Thursday, 30 July 2020


Read today that the ex-Manchester United and Everton midfielder Norman Whiteside had auctioned off all the treasured memorabilia from his football career.


To cover his pension and keep his head above water in his later years, although he is still only 55.

He got around £200,000 for his FA Cup winners medals, shirts he'd worn for Northern Ireland at the World Cup in 1982, plus other bits and pieces.

Which I guess will last him a few years, but the amount is what a top-level footballer can earn in a WEEK.

Whiteside was of the era just before the real money washed into football as the Premier League dawned in 1992. When winning trophies for Man Utd he was on £250 a week. Good money, and a good living back then, but nowhere near enough to last a lifetime.

He also represents what happens to players when it all ends suddenly.

Having enjoyed a stellar career, starring in the World Cup as a 17-year-old and scoring the winning goal in the 1985 FA Cup final, an injury ended his career at 26.

No vast wages to back him up, meant years later he has to sell every memento to survive ...

People often get hot under the collar when discussing footballers wages, presuming that everyone who plays the game earns millions. It simply isn't true of course, and remembering that football is essentially an entertainment industry, it is seriously playing catch-up with the other industries.

For example, I once watched a documentary on George Formby, where it explained his father, who trod the boards in the music halls around the turn of the 20th century, was earning a staggering £3,000 a week.

A huge sum now, let alone in the 1900s!

Compare that to the footballer Tommy Lawton some 30-odd years later...

He was at the top of his profession in 1939, having won the Championship with Everton, and playing regularly for England, he would have been the top earner in the game.

In his autobiography he mused that in that year he earned £450 for the whole year, which included bonuses playing for England.

Quite a difference to Mr Formby!!!!

Football can reap unimaginable rewards for the very best today, but lower-level players are hanging on hoping for a new contract at their clubs, on unspectacular wages.

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