There has recently been much debate in the “Times” concerning bankers’ bonuses. One of the themes has been to compare bankers’ pay with that of top footballers, taking Frank Lampard as an example: the argument being that Lampard deserves to be paid £100,000 a week in recognition of his unique abilities, whereas the abilities of bankers are perhaps not so fully meritorious. My perspective to the debate would be as follows:-
Back in the mid-1960s I took a job between leaving school and entering university. I remember calculating that Alan Ball, star of the England team that won the World Cup, earned approximately eight times as much as I did as an unqualified teenager. I thought this was fair enough. But by the time I retired, footballers such as Frank Lampard were earning a hundred times as much as I earned as a top-of-the-scale teacher, and England no longer come anywhere near winning the World Cup.
There is little point in trying to determine whether Lampard is a better footballer than Ball was. But nobody in the 1960s would have imagined that the skills of footballers entitled then to earn pay comparable to that of a City banker, and it would appear that teachers are now far less regarded by comparison.