Despite the massive salaries on offer to managers in the top league, many of the UK’s football bosses are more likely to be earning less than the National Minimum Wage.
Basic salaries range from £20,000 to £4.2m per year, with the huge disparities as likely to be caused by the size of their clubs as the division the team is in, according to research published by the Independent newspaper.
Yet all managers’ working hours are invariably long, at an average of 80 hours per week, rising to 87.5 hours in the Premiership.
In the Premiership, the top league, the basic wage range is £600,000 to £4.18m per year, with a typical mid-range salary at £1m, plus bonuses which vary from club to club.
In the lowest professional division, League Two, the spread, strictly speaking, ranges from nothing to £100,000 per year, as Ramon Diaz at Oxford United has no work permit and officially works for free, while another manager is known to be on a bonus-only package. The mid-range salary is £55,000 a year plus bonuses, with the lowest paid manager understood to be earning £20,000.
On a pro-rata basis, the lowest-paid football managers earn pre-bonus salaries below the national minimum wage of £4.83 an hour. A League Two manager working the average hours for the division (84.3 hours per week), earning £13,000 per year basic, would have been earning a basic £2.99 per hour. The average Briton works 41.5 hours per week, for an average weekly wage of £505, or around £12 per hour.
John Barnwell, the chief executive of the League Managers Association (LMA), told the Independent: “In many cases, particularly lower down, (wages) are never as high as people commonly believe. But no one forces managers to do their jobs. If they don’t like it, they can put their coat on and go home.”
The data on wages was provided on a confidential basis by a representative sample of clubs across the four professional divisions. The managers’ working hours derive from a separate survey conducted for the Independent in association with the LMA and one of its sponsors, Tissot.