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SAY IT AIN'T SO!

After Figo To Real Madrid, Ten More Transfers That Rocked The World



Luis Figo's move to Real Madrid from their bitter rivals Barcelona is the most astonishing transfer Spanish football has ever seen and is one of the most contentious of all time. Here, 365's Ian Cruise presents ten other deals that had fans crying into their pint glasses...


1) MO JOHNSTON
Nantes to Rangers, July 1989
Younger readers may wonder how a move from a non-descript French side to Glasgow can cause such a fuss, but try telling that to your average Glaswegian. Johnston's defection to the blue half of the city caused utter uproar but bizarrely it managed to unite both camps for a short while - 'cos everyone hated him! The Celtic fans were furious that he had joined their hated enemy, while the Rangers fans were furious because he had played for their hated enemy. Add the religious angle to the mix (Johnston was the first high-profile Catholic to play at Ibrox) and it was an explosive cocktail. Of course, 15 goals in 36 league games as the Gers won their second successive title helped placate at least one of the angry mobs!


2) ROBERTO BAGGIO
Fiorentina to Juventus, May 1990
The transfer of the 'Divine Ponytail' caused riots in Florence as the fans vented their fury at the club's decision to sell their hero. The £7.7m they banked as their part of the deal was scant consolation to the supporters who idolised Italian football's golden boy. The player himself was none too thrilled at the time either, and the following season refused to take a penalty for his new club against his old one. So everyone was happy then?!


3) ANDY COLE
Newcastle to Manchester United, January 1995
This was one of those transfers that you simply refuse to believe when you first hear it. The very idea that Newcastle would sell their star striker to one of their main rivals was absolutely preposterous - until Kevin Keegan appeared on the steps of St James' Park in a bid to appease the unhappy Toon Army and explain the reasoning behind the stunning move. And of course, he pointed out, "We're getting Keith Gillespie in part-exchange." D'oh!


4) ALAN SHEARER
Blackburn to Newcastle, July 1996
The lure of returning to his roots proved too much for the England centre-forward when Kevin Keegan came knocking at the door of Ewood Park with a cheque for £15m in his back pocket. It was an open secret that Shearer would be leaving Lancashire (once Kenny Dalglish went it was only a matter of time) but, unsurprisingly, the Rovers' fans didn't see things quite like that and are now second only to Man United supporters in their hatred of him.


5) NICK BARMBY
Everton to Liverpool, July 2000
Barmby's recent move across Stanley Park has been greeted with anger and disbelief among the blue half of Merseyside, particularly as it was only a few months ago that he was declaring his devotion to the Goodison Park cause. Strange then that he should so shortly afterwards state his desire to play for his "boyhood heroes". Still, no doubt all will be forgiven by the time the two sides meet this season!


6) PAT JENNINGS
Tottenham to Arsenal, August 1977
The transfer of arguably English football's best goalkeeper at the time caused uproar in North London - and the merest mention of it is guaranteed to cause much bridling among more senior White Hart Lane watchers to this day, such was the resentment that was felt at the move. Mind you, that's also partly due to the fact that the hapless Barry Daines was the man then handed the number one jersey by Keith Burkinshaw!


7) KEVIN KEEGAN
Liverpool to Hamburg, August 1977
The current England manager was branded a traitor to his country when he succumbed to the lure of the Deutschmark and swapped the red of Liverpool for the rather fetching sky blue of Hamburg. The Liverpool fans accepted his departure with good grace but many others around the country were livid that the England captain should take his talents abroad. And worse - to Germany! Mind you, maybe that was just because they knew the Anfield club had lined up one Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish to replace him!


8) ERIC CANTONA
Leeds to Manchester United, November 1992
The greatest transfer coup of Alex Ferguson's managerial career, and perhaps Howard Wilkinson's greatest blunder. Wilko actually rang Fergie to inquire about the availability of Denis Irwin and ended up selling his most influential player instead. Still, at least he hasn't got a responsible job any more, eh?!


9) DENIS LAW
Manchester United to Manchester City, July 1973
Law was coming towards the end of his career when he crossed Manchester for his second spell at Maine Road and it wasn't seen as such big news at the time. Of course, nine months later when he famously back-heeled United into the old second division there were one or two angry words!


10) PAUL INCE
West Ham to Manchester United, August 1989
The local photographers are always desperate to get the first shot of their club's new signing wearing/holding/wrapped in the shirt of their new employers but, as a rule, it's advisable if the player has actually put pen to paper first. So when Ince posed in a Man United shirt before he was even out of East London he rather naturally set the pulses racing down the Barking Road and sparked a hate campaign that has lasted for over a decade and shows no signs of abating.
 

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Running a lax ship
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Discussion Starter #2
THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY

The Stars That Slipped Through Your Club's Grasp



FOLLOWING the revelation that Manchester City could have snapped up Luis Figo for just £1m a few years ago, we wanted to know about the top stars your club let slip through their grasp. Some we know are true, some of the others, well, you can decide for yourself on their validity...


Unhappy Hammers
As a West Ham supporter, I can only fantasise about what would have happened if Marcelo Salas had not broken his toe while boarding the aircraft, bringing him
to England to finalise his transfer to Upton Park.
Gary Killington


...Being a loyal and frustrated Hammer, I've seen many a player slip through our fingers because we couldn't afford the asking price of a can of beans, but the one really big one must be Andrei Shevchenko, who we had on trial at 18. Apparently, they only wanted a million for him, but Harry "had had a lot of trouble with the Romanians and decided to leave it".
Claret And Blue Stu


Keeper Slips The Geordie Net
I remember Newcastle could have bought Peter Schmeichel back in around 1987-88 when he played for Brondby. I think he was going to cost about £50,000, but it didn't work out.
John Burn


...I would certainly say that then Newcastle manager Willie McFaul's decision not to sign a young Danish custodian in the late 1980s was an error. In fact, recent English and European club football history could have been so very different if McFaul had opened his wallet. The lad in question had obvious promise, was a giant of a man between the sticks, had great agility for his massive frame, and was offered for a mere half a million. His name? Peter Schmeichel.
Dave


Ou Est Cantona? Not In Sheffield
In the 1991-92 season, my side Sheffield Wednesday almost signed Eric Cantona! Originally we were the ones who brought him over from France, not Leeds, but Trevor Francis sent him on his way when Eric refused to wait around while the weather improved so the club could have a look at him training on grass.
Steve


Dutch Disaster
A few years back, both Coventry City and Aston Villa were offered the opportunity to sign a promising striker from a Dutch second division outfit. After having trials at both clubs, however, it was decided that he didn't have the potential to justify his £300,000 price tag, and while Villa opted for the young Slav Savo Milosevic, Coventry turned their attention to ex-Cambridge front man Dion Dublin. Little did they know that a few years down the line, that unknown striker would be the subject of a £19.5m bid from none other than Manchester United: the club who flogged Dublin to the Midlanders for three times the asking price of a young Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Robin Lane


...When Reidy was starting out his days as Sunderland boss, he turned down the chance to buy Ruud van Nistelrooy for around £4m. Considering Man United nearly bought him for £20m, that's one hell of a player who got away!
Ian Hamilton


Ruud Not To - So They Didn't
Ipswich Town's famous non-signings include Paul Gascoigne, who was rejected as a schoolboy. Bobby Robson says he thought the 14-year-old Gazza was a "Mars Bar" (see Mr Robson's autobiography). Ruud Gullit was also rejected as a teenager. Our chief scout at the time (Bobby Ferguson, I think) came back raving about him in around 1980 or 1981, but in those days clubs could only have three non-UK players on their books. Ipswich at that time had Muhren, Thijssen and a South African called Mich D'Avray. Bobby couldn't bring himself to let go of Mich, so he passed on Ruud. I think we also turned away Charlie Nicholas and Richard Gough.
B Ward


...When Ruud Gullit was a mere 18-year-old, the then Arsenal manager Terry Neill was tipped off by a scout in Holland about the youngster's ability. However, Terry did not even bother giving Gullit a trial since he thought that bringing a young black player to England would be the worst move for the promising youngster.
Peter Ely


Bully For WBA
OK, not quite as good as the Figo/City link, but back in the mid-Eighties, West Bromwich Albion manager Ron Saunders told a young hopeful and life-long West Brom fan named Steve Bull that he would never be good enough to be a striker. Bully joined local rivals Wolves and never stopped scoring - especially against us!
John Deol


Blade Boob
Sheffield United could have signed Diego Maradona when he was just 19. However, they plumped for Alex Sabella instead.
Paul Senior


Little Did He Know...
According to Doug Ellis' autobiography, he set up a deal to take Roberto Carlos to Villa from Brazil. However, Brian Little didn't fancy him.
Simon Barron


Brains Shortage In Cambridge
Cambridge United are guilty of throwing out Luther Blissett and Peter Beardsley.
Ian R


Macca Madness
If I am not mistaken Bournemouth were all set to take Steve McManaman as part of the deal involving Jamie Redknapp back in the early Ninties but instead got Alex (I am Dave's s*** brother) Watson! Nice one Harry!
Jamie Cristopher
 
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