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The Secret Footballer: Why do they blame us for the high wages?

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The Secret Footballer: Why do they blame us for the high wages?
Fans may think we are overpaid or not worth what we are said to earn but we are just part of someone else's grand design

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/feb/05/the-secret-footballer-players-wages


'When I think back to when I was kicking a flat ball around a council estate, I was just as curious about players’ wages' Photograph: Getty Images

Money? It's a crime. Apparently. At least according to Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame it is. That was before he made it on to the Sunday Times Rich List (number 763, estimated wealth £85m, since you asked) so maybe he's changed his mind by now.

I have always been of the opinion that talking about money, especially what one earns, might be considered, by others at least, a little vulgar, especially if nine times out of 10 the person you are talking to can only dream of earning what you do. Strangely, however, I find that fans want to talk about the subject more and more. As the seasons slip by, it seems fans want to talk about little else, often to find out if all the zeros they counted on the back of the paper on Monday really are being deposited in players' bank accounts on the Friday. And, let's be honest, there has been a lot of counting going on this week.

It seems a little alien to me now, but when I think back to when I was kicking a flat ball around a council estate with holes in my Nike hand-me-downs, I was just as curious about players' wages. Now that I am a footballer and I earn some of those zeros that curiosity has gone. But for a fan, those feelings and questions remain. So let's talk money.

Be honest. How many of you, when berating a player either in the pub or in the stands, bring up money? Most, I'll bet. "Overpaid!" "Not worth it!" Not many say the owners were mad to give him the wage in the first place. Instead, most of the anger goes towards the player, for seemingly having the sheer nerve to accept it. And this is what I don't understand, because in any walk of life, how many people say: "You know what, I think you're paying me too much." And there aren't many of us who would turn down the opportunity to leave a place of work and do the same job for somebody else if it meant a higher salary and a better standard of living for our families and ourselves. So I try not to feel guilty – although I sometimes do – and I try not to feel that I have been greedy in any way.

That is not to say that I don't "get" the argument of "How much is enough?" when people question why a player earning tens of thousands of pounds a week needs to ask for 10k, 20k or 30k more. But, as far as I'm aware, it is still illegal in this country for a player to hold a gun to a chairman's head. Shame, really.

The point I am trying to make is that football club owners, as much as players, drive wages. After all, a player can ask for as many zeros on the end of his salary as he wants but the only way he will get that money is if an owner is willing to pay it. And, by the same token, none of those players sold on deadline day would have left their clubs, no matter how much they wanted to get away, without a chairman signing a huge cheque at the other end. It seems to me that on deadline day "no" is the hardest word.

To let you into my mind, when I find myself the subject of a transfer and subsequent contract negotiations, I try to remove all of the emotion and work on this simple principle: a group of business people have taken the decision that their club can afford to make me an offer of X amount of money over Y amount of years. If their business falls in to decline, it is because those same people got their figures wrong or misjudged the market. Players can, of course, fail to live up to expectations, but can one bad signing bring down a football club?

Before I stand accused of portraying all footballers as the good guys, let me share a few things. Between you, me and the rest of the world, there are some players out there moving clubs every year to earn contract pay-offs and signing-on fees. Some players see football purely in financial terms, exactly like people do in other professions. They play the game simply because it's a well-paid job. I have lost count of the number of times I have heard: "If I could get the same money doing something else, I'd be gone in a flash." Sometimes they sound almost believable.

Every job has its perks, so why not try to enjoy the ones that come with playing football for millions of pounds? As the song goes, I like new cars, caviar and four-star daydreams but as for buying a football team, I'll leave that to the billionaires that spent eight-figure sums on players last month. And who cares where their money comes from? Not players and not many supporters – at least not until it goes wrong.

So what do fans really want? Players to give 100 per cent? That's the easy answer. How about every trophy, every great player and the best coach possible? And it isn't enough to just win, if the football gods could throw in relegation or financial strife for your biggest rival, well that would be even better.

So who is greedy? Not me. The owners? In some cases, definitely. You? Well, I wouldn't say greedy, just super ambitious and there is certainly nothing wrong with that in life. But the next time you go to punch your pin in on the debit machine to buy three tickets to watch your team play, ask yourself what really makes you happy? Because those of you who want the very best talent that enables your team to compete and win trophies will know that somebody has to pay for it, and those same people will also understand that if it all ends in tears, it isn't necessarily the players that need shooting because, for the most part, we're just playing our role in somebody else's grand design. Those who don't understand that argument, take your card out of the machine and take the kids to the park. Either way, the real power still belongs to you.
 
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Not all players do it but some put in transfer requets to gain more wages
 
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Was this really written by a footballer? I don't see one "naaaaaaaaaaaa mean?" in there.

Must have been one **** of an editing team.
 
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Was this really written by a footballer? I don't see one "naaaaaaaaaaaa mean?" in there.

Must have been one **** of an editing team.
not all footballers are feckless, they've probably just found one of the few that arent. Wouldnt be suprised if it was someone like scholes
 
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In some respects its true, ultimately we as football fans are paying for these players. The players or the clubs aren't forcing us to do anything, its our choice whether we want to spend money on football
 
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Footballs get paid what they do because they can, we would all do it, they still do their bit for charity but it's not really their fault they are paid what they are - most of them aren't money grabbing whores [TORRES (6)] who will do anything to make them and their agent some quick cash but are normal people who just happen to be in one of the [if not the] highest paid jobs in the world. Football is a breakneck business to be a part of, if you don't make your money while you can then you're pretty ******.
 
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This is why fans often love loyal players like Le Tissier who play for the sake of it and play for the club they love without any intention of moving for higher wages ¬_¬ But fundamentally, like any sport, being a footballer is a job. You can't blame people for wanting to increase their revenue simply because their ability justifies a higher salary can you?
 
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Couldn't care less about their wages, to be honest. Yes, all they're doing is kicking a ball around for 90mins. But they are also some of the best people in the world at the most popular sport in the world, they are overpaid just in the same sense that the owner of a billionaire monopoly business is, neither has much use for so much excess money, but it's how you're rewarded by the free market for being the very best. Clubs would be obscenely rich if, hypothetically a player wage cap was implemented.

If, as many people do seem to want, most premier league players took a big wage cut, would they still be upset that it's their club/owners being overpaid and not the players?

It only annoys me when players essentially blackmail the club into even higher wages by transfer requests and such.
 
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I have no problem with high wages. At the end of the day, it's the owners money and they can do whatever they want with it. Nice series of articles the guardian have atm.
 
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Maybe I should just keep posting links from different places on the internet so that Mike. ends up posting the subsequent entries of all of them. Reckon I could find about 50, that'd be amusing... (6)

He makes a simple, but good point this fella. You can't blame the player for taking a chunk of the money floating around in football if they're offered it.
 
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Not all players are money orientated but some are and thats what annoys us normal folk. The thing is these days footballers are found at an early age and wrapped in cotton wool all their carrers so they dont get a taste of what real life really is.

20+years ago i know people that used to go to the butchers hook pub in Fulham after the matches and meet the players over there. They used to have a chat, few pints and abit of a laugh and for that the players knew what real life people and situations were all about.

These modern day footballers get massive contracts as soon as they break intot he first team and live a life we could only dream of having. The most recent cases obviously are the Rooney and Tevez situations which were obivously the players and the people advising the players ploy for a nice little pay day.

I am in favour of the salery cap but this would only bring more bungs into the game (especially all the time Redknapp is a manager). The ammount of under the table/brown envelope payments would increase and also the bonuses would just increase. Unfortunatly football is what it is, everything about it has massivly changed in 10-20years and whether its for better or for worse that for the single person to decide.
 
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either they found one of the 0.001% of footballers who dont use 'at the end of the day' and 'errrrr' twice a sentence or its very well edited :) i dont blame they players though, money has blown up into football as the world in general is greedy, its just so happened to make prices in footy generally rocket, as it is a money-spinner :)
 
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