Bacon’s Bites: Caddy gets it in the chops and Phil Neville cops it off social media!

Big bucks, Alexis Sanchez, who has moved to Manchester United

Big bucks, Alexis Sanchez, who has moved to Manchester United - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Mike Bacon takes a look at the football wages gravy train, and why Phil Neville should delete his social media apps! Plus he asks, who’d be a caddy?

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, is rewaded well - more than Cristiano Ronaldo

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, is rewaded well - more than Cristiano Ronaldo - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

I have no idea where it is going to end.

The rise of footballers’ wages, that is.

This week Alexis Sánchez became the latest star player to command a weekly wage more in keeping with amounts we associate with rebates from the EU, than football pay packets – rumoured to be £300k a week (£15m a year) – when he joined Manchester United.

It blows the mind.

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But get used to it.

Market forces say that Sánchez is being paid no more than he is able to command, so why shouldn’t he earn it?

Sean Dyche acknowledges the fans after the final whistle. He has just signed a lucrative new deal.

Sean Dyche acknowledges the fans after the final whistle. He has just signed a lucrative new deal. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

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And here’s the rub.

The rise in footballers’ wages ain’t going to stop anytime soon.

Lionel Messi is reportedly earning £40m a year, joining Carlos Tevez as the highest paid player in the world.

Messi and Tevez earn almost twice as much as Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, while his £21m annual salary is less too than Neymar – his world record move to Paris Saint-Germain pockets him £30m a year.

They all just get by.

Phil Neville.... come off the social media Phil! Picture: PA SPORT

Phil Neville.... come off the social media Phil! Picture: PA SPORT - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

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However, like it or not, the popularity of the game is showing no signs of slowing down – so neither will astronomical wages.

Football attendances in Europe increased by 2.6 million last season, with 14 leagues achieving their best attendance figures in more than a decade.

Figures released by UEFA, highlighted a 1.5% year-on-year increase in spectator numbers at domestic and European games. The English Premier League, not surprisingly, was the most popular in Europe, with an aggregate of 13.9 million.

However, the German Bundesliga – which has two fewer teams – had the highest average attendance of 43,300 – possibly helped by lower ticket prices.

Spain’s Primera Liga, the English Championship and Italy’s Serie A complete the top five.

It’s not just players either who are lining their pockets either.

Manager Sean Dyche signed a new four-and-a-half year deal with Burnley this week, worth just over £15m – £70k a week. And he won’t be anywhere near the highest paid boss in England’s top league.

If you are a fan of the game, suck it up and deal with it.

Although I would like to see players and fans enjoying a bit more of a closer bond.

While some players still ‘kiss the badge’, the general feeling among football supporters is that too many players would play for any team, in any league, in any country... if the money was right.

While there is an element of truth in that, clubs should not get complacent.

They ought to make sure players value fans far more than the impression given now, even if the old adage ‘fans pay the players’ wages’, has long gone.

Yep, the football gravy train rumbles on – and there is no sign of it slowing down any time soon.

Social media has many benefits.

But for famous sports stars, men and women, I really do struggle to understand why they bother with it.

Phil Neville is the latest sports star to feel the wrath of historical ‘tweets’. The new England Ladies’ manager tweeted these words back in 2012.

“Morning men, couple of hours cricket be4 work sets me up nicely for the day.”

Now, while most of us would read that and think no more of it, the ‘offended’ in our society wanted to know why Phil referred just to men! (I know, some need to get out more).

Sadly, Phil took the bait: “When I said morning men I thought the women would of been busy preparing breakfast/getting kids ready/making the beds-sorry morning women!”

D’oh! No Phil, no!

Don’t you understand social media?

You could be cutting the vicar’s lawn or helping a little lady across the road and you will – trust me – ‘offend’ someone on social media.

In saying that, Phil then didn’t help himself with this ‘tweet’ around the same time.

“Relax I’m back chilled – just battered the wife!!! Feel better now!”


In the confines of your own home, that sort of ‘banter’ maybe acceptable. But in today’s world, that tweet is a big no no.

Phil, this is 2018.

While 99.9% of us know you haven’t really just ‘battered’ your wife, social media is a different animal.

It’s full of very perfect people, who know....well they know everything! Our lives are so much better for their existence.

Please, Phil, before it’s too late ...Delete all your apps and forget social media – forever.

Indeed, as a lover of print, could I suggest you go pick up a newspaper.

Most, like this one, are quite civilised.

Or, go to the Trafford Centre, stand on a plinth, with a placard proclaiming... ‘Let he without sin, cast the first stone’... #orshe

On second thoughts!

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Who would be a caddy?

Poor Brandon Davis copped it from his pro, Rhein Gibson on the Tour this week, receiving a head cover to the chops on the last hole!

Needing a birdie to tie on a closing par five in Wednesday’s final round of the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic, Gibson found a hazard with his second shot. Gibson’s ball was eventually found and he took a drop.

But he was given an additional penalty because an official ruled his caddie, Davis, had picked it up while it was still in play

He might have got away with it on the 18th at Bridlington, but Golf Channel cameras caught the action as an upset Gibson chipped his fifth shot to tap-in range, grabbed his putter, and fired the head cover off Davis’ chest.

The extra shot gave Gibson a bogey and took him from tied second to solo third – and a few thousand quid worse off.

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