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|Full name||Alfred Common|
|Date of birth||25 May 1880|
|Place of birth||Millfield, England|
|Date of death||3 April 1946(aged 65)|
|Place of death||Darlington, England|
|1912–1914||Preston North End||35||(9)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
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.
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 United's 1902 FA Cup Final win 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'. 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.
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).
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.
|Sheffield United||1901–02||Division 1||20||6||9||3||29||9|
References and notes
- Proud, Keith (18 August 2008). "The player with the Common touch". The Northern Echo. Newsquest Media. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
- A Sensational Transfer. Sheffield United matchday programme. 21 September 1985.
- Proud, Kieth (18 August 2013). "The Player with the Common Touch". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- Henderson, Tony (8 November 2011). "Keepsakes of record breaking footballer Alf Common go to auction". the Northern Echo. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- Alf Common England profile at Englandstats