Wednesday, May 19, 2010

From silverware to black gold

English friends, and those friends subjected to nothing but English football, are often surprised when the conversation turns to footballer's pay packets.

The relative (and in this, as in all things, it is relative) pittance earned by players in Scotland, especially the SPL, is a source of some bemusement.

Lee Wilkie provides an illustrative example.

Following his horribly premature retirement - and fresh from his emotional role with Dundee United at the Scottish Cup final - Wilkie is now setting his sights on a career in North Sea oil.
The former Scotland international defender said: "Next week my life is moving in another direction as I'm off to Aberdeen to do an offshore survival course. Mark Kerr helped set it up for me because he's got a friend who works in the industry.

"So hopefully soon I'll be going offshore to start and I'm really looking forward to it."

Wilkie spent his entire career playing for both clubs in Dundee and, while he knows he has made a decent living over the years, has not made enough to retire.

He added: "A few folk will maybe be surprised, but we're not all John Terry or Frank Lampard earning huge money.

"I've no regrets about the career I've had and wouldn't change a thing. I remember when I was in the Scotland team one of my mates was a plumber and was earning more than me.

"I used to look at the likes of Barry Ferguson and Christian Dailly and hope one day I'd make that sort of money. But it just wasn't to be and I don't feel bitter about it.

"The vast majority of guys still need to work after they are finished with football and I have to say I'm looking forward to the challenge of doing something different." The Scotsman
Another example of how football's money rush has pretty much bypassed Scotland.