David Beckham Paul Scholes and Gary Neville may all be part of the much hailed Class of 92 at Manchester United – but they were not always on mega salaries.
The youngsters made their debuts in the early 1990s before going on to be integral parts of the club's dominance.
But in an effort to keep the players' feet on the ground the club didn't hand out lavish contracts.
Instead Beckham and co were earning less than £250-a-week.
Keith Gillespie, who ended up being part of the deal that took Andy Cole to Old Trafford in 1995, was another young player in that United side.
And he told a club podcast that even as first team pros they pocked less than £12,000 a year.
“We got £46.75 [a week] as a first-year apprentice,” he said. “We used to think it was great when you got a win bonus for the A team because you got £4 for a win or £2 for a draw.
“With Sir Alex, even when we signed professional contracts – [David] Beckham, [Paul] Scholes, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville – our first-year contract was £230 a week.
“We had all made first-team debuts and were in and around the first team, but he was a great believer that you had to go to that next level before you started earning the big money. It did keep you grounded.”
Nowadays players earn mammoth salaries, even at a young age, but Gillespie has never begrudged it.
He cited the dangers that come with playing football, where one injury can end your career.
“It is crazy money that players earn,” he added.
“But, in the same way, good luck to them. It’s not the players’ fault. There is a serious amount of money in the game and it is a short career. Your career can be over just like that if you get an injury.”
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