The unfair football transfer system


April 2, 1901
In an article dealing with the transfer of players in the Association professional world, a writer in the Sphere remarks that however beneficial the system may be to the clubs concerned, it can scarcely prove anything but prejudicial to the players, for should any of the latter refuse to carry out the contract that has been entered into with reference to them they are debarred from playing for any other League club, and are consequently compelled to leave that class of football.

The case of Johnny Holt, the old International and Everton player, shows how hardly the transfer system may bear upon a brilliant and deserving players.

Johnny Holt.

Holt Everton

In a letter to the writer Holt says –
“I cost Everton nothing to secure my services. I played for them for nine years, and then when I wished to make a change, they asked for £300 for my transfer. This practically barred me from playing in the North for naturally a man could not be worth that to any club after having played so long.

“I may state that New Brighton offered Everton £135 for my transfer, and Burnley were prepared to pay £200, but neither offer came to anything. Consequently, I had to come South, out of reach of transfer fees. Directly I had signed for Reading I received a telegram from Everton to come and meet the secretary of the Clyde Football Club. The two clubs had agreed about my transfer. It had been arranged without my consent, and then it was also too late.”

Another case is that of Jack Sharp, the present secretary of the Reading Club. He played for Preston North End for six years, and was then asked by the executive of that club to undergo a special medical examination. The physician consulted pronounced Sharp unfit for football. North End consequently told him that he was not required any longer, and informed him that they would transfer him to any club he wished for £50. This the player objected to, as he had cost Preston nothing for his transfer, and eventually he also migrated southward, where he is still doing good service in the game for which he was formerly pronounced unfit.
(Source: Dundee Evening Post: April 2, 1901)

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