If I had a pound for every time I’ve found myself in an argument about the earnings of professional footballers, I would have earned about as much as Lionel Messi does in the time it takes him to put his boots on (which is about £50 even if you make the potentially generous assumption that he’s at least paying SOME income tax). OK, so maybe it’s not quite 50 but it happens a lot and it’s usually with one of those rugby union types.
So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to challenge a few misconceptions that have been chucked about in the past.
Footballers don’t work hard
All too often football-hating socialists seem to be genuinely baffled as to why professional footballers are paid so much for “just kicking a ball about.” Trust me, this isn’t how it works. If you and I were to grab a ball, head down to the park and start kicking it about, how many people would be willing to pay to watch (apart from your parents)? Of course, nobody would because we’re both rubbish at football (unless, ironically, you are a professional footballer, in which case, I apologise).
Anybody playing football professionally has dedicated themselves to perfecting their craft, outworking literally hundreds of thousands of competitors in the process. To put that in perspective, try and relive the toughest test, exam, assignment or ‘thing’ that you’ve ever done. Remember how hard you had to work? Cristiano Ronaldo probably works harder than that every day and has done since he was about 8 years old.
All footballers are making BIG money
These bitter, envious haters (or ‘rugby union fans’) like to dwell on players like Pogba, Neymar, Messi, etc. who earn the big, big money but let’s not forget the VAST majority of professional footballers earn a fraction of what the big dogs are bringing home. Saying footballers get paid too much because Paul Pogba earns £15 million a year makes as much sense as claiming software developers get paid too much because Bill Gates is worth £63 billion.
Footballer wages are disproportionately large
Are football clubs like Man Utd and Paris St Germain dishing out big contracts out of the good of their hearts? In 2016 Man Utd generated a revenue of over £500 million with an operating profit of almost £70 million. What should Man Utd do with the £500 million that they bring in on a yearly basis? United’s wage bill in 2016 was just over £200 million, which means about 40% of their revenue was spent on player wages.
Man Utd make a lot of money because they’ve got legions of fans all over the globe who watch their games and buy their merchandise like the mindless lemmings that they are. To the annoyance of the footballer-haters, 99.9% of these lemmings have probably never even heard of Jonny Wilkinson. Man Utd have got A LOT of fans predominantly because they win a lot of trophies (or at least they used to). You don’t win trophies without top players, and you don’t attract top players without big £££s. So let José chuck his money about.
OK… hopefully we’ve sorted that out. Footballers get what they’re worth. Let Wayne Rooney roll around in his orange Bentley or somebody else’s VW Beetle at 2am. He’s earned it.