The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

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Trevor Francis, the Man Who Broke the £1 Million Mark in English Football

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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Trevor Francis, the Man Who Broke the £1 Million Mark in English Football

by Brian Phillips · February 9, 2009

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