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'People thought I was a Scroog...
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'People thought I was a Scrooge!' | Damien Delaney on Premier League wages

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

15:37 10 May 2020

Damien Delaney spoke to Off The Ball about the perils of earning Premier League money; the comfort it can provide and the dangers it can pose.

While many football fans view footballers' money as gauche or a symbol of largesse in today's sport, Delaney's attitude to it should provide a nuanced understanding of what can be achieved with a sense of perspective.

This was a sense of the bigger picture that comes to arriving in the league at a later age, as Delaney explained.

Damien Delaney on wages

Damien Delaney, Crystal Palace.

"Luckily, buy then, I was 31 or 32. I have massive concerns for young lads who sign massive contracts at 21 or 22. That must be a head-spinner for them," said Delaney.

"I was 32 by then and it made no difference to me - not that it made no difference, but I realised that I always had a little bit of money so I was used to being OK, but then when you get bigger and bigger contracts, the figures start getting larger.

"I parked it. I always, by then, thought that money was a bi-product of success and I thought that as soon as I am not being successful then it was going to stop.

"So I thought: don't even look at it, take what you need for the month and leave the rest. As soon as you start enjoying that money is when it will stop coming, because that is when you take your eye off the ball.

"I didn't really do anything, people probably thought that I was a bit of a Scrooge! But I just needed to stay focused and I didn't want to get involved in the fun and games that money can bring, especially living in London!"

Perils

There are also perils that footballers and those in sport need to navigate, people with nefarious motivations and a fool and his money are easily parted.

"In terms of being the age profile that I was, it was so much easier to deal with people asking you for money.

"Believe me, you will get asked; targeted with every investment under the sun. They are saying to you 'if you give us this, then you'll get that' and I'm thinking: 'how did you even get my number?!'"

Delaney left school after his Junior Certificate to pursue his dream, taking a FÁS  course that helped him along the way - and it was only with the help of his mum that his Premier League dream became reality.

"I bought my mum a house and that was probably the best thing - so that FÁS course did end up paying off in the end!

"If it wasn't for her letting me leave school, then none of it would have happened."

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