Football players and their money

After helping Germany lift the World Cup midfielder Mezut Ozil (pictured below), has captured the hearts of Brazilian youngsters, after revealing he has donated around £350,000 of his personal winnings to 23 children’s surgeries in the South American country. The Telegraph

Looking towards next season

By Dave Daniel

Mesut OzilNow that the World Cup is over, players around the globe are in various states of pre-season training and tours, and also perhaps just waiting to see where they will be playing next season. Managers are currently looking to refine their squads and make decisions on who they will keep and who they will sell. Others players may still be on holiday in exotic climes with family and friends, spending some of their rather large wages.

Footballers’ wages in the old days

I have been thinking lately about some of the old greats from way back and how player’s incomes and lifestyles have changed. One of my brothers is a Fulham supporter and I kept an eye on them when I was young.

Johnny HaynesI remember a player called Johnny Haynes who was widely regarded as one of the best of his generation. He signed for Fulham when he was just 17 yrs old and stayed with them for 18 years. He captained England 22 times before an injury in a car accident left him struggling to regain form. The news of the incident left many fans downhearted.

In 1958 Haynes was earning 20 pounds a week not much more than the average wage of 15 pounds. He turned down the chance to join AC Milan and double his wages. Could you see that happening today?

Interestingly, at that time, players wages were capped at 20 pounds per week before the Professional Footballers Association succeeded in forcing clubs to dismantle the wage ceiling in England and then of course it became a free for all. Haynes suddenly found himself the first player in England to earn 100 pounds a week.

Wayne Rooney: living in clover

Wayne Rooney

In 2013, Wayne Rooney’s salary was approx 10.5 million pounds, or 200,000 pounds a week while the average wage was 26,000 a year. His salary does not include product endorsements and income from sponsors. Ah, the free market is a wonderful thing.
I mean to say, what do you do with all that money ? Surely after a while it loses it’s value — another yacht, another villa in Spain, another Audi, another whatever. Some people say: good on him if he can get it, others say: what!? He gets 10.5 million quid for kicking a bag of air around!
I’m sure that Wayne will say he has a social conscience, but I want to move on to a player who certainly has.  
A good news story: putting money back into the game

Craig Bellamy is someone who has annoyed me for some time, mainly because he has the habit of scoring goals against Manchester United; OK, that’s extremely annoying. He’s had a checkered career, played for many clubs, and was allegedly implicated in several violent incidents – though never convicted.

Craig Bellamy FoundationNow I do think differently of him since learning that in 2008 he set up the Craig Bellamy Foundation in Sierra Leone, investing £1.4M of his own money to build a not-for-profit football academy where an enrolment of some 32 boys receive an international standard education and elite football coaching gratis.

The foundation also runs a nationwide youth league in conjunction with UNICEF and it is structured in such a way that points are awarded for

  • school attendance
  • fair play
  • contributions to community projects

— as well as performance on the pitch.

It’s a good story and it’s true, probably one that should be replicated more often.

Good on yer Craig, I forgive you.