Jon Walters has praised but not been surprised by Stoke City’s immediate decision to reassure staff about pay and jobs amid the coronavirus shutdown.
The Coates family stepped in to make sure that match day staff were paid for all postponed games and that all employees at the club and bet365 would receive their wages with no job cuts over five uncertain months.
The decision was made before any announcements about Government advice, grants or loans – and flies in the face of decisions at some clubs with pockets at least as deep.
Walters spoke to Off The Ball about the importance of looking after the people behind the scenes who are the “life and soul” of football clubs.
“Stoke City came out before there was any government scheme and acted,” he said.
“I knew through a WhatsApp group. People there were full of praise for how the owners had dealt with things, communicating with them immediately and looking after them until August when hopefully we have a clearer idea about what’s happening.
“That was a great gesture from the club, but that’s Stoke City, that’s always been Stoke City. For me, you should always look after the people who are the life and soul of the club, far beyond players.
“These are people who’ve been at the club far longer than players and will be there far longer after. They’re the real people of the club, the people who are behind the scenes. That’s their life.
“Fans are there every week and the people who are there every week – they are the football club. Players come and go and your average time at a football club is very short.
“Clubs should be looking after them and not using the Government scheme when you can afford to pay – but clubs will do that because that’s the nature of what some clubs are like.”
Heath secretary Matt Hancock had called on Premier League players to do more to help keep a handle on the pandemic’s impact on the economy.
Walters had immediately taken to social media to explain how much of elite footballers’ salaries go on tax and he was obviously bristled.
He said: “It always come on footballers. Is that because he’s there in London and picking on the bankers is not the done thing? I don’t know, but it easy to pick on a working-class sport.
“There are people that earn more being a banker and there are other sports people who earn a lot more than most footballers. Matt Hancock coming out and saying something, I just didn’t really understand it and it got my back up a little bit.”
Jon Walters’ Twitter thread on Premier League pay cut in full
An interesting dilemma/debate here…
What contributes more to the government, the NHS/police, etc… A Premier League player taking a pay cut that stays with the club’s owners or paying more than 45 per cent tax through PAYE on a large salary which goes directly to the government?
Let’s take a look at the average Premier League player – £3m a year… £1.4m goes directly to tax Let’s cut the wage by 80 per cent – £600,000 a year… £270,000 goes to tax.
Now x500 players: £1.4m = £700,000,000m in tax £270,000 = £135,000,000m in tax. Which one is preferred?
How about the government asks certain people who own airlines and are worth billions to start paying tax, or the sportspeople who are tax exiles? Now what about bankers? The majority of players I know give a lot of money to charities and help communities.
Sit back and take a look at exactly how much is contributed to the government and economy through their wages and taxes. Everyone has an opinion on what they should earn but don’t forget what they contribute.