Richard Scudamore’s £5m tip might blow over but resentment will linger

first_imgShare via Email Reuse this content Executive pay and bonuses Premier League comment Share on WhatsApp As my colleague Paul Wilson noted a couple of weeks ago, it is not the amount involved – though that is clearly significant – but the apparent failure to understand the public impression that being so blase about it gives. Or not caring. Do chairmen not realise that people collect for food banks outside their games? Perhaps not, given such inconveniences are naturally kept well away from the VIP entrances.Yet there are signs that fan fury about the Scudamore whip-round is getting dimly through to some of the chairmen, who are duly getting what I imagine they’d call “out in front of the story”. For last Saturday’s game against Leicester at the Amex, Brighton & Hove Albion’s chief executive, Paul Barber, wrote a veritable essay about it in his programme notes, in which his sighs at the misrepresentation of the £5m payment are almost audible. Richard Scudamore will accept £5m departure bonus from Premier League Read more Share on Messenger David Conn Share on Facebook And what a truly warming vignette of modern football it must have been, to sit down in your hyperinflation-adjusted seat, with your match programme, and open it to discover that a man whose wages you contribute to is lecturing you on the subtleties of the Premier League’s audit and remuneration committee. “This is an entirely normal contractual agreement for very senior and highly sought after executives,” huffs Barber of the Scudamore golden handshake, in comments reproduced in the Brighton Argus, “and it has been designed by the Premier League’s board to protect the league’s commercial interests and those of it’s shareholders – including our club!”Paul? Take your jaunty little exclamation mark and do one, there’s a good chap. As the Football Supporters’ Federation put it when the initial news broke: “It appears clubs can stick their hands down the back of the sofa and find £250,000 at a moment’s notice. Fans strongly oppose the ‘golden handshake’ [paid to Scudamore] and we urge clubs not to make a decision which is hugely unpopular with supporters.”The clubs have made the decision to fork out, of course, even as their own fans continue to make their displeasure very clear. It’s the way of the league that Scudamore built. But the mistake is to think that these things blow over. They may appear to, or to be supplanted by other dramas – but in fact they simply add another resentment to the pile.There is no question that Richard Scudamore built an extraordinary global powerhouse – there is only a question as to what cost it came at. As he pockets this extra £5m, no doubt he will shrug off the ungrateful fans too foolish or benighted to understand what he has done for them.Yet my suspicion is that the more telling ignorance is the other way round. Scudamore will go goldenly into his retirement refusing to accept it. But he will be remembered as the guiding spirit of an era in which people talk more angrily, more cynically and more resentfully about football than ever before.center_img Richard Scudamore Topics Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Share on Twitter A friend once stepped aboard a super-yacht hired by a super-rich, and asked far more questions about how much it cost than I assume is regarded as polite. Naturally, such things are bogglingly, unimaginably expensive to rent – but it was amusing to hear that the tip is also mandatory. In the case of this boat, the tip was £38,000 per week.I was reminded of this as the Premier League clubs voted to thank outgoing chief executive Richard Scudamore for his service earlier this month, in the form of what amounts to a tip of £250,000. Each. So a round £5m for a man who has been in post for almost 20 years, and who last year took home just the £2.5m salary and undisclosed bonuses. Richard Scudamore’s £5m reflects greedy and ruthless Premier League Football politics Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. Initial reports about the proposal suggested Premier League clubs were “stunned” by this request for a whip-round from Scudamore’s friend, the Chelsea chairman, Bruce Buck. (Incidentally, if you need help getting this chumocracy in order, Bruce shoots with Richard. Furthermore, their shooting parties reportedly also frequently include former Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe and former Manchester United and Chelsea Village idiot Peter Kenyon. To which the only reasonable response is: paging Dick Cheney. Or the late Willie Whitelaw; I’m not fussy.)Anyway, perhaps the clubs were literally stunned, as they seem to have ended up being mugged for the donation after all. And that, somewhat stunningly, seems to be that. I am sure that Scudamore and the generous club chairmen will be delighted that the storm over the news has since been supplanted by stories about mid-Mesozoic PFA chairman Gordon Taylor OBE. Some confected row or other over the Sports Personality of the Year award might reasonably be expected to take care of much of December, meaning that Scudamore will be home and dry by the time he steps down next month, and this latest piece of big-bucks grotesquery will be conveniently forgotten. Or will it? I do hope not. This remains a scandal that upsets supporters of even the very richest clubs, and one that it is encouraging to see fans now dipping into their own pockets to return to, even after the news caravan has moved on. You’ve heard of straight-to-DVD. The £5m Scudamore tip turns out to be a decision that is straight-to-bedsheet. Or rather, straight-to-professionally-printed banners.Last Saturday at Watford v Liverpool, multiple banners were held aloft by travelling fans at Vicarage Road, where Scudamore was said to be in attendance. “11,662 Premier League season tickets,” read one. “56,180 weekly shops for food banks,” read another. “Scudamore’s £5,000,000,” ran the next. And the Premier League lion logo next to the word “Greed” finished off the display. Read morelast_img read more