A fair distance from the brightest spotlight of Premier League betting odds, the best players in League One are still under pressure on a weekly basis.
Crowds in the third tier of English football are sizeable, and the demands of playing in League One are significant.
The ultimate aim of all clubs at this level is to break into Championship betting odds. For some, that becomes a reality in the spring.
For others, it is part of a longer-term project to climb the pyramid. The range of footballing backgrounds covered in League One is remarkable, from big-six loanees to former non-league players.
League One Salary - Player Wages
The financial figures for League One clubs are less publicly available than those competing in the topflight, or even the clubs in the Championship. As a result, exact numbers for League One salaries are limited.
The salaries debated in this article are all courtesy of Salary Sport, who have provided figures for the 100 highest-paid League One footballers in 2022-23.
Average League One Salary
Inevitably, the average League One salaries are higher than their League Two counterparts. Across the 100 top earners in League One, the average salary is £7,045 per week, which works out at over £360,000 per year.
According to Salary Sport, there are 52 players in League One earning £6,000 or more per week. This is miles off the earnings in the Premier League and other top European leagues, but it is still a handsome pay check compared to the rest of us.
It is worth remembering that the average annual salary in the UK is under £30,000 – there is a solid group of League One footballers earning around that number per month.
The median League One salary is £6,000 per week, a figure earned by four players (Will Vaulks, Kyle Edwards, Lee Evans and Kyle Joseph).
Highest Paid League One Player
Former Scotland international and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Barry Bannan is the highest-paid League One player in 2023.
Per Salary Sport, Bannan is pocketing £21,000 per week, which is three grand more than any other player in the third tier. No other permanent League One player is on more than £12,000 per week.
Plymouth’s duo of Sam Cosgrove and Bali Mumba are both on £18,000, but they are each on loan from bigger clubs. Manchester City loanee Slobodan Tedić is at Barnsley, and has a reported weekly wage of £13,000.
Experienced in the Championship and Premier League, it is no surprise Bannan is on such a sizeable wage.
The Scot is 33 years old, and broke into the Aston Villa first team as a teenager. Loans to Derby, Leeds and Blackpool followed before Bannan joined Crystal Palace permanently in 2013.
The Eagles sent him on a short loan to Bolton in 2015, and he joined Sheffield Wednesday later that year. The Airdrie native has made over 330 appearances for the Owls.
League One Manager Salary
With the money in football soaring across the board, League One manager salaries have increased across the last few seasons. The actual numbers can vary considerably depending on the clubs in the league in any given year, however.
An average League One manager salary naturally slots between the numbers for League Two and the Championship. It is thought to be around the £200,000 mark, which is a hefty figure by most standards.
It is still a long way off what those in the Premier League receive, and most League One managers will be earning less than those in the Championship.
Logically, the bigger clubs in 2022-23 are likely to be paying their managers more money.
Just as Paul Lambert was thought to be the highest earner a few seasons ago, clubs like Bolton and Sheffield Wednesday are probably spending more on their coaching staffs than Port Vale, Morecambe and Exeter.
There are some well-known managers plying their trade in League One this season, including Joey Barton, Scott Brown, Steve Cotterill, Duncan Ferguson, Darren Ferguson and Karl Robinson.
League One Salary Compared To Premier League Wages
Those at the forefront of Premier League predictions earn in a day what even the wealthiest League One players pocket in a week.
In fact, many League One footballers earn less in a year than the top Premier League players do in just a few days. The disparity is massive.
Let’s start with Barry Bannan, League One’s highest earner, as a reference point. If Bannan was in the Premier League, he would be tied with Ivan Toney as the 431st highest earner, according to Spotrac.
Josh Windass, who receives £12,000 per week to place second among permanent League One players, would be almost 500th in the Premier League weekly wage list.
There are only 54 League One players earning over £300,000 per year. Nine Premier League players receive that figure in a single week.
The vast majority of players permanently contracted to League One clubs are on wages which are dwarfed by their Premier League peers.
The average Premier League salary continues to grow, placing in the tens of thousands with many, many players earning six figures each week.
Some of this financial growth has trickled down to League One, but in reality, the Premier League’s salary explosion has not been passed on to the lower leagues. The gap is only getting bigger.
Still, it is important to take a wider view of wages in the third tier. League One players are raking it in compared to most of the country.
Their careers are limited, and the contracts are often shorter than in the Premier League, providing less of a long-term guarantee, but the bulk of League One footballers are earning enough to set them up for life.
*Credit for the images used in this article belongs to AP Photo*