The Non League Secret Footballer - Money!!

"With a new world record transfer fee impending when, not if Gareth Bale makes his move to Real Madrid, it got me thinking about money in football. 

In non league we are in a totally different world which is obvious for all to see...but believe it or not the ethics regarding wages, transfer fees and money in general are still the same and always will be just not on as great a scale. 

I have been in football all my life since I left school and money has never ever been my number one priority. Obviously it is important because it pays the bills, but for me enjoying myself is the most important thing as this then breeds good performances, which makes you feel good and then money is the bonus at the end of the week or the end of the month whatever it may be!! 

Personally, I have never haggled over a deal at any club I've been at. I have always just accepted terms and got on with my business, which i'd like to think reflects well on me as a person and as a player. I'm not a greedy character. Maybe a bit naive looking back on things, but nevertheless it's never been about the money with me...unlike many others I've played with in the past!! 

The greediness of some players I've seen in the past has been quite frankly unbelievable at times. This has mainly been in non league circles though as without contracts at various clubs, it is a meat market at times. Players play for a team then when there is a chance to go elsewhere for more cash...they're gone, sometimes for no more than £10 a week more, then move on again a few weeks later and sometimes to a lower level than they were playing at before!! 

That's crazy in my opinion! Personally, I would probably play at a higher level for less money even now. In fact when I left my last professional club I had 4 or 5 different offers from non league clubs and the best financial package was from the team lowest in the pyramid. I could have quite easily accepted that, but I chose a team higher up for quite a bit less money a week putting my own personal pride first, rather than the financial gain!! Clearly many others would have succumbed to the pound notes and taken the biggest deal that was available. This makes me ask the question, do these players really 'love' the game?!? I fear not which is a shame!! 

I never ever talk about what I earn in the game, I have earned good money over the years I admit but have never divulged exact figures. Firstly it's nobody's business but my own and the club's, and also it gives other players a leg up possibly to gain what they want. This one guy I played with always made a point of telling everyone that would listen what he was being offered here there and everywhere, which made me come to the conclusion he was talking absolute rubbish and was just trying to make himself feel better about himself. Simply put, I cannot stand these type of players and won't give them the time of day. They're players that have had more clubs than Rory McIlroy after his Nike deal was signed. Safe to say he signed at another new club in the summer probably on 'big dough' like he spouted about every session!! 

I have only ever asked for a raise once in my career. I'm a firm believer that if a player is doing the business then the club should acknowledge that and reward that player with a raise, again maybe a bit naive on my part but I'm not a money grabber!! 

The one occasion I asked for more was after a good season for me personally and genuinely thought I would be approached by my manager and / or my chairman. Summer went by...nothing...Pre season rolls round still nothing...so I thought, stuff it I'm gonna go ask for more money. I hate talking about money and hate to be labelled greedy, but felt that this was something that needed to be done.

I spoke to the manager and was quickly rebuffed, and from then on in I was never happy at the club...It made me feel unappreciated and like I was being taken for granted. Surely it's a massive thing for a manager to have arguably they're best player happy and wanting to stay at the football club? I don't agree with going club to club to gain an extra £10 or £20 as I think that shows a lack of respect. But to be properly rewarded at a club where you are settled and happy is in my book is acceptable and well worth doing, but if that offer isn't going to materialise then I can see why players do move on even though I don't agree with it. 

Money unfortunately does talk at any level of football, it is sad because there will always be the 'money grabbers' seizing their opportunities wherever they can, like I said even for just £10 a week more. More fool the clubs and chairmen that keep lining their pockets and letting them get away with it. This is a big part of non league football and with all the comings and goings it's now part and parcel of it and it will never change!!"