Grantham Journal columnist Peter Clawson: Footballers deserve their pay
What enrages non-soccer fans and some supporters of our beloved national game the most?
No! Not the constant ducking, diving, lying, cheating, fouling, arguing, on-field violence and complaining among prima donna players and managers alike. The blantantly wrong decisions by referees and linesmen, which cannot be adequately challenged or reversed no matter how obvious and unfair. Racism and now sexism which tarnishes all levels of the game, together with crowd trouble, bribery and corruption.
Not even the national and international gangsters who have taken over clubs and organisations in the guise of benefactors simply to feather their own nests and boost their own egos.
All this is bad enough, but ironically, what seems to antagonise non-football fans most of all is the fully-deserved top salaries of top players.
Overpaid and hyped-up, talentless television and film stars get away with lining their pockets at our expense, as do failed bankers and business moguls with undeserved bonuses.
People aren’t so enamoured with pop entertainers who, like soccer stars, pull in crowds to pay their way, though the establishment does appear to favour less popular classic performers in subsidised music, opera and ballet.
Finally, I wonder whether footballers’ salary critics realise how much revenue Manchester United lost, not just on the terraces but in commercial and merchandising sales, when they discarded David Beckham to more switched on European and American clubs?
The mind would have boggled even more if Wayne Rooney had also left, as he nearly did! The same also applies to most other Premier League clubs and their stars.
If ever there was a case for believing jealousy motivates the vast majority of criticism of footballers for actually earning what their considerable talents and sheer hard work in training and keeping fit deserves, surely this is it.