We have become used to the multi-million-pound contracts on offer in the Premier League.
Astronomical money in football has not always been the norm. While the best players have always been generally well-compensated, clubs in the top English tier are now paying 2,500% more per year compared to when the footballing pyramid in this country was rejigged in 1992.
Then, John Barnes was the highest-paid player in England, taking home £10,000 a week. Last season, Gareth Bale earned £560,000 every seven days – the change in less than 30 years is extraordinary.
Even at a young age, players can earn almost incomprehensible sums and, unsurprisingly, that can have a damaging effect, as Micah Richards recently explained on the Match of the Day podcast.
Richards' career at Manchester City started as a 17-year-old. This was before Sheikh Mansour's money revolutionised the club, and the defender was therefore seen as one of the great future hopes for a team often struggling to stay in the top flight.
A year later, he was already an England international, making his debut against the Netherlands. His stock was particularly high at that time, and the Cityzens decided to reward their star teenager.
Earning £5,000 a week, Richards was given a £45,000 pay-rise to see him take home £50,000 a week. Now, the former Aston Villa admitted the financial boost affected him.
Lack of commitment
Speaking to Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer on the podcast, Richards discussed his previous wage.
He said: “I was given too much too soon. I'm not afraid to say, because the papers will document it. I went from £5,000 to £50,000.
“So I'm on £2.5m a year. This is in the late 2000s. I went from £500 to £5,000 a week, which was deserved at the time. £50,000 was more because I was an asset, so if they wanted to sell me...
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“But when you go from that money... I didn't spend money and waste it because I've got loads of property. It was just different, because you were going out and you want to be the man around town.
“Honestly, we went to LA one time, and in one night, we spent $150,000.”
Insight into a footballer's life
It just goes to show how bloated the Premier League has become. Even now, £50,000 is lower than the average Premier League wage.
Given the interest and investment in football, it is hard to argue that the players should not get their fair share. But should the bank accounts of young men, who have no understanding of such money, be flooded in this way?
This is far from a new issue, but it is interesting to hear the story of someone who was directly influenced.News Now - Sport News