scale the fans who are to blame. Not many fans will of spent their pre-season saying "lets not buy any new star players, lets coach the youngsters, wait 5 years for success and that will keep my season ticket price down". Footballers try to get the best deal they can the same as anyone else in the commercial world. When the players do try to get the best deal and try it on a bit, everyone screams about loyalty, another myth.

    As for feeling comfortable about taking such big wages because that makes them guilty for starving kids, that's a bit harsh. Thats the equivalent of saying anyone who earns more than they deserve on a global scale or anyone who spends on a luxury item should feel guilty because that money could of saved a childs life.

    Saying all that I do think the wages are crazy, the maths just doesn't work out for most clubs. I would like to see some sort of financial regulation which says teams can not spend more on wages than they are projected to get from gates and TV revenue or what they have in the bank. But I guess legally it can't be done.

  • Comment number 4.

    I personally think £20,000 per week should be the absolute maximum as that would give players a million a year contract.

    How much do they need/want.

    Most people I know dont earn the equivalent of 1 or 2 weeks of that.

    Yet OUR clubs still want to squeeze every last pound out of us for memorabilia/refreshments etc.

    Time has come to say enough is enough.

    Disgruntled Leicester fan.

    :-(

  • Comment number 5.

    People have been using this argument since the abolition of the maximum wage. Why is it that only footballers come in for this kind of stick? Is it right (fair) that people can get many millions for their business, or get millions in bonuses for selling shares, etc. at times when you can't lose ? Surely it is the same argument, if you charge too much, nobody will buy.
    It only seems to be this year, when his FA dole out is cut that he is concerned. How does he think that teams promoted to the Championship are supposed to compete, with a sudden increase in wages, but no immediate big FA bonuses?
    What I do think should happen is that players should have an appropriate wage cut when relegated.

  • Comment number 6.

    For me, the biggest question mark with the levels of player wages is are players becoming more distant and out of touch with fans.

  • Comment number 7.

    In reply to MaybeNextYearSon,

    a salary cap is legally possible, the RFL imposes such a salary cap on super league clubs and they can only spend 50 or 60 percent of their projected earnings for that particular season on players wages. (I tried to find some more about this rule but wikipedia seemed to know nothing *shrug*)

    The argument against having a salary cap of this sort is that players seeking the sort of wages they were paid before the cap a la Ballack/Lampard etc. would leave the Premier League and go elsewhere.. then the league would supposedly no longer be the "best" league in the world.. Something would have to be imposed on a worldwide scale and this seems very unlikely.

    It is however something I think will probably benefit football in the long term given that most clubs are reportedly running on a defecit. Of course it does probably mean that Man Utd will have billions to spend on their squad and the Hulls of the world may be left with little more than a fiver, but at least they are probably less likely to go bust??

  • Comment number 8.

    I completely disagree with this article. I realise you have jumped at the sight of the earnings of these sportsmen and have claimed that somehow they are crazy. Football is not the only sport that is like this, baseball players earn equal amounts, Kimi Raikonen is the highest paid sportsman in the world. In fact, David Beckham is the only top footballer in the earnings bracket of sportsmen. Only Ronaldinho comes close.

    The attempt to link footballers wages to supply and demand is also not really correct. Entertainment industry wages (which football undoubtably is as it is run by entertaining the public, if it wasn't as entertaining the players would not earn as much e.g. bowls) are high across the world. This is not similar to standard employment. Like movie stars, there will always be someone willing to pay more for your talent, thus each player has their price depending on talent, sales appeal (how many shirts they sell for the club etc) and various other factors.

    If Inter Milan are willing to pay £140,000 a week for Frank Lampard, and Chelsea are willing to pay £150,000 per week because they feel he is worth this to them, then he should be paid that. It has partly to do with greed etc but all jobs are to do with this.

  • Comment number 9.

    Of course footballers, like many other sportsmen, are grotesquely overpaid - upwards of £100,000 for a 90 minute game of football is disgusting to most hard working people who struggle to make ends meet in the current climate.

    The fact that footballers are almost universally poor role models, generally disloyal to their clubs and actually behave disgracefully when they are on the pitch only adds to the feeling of indignation I have!

  • Comment number 10.

    Nah, Manny Ramirez has earned $143,328,346 prior to this season.

  • Comment number 11.

    The argument is that that the players are helping to make all of this money in the first place so of course they are entitled to a slice of it- that's how capitalism works after all.

    The problem with that argument is that most clubs are run at a loss. If even Man Utd are sitting on a mountain of debt then it must be concluded that the players are earning wages grossly disproportionate to the wealth they are helping to create. It's all very well saying "if a club can afford it why not?" but the simple bare facts show that your Man Utds, Liverpools, West Hams etc actually CAN'T afford it, and it's the fans who suffer.

  • Comment number 12.

    There are strict rules regarding player wages in baseball were for the first couple of years players earn set amounts and are totally under the control of the clubs. When they have player for a number of years they are eligible for free agency and can negotiate a deal. Only the superstars earn superstar money.

  • Comment number 13.

    Of course they're paid too much. As far as I'm concerned they don't deserve it but I can't blame them for taking advantage of it.

    The argument that the clubs are making a fortune so why shouldn't the players take a share is a bit rich (OK bad pun!)

    Why are these clubs making so much money? Because they're charging us a bloody fortune to get in and Sky and the like fleece us as well.

    Bring down wages and pass those savings onto us, the poor mugs who fork out £30+ each time we go to a game.

    Someone said they're entertaintainers? B*****x I say. Bruce Springsteen is an entertainer, Titus Bramble isn't.


  • Comment number 14.

    How sad is that line about Paul's father no longer going to support the team he has been a life-long fan of. The twofold reason being repulsive players wages, and detestable admission price's.
    Duh !!! you don't have to be Einstein to do the math.
    Everything is treated like a commodity now. No love, passion, loyalty, community spirit. PLC's ? The City ? Conglomerate's owning football club's?! It make's me sick to my stomach. It has also made it more predictable and less exciting than before.
    And, like Paul's father... I can now neither afford the admission, nor wish to contribute to the nauseating level of players wages.

  • Comment number 15.

    I have supported Aldershot since the dark days of 1992 and unfortunately not a lot has changed since. W

  • Comment number 16.

    Here it is, the classic English "drag 'em down" attitude. All this nonsense about the starving children in Africa, or "most people I know won't earn in a year what they earn in a week" blah, blah, blah. Putting aside the fact that most players come from working class backgrounds where football is a legitimate escape, or even more so, the same African or South American poverty holes that everyone is whining about; why shouldn't they earn the big bucks? YOU are the ones who pay the entrance fees and the Sky subs; if you really object to the state of player's wages, take that season ticket money or those Sky subs, and send them to those starving kids in Africa (not that it will do them a damn bit of good), and there will soon be an adjustment in players' wages. But you won't of course, because its easier to moan.

  • Comment number 17.

    again, another article which mentions the poor poor players who had a wage cut, but what about the off field staff who lost their jobs - no mention of them at all, in any article I have read

  • Comment number 18.

    Of course he's right. A salary-cap is desperately needed in the Premier League as Players Wages are out-of-control. There needs to be a maximum wage, and a minimum wage. Considering that lower league clubs could solve some of their financial crises with John Terry's monthly wage is ridiculous to say the least.

    I wouldn't end it there, either. The Premier League is a procession now because it's a money-race, and there's is no level-playing field (imagine, if you will, if any of the 20 clubs in the Premier League would be in with a shout of winning the title, wouldn't that be great? A competitive league, for once.) Caps on transfers, wages and season-ticket prices are needed to keep the sport healthy, competitive, and most of all, accessible to the fans.

  • Comment number 19.

    That is an article pandering to be popular if ever I read one. It seems nobody involved in sport understands the basic economic principles we live under. The definition of being worth something is not one person's opinion, it is purely defined by what someone will pay for it. That is how our free market, capitalist, economy works. If everybody is so up in arms about the players wages, they should stop watching football, stop subscribing to sky and stop buying replica nodding John Terry's to hang in the back of their car. Then the worth of the footballers would be reduced and they wouldn't be paid as much. Consequently of course, our football would get worse and we'd all have to start getting up at 9 am on a Sunday morning again to watch Lazio and Napoli pass it around between their back fours on Gazetta Italia, not to mention the horrifying prospect of John Barnes and that guy from Robot Wars doing the commentary.
    Pay the little princesses the money and keep our football great.

  • Comment number 20.

    I have supported Aldershot Town since the dark days of 1992 and then like now we are heading for recession. A terrace ticket last season was £13 now it is £15 or to sit £18; a rise from £15. The nasty surprise this season is the rise in concessionary tickets; from £9 last season to £12 now for the terraces. I assume these increases are due to improved wages and increased travelling expenses to away matches; both things can be solved; a cap on wages in all divisions and north and south divisions to avoid the travelling and thus generate bigger crowds.

  • Comment number 21.

    I read an article on the BBC website the other day about a new wage deal for England international rugby union players (these are the guys who came second in the last world cup, and won the previous one. As opposed to Englands international football record of late, which I'm sure we're all aware of), who apparently now can earn something around the £180,000/ year mark. I'm fully aware of the differing nature of the sports, and the diffrence between club/ country etc but still, it makes you think.

  • Comment number 22.

    I stopped going to football in about 2002, which is roughly when football players turned completely mercenary. They're in it for themselves 100%, there's no loyalty and they don't care about anything apart from how much they earn. I think Martin O'Neill was quoted recently saying that it a player had 3 good games, their agent was knocking at the door asking for a new contract.

    To those talking about supply and demand - most clubs are sitting on a massive pile of debt or are reliant on a rich backer. It would be interesting to see which clubs are actually trading within their means. Re-financing that debt is going to be prohibitively expensive given the current economic situtation. We've already seen what happens with some rich backers - who'd be a Man City fan at the moment?

  • Comment number 23.

    Not sure the argument that players come from a poor background vindicates their wages really works....

    a) It is not universal that all players come from a poor background.

    b) no matter where you are 'from' nobody needs to earn £5-7M a year!!!

    Its hard for people to just stop going to games, as these are teams they may have grown up supporting and therefore feel attached and loyal to so by implication will follow them anywhere.....its this loyalty that the clubs and in turn the players are taking advantage of...its a disgrace..

    P.s Joey Barton STILL on £60,000 a week after all he has done.......newcastle should be very ashamed....bottlers.

  • Comment number 24.

    In the Football League there is a 60% of turnover cap on wages. Players also take a mandatory pay cut if they get relegated.

    This argument is so futile. Yes from a social welfare point of view maybe footballers don't deserve their money. But that's not how society works so why should football be different? People are paid what someone offers them unless they are self-employed. Footballers just happen to be in a booming industry with massive money floating around it. For Madjseki (a man richer than almost any footballer) to complain about it is ridiculous. If he's that bothered, don't pay it but your club will slip backwards like as not.

    The unspoken truth is that we as a collective are to blame. Fans pay their money which goes to pay the players, and demand instant success in return which further fuels the need for the club to sign players to keep the fans happy. Look what happened at Everton, a successful well-run club, on Saturday because they hadn't signed any big names. The fans booed. Is it any wonder then that boards are so ready to give players large sums.

  • Comment number 25.

    Most footballers come from ordinary working-class backgrounds. The best of them are now paid a fortune.

    The press dont like it. They complain.

    Most top businessmen come from wealthy backgrounds. The "best" of them have always been paid a fortune.

    And nobody in the press complains.

    It's just hypocrisy.

    Good luck to the footballers I say! Take what you can, when you can. Just like the rich and privileged have always done.





  • Comment number 26.

    Yes, cap people's wages. However I believe they tried a similar thing in Russia for about 70 years last century, and it was found to be widely unpopular. Where have all these communists suddenly come from? Firstly, if you impose a wage cap, every top footballer in the country will just move to Italy, Spain, Russia etc. There will be a decrease in quality of English football (just look at Germany where they have such a system). Secondly, why should footballers be discriminated against? Why not limit wages of builders, plumbers, surgeons etc? The market decides what footballers are worth, and they should not be castigated for doing what anybody in their position would.

  • Comment number 27.

    Its simple Supply and Demand and wages are merely a result of this. If clubs are willing to offer these wages and fans/sponsers are willing to fund the clubs then whats to stop it all.

    The fallout is clearly the fact that bar a 'freak' season, only one of three clubs will win the premiership.

    American sports have the right idea with 'the draft' where the poor performing clubs get first pick of college players. There is a problem in that we dont have a 'college system' like theirs.

  • Comment number 28.

    Madejski is right, because there is hardly a club that isn't in debt. If clubs made profits, you could understand the wages, although ticket prices should also be cut. Arsenal, Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool are hugely indebted, so what chance do other teams have of cutting their cloth?

    If something isn't done, there will be another Leeds-style implosion, and it will be worse than Leeds. I think Michel Platini has a point, that clubs shouldn't be allowed to operate with huge debts.

  • Comment number 29.

    For all of you moaning and saying reduce players wages so clubs can charge us less to watch them, please get real.

    If the miracle of all miracles happened and players wages were reduced the money would not go towards reduced tickets prices or reduced sky sports subs. There are only two places in the world that this money would go - the transfer market or the chairmans pocket.

    So the repercussion of this would either be the top four having even more money for the transfer market (seeing as they pay the biggest wages they would stand to gain the most by a wages cap) or even more money hungry corporations buying clubs because it would be more profitable for them.

    The truth is the money problem with football is a result of the modern lifestyle. There's so much cash floating around (even with the credit crunch) that we're happy (maybe not happy but we do) to pay £40 for a ninety minute game of football or subscribe to sky to watch the games.

    These clubs aren't charities and will charge us what we'll pay. The only reason Barnet or Chester don't charge £40 quid for a game is that they know that nobody will pay it.

    At the end of the day it's basic economics, high prices lead to high rates not the other way around.

  • Comment number 30.

    Why footballers wages, what about Bankers, Lawyers, etc. Many people get paid daft amounts of money, we have a system to address this called taxation.
    If you object to footballers stop going to games, their wages will soon come down. However realise that some of these guys are global icons and recognised all over the world, as such they can generate huge amounts of money in sponsorship, marketing deals and selling mechandise.
    I agree most get paid too much, so stop gping to games and get the government to tax top earners (say over £200,000 per year) at a higher rate.

  • Comment number 31.

    @ Andywr:

    Bankers and Lawyers get fired if they make decisions that cause their firm/clients to lose money.

    When was the last time a footballer got fired for making a wrong decision?

    There is a salary cap in place within Rugby Union - whilst English clubs sometimes miss out on the absolute top players in the world to French clubs with more money, it hasn't stopped English clubs or the England team being relatively successful.

  • Comment number 32.

    Eventually there will be another Leeds United style implosion, and eventually, it will be one of the "big four" because they don't qualify for the Champions League.

    Only when the big big teams start going bust will this be sorted out.

    Having said that, I have no real problem with the wages that the players are paid, it's supply and demand.

    I would however, like to see more of the television money distributed down the football pyramid to help those local teams (such as one of mine - Goole AFC) keep going as theirs is a constant financial struggle.

  • Comment number 33.

    I completely disagree with this article. Lets be clear football is the most popular sport in the world and as such the key element of the sport (the players) should be rewarded according.

    The clubs, UEFA, FIFA are the ones who really make the money lets have a look at what Blatter and co earn in wages and bonuses for being pencil pushes??? Never mind how much FIFA earn yearly??

    Players get paid these amounts because the clubs can afford to do so and like any other working people will want to earn as much as possible while they are able to do so.

  • Comment number 34.

    I understand not everyone is an economist, but a number of posts here refer to clubs having 'huge debts' and 'running at a loss' as if the two were equivalent. They are very, very different situations, this being highlighted by the top two clubs in the Premier League.
    Man Utd have debt, just as most businesses (and individuals) have debt. This is effectively a mortgage against the value of the club's assets and market value as a business, as a result of the structure of the deal the Glaziers did to purchase the club. However, the club runs at a profit which enables them to make their 'mortgage payments' with money to spare. They do not run at a loss, and therefore are in now way living beyond their means.
    Chelsea however have no debt to speak of - all debts were paid off by Abramovich when he acquired the club. However, they run at a loss and have done for some years, ie they pay out more money on salaries etc each year than they earn from tickets, merchandising, prize money, sponsorship and so on. The shortfall is made up from Abramovich's pocket, so they don't build up debt.

    The Chelsea situation is one of the drivers in pushing up salaries - a club is offering bigger salaries and paying higher prices for players than the income they actually earn would otherwise allow them. If not for Abramovich subsidising them, Chelsea would have gone into administration long ago with their spending levels. This is turn has driven up the prices other clubs have to pay to attract and retain talent.

    Rather than capping salaries for players, some of the root causes need to be addressed. Rules are in place to penalise clubs for going into administration, in order to ensure that they are run in a financially responsible manner. It wouldn't be too hard to extend this rule to say that any club that runs at a net loss for more than, say, two years would receive a points deduction.

    This would quickly ensure that clubs have to 'cut their coats according to their cloth' as Madejski wishes.

  • Comment number 35.

    Earnings linked to worthiness is a very spurious business. Much of the sports/leisure/entertainment sector has highly paid individuals, but are they worthy of that payment?? In terms of contributions to humanity and the betterment of life on this planet, probably not! But then, we have allowed ourselves to become a celebrity obsessed culture, judging and valuing by level of fame rather than by talent, worth or (God forbid according to popular culture here) intelligence!

    The Reading Chairman is hard-headed in business terms, but knows the score in football. Mr Murdoch ensured, with the full collusion of the football authorities, that it died as a sport and was re-born as an entertainment. No doubt at some point the gravy train will dry up and it may well return from whence it came. Until then, our western society will reap what it sows within it's culture, and football is not excluded form that.

  • Comment number 36.

    Making a million = having 1 million more than you started with...

    Thus, £10m invested + £1m earnt = 10% Return On Investment.

    I think what Mr. Madejski was saying that the ROI in football is poor, not that you generally suffer huge losses.

    The latter would surely see him get out of football?

    / end pedantry

    ;)

  • Comment number 37.

    I wholeheartedly agree with this article, there should be a cap on wages. If anything to increase loyalty of footballers to a club why not have salary tiers. Two years at the club sees you on £50,000. Then 4years you get £60,000... this will reward players for loyalty and the only reason they would leave would be because they want to play for another team not that the money.

  • Comment number 38.

    We all know they earn too much, but its called reality.

    London bonuses are also far too much, and they affect the whole country.

    If people are willing to pay so much for tickets then wages will be high.

    I doubt they will go down until theres some sort of footy downfall.

  • Comment number 39.

    The real problem with football today is that money decides the Premiership table. There is a realistic chance of winning the Premiership for 4 clubs.
    Now one of these is Arsenal, which is run on correct financial lines.
    Chelsea and ManU run vast deficits and are alone in competing for the top wanted players.
    Liverpool have their ownership problems but are still more or less competitive.
    The Premiership needs to require all clubs to be financially viable over a period of, say, 4 or 5 years and not allowed to run up huge losses.
    That may not be a complete level playing field but it would make the Premiership much more competitive.
    One ray of hope - the current world-wide credit crisis may yet force some sense into the bloated system.

  • Comment number 40.

    John Madjeski's complaint sounds analagous to that of mill and mine owners in the 19th and 20th centuries, "profit, profit, profit"! Seeking ever greater returns on their investments becomes an obsession for the ultra wealthy entrepreneurs, like Madjeski. Perhaps he should take some solace that he is paying the lowest ever rate of tax on his huge income under the current government. That aside, even if clubs achieved a cap or some other form of wage restraint, would they invest the additional capital into the clubs, or take those profits for themselves ala Sam Hamman?

  • Comment number 41.

    I completely agree that they are massively overpaid! But it is not the Footballers fault i know i would want to earn as much as i can!

    It boils down to things like the clubs and chairman. unless there is a cap enforced like there is in other sports (namely US sports) then there will always be one team or chairman (Chelsea springs to mind) who will be willing to buy success.

    My biggest gripe is that they have say a 5 year contract and if they were to be sacked or a club wanted to get rid of them they would have to pay this out, that happens in no other job. If i was to be sacked i would not be paid for 3 years salary i had not worked for!! thats insane, not to mention that they get full pay when injured, this should be reduced or even go down to statitory sick pay and see how they manage!!

    Fifa and Uefa need to look and this and enforce it, either on an individual player level or club level.

    Most footballers these days and have little or no respect for the fans, Nicky butt is the rudest person i have ever met!

  • Comment number 42.

    If you cut the players wages surely this money that would usually go to the players would simply be lining a few fat cats pockets who have not dedicated their whole life to the game for a short career?

    Do you really think clubs would cut tickets, merchandise etc if they cut the wages?

  • Comment number 43.

    Of course he is right. Not just for the reasons he gives but for the atittude of players and managers who complain about their life. Pressure, travelling, injuries etc are quoted as reasons for the need for high wages. On one hand they tell us they play too much football and then say its a short career. The reason all the wealth is in football is because for the same reason that people still smoke when cigarettes are so expensive and drinks the same, people who are passionate about football will pay so much either through the turnstile or Sky.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'd like to see footballers paid on performance, determined by what the crowd think. Give them a standard basic wage which increases if they get a game. They get paid more the better they play. Because the crowd decide they would really need to work hard to impress them. Bring back the days of the colusseum!
    Also it would mean losers like Joey Barton would get the wage they deserve, Nothing!

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm amazed at how many communists are on this message board. This is what happens with a free market economy. There is lots of money in football (and other big businesses) and so there are vast amounts of money to be earnt. As vital as nurses etc are they are not going to earn big money because the NHS doesn't make money (unless of course you all want your taxes to shoot up to put the money in?). It's no good picking and choosing which bits of living in a capitalist society you want to keep and which you want to scrap.

  • Comment number 46.

    I just think it's hilarious that a used car salesman who was paid £180 million is complaining about other people's wages. Madejski was a very talented used car salesman, Lampard is a very talented footballer. Madejski ran his business for 24 years so was paid the equivalent of £7.5 million a year which is exactly what Lampard is being paid. Talent attracts money - even if you're a used car salesman.

  • Comment number 47.

    Psudo-viking, I know being in debt and running at a loss are different things but you know what? I'm still right - most football clubs ARE run at a loss and also DO have huge debts.

    So MAn Utd are one of the tiny minority not run at a loss - they still have mountains of debt. And if they "make their payments with ease" how come their debt gets bigger year on year? When I pay my mortgage with ease the sum I owe get's smaller. So my point remains the same, thanks. The clubs CAN'T afford it. Man City, a team at the top of the pile, just took out a £30m loan to pay an instalment on a player they signed over a year ago. Three clubs went into administration towards the end of last season and a fourth is on the way as we speak. Newcastle can't even afford to fire a player who got himself sent to jail even though they said they would. The money being thrown at players is more to do with desperation than any glorious financial situation that football finds itself in and it simply can't be sustained. Well no actually it probably can, but it will involve most Premiership games happening in the far east. But you lot won't mind that will you? Because that's the price we are all willing to pay for having the "strongest" league in the Wolrd.

  • Comment number 48.

    Re post no.2 - If true, it's ironic that Sky Sports commentators were calling for a fan protest at players' wages, given that their employers are almost entirely responsible for kick starting the greed culture in football.

    A real protest would be for armchair fans to stop subscribing to Sky (you can watch most PL matches on the net for free anyway). Once the Sky millions dwindle away, you could start a book on which PL club would go bust first. My money's on Man U or L****pool. Their owners would jump ship so fast even the rats would be left behind.

  • Comment number 49.

    Footballers and sportsmen in general seem to be the only people enjoying that slice of the revenue pie. I as a member of the financial industry receive my wage and a bonus each year. I do not enjoy a slice of the revenue pie. Nobody does. Let's try to look at this in black and white. A guy goes out on a field and plays soccer for 90 minutes. So he basically does something he loves and gets paid (all the power to him). How can anyone ANYONE anywhere in the world justify giving him what some people make in 3-4 years of hard labor. Crikey... Even people who SAVE LIVES do not get paid that much in a year. In black and white this is a no brainer, but of course we live in a world smeared with brown too.

  • Comment number 50.

    Paul Fletcher loses his way down another tired old cliche when he says that the players argument about deserving their share of the enormous sums of money holds water.

    This is the only defense ever offered by money-hungry footballers who like to kiss the club badge after scoring and pledge allegience to their club after holding out for nearly a year for an inflated salary.

    The real situation is that they are the extremely lucky, rich elite who are taking advantage of the system and looking for reasons to justify their advantages instead of ways to improve the system.

    Take the example of Lampard. He sees his owner has billions, his teammates are paid millions and he wants his piece of the pie. Meanwhile, down the road, Crystal Palace have their best young prospect, John Bostock, stolen from them by Spurs for £750,000 because Bostock is lured by the prospect of millions of pounds and his piece of the pie.

    The lucky individuals can win big but the loser in any society where capitalism is allowed to run un-checked is society. In this case, the society is the football community as a whole.

    The big clubs are getting richer and the little clubs are going bust. The smaller clubs can't afford to invest as much in youth, local talent dries up and foreign workers are brought in. It doesn't bode well for the national team where we have a decent first 11 but the rest of the squad spend the season on the bench at a big club which bought them in case they became great but ultimately let them rot behind a player who'd already established himself overseas - Bostock be warned.

    Something needs to be done. A huge amount of stuff has been written about the best way to govern countries and societies but it seems to me our national game has been left to be run by a bunch of greedy children. This constant bleating of how the Premiership is the best in the world reminds me of American nationalism at it's worst and it will only take one south coast hurricane to expose the real social problems that underpin their economic dominance.

    I see the future in a captilism that is checked by social conscience. Like most European countries, I think the rich should be taxed proportionally and the money redistributed to those that need it.

    Whether it is taxing players wages or the clubs that pay them, football in England would benefit from a redistribution of it's wealth. That doesn't mean redistributing it to a handful of players to spend on their Christmas party and another 6 cars. That means reinvesting in the foundations that support the end product.

    No one can justify £150,000 a week. Please don't insult us by trying.

  • Comment number 51.

    At 12:47pm on 20 Aug 2008, ziggythehamster wrote:

    I just think it's hilarious that a used car salesman who was paid ?180 million is complaining about other people's wages.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Not quite the same thing. Madejski got paid because lots of people bought his product, Lampard gets paid because a Russian billionaire is on an ego trip.
    If the top four had to pay their way, they wouldn't be able to hog all the best players.

  • Comment number 52.

    Re: #27 Bring Back Suzuka:

    "American sports have the right idea with 'the draft' where the poor performing clubs get first pick of college players. There is a problem in that we dont have a 'college system' like theirs."

    - Not only the draft, virtually every sporting league here also has a salary cap.

    I really couldn't care whether sportsmen are worth what they're being paid, but enforcing a salary cap creates a lot more interest whichever team you support, they at least have a chance.

    I love football, and I still follow the premier league somewhat, but it lacks all the excitement that comes with a league where there are 20 title contenders, not 2-3.

    Of course, I don't think a salary cap would ever fly in football, because the "big" clubs would lose their status, and even were you to set a cap at 50mil or so, the Hulls and Stokes etc. probably don't even have that to spend.

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    It does appear that some of us miss the point. I agree that some player's wages are out of control, but one can hardly blame them for taking the money. After all, if someone were to offer us a hugely inflated pay deal, even if we knew we did not deserve it, how many of us would turn it down? All the time there is money in the game, there will be individuals who will exploit it. I suspect that there is a large helping of envy here. That said, having been a Chelsea fan for forty years, i am greatly concerned at the effect our wealth is having on the game! The result of our spending appears to be that all of the so called big clubs are ramping up their spending in order to compete, with barely a glance at the source of the money. Scarcely a day goes by without some allegation of corruption, and questions of how a club's owner came by his enormous wealth. perhaps it is time for root and branch reform. I wonder how many fans or players would submit to this idea? Oh for the innocent pleasures of watching the game, and wondering if your team were skilful enough to win, and not just there for the money.

  • Comment number 55.

    It isn't right to compare footballers salaries to those in the medical or education professions. The money the footballers earn is generated by football, it would never end up in the pay packet of a doctor.

    Do they earn too much? Probably, but a top film star or musician can earn similar amounts by also marketing and exploiting their talent

  • Comment number 56.

    I think John Madejski is right, even though he is a capitalist and has made his money by letting others do all the work. Wealth should be spread and money should be earned.

    The average footballer has a career around 10 years. The average working career is around 40 years. Because footballers invest so much in their careers at a young age, they find it extremely difficult to earn a living outside of football. Therefore, there should be a base salary four times the average working salary (to compensate for short careers) - this should amount to around 100,000 a year plus bonuses. Now obviously some players are more skilled than others and hence of greater value to their teams. That's why there should be an independent ratings panel for each division. The panel sends 4 staff to each game, two rating players of each side respectively. At the end of the season, players then get allocated ratings bonuses, plus goals, points, win and trophy bonuses.

    The basic salary should increase by 8% (4x the average raise) every two seasons as an incentive for players to remain loyal to their teams. Obviously basic salaries would differ from division to division (by 10%), but also from country to country based on UEFA club coefficients. The best teams would still attract the best players, but you wouldn't have the present situation of purely money motivated moves.

  • Comment number 57.

    Pseudo-viking: take your point about the difference between debt and running at a loss. However, what I was alluding to was that this debt never existed to the extent that it does today. Man U, Liverpool etc used to operate with no/minimal debt and the new owners loaded both clubs with (cheap) debt when they bought them. I know for a fact that when Arsenal financed their new stadium they struggled to raise the money - and that was a few years ago when money was cheap.
    Now the circumstances have changed these clubs with huge debts will end up making massive interest payments when they come to re-finance themselves which will impact on their operational finances. So to an extent, debt and losses are linked.

    And it's all based on one assumption - that the TV deal will grow and grow in size. I can't see that happening.

    I completely agree with your suggestion that points deductions for clubs that run at a loss might be the way forward but I doubt if the Premier League would enforce it. They certainly don't enforce the 'fit and proper' person test when it comes to club ownership.

  • Comment number 58.

    interesting to see the estimated average wages of pro footballers in all 4 divisions. all are vastly overpaid, to my mind!

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    The credit crunch will affect football-it's not immune. The main actors at the clubs are corporate sponsers and television. Television will cut down the money when subscribers bolt for the door and a few corporates will go belly up AND cut back. A lethal combination which may level the playing field a bit. I hope so.

  • Comment number 61.

    Frank Lampard is a great player but how many weeks during the season will fans leave the ground saying "£150,000? Worth every penny"?

  • Comment number 62.

    Went to see my team Charlton against Watford at the weekend. Two teams that highlight your comments. Charlton were said to have the biggest wages outside the prem last season. They had one player who looked like he justified his ammount, Andy Reid maybe also a faded and jaded but committed Matt Holland.

    On saturday two clubs who are cost cutting at every turn would have had a few players on the pitch at £10,000 a week plus. In actuality there was no player on the pitch worth more than £2,000. The skill and poise was no better than pre prem days. I gave up my season ticket long ago in Charlton's early prem days as the talented but many championship players turned into overseas average prem footballers; certainly not the class of Cantonna's and Tevez's. I'll not subsidise athletic but awful footballers to their millions. Brian Clough lamented in the 80's that most footballers can't kick a ball. When I watch premiership football let alone championship football there are so few that can consistently cross the ball well.

    I don't begrudge their wages, certainly the levels in the bottom two leagues. But I won't financially support them unless ticket prices are similar to that of Bundesliga games. Watching athletic boring football is not why I paid to watch the game. So few ball players so much turn over ball.

  • Comment number 63.

    Why shouldnt footballers be paid what they do? At the end of the day football is just a business, they will be paid what the owners/chairman at. Why is Ronaldo, Gerrard and co paid what they are? Because the owners believe that they are worth more and will help earn the club more money. People are paid in relation to how much they can earn the company, stockbrokers get paid a large amount because they help their business earn an even larger amount. Football is no different, owners believe paying ronaldo 100,000 a week or watever he is on is worthwhile because he helps bring a substantial amount more, through sponsorship deals and prize money. Why should footballers be any different? If the managers believe that paying their staff x amount will help them recieve a larger amount in future then it means good business. Football is no different, footballers earn a good wage because football is multi-billion pound business and they help create that so deserve a fair share.

  • Comment number 64.

    Just because it makes sound business acumen to pay top performers a fair percentage of the income they generate does not mean it has any logic in a moral or ethical sense. It does not.

    Quite obviously £150,000 a week is an obscene amount of money for anyone, anywhere to have. It does not matter how it is justified. It is 5-10 years salary for the average person. The footballers paid such wages are....average people, no matter what their 'market value'.

    The argument is not whether footballers have a right to earn such money- yes, if it was offered, we'd all take it, at least in the short term!

    It is what is wrong with a business that is so inflated and out of touch with reality that is is happy to court such figures in the first place.

    I've often felt the same about house prices. £300,000 for a poxy crumbling pile of bricks and mortar on a few square metres of land, are you having me on, thats got to be worth £5,000 in 'real world, real life' terms at most!

  • Comment number 65.

    Well I watched the game in Moscow between Chelsea and Man Utd, for all of about 5 minutes, then I had a strange epihany, why was I sat watching 22 millionaires kicking a ball around in the park?

    Like so many things in life, the media has taken something, honest and pure and created an overhyped and overpaid industry.

    Too many people in this country have become enamoured with the cult of celebrity for people that can barely be described as "celebrities", footballers having their wedding pictures published in celeb magazines, dating big brother/barely plausible girl group "stars".

    What do you need to be a famous footbal star now and command your 20,000 + a week?
    1. A celebrity girlfriend
    2. At least one conviction or accusation
    3. A "sad" rags to riches story
    4. A penchant for older working girls
    5. An ability to "identify" with the youth in your old home town who still, have to scratch around to make a living whislt you turn up and tell them to "stop the violence", then drive home to your gated perimeter fenced prefab mansion with dogs (theres the girl group members again), cameras and a sports car for each foot

    if i want to watch millionaires knocking a ball around I will go to the polo,

    Anyone for a Chukka?

  • Comment number 66.

    How many clubs would welcome Ronaldo in their team, forget it's Man Utd. Most. The only way to get him is by paying him more than his current team. This is how wages are escalated, that is nothing to do with greedy players.
    Towards the end of George Best's career he became a bit of a nomad, demanding £1000 a match, supposedly. There was uproar from the same type of people moaning here. But in every game that Best played, the club got at least double what Best got, so why shouldn't he have got what he deserved.
    Basically, it is still the same principal.

  • Comment number 67.

    "It is what is wrong with a business that is so inflated and out of touch with reality that is is happy to court such figures in the first place."

    Why is it inflated? Football is a multi billion pound business because its so popular, footballers therefore are paid more so clubs can attract better players and get a bigger share of the money available in the market. Therefore isnt it unfair that a player should have his wages capped and can earn only a certain amount when he is earning the club a ridiculous amount more?

  • Comment number 68.

    Let’s summarize. Football is, at the end of the day, a business. It is difficult for us, the average fan, to view it as such because we are emotionally attached to our clubs – and therefore words like “loyalty” and “love” and “fairness” get tossed around a good deal. But it is a business. The clubs are the employers. The footballers are the employees. Football itself is the product. We are the consumers. How much should footballers be paid? Whatever the employers are willing to pay them. What are employers willing to pay them? Theoretically, whatever the consumer is willing to pay for the product (there are clearly exceptions to this in the form of Abramovich who is subsidizing his club with his own wealth). As long as people like you and I are willing to pay ever rising ticket prices, buy the team jerseys and subscribe to Sky, then player wages will continue to increase.

    1) On debts and losses – The one real constraint to footballer salaries (aside from fans voting with their feet and staying away). Many clubs are indeed operating with large debts and annual losses, made possible by many years of cheap credit which has effectively enabled them to borrow for free. With the cost of debt rising, this may become more difficult and clubs may have to cut back on spending.
    Up until this point, the Premier League has had no incentive to impose regulations on the clubs...more debt = more money spent = more talented players = better league. Banks are now having their balance sheets regulated, but only because the financial savings of millions are at risk. The EPL has no such burden. It will only enforce financial constraints on clubs if the viability of the league is at risk (i.e. if multiple clubs begin to go under). Clubs themselves will continue to be as aggressive financially as possible without running their business into bankruptcy.

    2) On Abramovich – Ultimately, the debt/profits of a club are unimportant if a billionaire owner is willing to cover any losses/interest payments with his own cash. Is it fair to other owners? Probably not. But that’s business and his decision. It’s also difficult to regulate against. Unless, in theory, the EPL imposes a salary cap.

    3) On salary caps – They won’t work. Not unless every league in Europe implements them too. The top players now playing in England will simply move to Spain or Italy or Germany. They work in the US for baseball, basketball and American football because there’s nowhere else in the world that these athletes would rather play. And even in this case, there are rumours of a basketball team in Greece offering $50m a year for LeBron James...an offer which NBA teams couldn’t match.

    So don’t blame the clubs, the league or the players for their wages. You can only blame yourselves and the financial markets. I personally don’t think anyone is “worth” 150,000 a week, but that misses the point entirely. In a free, capitalist economy, a person is paid whatever the market determines he/she should be. And that is how it should be, regardless of whether the person earns $10 or $1,000,000.

  • Comment number 69.

    Cooldelayed... Great comment.

  • Comment number 70.

    Wages are crazy Michael Owen is set to sign a new contract worth 140,000 and he has been injured most of the time for the last two years. So what he gets in a week for basically working for 2 hours on a saturday maybe a couple of hours on a tuesday or wednesday and then a few hours the rest of the week it would take me about 4/5 years to make in a job thats is 9-5 monday to Friday. Salary cap is the way to go

  • Comment number 71.

    Now then,

    Thanks for all your comments. I think the talk of an American style draft idea is interesting but I'm not sure how it would work in England when players often come through a club's academy rather than the college system that they have in the US.

    Salary capping seems more workable as an idea but I'm afraid I could never see it happening. It would simply not be in the interest of the top clubs who can, at least in theory, gain an advantage by paying higher wages to attract better players.

    I don't blame most players for earning what they can - though some examples of blatant greed really rankle - but I'm not sure it helps their development as people. Earning so much so young, as happens to plenty of players these days, can cause loads of problems, as has been well documented over the years in the press.

  • Comment number 72.

    Chris Hoy gets £23,000 a year. He is a literal hero. Average or below Average footballers could get double this in one week. What has the world come to. This fact doesn't shock me. It upsets me.

  • Comment number 73.

    Um...Paul...I thought that was the whole idea behind a salary cap - to prevent those clubs who can pay more from gaining such a huge advantage. It's not even really meant to limit player wages (though it does that as well)....

    The problem, as I wrote before, is that none of the other European leagues impose salary caps...this would make the EPL less competitive and attractive to top players.

  • Comment number 74.

    On the draft system - it would be interesting but I cannot see how it would work. How could you justify a draft per league (in essence, the top youngsters going to the top 20 clubs so the gaps between leagues widens) or a huge draft involving every youngster in the youth system of every league?

    The only solution to allow drafts would be to create a manageable number of franchises. I can just imagine the uproar of every team in league football if that occurred (think of Ferguson in full hair dryer mode).

  • Comment number 75.

    coolDelayed - yes, but who, in theory, is going to introduce a salary cap in England? It is just not going to happen in the Premier League - the big clubs wouldn't want it and have too much influence to allow that to happen.

    Don't get me wrong, I take - and agree with - your point about European leagues. And I imagine it wouldn't happen in other European leagues for the same reasons.

  • Comment number 76.

    He may have a point, but his views may be sinister all the same. Players worked hard in the early 60s to obtain recognition for their efforts and if Majewski had his way, where would the savings all go? I suspect back into the gin swigging directors pockets.

    Yes, some players arguably earn more than their real value to a Club, but ultimately the fans pay to see them, not directors and owners. Without the players there is no game.

    He can cap his own players wages if he likes, but who would be the person or body to cap all players wages? It smacks of autocracy somewhere.

  • Comment number 77.

    I refuse to pay to watch a Premiership match to fund the obscene wages of professional footballers. We are all being taken for mugs

  • Comment number 78.

    The footballers and mangers are the people who create the appeal of the game. If more and more money is being made from football, the footballers should get most of it. Putting a cap on their wages would only make the people at the club richer. Tickets will still be as expensive.

  • Comment number 79.

    I am one of the few thousand Reading Supporters who did not renew their season ticket, yes I may got some flack but the reason why is simple. In RFC's accounts for year end June 2007 they made over £6M operating profit - after transfer deals. This was the figure from their first year in the premiership. In year two they report to earn even more. Mr Madejski OBE has not hidden from the fact he want to sell the club to "someone with deeper pockets" and I appreciate this statement. The Prem is a hard spend for most Millionaires and one needs to be a Billionaire to compete with the best. But his failure to re-invest in what was predominantly a Top Championship Team is why we are now back in Championship and he has not sold the club for the many millions he could have received, this would not have been the case had he spend some of the £6M profit in bringing in just a little more class to protect the defence. Simply put, replacing Steve Sidwell , making a break even figure and not a £6M profit might have meant Reading who went down on just Goal difference might still be a prem side today. I am gutted and I hope JM OBE has learned his lesson. He is now selling the crown jewels (£8.5M) on Kits and Shorey and with more to go and no big re-investment will mean we may well lose Coppell too. Now that's off my chest. As for wages. JM never complained about the Millions he made in business. He chose the football business!.

  • Comment number 80.

    The one factor many people fail to consider is how much the top sportsman have had to sacrifice in order to get to where they are.

    They are literally the 1 in 1000 that make it, and is supply / demand terms - it is basic economics that the scarcest commodities are going to attract the highest price. As prem football globalizes it is only going to go higher.

    At the end of the day - no one forces people to go to games / buy merchandise / subscribe to sky - and in a consumerist democracy - if you want to see change happen - stop spending money enabling this to continue.

  • Comment number 81.

    There is no easy solution to this to be honest. Ideally wages should be limited to a percentage of the clubs earning ability. Unfortunately this plays into the hands of the likes of Manchester United who continue to build up bigger and bigger fan bases aided partly by previous success but also, in no small part, to the assistance of the media. So if we do have a wage cap, clubs like Man Utd will still snowball success. However I also dispise the ability for any person with money to bankroll teams, especially as no great effort is made to identify the legiticamy of the funds or the person investing them.

    It almost highlights the crooked nature of business as a whole that certain people can seemingly buy a club with little to no questions asked. As for the suitable person garbage thrown out by the Premiership? Don't make me laugh!

    Bottom line is that, yes, many players are being paid an obscene amount of money but the utter disregard for the good of the game in the face of Skys billions is really more to blame.

  • Comment number 82.

    el-nickpcr-io and everyone else,

    Man Utd and many other clubs may be in debt, but it's because their new owners borrowed the bank to buy them out. It's not because of the wages. Now the banks want their money back and the owners want to make a profit, so if you want to blame anyone for the debt, it's the Glazers and Morgan Stanleys.

    Having said that, I think a salary cap on a club level will enforce fiscal responsibility. I also think that the wealth should be spread among clubs of all levels, so that promotions and relegations aren't as desperate and clubs wouldn't resort to buying success, which is what inflates wages in the first place.

    To be extent any specific cap is placed on individual wages, it should be across all industries. Focusing on football is stupid.

  • Comment number 83.

    Where did he get his millions? Flogging dodgy second-hand motors. Politicians and estate agents apart he's the last person with a right to talk about obsene wages.

  • Comment number 84.

    One other point I think deserves mentioning is that in addition to their salaries, quite a few athletes make a tidy sum in endorsements. Makes me wish I'd spent more time in sports and less in schoolwork!

    This is happening all over the world. I'm a yank, and American football, basketball, and Baseball salaries are similarily obscene. The professional leauges have done a few things to mitigate it, which I'll explain (to my understanding), but they are still rather fat cats.

    In american football, the leauge has a bargaining agreement with the players union, and a set amount of revenue is set aside for salaries. Then, each club has that "salary cap" to spend as it sees fit. So, all clubs have $60m per year to spend on salaries.

    In baseball, there are no set caps, but the owners impose a "luxury tax" on bigger teams that gets spread to smaller market teams. So, the New York yankess may pay salaries to their player that add up to $300M, but then they have to pay the luxury tax to the leauge (say $60M) that gets divided by the smaller teams. This doesn't limit players salary--quite the opposite--but it does allow smaller teams funds to compete for talent.

    Lastly, in basketball, new players salaries are set for their first few years, and afterwards they can expotentially increase their earnings. It does slow down the extravagence, but it's still there.

    Not for a moment saying it's any better, just passing along some things done elsewhere.

  • Comment number 85.

    jlarkin a great comment. its almost like JM OBE has made his money and no one else can.

  • Comment number 86.

    Unfortunately the facts are simple: if you are good at a job and another company can afford to offer you more money to do it then it is very likely you will accept their offer or use their interest to secure a pay rise. Player's wages should be capped - in this country one of the main reasons why our young players aren't developing appropriately is because they're losing their love of the game to their love of money and hence why our national side is a joke they are all pre-madonnas who can't play together yet most of them command in excess of 100,000 a week. Who needs that kind of money anyway?

  • Comment number 87.

    To be honest, I think that wages are too high but I can see why they are so. With a choice of them getting the cash (seeing as they have worked hard to get where they are) or it going into the back pockets of shareholders, then I'd pick the former every time. Most of the teams putting the money into further improving the facilities, coaching, stadium and lowering prices is not going to happen.

    Furthermore, whilst a traditional salary cap could be seen as needed, it has problems (as people have said before). I can think of a couple of other ways of introducing caps that could work, but I still think they are destined for failure (especially if other leagues did not apply a similar system).

    First up - no overall cap but new players at a club can only earn up to a certain amount. Each year they are at the club this increases.

    Secondly, have a heirachy system - 1 star player, 4 key, 15 first teamers etc. The star player has no cap, the keys have a high cap and as you go down the order the maximum you can earn decreases.

  • Comment number 88.

    Footballers are paid too much. Now there's a shocking revelaton. Can we please change the record?

    Musicians, actors, bankers.. they all make too much money. Either accept that's the way of the world or campaign to change it. But don't single out one overpaid group from many from your armchair and spend your time moaning about it. It's unbelievably tedious for a start.

    If anyone can convince me that Britney Spears or Tom Cruise is a more deserving millionaire than Wayne Rooney I'd be intrigued to hear it.

  • Comment number 89.

    It's a little hypocritical of the players to kiss the badge of the club they profess to love
    with a passion when they are doing their best to bankrupt it. Ian Wright of Arsenal would walk into the office and ask "where do I sign?"
    I love this club but I am doing my best to bankrupt it, John Terry England Captain, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Nicholas Anelka, Adebayor, Fabregas, Bentley, Torres, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Henry, Capello, love your team or destroy your club?

  • Comment number 90.

    I think it really is supply and demand and wages will not change, unless demand changes.

    When you consider other countries it supports what's happening here. US has multi millionaire basketball and baseball players, Canada Ice Hockey. Japan Sumo (don't laugh) and don't forget how much top Boxers earn. We are talking here the top 0.1% of course. There must be at least a 1000 people who play football everyweek to the 1 who makes it to the Prem.

    What I would like is a rule that stops clubs sacking a manager during the season as some head strong chairman seem to do. Manderic at Leicester City comes to mind, but that's another story.

  • Comment number 91.

    Tartanhyena - the majority of musicians and actors don't make much money at all. Orchestral players might earn enough money to be comfortable, as will the very top successful soloists, but a lot of the professionals have to earn money in other ways to get by , such as teaching.

  • Comment number 92.

    Kapelnikov - I don't think that Tartanhyena was talking about musicians in an Orchestra... hence the reference to Britney Spears....

  • Comment number 93.

    The current upcoming recession will most certainly have a long term effect upon the game and that may be good but I feel the guy is absolutely correct. It has become a nonsense.

    For the good of the game there should be a financial handicap, both on transfers and salaries. Expenditure should be capped, both to allow the smaller but ambitious clubs to succeed and to prevent a further runaway at the top of the premier league.

    However partisan supporters maybe such regulation would in time be of benefit to all.
    It simply cannot carry on has it is at present, we have reached a watershed in the game and unless a strategic common sense financial plan is implimented the whole thing will implode. It will be a "Dead Duck" within ten years.

  • Comment number 94.

    They are worth as much as people are willing to pay.

  • Comment number 95.

    94. At 6:56pm on 20 Aug 2008, Gerrard_8LFC wrote:

    They are worth as much as people are willing to pay.
    ------------------------------------------------------
    If they were only paid as much as people are winning to pay there would be no problem. If clubs expenditure was confined to their income, all the problems would be solved.

  • Comment number 96.

    95. At 7:19pm on 20 Aug 2008, trevor4491 wrote:

    If they were only paid as much as people are winning to pay there would be no problem. If clubs expenditure was confined to their income, all the problems would be solved.
    ________________________
    Doesn't work like that, nothing will change.

  • Comment number 97.

    Frank Lampard scores from the penalty spot against Portsmouth and jogs over to the corner pulling the left hand side of his shirt to kiss the Chelsea badge. But for £10,000 a week extra he'd have been kissing the Milan badge with a similar 'passion'.

    Over time the whole Frank Lampard affair will probably be the catalyst when this 'passion' is little more than greed. To think he would have moved his family and kids to another part of Europe for more money that he could never spend in a lifetime.

    We need to call it what it is, greed. I hope Frank Lamard scores lots of penalties this season and for the next 4, with all those kisses remember for him, its not about the club, the traditions and the values. Let's be Frank, its greed. That's the word.

  • Comment number 98.

    I disagree with this article. What are you? all communists, thinking everyone should be paid the same?

    If there wasn't the demand for football then fans wouldn't pay as much for gate entry and for football on tv, then the clubs wouldn't be able to afford the high wages.

    It's supply and demand.

    Clubs can pay players what they want -it's their choice.

    If you think it's too high why don't you become a top footballer? oh you can't. Why don't you stop paying for football and creating the demand? Because you're happy to pay the price for the football you get.

  • Comment number 99.

    Absolutely correct. These wages are far too high. In my opinion, there should be a limit to the salaries players get in the top flight [which would be approximately £25,000 - £75,000 per week] and the way they decide between these amounts should be PERFORMANCE-RELATED.

  • Comment number 100.

    Paul Fletcher.

    YOU WOULD HAVE TO BE BLIND TO NOT NOTICE THAT PLAYERS WAGES ARE WRONG.

    HALF EMPTY STADIUMS,
    DADS WHO CAN'T TAKE THEIR KIDS,


    .......................BUT THE CAR PARK IS FULL OF FERRARIS, A MARTINS, R ROVERS ETC.

    GET A GRIP MY FRIEND.

 

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