Yen

“Why Yen?” you say. Well it’s about Age and Money.

It doesn’t get better so if you want to turn around now, we’ve already banked the hit – to hell with repeat business and word of mouth.

I’m not normally one to quote Glenn Hoddle, especially not on some shit, but he once came out with something approaching wisdom when he said that if Michael Owen “was good enough then he’s old enough”. Since then it’s been re-quoted hundreds of times by various different people from business leaders to politicians, though thankfully not by any in the dock nonces.

Hoddle in that one comment was able to completely cut through ageism. Which sort of balances out saying that disabled people were dicks in a previous life. It’s a quote that’s since been used to justify young players being “thrown into” starting line ups and veterans being bought back for one last hurrah, and it would seem that as long as the player is good enough, nobody really minds. See Paul Scholes and Adnan Janujaj for opposite ends of the spectrum.

So, when it comes to time on the pitch, age isn’t an issue. So why doesn’t the same apply to contracts?

Adnan Janujaj and the various discussions about his contract renewal are what have prompted this whimsical verbal wander and the opinions that are being thrown around seem to vary from “pay him what he wants, he’s going to be mint” to “He’s just a little lad, you can’t give him that much you’ll spoil him”. Plenty of players have been spoilt by plenty of things, poor advice, attitude, injury and even ego, but a contract itself isn’t the root of that.

Right now Janujaj has only played a handful of games, but already looks the real deal and is considerably more useful than, to name just two, Anderson and Young, who are earning at least 30 times the wage of the young *Insert chosen nationality here*. Is that fair? Of course not. Would it be fair if Janujaz signed a contract and it was considerably lower because of his age? Again, I’d say no.

A child genius who graduates from Oxford at 11 and has multiple doctorates by 18 walks into a job and gets paid less than somebody doing the same job but who is their senior in age alone. Is that fair? No. But in football it seems to be regarded as being the right thing to do.

Young players traditionally earn less because they aren’t yet ready for the first team, if Adnan is then he should be getting the right deal. If he has good people around him, he’ll keep his feet on the ground, trying to pay under the market price when he’s got the ability, just because of his age doesn’t fly.

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