The highest earning players in the National League has been revealed and it’s got plenty of people online talking about it.
A few years ago, we saw a silly amount spent from clubs as low at tier 7, mainly due to Glenn Tamplin’s experiment at Billericay Town.
He signed the likes of Paul Konchesky, Jamie O’Hara and Jermaine Pennant in the bid to win multiple promotions to get closer to the EFL, however they got as far as the National League South.
Tamplin has since departed, tried his hand at another project at Romford, only for that to flop fast and now he’s no longer in the country it would seem, taking time away from football.
Nowadays, the big earners with a biggest pension allowance are concentrated in the top tier of non league football. Here are, reportedly, the 7 best paid non league players for the 2021/22 season…
DANNY ROWE & ADAM ROONEY
They currently earn £2,000 a week, but Rooney was once earning as much as £4,000 back when he signed for Salford City in a surprise move from the top flight of Scottish football.
His departure from Aberdeen, where he scored 88 goals in 167 games, was seen as a huge statement of intent by the Ammies, though many north of the border pointed out he was in decline over the two preceding seasons.
Nonetheless, he was fairly lethal in the National League, scoring 21 goals, Salford won promotion, however he didn’t win the golden boot that season (18/19), that was the man who he tied with in the ranking, Danny Rowe who scored 26 goals for AFC Fylde.
In five and a half years at the club, he scored 189 goals in 290 games including 50 goals in a single season, before joining Oldham in January 2020, followed by Bradford City in 2021, however was slightly less prolific in the EFL and is now playing for Chesterfield back in non league.
He has scored 5 goals in 10 games so far this season and remains a star man aged 32 though has been sidelined through injury.
Rooney meanwhile left Salford and went to Solihull in 2020, where he is the club’s highest earner and has only scored 3 in 15 this league season.
Both players are reported to earn £2,000 a week.
He plays in central midfield for Wrexham, and even very casual followers of the non league game aren’t surprised to know he isn’t the only player of Wrexham to feature in this.
The Welsh side have been stuck in this league for around a decade now, but now fans are optimistic for a bright future following the takeover of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
Last season, the squad was investigated heavily and James Jones was brought in from Lincoln City, and he only previously played in Leagues One and Two, as well as two years left on his contract when at the Imps.
It took a contract of £3,000 a week to bring him to the Racecourse Ground and that amount ties him with another few players.
A very familiar face to those who know of the lower leagues of English football, he enjoyed a blistering rise through the divisions almost 10 years ago.
In the space of two seasons, he went from playing to Chester in the National League North to making PFA Team of the Year for Fleetwood.
A creative and industrious central midfielder, who can also play as a number 10, Sarcevic won promotion from League Two with Bolton last season (20/21).
He started and captained the Trotters for their first 13 games of the current campaign, but has since left fro Wrexham, a shock move.
He had aspirations for Championship football but instead posted a social media message that football is a cruel sport and took the money Stockport were offering, £3,000 a week.
He reportedly earns as much as Ben Johnson, who was West Ham’s player of the year last season, and has featured a few games this season in the first team.
The last of the three inclusions on £3,000 a week, costing more than the average for two leagues above.
He was another ambitious signing for Wrexham in the summer, coming in from Carlisle United, for an undisclosed fee but reported at £100,000.
Born in Croydon, Hayden started out at Chelsea then came through the youth ranks at Wolves, but never made a first team appearance at the Molineux outfit.
He went out on loan 7 times and was released in 2019 after the club finished 7th in the Premier League.
He joined Carlisle on a rolling 1 year deal following a trial, he made 49 appearances and there was expectation that he’s be heading to a League One club.
Instead he went to Wrexham, and he is arguably the most accomplished defender in the league, being ever present playing every minute of every game and even chipped in with a few goals.
The second Stockport player to feature in this, he is said to be the Hatters’ highest earner at £3,500 a week.
That works out at £180,000 a year, which means even if Madden fully utilises his £40,000 pension allowance, he will still get stuck with a 60% tax trap between 100 and £120,000.
Though he would avoid paying any additional rate tax over £150,000.
Throughout his rich vain of form with Scunthorpe, capped once by Ireland in 2013, he came into prominence at Yeovil under Gary Johnson where he fired the goals to help guide the team to promotion from League One.
Very respectable stints at Scunny and Fleetwood followed, before he dropped two divisions in March 2021, Stockport paid £150,000 to sign him.
The deal was too good to turn down and his previous side was looking to trim down the wage budget anyway.
Madden signed a three year a three month contract, which will keep him at Stockport until he is age 34.
He has scored 8 goals in 19 league games so far, with the Hatters 8th after 20 matches played, eyeing the playoffs while are also 7 points from the league leaders.
Between them, Wrexham’s two centre back are reportedly earning £7,000, and there are many of Championship, League One and League Two duos who bring in less.
Tozer came in as another summer signing, age 31, he once played a part in Newcastle’s Championship promotion winning season (09/10) and prior to being at Wrexham never played in non league.
He has been a first team regular at the likes of Northampton, Yeovil, Newport and Cheltenham and made the PFA Team of the Year last season as well as the players’ and fans’ player of the year.
Wrexham had to pay a six figure fee to bring him in, and now boast arguably the two best centre backs in the league featuring side by side.
Following a slow start, they now find themselves third in the standings, taking 39 points from 22 games played, and four points behind the leaders. They have conceded 23 goals from those league games, putting them 7th in terms of goals against.
Wrexham dominate this, with four inclusions from eight, Mullin is the club’s most ambitious summer arrival, a centre forward who spent much of his half a decade in League Two, he came to life for 20/21, scoring 34 in 50 games helping Cambridge to promotion and was going to be their star man ahead of the League One season if he signed a new contract, though Championship clubs came calling.
Instead he surprisingly switched to non league for the first time in his career since heading to Vauxhall Motors in 2013.
Cambridge said he signed an unbelievable contract at the Red Dragons, reported at £4,000 a week – working out at £200,000 a year. If there are any goal or appearances bonuses, he could be in danger of seeing his pension allowance start to taper altogether.
Absolutely lethal last season, he was a statement of intent, but many pointed out he only really had one good season. Scoring goals at National League level come naturally to him, getting 10 in 19 for the league, and thats putting him joint 7th with Torquay’s Armani Little. Chesterfield’s Kabongo Tshimanga leads the way with 18 from 20 games.
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