i Editor's Letter: Football's transfer deadlines


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The Independent Online


Sanctimony: n. "feigned or over-the-top piety or self-righteousness to the point of appearing or sounding hypocritical". I've been guilty of it. We are all susceptible, especially around football's transfer deadline days.

"How much?", "£100k a week!", "no loyalty", "badge-kissing mercenaries", "greedy agents" – all as much part of the over-egged saga as Harry Redknapp's car-window interviews and Arsenal fans renting Henry shirts asunder at Wenger's stubborn refusal to play the sorry, sordid game.

Public and players began to part company with the founding of the Premier League in 1992, but the leitmotif for this division is Ashley Cole's infamous 2006 autobiography My Defence. In it he admits to nearly "swerving off the road" upon hearing he'd been offered "only" £55k a week by Arsenal. That's much more, of course, than most fans see in a year. Cue outrage, a transfer to Chelsea and the nickname "Cashley". Cole, then on £35k, knew he could get £100k a week elsewhere. Arsenal's other "invincibles" pressed him not to break the club's wage scale. So he asked for £60k.

Who would turn down the chance for a 50 per cent pay rise? Which of us would stay working for E.On, HSBC, or The Independent if npower, Barclays, or The Telegraph offered us a massive rise? How many of our earning capacities peak in our late 20s? Of course, top players are paid an obscene amount of money, but it is as much their fault they earn so much as ours for paying £60 for a ticket or subscribing to Sky. It may be personal for spectators, but it is business for the workers – as it is in every line of work.