Friday, 8 June 2007

Watching The Million Pound Footballers Giveaway last night felt like a missed opportunity. Dr Noreena Hertz, an intelligent, articulate and extraordinarily capable thinker attempted to persuade the nation to focus on nurses, by arranging for every Premiership player to donate the equivalent of a day's wages, £1.5m in all, to help stop nurses from considering strike action.
The nation's nurses get a shitty wage doing shitty long hours, which, one west London nurse explained to a less-than-interested Jermain Defoe, "involves nurses working longer hours for the money, and so their level of care that they're able to provide for their patients deteriorates".
The nurses, incensed with the a measly 2.5% pay rise - as the programme points out, is less than inflation, so technically a pay cut - were moving to strike. But, as the good doctor explained, one day's pay from all 556 top-flight players would provide a relief fund for nurses, and the good press they richly deserve, which could bypass this drastic step.

In trying to expose the plight of nurses, Dr Hertz seemed to be base her campaign on the fact that everyone knows that footballers earn a laughable amount of money.
Adrian Chiles felt Noreena was underestimating players: "The chances of becoming a Premiership footballer are practically zero. They work extraordinarily hard, and most of them are humble peolple, they know they've done well." Effectively, for the 90 minutes that he plays on a Saturday, the highest-paid Premiership player receives around £20,000. Over the same amount of time, a nurse could expect to earn around £16. The disparity is shocking.

But that's the underlying problem. In a perfect world the people who help other people the most (social workers, teachers, nurses, carers) would be paid handsomely, for their rich and varied contribution to improving people's lives. But it's not a perfect world, and he is worth that amount of money - in economic terms - to his club.
For the best (ie Premiership) players' performances may raise the national and global profile of their team, netting them more money, along with lucrative sponsorship and advertising deals. Good results, more profile and increasing business wealth equals more incentives for the players; and so more teams chase worldwide status, and the players that get them there will be rewarded.

Dr Noreena also violated the one basic rule of business. To retain any credibility when pitching yourself and your cause, do your research! What this woman knew about football you could have written on a grain of rice. It was embarrassing. It showed a disrespect for her audience, when trying to get players on board, that you can get their names wrong, not know that Ryan Giggs was Welsh and not English, an extremely contentious point in the past.
At times, there was an uncomfortable feeling that her cause was hard done by, by her epic, overwrought "we can all change the world" presentation style, to a room of bored footballers.
We saw contestants Tre Azam and Katie Hopkins getting roasted alive on this week's The Apprentice, when avid and direct confrontation towards their complete lack of preparation left them squirming and sweating, like a fat man in tight leather trousers. It shouldn't be any different pitching to footballers. (Good on Simon, by the way. I think I want to adopt him, he's like a naughty little puppy, irrepressible and sweet, just aching for a mentor like siralun).

Dr Noreena Hertz clearly achieved a huge amount. But a noble cause does not (necessarily) a good campaign make. (I love that completely ungrammatical phrase. Anyone care to tell me from where it derives?)

1 comment:

Happy ED said...

"a noble cause does not (necessarily) a good campaign make"

- such awkward sentence structure is derivative from Yoda.. Ooo or Poirot! Both short, foreign and intellectually superior. They could be brothers.. except one's green..