Opinion: When it comes to cash, our priorities are wrong!

Jane Pottas - picture by Tony Bartholomew
Jane Pottas - picture by Tony Bartholomew

I saw a poster recently about the APART project in which Neil Fitzpatrick and Brett McMann are undertaking fitness challenges to raise money for cancer research.

They have raised £26,500 in the last two years, a figure which on the poster is described as ‘incredible’. It is remarkable and praiseworthy that these two men have inspired family, friends and complete strangers to donate money to this worthy cause but “incredible”?

What I find truly incredible are news items in which figures are bandied around which sound like Monopoly money such as the report that Louis van Gaal had been sacked after two years as Manchester United’s manager for failing to secure Champions League football.

For this failing, he was to be given a £5 million pay-off covering the remaining 12 months of his contract. In a statement after his sacking Mr van Gaal thanked everyone at the club including the people who wash the kit, cut the grass and make the sandwiches and concluded by saying: “Never in my 25 years as a manager have I been so well supported in my role.”

I bet he hasn’t. In May, Claudio Ranieri was welcomed back to his former club by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich ahead of Leicester’s 1-1 draw. So, no hard feelings after Abramovich terminated his contract with Chelsea in 2004.

Abramovich has paid out around £71m in golden handshakes to dismissed managers. Do a bad job and receive £10 pounds. Can’t be bad.

In another silly money story 23 year old Paul Pogba, the French midfield player, has been valued at £84m and two clubs are bidding for him to play for them. Pogba apparently favours a move to Madrid but may return to Old Trafford if they can meet his wage demands of £250,000 a week. That’s ten times what Neil and Brett have raised in two years of fundraising.

And following the announcement of the EU referendum result the 400 richest people in the world had $127.4 billion wiped from the value of their assets, a figure which represents 3.2 per cent of their collective net worth.

They probably wouldn’t notice the loss. Britain’s 15 wealthiest people including Sir Philip Green (he of the BHS pension fund debacle) between them lost £4 billion.

Imagine having that amount of money to lose.

So, back to Neil and Brett’s challenge. They are doing a fine thing to raise money for a worthy cause but I can’t help feeling that as a society we’ve got our priorities all wrong when footballers can demand huge sums of money to kick a ball about, when Russian oligarchs can shell out millions of pounds to sack managers and when $127.4 billion represents just 3.2 percent of the collective worth of 400 people, when charities are dependent on the Neils and Bretts of this world to fund their work while the big money lies elsewhere.