Trevor Francis became the first £1m player when he switched from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest in 1979, and since then money has dominated the game.
Division One champions Forest managed by Brian Clough swooped in for Francis after he scored 119 goals in 280 appearances for the Reds. The fee was actually £1.15m and he scored 28 goals in 70 appearances, including the winning goal in the 1979 European Cup Final against Malmo.
How did the signing shake Forest?
Aside from writing the Nottingham side’s name in the history books with that goal, Francis never fulfilled his potential at the City Ground. Many blamed Clough for playing him on the right wing too much, and a number of injuries, including one preventing him playing in the 1980 European Cup Final, also had an impact.
It could be argued his move did shake Forest by making everyone, including themselves, believe they were bound for success due to the money they spent on Francis. The signing also piled pressure on the Tricky Trees to succeed, which Clough and his men lived up to with great success for the short period Francis was at the club.
How did the signing shake the world?
Francis wasn’t the first player in the world to be bought for over £1m, that was and Giuseppe Savoldi who moved from Bologna to Napoli for £1.2m in 1975. However, with the English top flight now the most watched league in the world, the influence of his signature on the English game has been felt across the globe.
The previous record in Britain was £516,000 for David Mills’ move from Middlesbrough to West Brom, and to double that in less than a week is quite the jump. It began the process of a ‘money talks’ culture that accelerated during the inception of the Premier League in 1992.