Ab­surd salary in­creases in footy

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

IT’S a far cry from the £198 mil­lion (R3.4 bil­lion) that a French foot­ball club paid for Brazil­ian striker Ney­mar, and graph­i­cally il­lus­trates just how lu­di­crously the fat cats of to­day’s sport­ing world are paid.

A newly-un­cov­ered con­tract from 1932 shows how Sir Stan­ley Matthews, re­garded as one of Eng­land’s finest ever play­ers, was signed for Stoke City for a £10 fee and paid just £5 a week.

The so-called “Wiz­ard of the Drib­ble” re­ceived the sum when he turned 17 and joined Stoke City, where he stayed for 15 years.

His £5 weekly wage, worth around £313 in to­day’s money, fell to just £3 in the sum­mer, or £188 to­day – more than 3 000 times less than the £595 000 a week that Paris Saint-Ger­main will re­port­edly pay Ney­mar, 25.

Iron­i­cally, the Brazil­ian isn’t even con­sid­ered to be the best player at the club he is leav­ing.

The Matthews con­tract’s own­ers said the fig­ures are “al­most in­com­pre­hen­si­ble” when com­pared to to­day’s mam­moth salaries.

A sec­ond con­tract, dat­ing from May 1935, when Matthews Ma­nia be­gan to sweep the world of foot­ball, saw the Eng­land leg­end’s pay up­graded to £7 per week dur­ing the sea­son, in­creas­ing to £8 when he was picked for Stoke’s first team and de­tailed a ben­e­fit game pledge.

The 1932 con­tract, ex­pected to sell at auc­tion for £1 000 to £2 000, states: “Stan­ley Matthews, of 89 Sey­mour Street, Han­ley, will play in an ef­fi­cient man­ner and do the best of his abil­ity for the club.

“In con­sid­er­a­tion of the ob­ser­vance by the said player, the club shall pay to the said player the sum of £5 per week from Fe­bru­ary 1932 to May 1932, go­ing down to £3 a week in the sum­mer months.”

David Lock­ett, 53, and his broth­ers Andy, 56, and Gra­ham, 61, who live in Stoke and sup­port Stoke City, are sell­ing the rare con­tracts. The doc­u­ments came into the fam­ily after their fa­ther re­ceived them “in lieu for a debt” and were found dur­ing a re­cent clear-out.

David Lock­ett said: “I think it’s im­por­tant for peo­ple to know what top play­ers earned back in the 1930s. Com­pared to what they earn to­day, it may seem ridicu­lous but at the time it would have been a lot of money. We’d love to see these con­tracts end up in the Bri­tish Foot­ball Mu­seum.

“They are a cru­cial part of the game’s his­tory. The con­tract could be dis­played along­side a con­tract from a player like Cris­tiano Ron­aldo.”

Matthews, who played pro­fes­sional foot­ball into his 50s and was the the old­est player ever to rep­re­sent Eng­land, was the only player to have been knighted while still play­ing foot­ball. He never earned more than £50 a week. The con­tracts are to be sold at Han­sons Auc­tion­eers on Au­gust 22. – Daily Mail


Ney­mar with his Paris Saint-Ger­main jersey.

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