‘We won the Ashes, but got nailed with 60pc tax’
Seven years ago, Tim Bresnan took the final wicket to wrap up the fourth Ashes Test match in Melbourne to ensure England retained the most famous trophy in cricket. The series win was the greatest achievement by an England cricket team since the Seventies, and marked the start of a golden period for allrounder Bresnan, who went on to win back-to-back domestic titles with his home county, Yorkshire.
Still only 32, his international career – and the money that came with it – has petered out.
He missed out, too, on the riches of the star-studded Indian Premier League, which pays football-style salaries to cricketers. With luck, he’ll play for Yorkshire for another three or four seasons – then he has to work out what to do with the rest
England cricketer Tim Bresnan was bowled over when he earned his first £430 match fees, but his earnings were not as high as fans may expect, he tells Sam Brodbeck
of his life. A higher-rate taxpayer, he claims to save half his income. This is impressive, and far more than the 5pc average that other workers of a similar age manage to save, according to a recent survey from Royal London, the pension company. This is the first winter I’m spending at home for about 10 years. Previously, I’ve toured with England, England Lions, and I’ve played in the Big Bash League in Australia. We’ve just had our third child so it’s probably a good year to spend some time at home. My parents always said not to borrow, only spend what you can afford. We weren’t particularly wealthy growing up.
My mum works for the family business, a haulage firm. My dad was an engineer in factories in Yorkshire. We could afford cricket gear and a few holidays but it wasn’t always plain sailing.
I made my debut for the Yorkshire first team at 16. I was still doing my GCSEs and the school let me off to play. When I started, we were on six-month contracts and had to have winter jobs. I worked in a goods yard in the freezing cold one year.
My mum forced me into college but I knew I’d never see it through. I got picked for the England under-19s team that played in the World Cup when I was 17 years old, so I dropped out of college and never went back.
When I was 16, the match fee was £430 a game – that was massive. Then they said I was bankrupting the club and gave me a cap, which meant they could pay me less. My first contract was £8,000 a year, and then I got upgraded to “junior pro” and that was £12,000 plus match fees.
A massive saver and a little bit of an investor as well. I understand that cricket has a limited time for you to earn – if I make it to 35 or 36 I’ve done well. My earnings are massively frontloaded so I need to save now while I can. At the moment, I probably save about half of my salary.
Yes, I save into a pension, Isas and EIS (Enterprise Investment Schemes) – we found that was tax efficient. The aim is to get to the maximum £1m pension pot but I doubt I’ll get there until a couple of days before I can draw it out! I’m not even halfway there at the moment.
‘My earnings are front-loaded. At the moment I probably save half my salary’
Yes, the Professional Cricketers’ Association [the players’ union] is keen on cricketers being advised financially. I met a guy at St James’s Place, the wealth manager, at a dinner and I use them now. To throw some money into an EIS. One of them, run by Seneca, did really well and we managed to pay off a chunk of the mortgage with the returns. Buying a brand new VW Polo as my first car. My mum said it needed to be new, with guarantees and warranties, because I’d be driving all over the country playing cricket.
As soon as I drove off the forecourt its value dropped like a stone. When the three-year PCP [a financing deal] came to an end they didn’t want it back and I couldn’t sell it. I learnt a lesson, and now I just lease them.
We don’t have many. We’ve had a few nice holidays and we got married in the Maldives – I squeezed it in after a tour of Sri Lanka.
Tim Bresnan said playing for England was the most lucrative part of his career, but his first contract was just £8,000 a year