Bankers vs. Footballers - The Battle of Greed

My parents, between them, have a combined total of over 50 years' experience within the banking sector. Which, quite frankly, is madness.

It has its benefits - we're all very good with money; know how to save and get the best value for our very English pounds. It has also had a very adverse effect on our livelihoods over the past five years, thanks to the greed of some of the wealthiest men in our country.

Now thankfully, Mum has left working at the bank, but Dad is still there, doing his best, alongside the other 141,000 employees at RBS, to keep the 84% taxpayer-owned bank afloat.

You mention your Dad works for RBS, and he's automatically 'the man who caused the problems'. First of all, the investment arm of the bank screwed up, and there just wasn't enough money to keep the bank stable - same as all of Britain's banks. But it was the obscene salaries being dished out to the top dogs in the banking sector that seemingly got on everyone's wick.

Over the last ten days or so, we've seen RBS hit the news again, after offering Stephen Hester, Chief Executive of the bank, a £1m share bonus for his work this year. A lot less than has been offered in previous years, but still, outrage ensued with many blaming the 'greedy bankers' again.

Now £1m sounds a lot of money to you and I. But not to the bankers - that's pennies for them. But it's far easier to blame them for being greedy, having a lot of money and creating a double-levelled economy, than... Oh, I don't know, say, footballers.

The bonus offered to Hester is the equivalent of a month of Wayne Rooney's pre-tax wages. England captain John Terry will have earned 39 times that when the five-year contract he signed at Chelsea in 2009 comes to a close. There's a hell of a lot of money in football.

The recent announcement for a benefits cap per household, of £26,000 a year, is what Mr Rooney earns in just three and a half days. There doesn't seem to be a lot of parity between the rich and the poor - there simply isn't the middle ground there once was.

It's just much easier to criticise those who have done something that affected us all, a la the bankers, than moan at someone earning multi-millions for playing ninety minutes of football once a week. Rather than back the initiatives, such as the Mayday for Nurses campaign, encouraging footballers to give up the equivalent of a day's wages, the general British public would rather rip into those who are being portrayed by the media to be the bad guys in this whole situation.

This is probably coming across as a piece of very biased propaganda, and I apologise for that. I just really wish the government would look at footballer's wages, and enforce some form of legislation and regulation, to encourage more charitable donations made by these multi-millionaires.

You tax them, and the quality of British football as a whole will drop, as these greedy players will want more money elsewhere. But you encourage the charitable aspect, and more will be handed over than ever before.

We can blame Hester for being the greedy bastard that we all like to believe he is, but if we do that, we need to take a long, hard look at the individuals playing for our club. And then reconsider.

Agree with me? Want to add your tuppence worth? You can follow me on Twitter - I'm @Adam9309 - or find me on my own blog!

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Comment by redmisty on January 31, 2012 at 16:26

Great article and comments. I agree completely.

It's amazing how many people are happy to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to football. Many on 606 argued that transfer fees of £50m+ and wages of £200k+ per week were easily explained by inflation and therefore perfectly acceptable!! Even though their own pay checks had probably decreased in real terms over the same period...It's unbelievable how footballers and football clubs get away with it but such ignorance and blind loyalty of the fans doesn't help.

The money that Hester was forced to turn down really is peanuts in the scheme of things. Less than two thirds of the amount that many of our fans are saying we should pay Ravel as an annual salary...The bloke who can't even be bothered to turn up to work to run around for a couple of hours a day. I think the RBS chief works a bit harder than that!

Comment by Annie Eaves on January 30, 2012 at 17:13

You're right about the comments from many. Just ignorance.

Comment by Adam Mills on January 30, 2012 at 17:09

I think the naivety and the uneducated comments being sent across on Twitter about the subjects say it all - there just isn't anything to moan about football. Football is immortal; the bankers are Satan.

If that is to be believed, then why aren't the government doing more to stimulate and exploit one of the country's best exports? Simply because they don't get involved in the ins and outs of football doesn't automatically make the game the best thing since sliced bread.

So RBS shares fell £330m today - the equivalent of what Man City have spent on transfers over the last four years. Money within football is not just a normality - each country has a mega-rich club, and we have to get on with it. But the minute it comes down to taxes, the British public and media will take the culprit to the slaughterhouse.

There's a rather disturbing attitude towards football clubs. Football, for many, is a way of life, but is also a massive economical disaster waiting to happen. Much like the issues in regards to the banks, football clubs are about to get a massive wake-up call. The bankers take the blame for global, cyclical financial crisis, and when football goes tits up, the bankers will get the blame for that, too - not the owners. 'Should have given the club more time'; 'If it weren't for the recession we'd still be in business' etc. etc.

The banks take a lot of flack at the minute, and soon enough football will be affected too. Little comes in, lots goes out - financed by debt belonging to the government-owned banks. Therefore, in a roundabout way, your taxes are being plunged into football clubs to keep this ludicrous expenditure in place to ensure success. Would you rather watch your tax money get destroyed alongside your football club's dreams, or see it invested in a long-term, stable economy?

Comment by Annie Eaves on January 30, 2012 at 16:54

This articulates a lot of what I feel about this situation. On one hand people say we didn't bail out football - but we complain about the price rises weekly.

Also, not to forget that much of the boom was on the back of what banks did and how were they taxed. This chap giving up his bonus has saved the country £1m but it may have pissed him off a bit. It's no coincidence that as the banks failed the economy did, it's all entwined but there were many complaints when the country sailed on the wind created by the financial sector.

The wages of many, including and especially those in the public sector, rose as the Government's income increased. The role of taxes on the financial sector and their contribution both directly and indirectly to the revenue cannot be overlooked - but it is.

Rightly or wrongly he can command millions for doing his job, like footballers, and he may decide he's better off elsewhere. More money, less hassle. Will RBS be able to attract the very best talent in the future, thus ensuring the taxpayer owned company does as well as it possibly can.

The market seems to think it was a mistake. Sahres in RBS fell today, largely because of this public interference. This has brought the value of the taxpayer owned company down by £330m.

So saving £1m has cost £330m. No lies, no smoke and mirrors, that's what it is.  I'm not pro-banker or far right or anything like that, I just don't believe in cutting your nose off to spite your face. 

Back to footballers. We slam clubs when they don't buy players or pay high enough wages to attract the best and then we complain when ticket prices go through the roof, or when the third kit in 18 months is out and costs £45. There's no smoke and mirrors here either, the players get the majority of new money in football. We're told it's just market value, well how can it be market value when more than half the teams in the league make a loss?

Image rights are used to dodge tax, players with an image less marketable than a chocolate fire-guard are paid huge chunks of their income through companies set up on their behalf to receive 'image rights'. It's such a scam that even our battle weary Inland Revenue is looking into it, yet they have to fight the best lawyers money can buy.

Then there's clubs that go bust because they committed more money than they should have done, the feeling towards them is almost universal sympathy - but when it comes to paying debts back the football ones take priority. Giving a striker his overdue goal bonuses comes before paying the local plumber the £8,000 you've built up in debts - people lose their jobs and houses over this stuff.

Football is immune, should it be?

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