Another transfer window is here and the managers are looking for some new faces to add to the squad. After signing Angel di Maria for a British record transfer fee of £59.7 million previous summer, Manchester United are eyeing few other outstanding players this winter. On the other hand, Chelsea, Manchester City or Arsenal are also in line with plenty of cashes to spend and no one would be amazed if some player sets a new transfer record in near future, such is the status of European football of late. However, football has not always been such big business. One may have heard of how top flight players like John Barnes and Ian Wright got their first transfers in exchange for training kit and equipment for their local club, but some other transfer fees have been a little less pragmatic and a little more culinary. In this article, we will be discussing five such weird transfers in a chronological order.
1. Ernie Blenkinsop – Beer:
In 1921, while playing for local village side Cudworth United Methodists, young Blenkinsop was spotted by the-then Second Division club Hull City and quickly snapped up. It being shortly after the First World War, Hull were understandably not that keen on spending much actual money for a teenager. In the end they settled on a humble £100 in addition to a barrel of beer to share around Blenkinsop’s former team-mates, something that probably went down pretty well in Cudworth. 19 year old Blenkinsop only made a handful of appearances for Hull, but that was enough to convince Sheffield Wednesday to pay actual money to sign him next season. At Wednesday, he became the driving force behind a team that rose from the bottom of the Second Division to become back-to-back League Champions. Ernie went on to earn 26 England caps, captaining the team 5 times. In 1934 Wednesday sold him to Liverpool for £5000, a pretty impressive increase in value!
2. Hugh McLenahan – Ice cream:
Manchester United may have spent more than hundred millions last summer but their transfer approach was not similar back in 1927, at the time of signing Stockport County wing-half Hugh McLenahan. With Stockport struggling financially and United Assistant Manager Louis Rocca the owner of an ice cream business, it seemed obvious in the logic of 1920s transfers that the appropriate thing would be for United to donate some of Rocca’s ice cream to a Stockport fundraiser. The deal was done in exchange of three freezers full of ice creams and McLenahan joined the Red Devils. He stayed at the club for a decade, during which time they finished last in the First Division in 1931 and dropped to their lowest ever league position in the Second Division in 1934. A decent utility player, McLenahan never really established himself as a regular in the first team and, after playing 116 games for the club, was sold on to Notts County.
3. Ion Radu – Meat:
This is a story from Romania and not from long ago. In 1998, after getting relegated from the Romanian top flight, CS Jiul Petrosani found themselves both struggling financially and overburdened with players. However, selling the players for handsome amount of cash seemed to be a big problem too. So, the club’s chairman took a rather interesting approach while selling midfielder Ion Radu to Chimia Ramnicu Valcea. The deal was settled in exchange for two tonnes of beef and pork, which, the chairman stated, could then be sold to pay the wages of the rest of the Petrosani team. Radu did not have the chance to improve his worth as Valcea continued to struggle and eventually went bankrupt in 2004.
4. Kenneth Kristensen – Shrimp:
The Striker was a decent player, netting 14 times for Norwegian Third Division club Vindbjart during the 2002 season, but Kristensen adopted a more laid back approach the following summer. According to the club’s chairman, “He has had a relaxed summer eating seafood on Flekkeroy”. The solution? Simple enough! Vindbjart sold Kristensen to Flekkeroy IL, also in the Third Division in exchange for some fresh seafood. An arrangement was soon made to trade Kristensen for his weight in shrimp. At a boxing style weigh in, Kristensen was found to be worth 75kg of uncooked crustacean and both sides were happy enough with the deal. Flekkeroy finished second in the division that season and in 2004, went on to win the league and were promoted to the second flight. Kristensen was obviously something of a trendsetter in terms of a “will work for food” attitude in Norwegian football as, in 2005, former First Division player Bard Erik Olsen came out of retirement to play for Fifth Division Tronvik in exchange for a pizza a week.
5. Marius Cioara – Sausage:
Here is another transfer story from Romania that took place eight years after Ion Radu was sold for two tonnes of meat. Marius Cioara made the move from Second Division UT Arad to Fourth Division Regal Hornia for a fee consisting entirely of sausages. This deal was definitely humiliating for the player, as the sausage value was only 15 kg, 120 times less than Radu’s. Cioara was extremely insulted, either because of a transfer fee that was in sausage or due to the small amount of sausage he was deemed to be worth, and decided to retire the day after the transfer went through. Romania is indeed the land of meat-based transfers, isn’t it?
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Photo by King….