By Allan Crow
Dear Wayne Rooney, Huge congrats on your new deal - high fives to your advisers for delivering a salary on par with the budget of a small country.
I don’t blame you for accepting the dosh - morally obscene and repugnant though the sums were. If my MD phoned up tomorrow and said he was chucking a few zeroes on to the end of my annual pay I’d sign before he reached for the smelling salts (and boss, if you’re reading this, I have a pen handy and can pop over to sign the paperwork toot suite).
But here’s the difference.
I live and work in the real world where pay rises have been frozen for years, workloads have gone up and resources savaged. I can easily do a 50-plus hour week with no overtime. Many others do more.
You? Well you live in a world that is the most self-centred I have ever encountered. That hardly anyone within football - or among its many hingers-on - even batted an eyelid at your £300,000 weekly wage will go down as the moment the sport lost its soul, and its morality.
But as long as the TV companies pump in obscene levels of cash, no-one cares. The snouts are gorging from the trough, and there is no plan B - too many boardroom blazers think ‘strategy’ is whether the gaffer goes 4-4-2 or three at the back - when it all goes pear-shaped. And it will.
So, this £300,000 weekly wage - what are you going to do with it Wayne lad?
Do you actually have any comprehension of how much money you now have? This isn’t a wage - it’s an investment large companies would kill for.
Every day you earn more than I do in an entire year. Every month you get in excess of £1 million. Every month ...
I genuinely couldn’t care less less if you had a garage full of Aston Martins, bathed in champagne every night and wore a different Armani suit for every day of the week - but you could fill your boots with toys and trinkets galore and still not even notice a blip when you go to the cash machine.
So here’s an idea.
Live a five-star lifestyle by all means - I certainly would without any hesitation, or apology - and invest wisely (I probably wouldn’t), but then summon your advisers and say ‘‘listen lads, I’ve been thinking. About all this cash...’’
You come from an ordinary family, Wayne - you know how folk scrimp and scrape to get by.
Right now you know full well the ‘man in the street’ is scoffing with derision - and some envy - at your £300k per week because, like it or not, your new salary stands as the very definition of greed and selfishness in 2014.
So why not break the mould and do something very few players do and make the money benefit others?
Get ‘Team Rooney’ into a room, sit them down and explain to them that while the boys have done well in their negotiations with the Glaziers, here’s the script:
With no fanfare or PR, the £300k weekly pay poke will underpin a raft of sports initiatives and invest in facilities across Manchester and then beyond.
Give them just one of the £1.2m you earn every single month and watch how lives can be transformed.
And look beyond sport into the creative sector - one of the most vibrant areas going - or into supporting fledgling businesses, or the provision of care for the elderly and vulnerable who are being abandoned by Iain Duncan Smith’s brutal cuts to benefits and services.
A percentage - even a tiny percentage - of your new wage would make intolerable lives that bit more bearable.
It’s not about flashing the cash, and it’s certainly not about giving it all away just because an advisor thinks it will make a good front page in The Sun.
It’s about legacy - of doing something profoundly good with the riches that have come your way. Do even part of that and you’d break the mould, Wayne. Be the footballer who cared enough to make a difference...