Football is not a topic of conversation that comes up very often in the Turner household.
I fell out of love with the game at about the same time that the Premier League came into existence (a coincidence?), my wife and daughters have no interest and, if it doesn’t come with a screen, my sons are oblivious.
I do have to maintain a modicum of knowledge about the south coast teams – Portsmouth and Southampton – so that I can have a sensible conversation with my dad, to his core a sports fan and, even in his eighties, a sportsman. He hides his disappointment about my lack of sporting achievement well, but I think he’d be devastated if we couldn’t at least share a few opinions about Saints and Pompey. Even then, they tend to be conversations about the ‘good old days’.
So it’s surprising that this week, football was the hottest topic at the dinner table.
No, it wasn’t the draw for the qualifying rounds of the European Championships that excited us both, though the prospect of England taking on San Marino might have some folk drooling with anticipation, not us.
No, the only football headline that we noticed this week was about Wayne Rooney or, to be more precise, Wayne Rooney’s latest pay deal. And, unusually, we were both in agreement, both outraged.
I know he’s a professional at the top of his game (though some might not agree), and a footballer’s career is relatively short, and his agent has done a fantastic job for him, but £300,000 a week – £75 million over five years – is an awful lot of money.
I’ll not bore you with a list of what £300,000 a week could buy, but I think I can say fairly categorically that it’s really more money than anyone needs or could sensibly spend.
But it doesn’t really matter what I think. The important people who need convincing about wages like this are football fans, the folk being asked to pay through the nose at the turnstile and for subscriptions to extra television channels. If the fans think Wayne’s worth it, I suppose they’ll happily keep coughing up.
There’s an irony that in the week Manchester United and Rooney made their multi-million pound deal public, there was a debate going on in the media about the minimum wage – £6.31 an hour.
There are calls for it to be raised to £7 or more. Some say it’s not fair because of geographical differences in the cost of living, others claim some employers – at a time of high unemployment – choose to pay the minimum regardless of the skill level required by the job, while another group would probably like to scrap it altogether, saying it costs jobs.
All I know is that there are a lot of people doing much more valuable jobs than professional footballers who deserve a slice of Wayne’s luck.
-- It was just a few months ago that I had to go through the painful process of helping my wife select a new mobile phone. Mrs T recognises the need to have a mobile, but really doesn’t like them. She’s not a fan of gadgetry and her face glazes over as soon as anyone tries to explain the pros and cons of a particular piece of technology.
The family was more than pleased when, after visiting umpteen shops and looking at dozens of handsets, she plumped for a natty number in blue.
So we were just a bit dismayed last week when she somehow contrived to drop said new phone, smashing the screen.
To her credit, she bravely decided to ‘fly solo’ to find a replacement, but beat a hasty, shame-faced retreat when, before she reached the front of ther queue, a member of the sales staff bellowed a plea to all customers in the shop: ‘Please get insurance for your phones’.
Together we sorted out a new device on Saturday and she’s promised to look after it . . . but watch this space.