According to Andy Woodman in his autobiography, as a senior pro at Oxford he was earning £40k a year. Ross Weatherstone when he was in the dock for racially aggravated assault was apparently earning less than we get for my daughter’s child benefit.
I don’t, therefore, subscribe to the idea that footballers are overpaid, especially in the lower leagues. I also don’t believe players recognise when they’re playing for their contracts, the motivation, Darren Patterson insists, will drive his players on to the end of the season.
Players are fatalists by nature. Their contracts are short, they are constantly being told how terrible they are, they need an unstinting belief in their own abilities. Unless their careers are coming to an end, it is unlikely a player is objective enough to recognise they’re one shirked tackle from the job centre.
Phil Trainer may be an exception to this general rule. His winner yesterday, his third in three weeks, signals growing reputation as one of those Oxford anti-heroes.
Like Dave Savage and Matt Murphy, Trainer is a player with obvious limitations, but one who clearly works to overcome them. The kind of player fans hate to love but love nonetheless. Trainer’s first season has been a struggle at times, but as his fitness has improved he’s proved to be a key source of midfield goals. More important is the fact he may be the player who can rebuild the relationship between fans and players at the Kassam.
Oh, how we would kill for a player of the quality of Matt Murphy nowadays.