August 21, 1969
Tony Hateley is facing the biggest challenge of an incredible career that yesterday made him Britain’s most expensive football wanderer. After eleven months with Coventry, in which he played only 19 first team games and scored just five goals, struggling Birmingham paid £72,500 for him to put them back on the Second Division promotion trail.
It is centre forward Hateley’s fifth move in six years – at a cost of £374,500. And it puts him ahead of Allan Clarke who reached the £350,000 mark with a move to Leeds this summer. In the last three years alone four clubs have paid a total of £352,500 for Hateley. And his salary of this record in transfer fees is now an astonishing £17,600.
Hateley has won only one top honour in football – and FA Cup losers medal with Chelsea. But he drives up to matches in a sparkling new Mercedes, live in a new £11,000 house just outside Coventry, has a thriving business and only talks to his accountant in thousands.
His switch to Birmingham comes only three days after fans had again chanted “Cullis out” and his displays will obviously be a key factor in deciding the future of Blues team boss.
Hateley’s trail through British football is the most astonishing ever seen. He has scored only fort-one goals since becoming a £100,000 player. He scored nine for Chelsea – which works out at £11,000 each – but one of them put his club into a Wembley Cup final. He scored twenty-seven for Liverpool – at a little over £3,500 each. And his five Coventry goals cost the club £16,000 apiece.
But of course every club has recouped its cash because there has always been an anxious buyer on the doorstep.. so far. This latest deal went through in a rush and Hateley plays for his new club against Blackpool tomorrow.
Hateley said last night: “I have been in the background for a time and I am looking forward to getting back into first team football.”
“This is the first time I will have played in the Second Division and I am sure I will soon be scoring goals again.”
Coventry will not let the cash lie in the bank and will chase John O’Rourke of Ipswich.
(Copyright, Daily Mirror, 22-08-1969)