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We all contribute to Wayne Rooney's wages . . . let's not howl at the moon

HAVE spent all week practising my X for the Scottish referendum.

"The fans' ironic protest was negated by Wazza picking up a pound coin and proffering it to the ref with a quizzical: 'Do you know what this is?'"
"The fans' ironic protest was negated by Wazza picking up a pound coin and proffering it to the ref with a quizzical: 'Do you know what this is?'"

The difficulty is that I do not want it to look too much like my signature.

These labours were interrupted by a series of important messages about Scotland's future. Apparently, if the country votes yes our economy will consist of taking in each other's washing, paying each other in beads and existing on organic, home-reared haggis and deep fried repentance.

The nation is indebted in so many ways to David Cameron not least for informing us all that not only is it not Scotland's oil but it is running out. God bless you, sir, for trying to help us save ourselves from ourselves and how typically, wonderfully, Tory to hold out the hand of support to a constituency of ingrates who are incapable of paying their own way.

The counter-blast has been that a Yes vote will bring in a land of milk and honey which is great news for all of us who are not lactose intolerant or diabetic.

My mood, too, was not helped by the news that a referendum stooshie means I can now only play David Bowie when in England. And this when I was beating him 4-0, too.

The financial and cultural headlines were, of course, swamped by the announcement that Wayne Rooney is to be paid a hundred gazillion trillion bazillion a year to kick a ball for United of Manchester, an association football team.

Wazza has been assailed by criticism. Coins were thrown at him at Selhurst Park last week. This ironic protest was negated by Wazza picking up a pound coin and proffering it to the ref with a quizzical: "Do you know what this is?"

The clichéd criticism of footballers' wages is tiresome. It runs along the lines that how can they earn their bazillion trillion netto when a nurse is forced to exist on whatever moisture they can gather on their angels' wings.

The answer to the worth of each individual job may be simple, though I have my doubts. Both my sisters are nurses and I do not begrudge them a penny but they are unlikely to score for Scotland in the European qualifiers. The fact that this reality extends to a clutch of Caledonian strikers may, I confess, weaken my point but the truth is that the concept of paying people for their worth in moral or humanitarian terms left town so long ago that it waved goodbye to the first bipedal man.

People may want nurses to be paid more than footballers but that is not how they vote. The ideal of fairness is usually restricted in the polling booth to individual concerns.

Voters are mostly impervious, too, to the argument that footballers are part of their celebrity entertainment culture and should be paid accordingly. They also seem to believe that every footballer has access to a weekly wage that would shame a banker.

Well, maybe shame a banker.

The horrible truth about football and money is this.

First, it is a business. Second, most of football consists of very, very small businesses struggling to survive with their boards eking out every penny, relying on every lottery, from the national to the club's raffle.

Third, the vast majority of footballers worry about their wages and long-term future like the rest of us, only they can be rendered useless and irrelevant in a second while it takes me all of a column. They also face brutal culls that are disguised in corporate speak as non-renewal of contracts.

But the most blatant truth is one that largely remains unrecognised. There are those who protest at the vast riches bestowed on fitba' players. Fair enough. This is akin to howling at the moon but it is largely harmless and may even help lower the blood pressure.

But they sometimes follow this venting by saying: "I would never pay them that much."

The fact is that if you buy a piece of football merchandise, pay at the turnstile, subscribe to Sky or even buy a TV licence, you are putting something into the mitt of Wazza.

I have no problem with this. It is, after all, the way of the world.

Well, it is until the referendum, when if we vote yes all footballers will be paid in derelict hospitals, empty oil barrels and bags of pound notes from a Scotland where it will not be a legal tender but which has descended into such anarchy that groups of toddlers openly disobey lollipop ladies.

Well, that's what the politicians are telling me.

Contextual targeting label: 
Football

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