Do Football Managers Get Paid More Than Players? [ANALYSIS]

In this day and age, coaching a professional football team might be one of the most physically and mentally exhausting jobs in the world.

While the athletes finish their morning training session and head back home to enjoy the rest of their day, the tactician often remans in his office, trying to lay out plans for the next matches and taking care of other tasks that the players don’t have to be bothered with.

Moreover, once the results go south, it’s the manager who often pays the price with his head appearing first on the chopping block. On the contrary, it’s the star players’ faces that steal the headlines following a great achievement.

So who in their right mind would want to become a football manager?

Well, perhaps the lucrative wages sort of explain it.

So how much do football managers get paid? How does it compare to the players’ salaries? And do they get bonuses as well?

Let’s find out who’s getting the better deals.

How Much Do Football Managers Get Paid?

Reminiscently to football players, managers get paid based on their reputation, their former achievements and the club that they work at amongst other factors. The figures can be extremely varied between one manager and another, even in the same league.

For instance, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola is the highest earner amongst Premier League managers, collecting around 20 million pounds per year. On the other hand, Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder was the league’s lowest earner in 2020/21 with a yearly wage of 675,000 pounds.

However, the Premier League is the top of the echelon in the sport today, and therefore, comparing EPL numbers to lower leagues wouldn’t make sense.

Nevertheless, if we compare the wages earned by the managers of England’s top tier to those collected by Serie A coaches (another top European league), we’ll notice a significant gap between the two based on the reported salaries from the 2020/21 season.

Premier LeagueManagerBase salary per year (£)Serie AManagerBase salary per year (€)
1Manchester City Pep Guardiola20 millionInter Antonio Conte12 million
2LiverpoolJurgen Klopp15 millionRoma Paulo Fonseca2.5 million
3TottenhamJosé Mourinho15 million Atalanta Gian Piero Gasperini2.2 million
4Everton Carlo Ancelotti11 million Lazio Simone Inzaghi2 million
5Chelsea Frank Lampard8 million Milan Stefano Pioli2 million
6Leeds UnitedMarcelo Bielsa8 million BolognaSinisa Mihajlovic2 million
7Manchester UnitedOle Gunnar Solskjaer 7.8 million Juventus Andrea Pirlo1.8 million
8Arsenal Mikel Arteta5 million SampdoriaClaudio Ranieri1.8 million
9Leicester CityBrendan Rodgers 5 millionNapoli Gennaro Gattuso1.5 million
10Crystal PalaceRoy Hodgson 4.5 millionCagliariEusebio Di Francesco1.5 million
11FulhamScott Parker3.5 million Torino Marco Giampaolo1.5 million
12West HamDavid Moyes3 millionSassuoloRoberto De Zerbi1.1 million
13Newcastle UnitedSteve Bruce2.75 millionBeneventoFilippo Inzaghi1 million
14Wolves Nuno Espirito Santo4 million (after renewal)Hellas VeronaIvan Juric1 million
15Burnley Sean Dyche 2.4 million FiorentinaGiuseppe Iachini0.9 million
16Aston VillaDean Smith1.5 million GenoaRolando Maran0.85 million
17BrightonGraham Potter 1 million UdineseLuca Gotti0.6 million
18Southampton Ralph Hassenhuttl 1 million CrotoneGiovanni Stroppa0.6 million
19West BromwichSlaven Bilic 0.85 million ParmaFabio Liverani0.5 million
20Sheffield UnitedChris Wilder 0.675 million SpeziaVincenzo Italiano0.5 million
Comparing the salaries of football managers in Premier League and Serie A based on the 2020/21 season

After analyzing the table above, we can pick up the following conclusions:

1- Teams who are at the top pay more handsomely, mainly because they have the means to acquire the best managers of the world, the likes of Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte.

2- Experience and past achievements play a key role in determining the salary, which partially explains why Juventus (who dominated Italian football at the time) were only 7th on the list after appointing a rookie tactician in Andrea Pirlo.

3- Unsurprisingly, clubs that feature in richer leagues will pay larger wages to their managers. Conte aside, the coaches of top Serie A clubs earn less than the majority of the EPL’s midtable managers.

Do Managers Get Paid More Than Players?

More often than not, a football manager earns more than the majority of the players at his disposal – if not all of them. However, this isn’t always the case, as it happens that a club appoints a manager who lacks experience or an elusive CV, and his wages could dwarf in comparison to the players’ salaries.

Perhaps Pirlo’s case at Juventus in 2020/21 can serve as the prime example for the last case. The rookie manager earned less than 2 million euros per season, while the Bianconeri had the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo (31 million euros per year) on their wage bill. Even the club’s benchwarmers earned more than the Maestro.

Nevertheless, this remains a rare case, and the end result proves why appointing an unexperienced manager for one of hottest seats in European football wasn’t the wisest of decisions.

In most cases, a top club will do its best to appoint a world class manager to lead the troops, and the commander will be expected to earn more than his soldiers – or at least the majority of them.

Football Manager vs Player Salary

In our case study, we’ll adopt the English Premier League as our example when comparing the wages of football managers and their players, once again based on the 2020/21 season.

ClubManagerManager Salary per season (£) Average Player Salary per season (£)
Manchester UnitedOle Gunna Solkjear7.8 million6.5 million
Manchester City Pep Guardiola20 million5.7 million
ChelseaFranck Lampard8 million5.3 million
Tottenham HotspurJosé Mourinho15 million4.8 million
ArsenalMikel Arteta5 million4.4 million
LiverpoolJurgen Klopp15 million4.4 milion
Everton Carlo Ancelotti11 million3.3 million
Crystal PalaceRoy Hodgson4.5 million2.9 million
West Ham UnitedDavid Moyes3 million2.8 million
Leicester CityBrendan Rodgers5 million2.8 million
Wolves Nuno Espirito Santo4 million2.7 million
Aston VillaDean Smith1.5 million2.5 million
Southampton Ralph Hassenhuttl1 million2.5 million
Fulham Scott Parker3.5 million2.2 million
Newcastle UnitedSteve Bruce2.75 million2 million
Leeds UnitedMarcelo Bielsa8 million1.7 million
BrightonGraham Potter1 million1.7 million
BurnleySean Dyche2.4 million1.6 million
West BromwichSlaven Bilic0.8 million0.9 million
Sheffield UnitedChris Wilder0.675 million0.7 million
Comparing the Premier League’s manager salaries with the average wages of the players based on the 2020/21 season

Based on the table above, the vast majority of the 20 Premier League managers who started the 2020/21 season earned more than their average player during that season. Only five coaches earned less according to the stats assembled between Soccer Prime and Sporting Free.

Do Football Managers Get Bonuses?

Reminiscently to player contracts, a football club often adds one or more bonus clauses to the manager’s contract to further motivate him. These bonuses are usually related to achieving the team’s objectives on the pitch (winning trophies, earning promotion, avoiding relegation…) or they can be loyalty bonuses.

According to Si.com, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City contract includes a bonus worth 10 million euros for winning the Champions League, as well as a loyalty clause that would see him earn a full year’s salary if he decides to remain at the Etihad Stadium until the end of his deal in 2022/23 rather that opting for an early termination.

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Michel Sakr

A freelance sports writer from Beirut, Lebanon. A football fanatic and a Juventus supporter since childhood, but also keeps an eye on various sports around the globe. Currently contributes at Cultofcacio.com and Juvefc.com You can follow Michel on Twitter or Facebook.

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