Saturday, August 18, 2012

Could millionaire footballers end up poor?

Interesting piece about Michael Owen in today's Guardian. The Premier League kicks off today and he doesn't have a club. Manchester United let him go after having hardly played him. Was that because of fitness or has he lost his appetite for the game? I was interested in this line:
...there are people within Owen's circle who freely admit he wants to work because he needs money for his horse racing empire at Manor House Stables.
Before the days of the Premier League it was quite common for top footballers to have money problems after retirement. It's always been assumed that since millionaire footballers became relatively common this would no longer happen. As long as they invested some of their peak earnings they need never work again. They used to run pubs and sports shops. These days they play for higher stakes. It's all fashion labels and football schools. And there's always the divorce court, which is the reason so many rock stars stay on the road.

 If Michael Jackson could spend his vast pile of loot then Michael Owen could certainly spend his.


  1. He's fond of Casino's is Mr Owen

  2. The key word there is surely "invested". They used to "put something aside" by buying into small businesses unrelated to football, as you say. One of Owen's first predecessors as an English winner of the European Cup, John Aston Jr., ran a successful pet shop in the suburbs of Manchester for far longer than he ever played football for a living.

    Now, though, it's all about nebulous venture capital, much of which has probably been wiped out over the last five years.

    If the average working life is 45 years, even a successful footballing career is only going to account for one third of that.

    The answer is that should obviously invest in something tangible that they actually know something about and is going to outlast the added value of fleeting fame: pubs.

  3. Owen's face, over the last ten years, has been as familiar to the Chinese as that of David Beckham; he's been a terrific shirt salesman.

    I expect that Owen might ponder a move similar to Drogba but that would take him away from his beloved gee-gees, the upkeep of which, as any damn fool know, is costly indeed.

    He could have done worse than have followed the example of Robbie Fowler who, reports have suggested, has done very well thank you very much, with his extensive property portfolio.

  4. There are people who are careful with their money, spend within their income, put some away for a rainy day, and never, ever get into financial trouble.

    There are others who spend every cent they receive or invest in high risk activities, accumulate a mountain of debt, and are always short of cash just before they get paid.

    In my experience, which of these categories someone is in has nothing whatsoever to do with how large their income is. I've seen people in the first category who were living off tiny student scholarships, and people in the second who were investment bankers.

    If you are in the first category and the income you are used to declines or ceases, you will usually be fine. If you are in the second category, you will be in huge trouble. As professional footballers will have a moment before their 40th birthday when their income will suddenly collapse, they really need to be in the first category, but I suspect many of them are not.