BY KIERAN McCARTHY
TONY Cascarino feels that elite professional footballers will be paid a staggering £500,000 per week by 2020.
Not only that, but the former Republic of Ireland striker is adamant that by 2025, the world’s best footballers will be earning a jaw-dropping £1 million per week.
Currently, across the water in England, Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney reportedly earns £300,000 per week while a number of the game’s biggest stars rake in over £200,000 per week, and according to football pundit Cascarino, wages are going to keep rising over the next few years.
‘When you have an industry that is so wealthy and that has huge amounts of moment, it’s hard to keep control of it. By 2020 you will have a player on £500,000 per week. By 2025, it will be £1,000,000 per week. Why? Because there’s more money coming. Sky’s new TV deal kicks in next season and it’s double what it is now,’ Cascarino told The Southern Star at the 2015 West Cork Sports Star awards last Saturday night in the Celtic Ross Hotel.
‘If Pep Guardiola comes to Manchester City he will probably sign a deal that’s worth between £20 million and £25 million per year. There will be players that will come in and get that sort of money, and we’re talking about 2016 here.
‘We have already seen that Manchester United spending £250 million on new players is not an issue to them, so players wages will reflect that. You’ll have players on £30 million a year before we know it.
‘I have been involved in football for the last four decades and every decade the wages double, treble or quadruple. If you have a player now on £300,000 per week, keeping in mind the constant upward curve, you will have a player on £1,000,000 per week by 2025. The sport can afford to do it.’
Comparing the then and now achieves little, but when Cascarino signed for Aston Villa from Millwall in early 1990, he was transferred for £1.1 million – a club record for Villa at the time.
Nowadays, clubs and fans don’t take too much notice when £20 million or £30 million is splashed out on players, while the top players will costs £50 million upwards.
There is so much money in the game now that Cascarino agrees that supporters are becoming detached from the game, as they can’t relate to modern-day footballers.
‘Change is inevitable. The game has evolved. This game is also a massive cake of money. It’s huge, there is so much money in football and it’s expanding to the level where some fans now can’t relate to football, especially at the top level,’ Cascarino said.
‘In England, attendances in League 2 have been going up because fans have been drifting away from the Premier League. Although it’s not being shown on television and in attendances – that’s due to the corporate side and so on – but it’s quite scary that people are turning away from the top level.
‘But it doesn’t affect the top clubs as they are awash with money.’
The former Ireland striker added: ‘It’s how sport has become at the highest level – you can’t get near the big sports stars like you could have in the past.
‘Footballers do no trust the outside world. They are afraid to have a drink in case someone takes a photo and it’s up on social media instantly.
‘Footballers are scared to even eat out nowadays. If a footballer has one glass of wine with his dinner, a photo can make it look different and interpret it in different ways. Footballers don’t want to be part of this Big Brother world.
‘If footballers want a night out they go around to each other’s houses; they don’t feel comfortable socialising.’