Arsenal legend on Rooney contract: I couldn't believe I was even paid to play!

Ian Wright doesn't necessarily believe its wrong that Manchester United are paying their striker £300,000 every week and pondered the first £500,000 player.

Such is the changing nature of the money generated by modern football that, just 30 years ago, Ian Wright had to take a pay cut to go from a full-time plasterer to a full-time professional footballer with Crystal Palace.

Speaking to the BBC, Wright reflected on the first payment he received for playing, a £90 cheque from Greenwich Borough, indicating that he was actually embarrassed to take it as he couldn't believe there was somebody paying him to play the sport he loved.

Wright, 50, a Premier League winner with Arsenal, was speaking in the aftermath of Wayne Rooney's confirmed new bumper contract with Manchester United, a deal which nets the striker £300,000 per week before tax.

Commented Wright: 'I remember my first game at Greenwich Borough and I got £90! I was embarrassed to take it, that somebody was paying me to play football and now somebody is getting £300,000 a week.

'My first contract was £100 a week at [Crystal] Palace. I was earning 105 doing plastering, so I had to take a pay cut to play football!

'Palace gave me a good deal as I was getting better and, today's equivalent, Arsenal probably gave me £750 more a week more than I was on at Palace.'

Wright also pondered when football would have it's first half a million pound player, believing it could even be soon if a player of the calibre of Cristiano Ronaldo were to transfer to a new club: 'If Ronaldo moved now he'd probably get half a million a week and, considering his stats, he's gonna earn it!'

image: © wonker

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch