Absurd salary increases in footy
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.