Reading's McAnuff calls for wage cuts


Soccer:Reading captain Jobi McAnuff has called for a reduction in the wages of top-flight footballers. The 30-year-old has labelled some top-flight salaries "ridiculous" and believes the figures are driving the game beyond the means of ordinary fans.

"I can see why a Wayne Rooney should get a big bonus because of the amount of shirts he sells but if you're talking about £200,000 a week, that's ridiculous," said McAnuff. "Who needs that amount of money?

"Surely someone will say 'that's enough'. We're on the verge of getting out of control and we're starting to lose a bit of reality. The most popular question I get from kids is 'what car do you drive?'. What happened to them wanting to know what it was like to make your debut?

"Football is getting too expensive for fans, and fans make football. Tickets for our game at Chelsea were £50 each. I know lots of people who couldn't afford that," he added in the Sunday Mirror.

Professional Footballers' Association chairman Clarke Carlisle backed McAnuff's sentiments and feels that a reduction in wages, and even possibly a salary cap, should be investigated after the financial problems that have engulfed several English clubs, most recently and most notably Portsmouth.

"I think it's a very interesting suggestion and one that the authorities should take very seriously," Carlisle told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweekprogramme. "The more I venture into the other side of football, the more I see that a lot of clubs are in very precarious positions. I do believe it's about time that football started running itself, and clubs started running themselves, as viable business entities. If there was a business in any other walk of life that was treading the financial line that a lot of our clubs are now, they wouldn't be in existence tomorrow.

"We are seeing that in the leagues below the Premier League, clubs are trimming down their squad sizes and offering much, much lower wages than they were even last year. We are seeing clubs start to pull the purse strings, look after themselves and hopefully ensure that no other clubs go the way Portsmouth, Leeds and Luton have in the last few years.

"I think it's an idea that should be looked at very seriously."

McAnuff, along with his former Wimbledon team-mate Lionel Morgan, is setting up an academy in Tottenham to help give youngsters from deprived backgrounds the chance to make it in the game.

Having grown up in the area, McAnuff was pained to see the damage wrought by last year's riots and is determined to help young people find a route out of trouble.

"We had one 17-year-old, a really promising player who is good enough to be at a club," he said. "He got in a bit of trouble, we don't know the ins and outs, and ended up getting stabbed in the leg. It breaks your heart to think that kids have got to go through that situation when they could be somewhere else and getting a better chance. That's the motivation. When I finish football I will devote more time to it."

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