If you were going to choose one Tottenham Hotspur player who you’d expect to wade into the fray surrounding the subject of professional footballer’s salaries and what should be done with them in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, I’m willing to bet most of you would pick Danny Rose.
Unsurprisingly, and to his immense credit, it’s Rose who has made outspoken comments in the press on the matter. Rose gave comments on BBC Radio 5Live, where he has frequently appeared in the past, saying that most footballers would be glad to forfeit some of their salaries to help in the coronavirus relief effort, but also expressing his discomfort at the idea of making it a mandatory league-wide cut that is collected by the clubs, or the league.
Also unsurprisingly: Danny’s once again 100% correct.
”We’re all keen to make something happen. I can only speak for myself but I would have no problems whatsoever contributing any of my wages to people who are fighting this on the front line and to people who have been affected by what’s happening at the minute.
“We sort of feel that our backs are against the wall. Conversations were being had before people outside of football were commenting. I’ve been on the phone to Jordan Henderson and he’s working so hard to come up with something.
”It was just not needed for people who are not involved in football to tell footballers what they should do with their money. I found that so bizarre.”
Danny’s comments come after many public figures, including the head of the National Heath Service in the UK, have called on professional footballers to “do their part” to contribute funds to the coronavirus relief effort, by means of a significant temporary cut in their salaries. According to Rose, footballers had been working on this even before the criticism started, and they’re frustrated by being portrayed as rich and out of touch.
Rose himself has already given £19k to a local hospital for additional supplies and support, and has expressed willingness to contribute to Jordan Henderson’s voluntary footballer-supported COVID-19 fund.
However, Danny doesn’t understand why footballers are being portrayed as the villains in this scenario, when any involuntary wage cut from their contracted salaries would benefit the clubs way more than anyone else. The PFA has been at loggerheads with the Premier League and EFL over a proposed 30% mandatory wage cut for footballers, with no agreement after several days of negotiations, though many expect that an agreement will be hammered out sometime in the short term. In the meantime, footballers are being vilified for not helping out, while Premier League clubs and wealthy owners, like Tottenham’s Daniel Levy and Joe Lewis, do only the bare minimum, if that, to support their own staff.
Rose’s position is clear: footballers can and should donate money to support those less fortunate than them, however those donated funds should be voluntary, so the footballers themselves can determine when and how their salaries are being used.
“[Players’] hearts are in the right place. They wanted to have control over where money goes. Essentially, if the players take a wage cut, the beneficiaries are the clubs. Their main concern is what is happening to this money. They are happy to put money into a pot, rather than it just vanishing.
”They want to have an influence as to where this money is going. Is it going to the NHS, school meals? They want control over that. They don’t want to be dictated to by the Premier League - they don’t want to have no idea where the money’s gone.”
I know many Spurs fans have reached their limit with Rose, after several press-enhanced comments were seen to express controversial opinions. However as we’ve said on this blog several times before, most of the time Danny’s opinions are good and correct — just not expressed perhaps with the greatest of tact. And he’s right in this case as well. I trust footballers to do the right thing with their own money that they’ve earned more than I do the owners of football clubs who have a vested interest to make as much money as possible. I’d much rather see footballers establish their own charitable funds and contribute to them en masse than dock their pay and trust the clubs to do what’s right.
Rose is probably leaving the club before he plays another match for Tottenham Hotspur, and from a football perspective that’s probably the right decision, but I gotta say it’s things like this that continue to endear him to me and he remains one of my favorite figures at the Spurs. Keep speaking out, Danny.