Micah Richards, former Manchester City defender, shocked Gary Lineker when he revealed that he had turned down a £100,000-a-week wage at the club. Richards had come through the academy at City and made his first team debut at just 17 years old. He spent a decade at the club before leaving for Aston Villa. Speaking on Match of the Day Top 10, Richards revealed that he had declined the huge contract, which he now considers to be the “worst decision” of his career.
At the time, Stuart Pearce was the manager and Richards was earning £5,000-a-week. Pearce offered him double the money, £10,000-a-week, but Richards was just getting into the England squad and felt he was worth more. He ended up signing a contract worth £50,000-a-week.
City then offered Richards a five-and-a-half-year deal worth £100,000-a-week, but he turned it down because he was second choice to Pablo Zabaleta. Richards joked that he was “not all about the money”. Lineker called him an “idiot” for turning down such an offer.
Richards eventually signed for Aston Villa, taking a pay cut in the process. However, Villa were relegated in his first season and his wages were halved. Richards now works as a pundit for broadcasters including the BBC, Sky Sports and CBS Sports.
During his time at City, Richards made 245 appearances and won the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup. He retired from football in 2019.