Average top football wage now £1.1m

Updated: 
Everton's 1984 FA Cup-winning teamThe detail of footballers' wages in England for the last 25 years has been revealed in detail for the first time. Figures from the players' union dating back to 1985, the year when the great Everton team pictured left won the league title after capturing the FA Cup the season before, have just been released. That team earned an average £25,000 a year, double the average working wage. Today's top players earn an average £1,162,350.

The figures have been obtained by specialist website Sporting Intelligence, and the site's full analysis can be seen at the link below. It's the first time that detailed earnings figures from the players' union the Professional Footballers' Association have been released for the public to examine.

They reveal that in the 1984/85 season, the basic wage in the top division was £24,394 a year. That basic was about two-and-a-half times the average salary of a working man. But bonuses and appearance money for the most successful players would have pushed the salary up to around £36,000.

Premier League

The huge growth in top division basic wages is underlined by the fact that the average rate of growth rose by double digits in all but 8 of the seasons since 1984. The biggest rise came in 1997/98, when a new TV deal kicked in to fuel an average rise in basic wages of 28.52%. In that season the average Premier League basic wage was £244,908.

Players in the top division now earn 46 times as much as they did in 1984/85. What's also glaringly evident from the figures is that wage growth in the top division has enormously outstripped growth in other divisions. Second tier players earn 14 times as much as their 1984/85 counterparts, for example.

Average worker's wage

In the third and fourth tiers of the professional game, players earn six-and-a-half and four-and-a-half times as much respectively as those playing at the same level in 1984/85. The earnings gap between top and bottom divisions has grown from three times as much to 30 times as much. The average worker in the UK earns about three times as much as in 1985.

The current average basic wage for a player in League Two, the bottom tier of the professional game, is now £38,844. It was £8,314 in 1984/85. In League One, average salary is now £73,320 compared to £11,261, while in the Championship the average is £211,068, up from the £15,507 a second tier player earned in 1984/85.

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