Football has really lost its marbles when Manchester United manager launches a fully frontal attack on unnamed “pundits” who have had the brass neck to attack his under performing midfield player Paul Pogba. “It’s not Paul’s fault that he gets 10 times the money that some players – some very good players – did in the past. It is not his fault that some of the pundits, they are in real trouble with their lives and they need every coin to survive and Paul is a multi-millionaire. It is not his fault.” All that for suggesting that the player had not quite justified the £93 million fee paid by Manchester United. Bring me the world’s smallest violin.
Now I agree that it’s not Pogba’s fault that he earns ten times the money that some players did in the past. If someone – in this case Manchester United – hands him £290,000 a week, he’s hardly going to say no, is he? He trousers considerably more than £41,000 every single day of the year, which is way in excess of what most people earn in a year, many in two or three years. That’s the market for you. No, I don’t blame him, personally, but I still think it’s obscene. But Mourinho can’t leave it alone.
He adds: “He is a kid that comes from a working family, a family with three boys that I am sure need a lot of food on that table every day because they are big giants.” I don’t like to use bad language in my blogposts, but for fuck’s sake. You can buy an awful lot of food for £15 million a year. If Pogba deserves respect for his achievements – and he does – than don’t people who exist from hand to mouth deserve respect for their efforts, too?
I don’t envy Pogba, or any other person, their wealth and indeed I celebrate the lives of those with aspirations and ambition who have worked hard to get on and succeed in their lives, including how much they earn. No Premier League footballer can be blamed for taking the money and running because it’s one of the most successful businesses in the world and those who make it a success – the players – earn the most money. Furthermore, this is the society we choose by voting in general elections.
What I don’t need, when I see on a daily basis people struggling through their lives without the care and support they need, when hospital corridors are stuffed with sick people who either can’t get a bed or be able to go home, when the sick and the old are not able to wash on a regular basis because they cannot afford care costs and hundreds of thousands of senior citizens live lonely, miserable lives in a country where they feel, justifiably, that they have been abandoned is an arrogant, egotistical footballer manager saying that “I feel that the world is losing values”, but referring only to a staggeringly wealthy footballer and not the ensuing chaos that is beginning to overwhelm sections of our society.
Sometimes it feels like football’s ruling classes are laughing at the rest of us. Mourinho is right when he says that Pogba deserves respect, but the way in which he acts affords me little opportunity to respect him.