JAMES SHIELD: Should footballers really be a protected species?

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EARLIER this month, when Danny Wilson revealed some of Sheffield United’s highest earners will have to leave Bramall Lane, this incendiary statement barely raised an eyebrow.

Generated fewer column inches than a press release from the UK Handknitting Association in fact.

Tell us something we don’t know Danny. Or, as a Premier League star might say: “No ******* **** Sherlock, you ****** ******* ****.”

Defeat in last season’s play-off final was, to all intents and purposes, an irrelevance when it cames to wage levels within United’s squad.

The days of financial largesse, which has often seen players rewarded for simply sticking around rather than delivering performances, were over. Cuts on the way.

It was just a question of how deep.

Many football commentators have a curious relationship with finance and the truth.

Clubs are not immune to the cold winds of economic change. Yet, when supporters and analysts discuss their own team’s perilous situation, they do so in isolation.

Less cash flowing through the superstore’s coffers? Shrinking disposable incomes on the terraces?

It’s all the bloomin’ chairman’s fault. Politicians take note.

Footballers, admittedly those top-flight sportsmen whose weekly take home outstrips Burkino Faso’s GDP, are fond of telling us that, behind the Gucci shoes and Louis Vutton wash bag, they’re just normal blokes.

Ain’t forgotten where they come from. Are really just like you and me.

So why the outcry, especially among some of those who, be it through admission prices or satellite subscriptions, fund their inflated salaries, whenever the idea of a pay cut is raised?

Yes, they’ve signed a contract in good faith. Admittedly, they’ve probably got a mortgage to suit and families to raise.

And, in most instances, they’re pretty decent guys.

But so were those workers at the Honda Factory in Swindon who made exactly that gesture three years ago.

And the list could go on. I don’t remember quite the same venom then.

This isn’t a dig towards anyone at Bramall Lane or beyond.

Just confusion at why some folk campaign so enthusiastically for a group of workers who, in material terms, can absorb a financial blow more comfortably than themselves?