Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Transfer Records: Then and Now

Anybody who has caught more than a few words or seconds of transfer deadline-day coverage in the press or media must have realised Robinho's €42million switch from Real Madrid to Manchester City on Monday (Sep 1) broke the British transfer record.

The fee, equivalent to £32,500,000, was £1.7million more than Chelsea paid for Andriy Shevchenko in July 2006 (let's ignore inflation, as this is about football, not politics or economics!). But when did the transfer record in the UK become "really big"? When were the barriers broken?

While a few are well known, Wikipedia can step in to offer the UK transfer record from 1904 until the present day:

As can be seen, the first recorded record was the £700 switch of Andy McCombie from Sunderland to Newcastle in January 1904. The article claims the four-figure deal taking Alf Common from Sunderland to Middlesbrough in February 1905 "caused a national sensation and outrage amongst the football authorities" - they must be rolling in their graves now!

Without going through all the records - just click the link to the article link to peruse them - one certainly jumps out. Mark Hughes, May 1986, from Manchester United to Barcelona for £2.3million. The same Mark Hughes who is now sitting on top of the largest transfer kitty ever known in football.

We'll probably never find out, but wouldn't it be fascinating to know what he thought then, and what he thinks now, about the amount of money in the game...?