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 LeagueThe 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.
Average worker's wageIn 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.