Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Are Footballers Paid Too Much?

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Are Footballers Paid Too Much?

Article excerpt

BORO kick off their season tomorrow after a summer spent getting the club's wage bill in order. ANDREW PAIN asks if footballers are overpaid.

FORMER Boro boss Gordon Strachan recently bemoaned one of his ex-players for driving a Ferrari.

The Scot was praised by fans for walking away from Boro without compensation after his ill-fated reign on Teesside.

Subsequently Strachan made his barbed comment about the player who had come through the Boro ranks and made a comparison between the footballer and the public who paid his wages - in particular in light of the Corus collapse.

The ex-boss was quoted as saying: "One of the players bought himself a Ferrari just as 2,000 folk were losing their jobs in the steel industry.

"I said to him: 'You come from the area where these redundancies are hitting hardest - are you off your head?'" The launch of the Premier League and Sky's TV cash in the 1990s transformed football's finances - and players' wages.

The average annual wage for a Premier League footballer is pounds 1.5m - or pounds 28,000 a week. The average annual UK wage is around pounds 24,000.

The average salary for a Championship player is pounds 250,000, while League One and League Two players can expect to bring in pounds 80,000 and pounds 65,000 a year respectively, according to SportingIntelligence.com.

Foreign takeovers have also boosted wages. Manchester City, now owned by oil-rich Abu Dhabi investors, reportedly made Argentian striker Carlos Tevez the first pounds 1m-a-month player in the world on a contract estimated to be worth pounds 286,000 a week.

Meanwhile a player in the Northern League - which has six Teesside teams - can expect a maximum of pounds 250-a-week from the top teams, down to petrol money or simply playing for the love of the game at the smaller teams.

Editor of Boro fanzine Fly Me to the Moon Robert Nichols said: "There is no doubt top footballers are paid way over the odds. Every time sanity threatens to break out you get a billionaire owner taking over Chelsea, Man City or Liverpool and this distorts the bubble and has ripple effects right through the top echelons of the game. …

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