Taking Stock - February 16, 2015

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We’re not averse to a giggle or two here at Gazette Towers, especially when somebody finds a new gimmick or gizmo.

The other week a colleague found an online counter which tells you know much you earn by the second.

He was disappointed to learn he only made 12p during the time it took to brew up and even more downhearted to know the call of nature clocked in under the 10 pence mark.

In a bid to upset the fellow just a little bit more, we decided to alter his salary in the calculation – from that of a middle-ranking, middle-aged hack to the stellar earning power of Lionel Messi. All of a sudden rustling up a vat of own brand value instant coffee flavoured drink became big money business.

And it’s set to become even more rewarding for those at the very top of the game.

Last week’s £5bn TV deal (and let me be clear, that’s the first time in 12 years of journalism I’ve ever had to write billion) is obscene. For a start it’s more than the GDP of Burundi or most of the Caribbean. And it will mean those players at the very top of the game could soon make in an hour what you or I make in a month.

Now, I know a footballer or two, jolly nice chaps a lot of them are. But is anybody worth £500,000 a week?

Well, I suppose if you’ve cured all cancer, there might be a justification, a big thank you from the planet.

And I guess anybody willing to strap themselves into a tin can and be shot at Mars for the advancement of the human race should probably be richly rewarded. But football, as much as I love it, is a money machine, totally out of control.

The offer of less than £100m – and once this deal is in place that will be the ‘prize money’ for the team finishing bottom of the Premier League pile - to support the grass roots of the game is an insult. Despite a long-term love affair with a club playing in the top flight I’ve given up on the Premier League. After all, when a game is worth more than a country, that’s no laughing matter.