The Grauniad has an interesting piece today about former Northern Ireland international and Aston Villa winger Peter McParland, as a curtain-raiser for the forthcoming FA Cup Final between Aston Villa and The Scum. (The latter term is how a certain other North London team which somehow got displaced from its South London origins in the British Army’s Woolwich arsenal is known by all true Spurs fans)
McParland, a Newry man, gained notoriety in the 1957 FA Cup Final by dislocating the jaw of Manchester United goalkeeper, Ray Wood in the opening seven minutes meaning that, in those pre-subs days, one of the other ten Busby Babes had to take his place. McParland went on to score two goals, beating United 2-1 and depriving Man U, a year before Munich, of the double (a feat that was achieved by Bill Nicholson’s Spurs team four years later).
Needless to say United fans of a certain vintage never forgave him.
What caught my attention was McParland’s description of his recruitment from Dundalk by Villa in 1952 and the terms he was offered to join the Midlands’ team:
I began working as an apprentice coppersmith at the rail works in Dundalk and when I was 17 I went to Birmingham with a Newry boys’ club to play a Birmingham side, Shamrock Rovers. In 1952 we visited Villa Park and the Villa manager, George Martin, asked our manager if we had any promising players. I suddenly found myself playing against the Villa first-teamers. Villa signed me. Dundalk wanted £5,000 and Villa paid them £3,800 and I began on £12 a week with a £10 signing-on fee.
Now according to this site, in 1952 £12 is equivalent to £336 in 2015 money, a sum that is probably not far off the average industrial wage nowadays. So, not much to get excited about, even sixty-three years ago, but at least he wouldn’t starve.
But how does £336 compare to what a modern Premier League earns? What would Peter McParland take home every week if he was a winger for Aston Villa in next weekend’s Cup Final? The answer is a staggering, disgusting, unjustifiable £31,000 per week, or just over $1.62 million a year. That’s 92 times more than Peter McParland’s wages for Villa.
Funnily enough The Grauniad man didn’t ask him about that.