When the news was full of the negotiations by Wayne Rooney’s agent for his new salary of £200,000 a week was in the papers, (in the same week that George O. was excusing the cuts in benefits telling us “We are all in this together”), I remember wondering where all this money was coming from. Who would be paying for it?

Today, in the Mail on Sunday, I had my answer. They have printed a table of the salaries of the top 20 earners in the premier league. Based on the cheapest season ticket it would take 7,407 fans through the turnstyle to pay his salary, and he didn’t even play!

When my father and brother used to go to watch Nottingham Forest it cost them about 1s.00 (5p)

 When my father’s cousin was a professional footballer in the first division (the top division in those days) he earned a good wage, but in real terms nothing approaching today’s wages, certainly not enough for him to retire on when he was injured. Most ex-footballers then seemed to open shops or ran pubs, or some like cousin Tom became golf pros etc. Even as recently as the 70s and early 80s, when Nottingham Forest were European cup winners, they didn’t get such fabulous salaries. We had one of the team living next door to us!  He didn’t live in a security ringed country estate.  

I think I first started thinking about the effects of these obscene salaries,bonuses, pension pots etc. in the eighties when the government were busy selling off the country’s assets and the mass privatisations began. First we would hear that these wonderful CEOs would make the industries more efficient to the benefit of us all, and then we would hear that the efficiencies were gained by making thousands of the lowly paid employees being made redundant. Does this infer that Cedric Brown & co. are worth so much more than the ordinary worker? Since the privatisation these companies may have made more money for the shareholders, but prices have spiralled to the consumer and large chunks of the taxes have been paid to those put out of work.

Are “Fred the Shred” and his ilk,  who brought the banks to their  knees, worth so much more that the ordinary employees who were made redundant?

I have no problem with some people being rich, after all it has ever been so, but I do think they have a responsibility towards those who have helped them become rich, and the manner in which they have acquired those riches.

Some of today’s mega rich feel a moral responsibility and devote their time and money to helping make the world a better place, just as the great philanthropists of previous centuries did. In my own home town many schools, hospital wards and alms houses etc. were endowed by the Player family, Jesse Boot, lace manufacturers and other rich people.

  I think the resentment comes when we hear about them acting like yobs and flaunting their wealth and at the same time having “The Deficit” thrust at us on every occasion.

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