Michael Flatley

Michael FlatleyThe Lord of the Dance was born in Chicago, the son of a plumber, and he followed his old man into the business.   He went from Roto-Rooter to multi-millionaire in just seven years, simply by flinging his freaky little feet at five thousand miles an hour.  Michael, whose parents emigrated from Ireland a decade earlier, began dance lessons at the age of four, taught by his grandmother.  He went on to become the first American to win the World Irish Dance Championships.  He tried to start a dance studio after graduating from high school, but the opportunities for a working wage through traditional Irish dancing were not exactly bountiful.  Flatley made his living with a variety of manual labour jobs, ultimately starting his own business, Dynasty Plumbing.  "I’m no stranger to hard work," he said.  "I think any man who works for a living should be proud."  Well said Michael.  Flatley was 36 before he left the problems of intractable garbage disposal to become the star of Riverdance, taking traditional Irish steps across the world.  One year later he went in the huff over the choreography and was fired so he set up his own version, Lord of the Dance.  It was a bit similar to Riverdance but he got more money out of it.  Much more.

Tom Finney

Tom FinneyKnown as the Preston Plumber, this 76-times capped winger is still considered one of the greatest British players of all time.  He became an apprentice plumber at 14, a trade he continued all his working life, even at the height of his international fame.  Yet during the 40s and 50s he was never paid any more than any other player, getting just the £20 a week maximum wage.  These days, of course, he could earn a fortune – simply by working as a plumber.  In 1952 Italian side Palermo offered him a £10,000 signing on fee, £130 a month wages, bonuses of up to £100 a game, a Mediterranean villa, a luxury car and free travel to and from Italy for his family.  They also offered Preston £30,000 by way of a transfer fee.  This was 1952 and such sums of money were unimaginable.  Finney turned it down.  Even then being a plumber was lucrative work.  “Tom Finney would have been great in any team, in any match and in any age. . . even if he had been wearing an overcoat.” – Bill Shankly.