In a survey of 4,000 supporters, eight out of 10 believed footballers' wages should be either cut or capped, The Guardian has exclusively revealed. The Virgin Money Football Fans' Inflation Index found that 40% of match-day supporters advocate a wage cut for their own club's players while only 20% of those surveyed believe that footballers should be free to earn as much as they can.
The introduction of a league-wide wage cap is supported by 41% of fans.
In the Premier League, where no wage cap operates, the average player earns about £21,000 a week, or £1.1m a year, with the highest paid players - such as Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Robinho - earning up to £130,000 a week, almost £7m a year.
At present a wage cap only operates in League Two and the Blue Square Premier, restricting clubs to a wage bill of no more than 60% of their turnover.
Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters Federation, said that the approach of the lower leagues should be adopted by the top three tiers of English football: "This is the way forward and we would like to see this introduced in the higher leagues to ensure financial responsibility.
"Like any other industry, football has to learn to live within its means and look after its customers, many of whom are suffering as a result of the recession," he added. "If this means more ticket price reductions and a bit less for the top players, so be it."