We welcome aboard the good ship COS the former Leeds and Scunthorpe United striker Jamie Forrester who will be giving us his thoughts on the Beautiful Game.
My name is Jamie Forrester. I am an ex-professional footballer having played in all four English divisions and abroad on two occasions at AJ Auxerre and FC Utrecht. I have recently began blogging about my carer and thoughts and experiences about the game of football.
Should players be paid such huge amounts?
At a time when the salaries of our top players is becoming increasingly separated from any kind of normality there seems to be many people questioning why these players deserve the vast amounts that are being paid.
We are led to believe that Wayne Rooney is earning £230,000 per week for his services. There are calls from many quarters that this should not be allowed or that it is unethical.
Although I have never received anywhere near £230,000 per week I feel that I should write from a player perspective on this current football topic.
Since the early days of The Premier League the media, in particular the written press, have been obsessed with amounts that players are paid. We never know how accurate they are. These details are between club, player and agent. I would assume that they are exaggerated ever so slightly given the reputation of the British press, particularly the ‘gutter press’. This obsession has passed its way down to the supporters who now surely cannot apprehend the ridiculous figures that are banded about.
But let us look at it from a player perspective.
Football clubs are run as businesses. Right from the very top down to the lower leagues. Make no mistake about this. We may hear from time to time from rich owners that it is about their passion for a particular club but there will always be a business reason for any individual or group which takes over a football club.
The ‘business’ though is driven by the performances on the pitch. The better the team does defines the fortunes of the club as a business. The more successful they are the more income streams are available, particularly the higher we go. Therefore the players out on the pitch will determine the success of the business.
I recently had a conversation with the commercial director at one of my previous clubs. It is a long way from the money at the top-level but interesting nevertheless. He spoke about how results on the pitch reflect the income to the club to sucha huge extent. If you have a winning team near the top of the division then the club can expect a few thousand more through the turnstiles. It can generate more sponsorship revenue, programme and shirt sales etc. Calculate this by 23 home matches and the difference can be a few hundreds of thousands of pounds per year. This amount of money is paramount to a lower league.
If you can magnify this and relate it to The Premier League you can start to see the figures.
So how do we get to a figure of £230,000 per week ?
For this I see many factors in how he has been rewarded with a contract of this worth.
Manchester United have recently lost a couple of big names. Ronaldo and Tevez are two players who have gotten away. Publicly this looks bad for a club like Manchester United. If Rooney were to leave then this would have been seen as a PR disaster and many would have questioned their status at the head of world club football. This could have caused it difficult to continue to attract the very best players in the future.
How much would it cost to replace Rooney ? His transfer value would have been lower than what they would need to pay for a player of similar world-class status.
But the biggest reason behind this and other player salaries is quite obvious.
The money is there. As long as there is an interest from the public to watch football on TV then there will always be massive amounts of money. We watch it on Sky, ITV, BBC, Channel 5. These broadcasters put the massive amounts of money into football which finds its way to the clubs. There is also a huge thirst to watch The Premier League from viewers from all around the world. They pay huge sums into the pot to watch our matches.
So because of this the amounts of money the clubs have at their disposal are obscene.
The question I ask is: Given that the money will always be there-why should it not go to the players ?
As they are so responsible for the money coming into the club by their performances on the pitch then surely they should be rewarded with the lions share of it. The alternative options are that these large amounts go to the businessmen who run these clubs.
Would that be the best way to go?
As a player you will always look to secure the best deal for yourself and your family. This is the same no matter what job you do. Would anybody not want the same? Rooney knows his worth and he has gone out and got it. OK, the way he did it may not have been correctly handled but contract negotiations are a game of bluff and counter bluff. I lost count of the amount of times I said ‘no’ to a manager or chairman to get the best deal for myself and my family. If I knew I was in a strong negotiating position then I would do what I needed to.
We are not going to change the amount of money that footballers are paid unless we all stop watching it.
And we all know that will just not happen.
You can read more from Jamie on his insightful blog by CLICKING HERE