The Obscenity Of The English Premier League

In the week of woes that was in it for soccer and FIFA, Ed Moloney castigates English soccer. Ed Moloney blogs @ The Broken Elbow.

The Grauniad has an interesting piece today about former Northern Ireland international and Aston Villa winger Peter McParland, as a curtain-raiser for the forthcoming FA Cup Final between Aston Villa and The Scum. (The latter term is how a certain other North London team which somehow got displaced from its South London origins in the British Army’s Woolwich arsenal is known by all true Spurs fans)

Peter McParland

McParland, a Newry man, gained notoriety in the 1957 FA Cup Final by dislocating the jaw of Manchester United goalkeeper, Ray Wood in the opening seven minutes meaning that, in those pre-subs days, one of the other ten Busby Babes had to take his place. McParland went on to score two goals, beating United 2-1 and depriving Man U, a year before Munich, of the double (a feat that was achieved by Bill Nicholson’s Spurs team four years later).

Needless to say United fans of a certain vintage never forgave him.

What caught my attention was McParland’s description of his recruitment from Dundalk by Villa in 1952 and the terms he was offered to join the Midlands’ team:
I began working as an apprentice coppersmith at the rail works in Dundalk and when I was 17 I went to Birmingham with a Newry boys’ club to play a Birmingham side, Shamrock Rovers. In 1952 we visited Villa Park and the Villa manager, George Martin, asked our manager if we had any promising players. I suddenly found myself playing against the Villa first-teamers. Villa signed me. Dundalk wanted £5,000 and Villa paid them £3,800 and I began on £12 a week with a £10 signing-on fee.

Now according to this site, in 1952 £12 is equivalent to £336 in 2015 money, a sum that is probably not far off the average industrial wage nowadays. So, not much to get excited about, even sixty-three years ago, but at least he wouldn’t starve.

But how does £336 compare to what a modern Premier League earns? What would Peter McParland take home every week if he was a winger for Aston Villa in next weekend’s Cup Final? The answer is a staggering, disgusting, unjustifiable £31,000 per week, or just over $1.62 million a year. That’s 92 times more than Peter McParland’s wages for Villa.

Funnily enough The Grauniad man didn’t ask him about that.


  1. Jimmy Hill had much to do with smashing the pay ceiling. Now the game is simply disgusting when thought of in earnings terms. Nurses and care workers get roughly the minimum wage mentioned for a hard days slog. These footballers, the majority of whom would be dossers or possibly even jailbirds but for the game, are grossly over paid. The crazy thing is there are 22 men on the park for 90 minutes. I'm not very good at sums. Maybe DaithiD could calculate just how much actual work 90 minutes is divided my 22? Or more interestingly divide (Wayne Rooney-Shrek's weekly take home pay)£250,000 by 90. I get £2,777 per minute.

    When the FIFA criminals get thrown to the wolves as is on-going just now, pay structure in the game should be examined and sorted out too.

  2. The Premier League is a corporate entity onto itself and has no relationship to FIFA. The ruination of English soccer can be traced to the Taylor Report and the subsequent 'whole new ball game' of SkyTV. When the English FA allowed the Premier League to separate from the rest of the professional game - the English League consisting of 72 clubs - it was the death knell for what once was 'the beautiful' game. Football today is wholly dictated by money and is not going to change any time soon. Players wages are a reflection of that. The whole system needs read out and a return to the redistributive system of old, which fed the grassroots and ensured a balance was always maintained. The problem here is the massive power granted to the Premier League and not FIFA

  3. Why does Rodgers still have a job @ Anfield ? Worse than Dalglish mark 2.

  4. Good point Dave but I think they see the potential he has from last year's title run. You just sensed that Dalglish was never going to do it again. Rogers you are more iffy about. Next season will be a telling one. He needs to produce

  5. Rodgers has been exposed as a complete chancer and should be roaded with immediate effect. #KloppToTheKop

  6. Hannibal Suarez was blessed getting outa that gaff lol

  7. From Beano

    .....and on Brendan Rogers. He’s a flanneler who is punching way above his weight. Blew it last year because he didn’t know how to handle it from the front. Allowed the team to think they had won the league the night they beat Man.City at Anfield..and they capitulated to Chelsea and Crystal Palace. He has spent an exorbitant amount of money on mostly duds and is going to need to spend the same again to try and improve on 6th place. Not sure if the powers that be will have that amount of financial scope. Or patience.