Football is a widely watched form of entertainment, with a high emphasis on raw talent, emotion and of course money. Many males base their whole life around the sport, and many children of the younger generation look up to such footballers like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and John Terry. However such role models are not all they seem, they are not so clean cut as they may appear on the football field.
The issue of wages is widely reported in the British press in a negative manner, with continuous stories about top player wages and rumours about owners of clubs pumping even more money into the business of football. In recent weeks the press had reported on several occasions that a Chelsea star had been injured for 18 months, and within that time, he had acquired in terms of wages £4.65 Million, that equating to £62,500 a week. Other contentious issues that have been reported recently are that Premiership players are getting overpaid while many other important professionals such as Doctors and Surgeons only get paid almost a tenth of this wage. During the domestic season in (2006/07) a campaign was launched, below which describes the event and how it has helped encourage the financial side of the sport to be investigated.
The topic of player’s wages has caused great debate and outrage caused as top footballers such as John Terry and Cristiano Ronaldo were being paid a reported £150,000 a week and £200,000 a week respectively. Despite the ever growing culture of money being fluttered around in the ‘beautiful game’ on player wages, TV rights, sponsorship and merchandise, the campaign of ‘Mayday for Nurses’ was launched, set to ask all players from the Premier League to donate a day’s wages to the charity. The shocking element of this is that those who did not donate were from top Premiership teams such as; Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal, this is in some ways far from being acceptable, as it is reported nurses’ annual salary totals just £25,000. By the end of the campaign which was due to end on the final day of the season (13th May) only a total of 255 players had signed up to donate, this is in great contrast to the 600 or so players in the Premiership. So with this in mind, it is clear that the Premiership stars who are supposed ‘role models’ to the younger generations, are not doing such a great job, they are still wishing to accept ludicrous wages when nurses are struggling to uphold a decent standard of living, trying to cope with the demands of training and succeeding in the job, as places seem to be very limited. There is a severe shortage of nurses across the whole of England in the NHS, many are unable to carry on with training due to financial commitments and it is estimated 25,000 trainee nurses will not complete full training due to this reason, but on the other hand to Premiership players these fees would not be even a day’s wages. So for the campaign to take full effect it is clear the footballers need to question their greed and perhaps open their cheque books and donate, for the good of the National Health Service. The British press reported this issue in contrasting ways, many managers and players were happy to donate with minimum fuss, but one outspoken manager clearly wanted to be heard, 'I am disgusted with the manner in which this campaign has gone about its fundraising'. This portrays the Premiership manager to be rather cold hearted towards the current situation. Reports stated the manager had withdrawn the pledges made by players, classifying it as ‘blackmail’. The London Metro reported that “The RCN, which administers the fund alongside their own, said it had only received about £200,000, someway off the £1,000,000 target they had set”. This is showing that many Premiership stars do not want to donate to a worthy cause. The Daily Express also reported on many occasions the issue regarding the campaign, many of them being positive about the nurse’s conditions that they currently work but also how many premiership players aren’t hoarding their greed and donating back into the NHS. It suggested that behind the expensive cars, luxurious houses and designer garments, they have hearts of ‘gold’ as they donate to a cause that is not often funded in the correct manner. Dr Hertz quoted “With just three days to go to the end of the Premiership season, it’s great to get so many more players coming on board. I’ve now got backing from almost all of the clubs in the Premiership”. Another case of players donating was reported in The Guardian “Henry was one of the first to donate - in his case, around £15,000 - to help thousands of nurses”.
Some might argue that is not footballer’s responsibility to sort out nurses’ wages but that of the government, so bearing this in mind, the press need to look upon their criticism of footballers and look to point the finger at the government. So this contentious issue needs to be addressed in giving nurses a fair wage reflected on their work efforts rather than just minimal wage. As you observe the nurses daily routines, they are there to help people, attend their every need, whereas footballers, they are paid to go through a physical training session every day with the occasional day off, doing a profession that they have grown up to love, whilst being paid £100,000 a week. The campaign highlights this as being a major problem; it allows the British press to pounce on the matter of overpaid footballers whilst addressing to the public and government the state of the NHS. It is clear that drastic action is to be taken; this campaign has done its job, showing the real problems in life, not those small irrelevant issues on the football pitch week in, week out.
The press also show footballers to have some responsibility with their money and generosity in their actions. This was represented in the press, as many ‘premiership stars’ donated to a worthy cause, ‘Mayday for Nurses’. Money was raised to help the nurses within their professional career, so in doing so, showing the positive issues that footballers are not normally reported on.
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