“Soldiers should get footballers wages”
In recent months, I have increasingly noticed a social media trend to demand that soldiers be paid footballers wages:
Nobody is quite sure why, but it’s definitely something to do with #respect. I decided to examine what would happen if this became a reality and soldiers really did get footballers wages. What follows is an alternative vision of the future…
Please note, I am a big supporter of those people brave enough to put their lives on the line in the armed forces. They do a fantastic job that I certainly could not do myself, and certainly deserve a great deal of praise and admiration. Just don’t be a tit about it, eh?
1st September 2013
Gareth Bale completes an £85 million transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid. He will earn £300,000 a week, working out at around £15.6 million a year. 26-year-old Shannon Smith from Grimsby writes on Facebook “I fink it’s disgusting dat Gareth Bale will get paid dat much! It shud be soldiers getting his wages!!!1” Her friend Chardonnay comments “Well sed hun! It’s a joke!!”. The status attracts 17 likes.
Meanwhile, a tweet by @DaveEDL from Luton states “Send Gareth Bale to Iraq!!! He’d earn his money there!!!!” The message earns hundreds of retweets, allowing it to end up on the timeline of Fred Thompson, the MP for Pontypridd in South Wales. Fred has never yet been brave enough to speak in parliament, with his only political highlight so far being the time he offered David Cameron a Wine Gum. However, the popularity of the campaign to give soldiers footballers wages gives Fred an idea…
7th September 2013
After mentally preparing himself all week, Fred Thompson proposes to parliament that the 205,330 active British soldiers and the 181,720 reserve personnel have their wages increased to £100,000 a week. It is pointed out to Fred that this would cost the British taxpayer an additional £2,012,660,000,000 a year. With around 35 million income tax payers in the UK, for the plan to work every UK taxpayer would have to stump up an extra £57,504 a year. Thompson has prepared for this, and unleashes his secret weapon. He draws the attention of the room to a large computer screen. “I know” he says “I was dubious as well lads. But just LOOK how many people have joined this Facebook group…”
A gasp goes around the chamber. “Soldiers are da real heroes, give them footballers wages” has over 100,000 likes. Nick Clegg and David Cameron look at each other. With an election coming up, an extra 100,000 votes could make all the difference. Not to mention the good publicity…
A debate is called for the following week.
14th September 2013
The 650 MP’s for England and Wales vote by a margin of 408 – 242 to raise soldiers wages to match those of footballers. A week of campaigning from the yes vote supporters had seen #PayOurTroops become the top trending topic on Twitter, while outdoing even Justin Bieber’s new haircut. The ‘Don’t be a tit’ campaign from those opposed to the vote attracts little support. From January 1st 2014, soldiers will be paid £100,000 a week.
2nd December 2013
Police have to be called to several army recruitment centres, as the queues of those who want to enlist stretch as far as the eye can see.
1st January 2014
A day of national celebration ensues across the land as the pay increase becomes official. Finally soldiers have got the #respect they deserve, this will show those nasty footballers! Anybody who speaks out to question the huge tax increase is derided as a traitor and told to leave the country if they don’t like it. This is an option many choose to take, with thousands avoiding the tax hike by moving abroad.
8th January 2014
Wayne Rooney puts in an official transfer request to David Moyes, stating that he sees his future away from Manchester United. The only people able to match his wage requirements are the army, leading Rooney to join the infantry. He is reprimanded on his first day of training for asking his sergeant if they’d be finished in time for Jeremy Kyle, as well as holding his gun the wrong way round. A recently recruited soldier from the Netherlands greatly outperforms Rooney in combat training, causing him to drop out after a matter of weeks. Wayne returns home to Merseyside, opening a kebab shop. It is the first time he has been happy at work for seven years.
1st February 2014
The first tax deductions to pay for the increased wages of soldiers are made, an extra £4,792 each. With the average salary in the United Kingdom around £21,000, this leaves many people actually earning minus amounts. There are mass walkouts across the country, with yet more people heading to the airports to start a new life abroad. Tommy Robinson of the EDL tweets a picture of the queues outside London Luton stating “Bye traitors!!!”
23rd June 2014
The population of the United Kingdom has shrunk by several million, with tax refugees heading all over the world. This reduction in the number of taxpayers means those who remain are forced to pay even greater amounts. A small number of protests against the government break out, but are quickly controlled by the army and their gold-plated rifles.
1st August 2014
The poverty suffered by the nation has seen football crowds drop rapidly, with very few people able to afford a ticket. Sky drops out of covering the Premier League, instead launching four new channels covering the army. Sky War provides a great deal of sponsorship to cover excursions to Iraq and Afghanistan exclusively live . Some of the most popular and successful regiments have their mission start times changed to 1pm on a Sunday, to maximise the potential audience.
The money brought in from this Sky deal allows taxes to be significantly reduced, increasing the popularity of the army further still. Many children can be seen wearing replica uniforms with the names of their favourite troops on the back. Meanwhile, many Premier League football clubs go into administration.
17th October 2014
Fred Thompson becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom as a result of his overwhelming popularity He declares that his next project is to find a way to turn Facebook likes into a cure for cancer.
23rd May 2015
Leeds United win the Premier League, following the collapse of more than half of professional football clubs in Britain. Top scorer Luke Varney asks for a new contract, but is told “If you want those kind of wages, join the army!”.
24th May 2015
Heavily backed by popular fanzine Stand Against Modern Soldiers, a new social media campaign begins, stating “Footballers deserve soldiers wages”….
1st October 2015
Sky War put heavy pressure on the government to enter new conflicts, explaining that the public wanted to see the top forces test themselves at the highest level. Prime Minister Thompson initially refuses, but following sustained pressure from Rupert Murdoch gives in and announces that the fans deserve to see their troops test themselves at the highest level, declaring war on Russia.
30 minutes later on 1st October 2015
The United Kingdom is almost completely destroyed by a colossal Russian attack. Pundits bemoan the lack of home-grown talent, with the foreign troops attracted to the country by the inflated wages holding England back at an international level. From his nuclear bunker, Alan Hansen describes the defending of the coast as “diabolical”, while The Sun prints a picture of the British Field Marshall as a turnip.
Survivors watch Gary Neville analyse where it all went wrong on a giant iPad, nodding sagely to each other about the possession and shot accuracy success statistics on show. “Eh lads, I reckon this never would have happened if we didn’t give soldiers footballers wages, you know” says one.
He is executed.
23rd June 2045
The United Kingdom has failed to win a war for over 30 years. The grandchildren of David Baddiel and Frank Skinner release “War is coming home” ahead of the latest battle, but a penalty bombout defeat to the unfancied but well-organised Romanians sends the English home early again. Aldershot win the Premier League for the 12th time in a row, bankrolled by a group of wealthy soldiers from the nearby barracks.
Tune in next week for my next imagined football scenario, which looks at what would happen if the FA was run by a load of utterly inept idiots, totally out of touch with the average fan. Hang on a minute…