You know when you go to the ATM late on a Saturday night hoping there’s a €50 in there that you had forgotten about it? Well, Gareth Bale certainly won’t have that problem ever again as he’s signed one of those ludicrous contracts that when it’s broken down, it just upsets fans and most third world countries. Bale will earn €25 million a year for the next six years, or £350,000 a week — after tax, by the way, I forgot to mention that. So when his union, health insurance, and Universal Social Charge are all taken out of his payslip, he’ll still have his £350,000 a week.
While many will think they’re seeing a bitter person here writing about Gareth Bale, I’m genuinely not. Football players, like all athletes, are the ones doing the business, week in, week out. They have to perform on big occasions to appease the fans, especially so at Real Madrid. Remember, there was a time when Cristiano Ronaldo was getting jeered by the home crowd, and the man has scored a serious amount of goals in his time at the club. Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo will no doubt follow suit in the next few months with his contract also to be negotiated. Don’t be surprised if Bale isn’t the top dog for long at Madrid.
Yaya Toure sits at number eight in the top earners in professional football. He earns £230,000 a week; not bad for a guy who can’t get a game with the reserve team. After a falling out with the manager at the start of the season, Toure hasn’t featured for a single second in Man City’s season, thus far. For a club like Manchester City, it’s not a problem. They have plenty of other players at their disposal to do the business on the pitch so Toure is not important. Anyone who watched City last year can testify to the fact that Toure is passed his best and probably should’ve been moved on in the Summer, anyway. He couldn’t find another club or quite possibly didn’t want to go to another club, so either way, he stayed put.
Just imagine another company being so flippant with money — it’s hard to imagine Apple or Toyota doing it. Toure has already cost City almost £4 million since this season has started, with literally nothing to show for their investment. It’s a similar story at Manchester United with Bastian Schweinsteiger, who sits at number 16 on the list, earning £200,000 a week and having played zero minutes, as well. Although, he is at least training with the first-team again, so that’s progress.
With all this in mind, it’s lovely to see what is happening at Everton Football Club. They’ve agreed to pay their staff — wait for it — the independently calculated living wage. That’s right. They will agree to pay at least £8.45 an hour to their employees — it’s £9.75 if you’re in London.
I know what you’re thinking: surely every club has this agreement and Everton are the last club to agree to it and what a shower of bastards they are. Well, not quite. Everton are only the 5th club to do it. Only one other Premier League club has this agreement in place and it’s probably the last club you’d think: Chelsea (Derby County, Luton Town and Hearts are the others that have this agreement in place). With all this talk of players being paid a King’s ransom, it’s quite refreshing to hear this from Everton.
Realistically, it should be a no brainer, obviously. While I have no problem with the players earning big money, clubs need to readdress the balance which exists in their organisations. Luton Town, who became the first team to agree to the living wage pay for its staff, did so in December 2014. In two years, only 5 clubs have signed the deal.
While I’ve always defended players who earn big money, it’s a little difficult to do so nowadays with the money skyrocketing even more in the last couple of years. If every league club in the UK signed this deal then I might feel better about Gareth Bale and his hefty pay packet, but until then, it’s a little difficult to get on board.