Sunday, 20 April 2008

Welcome To The Working Week

The Work section of last Saturday’s Guardian carried a profile of Nigel Reo-Coker, a professional footballer with Aston Villa.

He comes across as a dedicated, somewhat intense, fellow who appreciates the rewards of his profession, and acknowledges that he leads “a very privileged life.”

He describes his typical ‘working’ week:

Monday: A “warm-down training session. You’d probably be out there on the pitch for and hour, an hour and a half.”

This runs between 10.30 a.m. and 12 p.m., and is followed by lunch (“prepared by chefs”). After lunch, “the rest of the day is yours”. By 1 p.m., he’s gone.

Tuesday: As for Monday.
Wednesday: Day off.
Thursday: As for Monday and Tuesday.
Friday: A light training session, “an hour maximum”.

Is this typical of a Premiership club?

Does this schedule address fitness maintenance, ball skills, set pieces (defensive and offensive), open play drills (defensive and offensive), actual matches, discussions of tactics, match video analysis?

All crammed into these tiny slots?

However fit players may start the season, one or two high-intensity, 90-minute, games per week is surely insufficient to maintain peak fitness. I would expect just fitness alone – aerobic, anaerobic, plus light weights in the gym - to require sessions of this length.

An Honest Day’s Pay
The claim about players being overpaid is an oft-repeated one, so I’ll refrain from banging that drum here, but the above revelations certainly cast their salaries in a new light.

Reo-Coker suggests that the average wage for a Premiership footballer is £25,000-30,000 a week (£1.3-1.56m a year), plus endorsements.

This is quite plainly a considerable income for any occupation.

However, when annual salaries are quoted, it is usually a given that the job in question comprises the typical working week of 40 hours. Many employers have reduced this recently to 37.5, or 35 hours, but, of course, many employees do much more than this too.

If the details provide by Reo-Coker are accurate, the professional footballer can presumably be putting in no more than 20 hours per week, including games?

Not only does this seem astonishingly meagre for supposedly top- level athletes (there are few where no room for improvement can be identified), but it requires their annual salaries, for comparison with others, to be doubled.


Matt Johnston said...

What is missing from Reo-Coker's time calculation aside from the aforementioned physical training, weights, etc. is any "skull sessions" i.e. reviewing game films, scouting reports, team meetings, etc. Also missing are required public appearances for the club and the league.

There is much more to be a footballer than simply playing footbal.

smfifteen said...

I'm sure there is more to a being a footballer - which is why I was moved to write the piece, and why I posed the question "is this typical?"

But I can only comment on the details that Reo-Coker provided in the interview, and he certainly suggests that his day is as he describes.