Everything in life is relative.
One moment you are feeling pretty flush as the billionaire owner of a Premier League Football Club and then along comes Sheikh Mansour with a reported personal wealth of £20 billion and an estimated family fortune of $1trillion and your whole day loses its sparkle. I mean, how is any normal billionaire supposed to compete with that sort of financial clout?
Everything in football life distorts reality. This is never more so than on transfer deadline day which hits our screens again today with footballers switching clubs for transfers fees sometimes so large that the numbers barely fit on the Sky Sports transfer ticker.
Amongst all the drama of the reported colossal transfer figures that will be bandied about today, demanding supporters and frenzied reporters will largely overlook the huge wage demands that are met in order to grease the wheels of a stalling transfer before Clubs’ fax machines finally keel over and die just after tonight’s 11.00pm deadline.
Cristiano Ronaldo has recently signed a new deal worth a reported €21 million per year. Wayne Rooney is reported to be close to signing a new deal with Manchester United worth £300,000 per week, which is £1.3 million basic salary per month, which means he pays about £600,000 per month in income tax and national insurance contributions.
The truly staggering financial costs of competing at the highest level were revealed in Manchester City’s most recent accounts. In 2012/13, City reportedly paid £233m in salaries. Just let that sink in for a moment. £233m in salaries. In. One. Year.
City played 51 competitive games in 2012/13, which means that the Club’s annual salary costs equate to over £4.5 million per game. In a 90 minute match, that’s £50,000 per minute or nearly £1,000 a second, so you can forgive City for getting agitated when the other team is time-wasting.
So whilst the pitches may be flatter and more pristine than ever, the reality must be that there will never be a level playing field in the financial world of football. It will be interesting to see how much impact the Financial Fair Play rules will have on future transfer windows. Until then, the top players will still pay more in tax each month than many supporters will earn throughout their working life. That should be a sobering thought to stop dead in his tracks any fan thinking of demanding that his Club should splash its cash on the next highly paid superstar to be this season’s saviour.
But of course it won’t. Because like all football fans, I absolutely want my Club to throw caution to the wind today (an approach I would never take with my own personal finances) and spend money it hasn’t got on a big name signing. And if it doesn’t, I too will join the queue to curse the owners for their financial prudence. As I say, football just distorts reality.