Alf Common

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Alf Common
Alf Common.jpg
Personal information
Full name Alfred Common
Date of birth (1880-05-25)25 May 1880
Place of birth Millfield, England
Date of death 3 April 1946(1946-04-03) (aged 65)
Place of death Darlington, England
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1900–1901 Sunderland 18 (6)
1901–1904 Sheffield United 67 (21)
1904–1905 Sunderland 20 (6)
1905–1910 Middlesbrough 168 (58)
1910–1912 Woolwich Arsenal 77 (23)
1912–1914 Preston North End 35 (9)
National team
1904–1906 England 3 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Alf Common (25 May 1880 in Millfield – 3 April 1946 in Darlington) was an English footballer who played at inside forward or centre forward. He is most famous for being the first player to be transferred for a fee of £1,000 on his transfer to Middlesbrough from Sunderland in 1905.[1]

Club career[edit]

Common played for South Hylton and Jarrow in North East England before joining Sunderland in 1900. Sunderland finished Division One runners-up in 1900–01, after which Common transferred to Sheffield United in October 1901 for £325. Neither Sunderland nor Sheffield United had cause to regret the deal in the sense that Sunderland finished as Division One Champions in 1901–02, and Common scored the first goal in the Blades FA Cup final win of 1902 over Southampton.

Common became a regular member of Sheffield United teams, and won the first of his three international caps in 1904, but in May of that year he refused to re-sign for United because he wished to return to Sunderland where he was reported to have 'business interests'.[2] United failed to persuade Common to change his mind and in the summer of 1904, he returned to Sunderland. The deal also took United's reserve goalkeeper Albert Lewis in return for a new record fee of around £520.

In February 1905, little more than six months after this move, he broke the transfer record again by moving to Middlesbrough for £1,000. Middlesbrough had purchased Common in an attempt to avoid relegation to the Second Division. His first game for Middlesbrough was on 25 February 1905, away to his former club Sheffield United. Middlesbrough won 1–0, with Common scoring from a penalty after 50 minutes, it was their first away win for nearly two years. Consequently the team, who had so far been battling against relegation that season, survived the drop. He played 168 league games for Boro and scored 58 goals.

Alf Common of England, The World's first £1000 Footballer

At the age of 30, Common moved to Woolwich Arsenal in 1910, making his debut on 1 September 1910 against Manchester United. In total, he played 80 times and scored 23 goals for Arsenal; after starting out at inside forward, he took on a more attacking role in his second season and was the club's top goalscorer (with 17) in 1911–12, missing just two league games. However, he didn't score a single goal in the first half of the Gunners' 1912–13 relegation season, before being sold to Preston North End in December 1912 for £250. At Preston, he helped the club to win the Division Two title that season, although they were relegated the following season (1913–14).

Common retired from football in 1914, and went on to run pubs in Darlington until 1943.[1] He died in 1946 aged 65.[3]

In 1998 Alf Common was selected as one of the Football League's 100 Football League Legends.Alf Commons keepsakes, England caps and cup winners medals etc. were auctioned by Graham Budd Auctions in London in November 2011.[4]

International career[edit]

Common won his first England cap, against Wales on 29 February 1904. In all he won three caps, scoring two goals.

Career statistics[edit]

League FA Cup Total
Club Season Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Sheffield United 1901–02 Division 1 20 6 9 3 29 9
1902–03 Division 1 18 7 0 0 18 7
1903–04 Division 1 29 8 3 0 32 8
Total 67 21 12 3 79 24
Middlesbrough 1904–05 Division 1 10 4 0 0 10 4
1905–06 Division 1 36 19 5 2 41 21
1906–07 Division 1 29 12 2 1 31 13
1907–08 Division 1 34 9 1 0 35 9
1908–09 Division 1 33 10 1 0 34 10
1909–10 Division 1 26 4 1 1 27 5
Total 168 58 10 7 178 65
Woolwich Arsenal Total 77 23 3 0 80 23


Honours[edit]

Sunderland

Sheffield United

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Proud, Keith (18 August 2008). "The player with the Common touch". The Northern Echo. Newsquest Media. Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  2. ^ A Sensational Transfer. Sheffield United matchday programme. 21 September 1985.
  3. ^ Proud, Kieth (18 August 2013). "The Player with the Common Touch". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  4. ^ Henderson, Tony (8 November 2011). "Keepsakes of record breaking footballer Alf Common go to auction". the Northern Echo. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Andy McCombie
World football transfer record
1905–1913
Succeeded by
George Lillycrop