According to the public, an appropriate salary for a top footballer would be £75,000 – the same as for a top doctor
Since 1961, the salary of a miner has increased by 6,037%, while that of a top footballer has increased by 1,439,900%. Christiano Ronaldo, last year's highest earner in football, received a £15 milllion salary, or £288,000 a week even after tax and not including sponsorships. The wages are remarkable, and they keep getting bigger: this year, Wayne Rooney will earn £1,785 every hour. That's more than what the average British earner makes in a month.
New YouGov research consults public opinion on what the very best sportspeople in their field should be earning, comparing this to responses on appropriate annual salaries for workers, and when it comes to football the British public think wages should be taken back to roughly 1960s levels.
In 1962 the first transfer over £100,000 took place, with Manchester United's signing of Denis Law from Torino. This is around the level football fans see as appropriate, while the median annual salary the general public deem appropriate for the very best footballers is £75,000 - the same rate as is thought appropriate for top doctors.
The perceived right level of earnings follows the popularity of sports in Britain, with top rugby and tennis players seen as deserving £60,000, while cricketers and golfers are thought to deserve £50,000. Top lawyers, headteachers and MPs are also seen as deserving higher salaries; however, the perceived appropriate nurse and plumber pay scales are lower. The £38,000 level seen as correct for a top nurse is roughly in keeping with actual levels paid.
The wages in sports might be huge, but they are eclipsed by the world's biggest earners. Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder who topped the Forbes rich list in 2014, has a $80.9 billion fortune. It is estimated that he earns over $100 a second, meaning that if he dropped a $100 bill on the floor, it would probably take more time to pick it up than to wait and be compensated.