Another transfer fee record

January 10, 1913
The transfer of the professional Danny Shea from the West Ham Club to the Blackburn Rovers at a fee of £2,000, of which the player received £550, creates another of the “records” of which League football followers are so curiously proud and once again directs public attention to a feature of professional Association football which is largely responsible for the low tone it has acquired. It has also provided a peg upon which the journalistic champions of things as they are have hung their cheap sneers at those who talk about football “slave markets,” their argument apparently being that the man sold cannot be regarded as fettered if his chains are gilded.

The system under which players are bought and sold is repugnant to all lovers of sport, and a source of real hardship to hundreds of the men who come under its operations. Except for Mr.C.E. Sutcliffe, with whom, as a lawyer, all things legal seem right, I do not know a single football “authority” who does not admit that the transfer system is objectionable, if not immoral. On the other hand, I do not know one who thinks it can be abolished.
Mr.G.Wagstaffe Simmons declared that it is “an ugly excrescense on the game” – but the clubs will have it. Mr.Pickford, another Football Association Councillor, declares the system goes too far, but has no alternative to suggest. Mr.John Lewis, of the Football Association and the League, “does not like it,” but excuses it on the ground that it seldom works harshly.

Mr. Simmons tells ut that “the clubs make the rules and the clubs will not give it up”; but has any real attempt even been made, since Mr.J.C.Clegg’s prophetic exclamation that “buying and selling of players would ruin the game,” to show the clubs the error of their ways? Have they not rather been encouraged to imitate the example of the Football League until now every little league in the country has its transfer system, and the prices of players range from £2,000 down to half a crown?
(Source: Daily Mail: January 10, 1913)

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