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Former West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson earned himself the equally-worrying nicknames of 'Father Christmas' and 'Ridsdale' during 2007 for a series of wage awards that gave a reported £110,000 a week to Freddie Ljungberg and £72,000 a week to Lucas Neill, who promptly gave up any dream of playing Champions League football with Liverpool in exchange for massive wads of cash. And then there were players like Craig Bellamy and Luis Boa Morte, who clearly did not sign on for peanuts.
Magnusson was eventualy ousted and the legacy of his reign is a massive wage bill that needs to be culled. The seriousness of the situation is underlined by a pay-off given to Ljungberg of somewhere between £4m and £6m for a season and 25 Premier League games. Expect more sales in January.

The Seth Johnson story is one of the most truly wonderful in recent football history and illustrates perfectly the Peter Ridsdale reign at Leeds. For those who are not familiar - or would just enjoy a re-run - the story goes that Johnson's agent entered contract talks with Ridsdale determined to accept no less than £13,000 a week. Ridsdale walked in and said, "Right, I'm sorry but I can only offer you thirty thousand a week." The agent choked and Ridsdale immediately relented and offered £37,000 a week. And that's for Seth Johnson. We don't care if it's not true - it's brilliant.
Other great examples are Leeds still paying the £11m transfer fee (and £10,000 a week of his wages) years after Robbie Fowler had actually left the club, a £2m 'success fee' paid to Harry Kewell agent Bernie Mandic for securing his move to Liverpool, a total of £12m being paid to Gary Kelly, £5.7m being paid out to failed former managers David O'Leary and Terry Venables and, of course, the goldfish.

Newcastle chairman Mike Ashley opined earlier this year that Newcastle were still paying for players that had since left the club. Could he possibly have been talking about a trio of players like Jean-Alain Boumsong, Hugo Viana and Albert Luque? They were bought for a combined total of over £25m and sold on for less than £6m in total, leaving Newcastle still paying the instalments long after their pitiful contributions to the club had ended.
Step forward Freddie Shepherd, who sanctioned the purchases of several ridiculously over-priced duds while in charge of Newcastle to leave Ashley (who stupidly failed to do due diligence) owning a club with debts higher than the price he actually paid for the club. It almost makes you feel sorry for the beer-guzzling big lad.

Proof positive that chairmen and chief executives should not buy players without the say-so of their managers. Gianluca Vialli gave up on Chelsea the minute that Ken Bates and Colin Hutchinson sold Emerson Thome and brought in Winston Bogarde on a salary of £40,000 a week. New boss Claudio Ranieri didn't want him either and Bogarde simply decided to stretch out and wait.
Every day for four years, Bogarde turned up for training. 'Why should I throw fifteen million euro away when it is already mine?' he later wrote in his autobiography, brilliantly entitled 'This N***er Bows For No One'. So he turned up every day, refused to move and made a grand total of 11 appearances in four years. 'I may be one of the worst buys in the history of the Premiership, but I don't care,' he wrote.
And this was even before the Roman Abramovich days of signing players for £30m and allowing them to leave for a pittance and signing others for £21m and selling them back to the same club for less than half the fee. Yes, this was in the days when Chelsea had to re-pay their debts.

Just last month the News of the World declared that Pompey was for sale for just £20m 'in a bid to avert a full-scale financial crisis'. The veracity of those reports may be in doubt but there's no doubt that the club are paying Champions League wages without the income to match. Despite having the second-lowest average attendance in the top flight two seasons ago (their ground holds only slightly more than 20,000), Portsmouth's wage bill rose by almost 50%. Since then Pompey have signed Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Lassana Diarra.
The latter was given a wage increase on leaving a Champions League club for a top-eight side with reported wages at £90,000 a week, and we can assume that Crouch and Defoe are on little less. That all contributes to a wage bill that the NOTW suggest is running at around 90% of income - surely an unsustainable figure.
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