Martin Smith column: 

Sir Dave Richards
Sir Dave Richards

“If somebody gave me £5million, I’d hand it to the staff, the people who did the job. But Richard was the figurehead and figureheads get paid, don’t they?”

So said ex-Sheffield Wednesday chairman Sir Dave Richards in a Mail On Sunday interview about reports that Premier League clubs are being asked to chip in £250,000 each for retiring Chief Executive Richard Scudamore’s retirement present.

“Good luck to the lad if the 20 clubs want to chip in £250,000 each but I think he should be embarrassed taking it,’ added Richards.

There speaks a man who knows about being a figurehead.Dave Richards left the Hillsborough chairmanship in February 2000, the year Wednesday were relegated from the Premier League

The former Hillsborough chairman became the Premier League chairman in 1999.

Sheffield businessman Richards, now aged 75, was Wednesday Chairman for 10 years from 1990 and helped create one of the club’s best-ever teams.

But those heady days were followed by troubled times in S6 - though Richards was perhaps as much a victim as a cause of their fall from grace.

The new millennium saw Wednesday in financial turmoil, with crisis after crisis culminating in Lee Strafford’s boardroom revolution and Milan Mandaric’s 2010 takeover with the club on the brink of administration.

Richards worked alongside Scudamore at the Premier League until five years ago when League rules meant he had to retire.

In that time Scudamore’s securing of global TV mega-deals made the Premier League the richest in the world.

Deals that brought in around £8 billion from TV between 2001 and 2013 reflecting the Premier League’s Promethean progress. 

It may sound like elitist self-interest of Romanoff proportions to suggest clubs have a £5million whip-round for a man reported to have earned £26.3m over 19 years.

But they might just pay up and look happy, such is the wealth Richard Scudamore has helped to bring in to the top division.

Scudamore’s TV mega-deals mean Premier clubs barely need fans to buy tickets any more to be able to pay their way.

Whether that’s good for the game or not remains to be seen.

Scudamore is to be replaced as Chief Executive by Susanna Dinnage from US television network Discovery.

Perhaps she’ll share her bonuses with staff. To do otherwise might be embarrassing for her.

Or not.