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McCarthy in line for wage boost

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In another of their dubious Sunday "exclusives", the Daily Star claims the James McCarthy will see his wages double with Everton expected to use some of that mammoth new Premier League income to keep hold of their best players.

The new contract could increase his weekly wage to £50k and would run through 2019. McCarthy is expected to sign it before Everton report back for pre-season training in July.

Original Source: Daily Star  

Reader Comments

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Jamie Barlow
058 Posted 01/06/2014 at 15:23:59
He's only on £25 grand a week?
Eric Myles
059 Posted 01/06/2014 at 15:27:46
Dunno how he survives on so little, Jamie, I couldn't!
Wayne Smyth
060 Posted 01/06/2014 at 15:34:46
Roberto will have known what he was on at Wigan (probably very little) and known exactly what he could increase that to.

Personally, I think he's done okay this season, but he's not improved that much to warrant a massive increase.

Colin Glassar
063 Posted 01/06/2014 at 15:40:53
We might be getting Maloney for £800k. He'd be a decent little addition to the squad though I'd prefer McManaman.
Jamie Barlow
065 Posted 01/06/2014 at 15:42:52
Shocking isn't it Eric?

He's only been here one season and we're going to double it. I hope it's bullshit.

Paul Andrews
069 Posted 01/06/2014 at 15:55:20
If we don't give him £50k, there will be a queue around the block of clubs who would.
James Stewart
072 Posted 01/06/2014 at 16:14:45
No problem with this; as Paul above rightly states, plenty of others would pay him that and more.
Wayne Smyth
074 Posted 01/06/2014 at 16:28:48
Paul, the thing is, he's only 1 year into his contract and he doesn't strike me as the type of person to agitate for a move. Other clubs could offer him a lot more, but while he's got a long contract left to run, that's fairly irrelevant.

Honestly I think he's barely worth £50k / week based on last season's performances. I'd say if he steps it up next season to combine goalscoring, creating and all-round improvements to his first good season, then he's probably worth giving a wage increase and a new long contract to. Otherwise it's far too soon.

Did he sign a 4- or 5-year contract originally?

Michael Winstanley
076 Posted 01/06/2014 at 16:43:40
Good move by the club. McCarthy hasn't come through the ranks and isn't a die hard Evertonian. I can't think of many players I saw last season who played with his consistency, there would be many clubs keen to sign after last season.

Roberto likes him as a holding midfielder so it's wrong to expect him to start scoring ten a season and creating goals for the forwards.

I'd like to see us get Cleverley & Rodwell in to support McCarthy on the middle.

Paul Andrews
080 Posted 01/06/2014 at 17:09:26
Wayne,

That's the way the game has changed. Contracts mean nothing. The club must have a reason for doing it, we are not famous for spending money needlessly.

Michael, I agree 100%.

Jimmy-Ã…ge Sørheim
081 Posted 01/06/2014 at 16:56:47
I think it is foul use of the little money we have for transfers, because he already has 4 years left. The point is he is doing this with every sales asset so that he can artificially increase their asking price.

I think it is worth while doing with players you are convinced has to stay long term, but I am not convinced about him yet, and our finances is not that good to be doubling players wages on a broad basis like he is doing.

How much will the agent fees, renewal fees and extra wages cost us? Baines already has a new bumper contract, and to double 4-5 others contracts at the same time is too much.

The question is will it be worth it? I am sure he is giving new contracts only to get more money from them if they are sold.

In that context it is wise, but there is a chance it could backfire with one or two of them.

We do not yet know how good Mccharthy and Stones will be so in my mind they do not deserve 40- 60.000 a week.

I guess this is how Martinez wants to build his squad, by selling for a lot of money and then buying for less like he is used to at Wigan.

Richard Lyons
085 Posted 01/06/2014 at 17:41:45
Rumour has it that Sterling at the RS will be offered £100k per week - and he's only 19! Is McCarthy worth just 25% of Sterling's salary? What hope have we got of keeping our youngsters with that sort of wage inflation?
Michael Winstanley
086 Posted 01/06/2014 at 17:46:22
TV money will go towards the players and the agents. Sad but true hence the increased contracts.
Jamie Barlow
088 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:02:01
Maybe if he has a shit season next time, we could offer him another contract worth 30k a week.
Peter Foy
089 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:00:05
Richard, what chance have we got when our very own fans would happily under pay an integral part of the team just because we can. Short termism or what. I'm pretty sure this deal was always in the pipeline and the only reason he signed on such low wages. He obviously had faith in his own ability and also faith in Roberto.
Patrick Murphy
090 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:00:32
It's a double-edged sword - If Everton don't match some of the wages that their rivals do then the players agent soon moves his client on to a club that will.

Likewise if the lad decides to move on to another club without a new deal Everton receive comparatively less in transfer fees. It's all a little obscene but we already knew that didn't we.

Sometimes I wish that Everton in particular would set their own limit on wages and those players who don't want to stay or demand more money - move them out and get another player in - of course that means we would have to accept a lower league placing but that wouldn't please the fans - we don't seem to be able to win no matter what we do.

I'm not suggesting that McCarthy has in any way chosen to agitate for a rise BTW

Peter Foy
091 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:07:10
Besides, Roberto has always said that he wants the young players to grow WITH the club and that they should be rewarded for their efforts. I totally agree.
Mark Frere
097 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:06:41
Hope its not true. McCarthy will have 4 years left on his contract, so there's absolutely no reason why we should start offering him a bigger contract yet. We can't just start handing out big contracts like candy.

I think people on here disregard how much wages eat into our budget - it all effects how much Martinez will have to spend in each transfer window. The same people who think its okay to double McCarthy's wages already, will be the same people moaning when Martinez isn't given enough money to buy new players.

When McCarthy enters the last 2 years of his contract that is the time when our club and McCarthy should sit down and negotiate a longer new improved deal.

Patrick Murphy
098 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:25:31
Mark - do you not think that McCarthy's performances have alerted the usual suspects to be sniffing around the lad? If McCarthy leaves then how soon will Barkley and Stones remain? I don't like the situation but I totally understand the reasons behind it.

As someone else mentioned a 19-year-old talented player is supposed to have been offered £100k per week where's the logic behind that?

Mark Frere
101 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:29:34
Patrick, we can't allow ourselves to be at the mercy of 'player power'. McCarthy can't go anywhere because he has 4 years left on his contract.

He can do 2 things:

1) Keep doing what he's been doing, keep his head down, work hard for the team, and wait a couple of years for a new improved contract.

2) He can sulk and agitate for a move.

My guess is, he'l go with Option 1.

Mike Gaynes
104 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:39:30
Mark, not sure you can call it "player power" unless McCarthy asked for the raise, and there's no indication in the story that he has. This appears to be at the club's instigation. And perhaps not the only such case.

Patrick, funny you should mention Barkley, because another story says he's in line for a salary double as well. Goal.com is reporting he'll be offered £40,000/month, up from 20.

Obviously Roberto sees the need to do something to lock in his younger mainstays and make them less attractive to the wolves. It's hard to judge the financial wisdom, because I don't know how much money he has available, but his emphasis on stability pleases me.

Jamie Barlow
106 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:42:37
Absolutely Mark. It's two years too early to be offering him a new double your wages contract.

Anyway, I haven't read or heard that he's after a move or he is unhappy. Quite the opposite. He's loving it here.

What's the rush? Are we suddenly flush?

Peter Foy
107 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:44:32
Look at it this way:

How the fuck did we persuade a £13M player to accept £25k a week? That was good business. I'm sure there must have been some sort of gentleman's agreement.

Patrick Murphy
110 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:45:24
Every club outside of the monied clubs is at the mercy of 'player power' and in this case given the story has any merit whatsoever it is probably the club trying to fend off unwanted interest in the player. If any player at Everton wants over £60-70k per week they will have to be let go as that seems to be our limit.

It is another case of the monopoly that the game is turning into, clubs like Everton, Southampton and others cannot be allowed to have better individual players than the monied clubs... and the monied clubs have the wherewithal to ensure that they make life difficult for clubs such as Everton.

The more money that comes into the game the faster it will be spent on players wages as that is the route that the big boys have chosen and there's little we can do about it – apart from say No and lose our star players.

Paul Andrews
111 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:48:47
Mike Gaynes,

Two of the best young players in the Prem for £90k per week? £10k less than the £100k total of Sterlings wage rise?

Good business in my opinion.

Peter Foy
114 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:52:42
Didn't Arteta take a drop in wages to go to Arsenal? They've never paid big wages.
Denis Richardson
115 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:40:15
Tough one this; on the one hand, he had a great season (I picked him for my Player of the Season); on the other hand, he only signed with us barely 10 months ago. Doubling anyones wages after just 10 months seems wrong, especially when you add in that players generally get up to 10% of the transfer fee as well – so he would have gotten about £1.3M last summer when he signed!

I think he's worth more than £25k a week but we could have waited a bit before giving him a new contract. He must still have at least 3 years left on the on the one he signed.

We all know that the higher TV money will translate into higher transfer fees and more importantly wages for the players. Sterling on £100k a week is a joke if true, the guy has barely played one season! Every year, I think it can't get any crazier but am then proven wrong and the circus carries on.... It won't be long before someone's paid £500k/week.

Those players who played in the '70s and '80s must be shaking their heads when they read about teenagers now earning more in one week than they used to in a whole season!

Mike Gaynes
116 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:54:37
Paul, I think it may be a little early to declare McCarthy one of the "best young players in the Prem"... and I think Sterling's new number is ridiculous... but, as I said, I like Roberto's priorities.
Jamie Barlow
118 Posted 01/06/2014 at 18:58:20
I thought we signed him on a 5-year contract but I can't find out anywhere how long he signed for. It says on ToffeeWeb that he only has two years left, so if that's true, I can see the point of offering him new terms. Same for Barkley.
Patrick Murphy
122 Posted 01/06/2014 at 19:08:47
What the story does suggest is that Roberto will try and keep the core players in his squad and use the money that would have been spent on Lukaku, Barry and Del Boy's wages to keep those core players happy.

It will probably also mean that we will struggle to buy any single player for more than say £15m. I believe it will prove better in the long term to keep those core players happy and committed to Everton but the chance of us buying a ready-made replacement for the departing Lukaku seems to be remote.

It would also indicate that the likes of Scottish youngsters with potential and elder Scotsmen from Wigan will be the main additions to the squad come August. Which leaves Roberto with the unenviable task of finding a decent striker.

Mark Frere
125 Posted 01/06/2014 at 19:40:10
Jamie Barlow

McCarthy signed a 5-year contract with us.

Paul Hewitt
130 Posted 01/06/2014 at 20:02:57
Give this lad what he wants; he's going to be a superstar.
Jamie Barlow
133 Posted 01/06/2014 at 20:08:21
In that case, I think it's 1 or 2 years too early to double his wages. Totally different to Ross as he only has 2 years left and has been here for an age.
Paul Andrews
137 Posted 01/06/2014 at 20:21:08
Mike Gaynes,

Take your point but is there another player of his age, in his position that you would swap him for?

Mike Gaynes
180 Posted 02/06/2014 at 04:24:53
Probably not, Paul, although Wanyama and Schneiderlin would both be in the picture for me. But there are no other real comparisons to make... the few teams that usually play 4-2-3-1 as we do will generally deploy veterans as holding mids. And let's face it, no holding mid will ever be mentioned among the league's best players, young or otherwise. It's just not a glamourous position, unless your name is Yaya.

McCarthy will be Everton's fulcrum for years to come... but never a superstar in my opinion.

Wayne Smyth
191 Posted 02/06/2014 at 08:43:19
Paul (130) - I doubt McCarthy will be a superstar. He's not going to be a Keane or a Viera. He'll probably be a very good Premier League player.

Comparisons with Sterling and Barkley are also irrelevant. Those players are creators. They score goals and make assists. Those skills are vastly more difficult, valuable and rare than someone who sits in midfield spraying simple passes, working hard and breaking up the opposition play.

I also don't buy that McCarthy is just a sitting midfielder. We saw towards the latter part of the season that he was getting forward more. I suspect Roberto has bedded him in doing simple stuff and then asked him to add more to his game. Something he's been doing with the entire team.

The thing is, he was happy to sign for us on a 5 year deal on the terms he did. He isn't a massively different player than he was in his first game for us. He's not improved to the level where you'd say his performances justified doubling his wages. He was always going to be a first choice midfielder for us, given his price-tag.

My suspicion that the story in the paper is a fake, or at least badly worded. If a new contract is on the horizon, I'd expect it to have staged wage increases, not just a doubling of it, overnight.

When I look to the southampton game, our midfield(and most of our team) was overrun. I doubt many southampton players are on 50k / week. When McCarthy can start dominating those kinds of games – or at least his own area – is when he's probably worth £50k + / week

Its a double edged sword too. Players (should) accept that when they have one good season their wages aren't doubled, because when they are injured or have a stinker, their wages are not halved. Is Pienaar worth the £60k / week we've been paying him? I doubt it. McCarthy will undoubtedly have bad games and bad seasons too.

Mark (097) raises a very valid point. Another £25k for McCarthy is basically an additional £1.25M out of our transfer budget every season for the next few years... so, next time people wonder what happened to the Jelavic money or the Arteta money, throwing money at players already under long contracts could be a big part of your answer.

Paul Andrews
192 Posted 02/06/2014 at 09:04:39
Wayne,

I never suggested he would be a superstar.

Wayne Smyth
193 Posted 02/06/2014 at 09:02:01
Someone who would be in line for a large increase in the squad alongside Barkley, would be Coleman. Not sure what he's on at the moment, but he's probably the best right back in the league. He's a good example of a player who has improved massively in recent years and who deserves to be on £50k.

I reckon that we'll also be seeing a new contract for Stones - not sure how long it has to run. But again, he's someone who we thought might get the odd appearance for us this season, but who has turned out to be a very important player, got his first senior cap and is on the verge of the world cup squad. Along with Barkley, Stones looks as if he could be a superstar.

Paul Andrews
194 Posted 02/06/2014 at 09:12:59
Wayne,

Do you consider Seamus "was happy to sign for us on the terms he did"?

I agree with you by the way get them all on substantial contracts. Pay the going rate as plenty of other clubs would be prepared to. Result? A settled team moving forward.

John Haldane
201 Posted 02/06/2014 at 10:20:00
Paul Andrews
194 "Wayne,
Do you consider Seamus "was happy to sign for us on the terms he did"? I agree with you by the way get them all on substantial contracts.
Pay the going rate as plenty of other clubs would be prepared to. Result? A settled team moving forward."

Absolutely agree. Not that we have the choice if we want to maintain our position, let alone improve it.

Arsenal, by the way, were quoted as being among the highest salary payers. Not sure if that has changed in the last year or two.

Player power? FFS. That boat has long since sailed. Principled / skint clubs get relegated.

(Having written that, I'm not sure that player power is such a wholly horrendous thing anyway. Surely people are entitled to get the very best deal that they can.)

Peter Bell
202 Posted 02/06/2014 at 10:37:54
John, before player power all the money went to those fuckers sitting up in the Directors Box. That is why top class ex-pros have to earn a living from the media.

I think at the last time of checking, Bob Latchford was a sales rep.

Brian Harrison
203 Posted 02/06/2014 at 11:07:09
Yes the Premier league is the gravy train that keeps on giving, have a good season and your money doubles or trebles which is fair enough. But if you are out injured all season or your form is appalling well your money doesn't drop and in fact you can still ask for an increase so a win win situation for all players.

This will only get worse not better, the money will increase year on year and it wont be long before the star players are earning double what they are earning now. We have Ronaldo, Messi and Rooney all earning in excess of £300k per week.

Wayne Smyth
204 Posted 02/06/2014 at 11:06:34
Paul Andrews (194), the superstar comment was in response to Paul Hewitt's post at 130.

Seamus was obviously happy to sign for us for the terms he did; otherwise he wouldn't have come. However, he's turned out to be an absolutely inspired signing and has clearly improved vast amounts and gone beyond any of the club's wildest expectations in terms of being probably the best right back in the league.

Question is, what exactly has McCarthy done that we didn't expect him to be able to do when he signed? Has he shown vastly more promise that would justify giving him more cash at this particular point?

Mike Childs
205 Posted 02/06/2014 at 10:28:34
As it becomes obvious to me that we will never break the bank for big name players then I believe we should reward the players that we do have. That way they remain happy and hopefully help to recruit a few more class players who maybe unhappy with their present situation.

I believe a team full of content players who aren't quite superstars but competent players with RM could achieve great things.

Eugene Ruane
206 Posted 02/06/2014 at 10:56:41
John (201) - "Having written that, I'm not sure that player power is such a wholly horrendous thing anyway. Surely people are entitled to get the very best deal that they can"

Well imo, no more horrendous than the situation before the abolition of the maximum wage

Never forget that the situation that exists right now (which admittedly does SEEM daft) has it's roots in footballers being treated like skivvies by people like (just to choose an example) Burnley's Bob Lord.

Successful businessmen who confused their success in business with knowledge (I'm rich = I'm right...about everything).

People often just look at what's in front of them and complain without ever asking 'how?"

I remember people in the 1970s talking about dockers and miners unions having 'too much power' without ever wondering how or why?

The answer is that greedy governments and businessmen had treated them like dogs for generations and FORCED them to unite and fight back.

You'll find that if people in any industry are treated fairly from the start, things tend to run smoothly.

By the way, for a perfect example of the types in charge of sports clubs back then and to show how the talent was treated, you might enjoy this..

Link

James Stewart
208 Posted 02/06/2014 at 12:18:50
Phil Neville & Heitinga both played the position McCarthy does now and on more than £50k. I was surprised he wasn't on around that already. If RM is tying down his core players, Stones, Coleman, Barkley, McCarthy that can only be a good thing.
Paul Andrews
209 Posted 02/06/2014 at 12:26:16
Wayne,

Apologies I thought it was aimed at me.

To answer your question: Yes, I think he has shown he is worth £50k a week in the current wage structure paid to Prem players.

Dan McKie
213 Posted 02/06/2014 at 12:46:16
A fifth into an agreed contract and we are already doubling the terms? A little OTT if you ask me. Firstly, his performances in the earlier part of the season weren't that great. It often involved a fair bit of running around, a lot of side ways passes, usually to the player who had given the ball to him seconds before, and a few blind passes that put us in trouble (but gained rousing applause when he himself rectified said mistakes).

Secondly, even when his performances did pick up, 50k a week for a player who's best attributes are his 'engine' and that he is decent positionally?

None of it is McCarthy's fault mind. I'd take it if it were offered. I just think we are jumping the gun. Why not next season if he improves on this one? It's crazy.

Peter Bell
214 Posted 02/06/2014 at 13:14:34
Dan, were you ever a fan of Peter Reid ?
Dan McKie
215 Posted 02/06/2014 at 13:19:37
Peter, a bit before my time with regards to seeing him play, and i'm not saying we don't need players like McCarthy, but for me, he has given us just a few months of good performances and we are talking about doubling his wages. Did the same happen with Reid?
Oliver Molloy
217 Posted 02/06/2014 at 13:25:28
If it is true that Rooney earns £300k a week, it is joke and highlights exactly the problems regards wages in the Premier League. He is not in the same league as Messi or Ronaldo and more!

In fact IMO if he was getting £100k a week, it would still be too much.

Thomas Lennon
218 Posted 02/06/2014 at 13:28:20
On the limited budget for wages subject - aren't we limited to a TOTAL of 4-5 % increase overall each season? That equates to about £3 million. This discussion is about giving a player we already have £1 million of that??? Kiss goodbye to 7 new players arriving unless others depart (though one or two already did).
Dan McKie
219 Posted 02/06/2014 at 13:48:26
To be fair, Everton do this quite often. We will give McCarthy an extra £2m a year, and Elstone will use that as an excuse for why £40m of transfer revenue wasn't spent!
Derek Thomas
221 Posted 02/06/2014 at 14:04:02
Eugene; yes the 'weak' workers had to band together in the face of, shall we say, over zealous bosses, so plenty of blame there. But blame must also go to over zealous workers who took advantage (the piss) out of weak / flip-flop bosses.

Having been a worker and a boss (glad to say I'm back on the side of the angels now) when times were good, I was told, whatever they want give it to them: if they want dancing girls, get some in tout suite. When times were bad... go down and cause a walkout so's we don't have to pay the bastards.

One day, my bosses boss said go and tell them abc (no names, no packdrill). I said "I can't go and shit on them like that." ... "They're only here to be shit on" was the stern reply.

When the place finally shut down after 2 lots of redundancies, at the farewell piss-up for all hands (well, it was Merseyside... so a piss-up was compulsory for any reason), I asked the bosses boss "What the fuck was all that abc shit about, Colin?" Anwer: "Just doing my job – we try it on. If we get a result, it's a win for us; if we get knocked back... well, status quo and we're no worse off... we can't lose."

At Fords Halewood they set the pay year to start on Dec 1st, thinking that the guys wouldn't go out on strike at Christmas.... 20 weeks later, we settled.

Short version; two sides to every story.

Eugene Ruane
311 Posted 02/06/2014 at 20:50:46
Derek Thomas (221) - "Short version; two sides to every story"

In the context, sorry, this imo is too simplistic.

Yes it eventually BECOMES two sides going at it, but my point was that the 'story' of greed always seems to START the same way - with owners/bosses greedily and/or ruthlessly exploiting the toil/talent of those they employ.

The problems that occur as a result, down the line, are inevitable given the old adage 'even a worm will turn'

Simply put, as you sew, so shall you reap

I repeat, if bosses down the years hadn't been so greedy and exploitative in the first place, the bad-feeling and unrest that inevitably followed would have been much reduced and more productive work-forces would have been the result 99 times out of 100.

By the way, you say..

"But blame must also go to over zealous workers who took advantage (the piss) out of weak / flip-flop bosses"

Well not sure who you've worked for, but I've had bosses of all shapes and sizes, some good some bad, some fair, some not, some useful, some useless, but very few who were prepared to flip-flop.

Right or wrong, they ALL thought they were...right.

Raymond Fox
328 Posted 02/06/2014 at 22:29:57
Put yourself in a dressing room where other players, some who's ability is on par with your own, but are getting twice your wages. It doesn't make for a happy ship I wouldn't have thought.

Martinez does seem to want build a team on solid foundations & as we are not a top 4 side he needs to keep our best players happy.

I agree that the finances of football clubs are in the region of barmy, but if we do want to be successful we have to pay silly wages. Sad but what can you do!

Si Cooper
333 Posted 03/06/2014 at 00:19:18
Raymond, the other side of that is that players sign a contract for x money and y years knowing their ability (and presumably that of the squad they are joining.

It is not uncommon in any workplace to have the more experienced workers earning more than the young bucks who have just walked through the door. I don't think there is too much resentment if everyone is doing their best and all are pulling in the same direction. It is a team game after all, and most team players understand they need others around them to succeed. If there are people who are obviously cruising whilst taking home relatively whopping pay packets, then I can see why people would be motivated to agitate for their fair share but not simply if they have been in excellent form.

Of course agents throw all that out of the window because they are not 'team players' at all, and they will be the ones, after a good season for their client, banging on the Chairman's door and putting the pressure on.

Bobby Thomas
337 Posted 03/06/2014 at 00:41:56
Mark #097

Two years left on a deal is when a player's valuation starts dropping and the ball is then firmly in their court.

You get to the next window and the player is worth less. Then, if the player wants to see what's on offer and not sign, suddenly there's a year left & the valuation has halved. You are then halfway to being fucked and losing a player on a free.

2 years left on a deal would be far too late to open contract talks with a young player who we would make a substantial profit on. It makes much more sense to get him on a deal paying him the going rate. Or, someone else will.

Plus, we aren't exactly overstocked with options in there. The other main man, Barry, was on loan and appears in no rush to sign. The other, good player that he is, is a crock.

Give McCarthy a rise. He deserves it anyway, he's been excellent.

Paul Andrews
354 Posted 03/06/2014 at 06:55:18
Bobby Thomas,

Great post. Just about summed it up perfectly.

Mark Frere
464 Posted 03/06/2014 at 23:28:18
Bobby Thomas: McCarthy is still going to run down his contract whether we double his wages or not. We may offer him a new 5-year contract worth £50k a week but after 3 years, we are still going to be in the same situation where McCarthy is entering the last 2 years of his contract. So unless you are suggesting we review and improve McCarthy's contract every season so he will always have 5 years left on it, then your logic doesn't make any sense.

Paul Andrews
465 Posted 04/06/2014 at 00:02:51
How do you know he will run his contract down, Mark?

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