Many of you will recognise that sum as the alleged weekly wage paid to one of the star English Premier League footballers. As far as I know, it has not been disputed.
As my legion of followers and regular readers will know, I try desperately to be positive in this blog, sometimes in the face of overwhelming odds. I just can’t bring myself to be positive about this.
I’m sure there have been all sorts of comparisons and conversions made to show what this figure really means. For example, to take an example I know a bit about, unless teaching has suddenly become hugely more profitable since I retired, this would pay the annual salaries of ten teachers, with a lot of the other costs of employing them…. in a week.
It would pay for six thousand homeless people to stay in Southampton Travlelodge for a night. Yes, I know…. it’s not big enough. OK, it would pay for 16 of them to stay in a Travelodge for a year. 32 if they doubled up.
It would buy a three bedroomed house in Southampton. That’s every week. It would buy 81, 879 Big Mac meals. For pity’s sake, it would buy me chocolate for life, or 1868 copies of that Steve Hillage box set I don’t really want. Really. Yes, I am very privileged to be able to make that comparison, and my life is very privileged compared to very many people’s in this country and abroad.
Some of you (and I can guess who you are) will argue that this is just a result of market forces; that if the fans didn’t pay for the tickets, then salaries like these would not be paid; that players with this level of skill deserve what they get. You have a point. But my point is that such enormous discrepancies in rewards are out of all proportion.
I’m sorry, I think this is just wrong. No. I can’t think how it can be changed. Yes, my reasoning probably has huge holes in it. But I think it’s just wrong.