In the modern game players now have more power than ever before. This is reflected in their astronomical wages. While I have no problem with them taking their share of the pie, if the money exists in the game those on the pitch should benefit rather than cooperate suits, and it seems peculiar that their immediate boss is on a paltry sum by comparison.
Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed how Joel Glazer asked how he felt about Wayne Rooney signing a new deal that would dwarf his wage. The Scotsman replied it seemed unfair a player would earn twice as much as the manager. From that moment Sir Alex – rightly so – had it inserted into his contract that he would always earn more than any player at the club.
He is the exception to the rule. At every other club the highest earners can double or even triple the manager’s wage. Doing some loose maths, we can assume Sir Alex was on around £8m before the new Rooney deal, which is still one of the top wages a manager can expect to be offered. Jose Mourinho is reportedly on £8.5m, a deal he claims was lower than his previous wage.
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This places the Portuguese manager over a million ahead of Louis Van Gaal in earnings and £3m more than his Manchester City counterpart. These are still stunning packages for the coaches in question but it does raise a few questions. How can a manager command a dressing room full of prima donnas when he earns less? It’s human nature to look for natural rank structures. In the world of work these are, more often than not, set by how much a person earns.
Not only does the wage disparity potentially lead to a lack of respect, it also hinders the ability for the club and manager to think long-term. If each top gaffer was taking home £15m a season, chairman would be less inclined to sack them. Most agree that too many managers are given the chop prematurely. Sir Alex is living proof that giving the right man time leads to rich rewards.
If the club had stability from the top it would send a simple message to the players. They would be more accountable for poor results. Rather than hearing about mutinies and managers losing the dressing room, you’d see players fighting for the man in charge – the one person they can almost be certain is unlikely to face the axe.
Some fans, of clubs like Liverpool where Brendan Rodgers takes home over £3m a year, will argue against this and claim the on field talent is justifiably paid more. It seems strange that the Swansea manager will earn less in a year than the highest earners in the league take home in a fortnight. While a player’s natural talent is highly rewarded it seems a manager’s hard work and diligence is overlooked.
If the players deserve their slice of the monetary reward then surely the man that manufactures the team and its tactics deserves an equal share. In a time of player power chairman need to give some more, albeit with a symbolic gesture, to their presumed right-hand man.