Trevor Francis, the Man Who Broke the £1 Million Mark in English Football
by Brian Phillips · February 9, 2009
30 years ago today, Brian Clough made Trevor Francis the subject of the first £1 million transfer fee in British football. Simon Briggs has a terrific look back at the occasion in today’s Telegraph, including the historic press conference at which Nottingham Forest announced their new signing:
Clough, typically, put his own spin on events. He turned up in a bright red sports jacket, and with a squash racket in his hand, as if to suggest that his social life was far more important than this minor business formality.
Clough always insisted, presumably to reduce the pressure on his new striker, that the actual fee Forest paid to Birmingham had been £999,999. In fact, with taxes and fees included, the total outlay was close to £1.2 million. In any case, Francis went on to have a slightly disappointing career at Forest, though he did score the winner in the 1979 European Cup final with a diving header against Malmö. He was eventually sold to Manchester City for even more money, establishing a pattern that would mark many of City’s future signings. “Those whom the gods wish to destroy,” Briggs writes, “they sell for a record transfer fee.” Tremble, Robinho.
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