Shock Transfers That Shook Football
Frank Lampard hardly had time to kiss the badge on his new Manchester City shirt before some Chelsea fans were declaring his surprise loan move from New York City as traitorous.
It’s not often, in these days of 24-hour rolling news and Twitter, that a transfer takes the football world by surprise but this one certainly did, despite his new MLS club being owned by City’s money-men. Here’s a look at some other transfers down the year that came out of the blue, taking supporters and the media alike by surprise.
Do you remember where you were when you heard about Andy Cole’s transfer from Newcastle to Manchester United? Possibly. Cole’s shock move was a real JFK moment for football fans as there had been no rumours about the deal or, indeed, a long drawn-out transfer saga.
It’d be like Liverpool suddenly announcing last January that Luis Suarez was on his way to Manchester City. Newcastle were United’s title rivals those days and even shocked their own fans – including the poor bloke who’d just got Cole tattooed on his back – by selling one of their best players to fellow title challengers mid-season for a record fee.
You might remember where you were when Cole moved to United, but you certainly won’t recall your whereabouts when Albert Pape made the same move. As it was about 90 years ago. Pape’s move to Old Trafford was so sudden that he’d travelled to play against them for Orient that morning.
When he reached the ground, United rushed through a deal and he lined up against the men he’d travelled up from London with. News of the shock transfer spread throughout Manchester and the attendance was boosted considerably by fans hoping to catch a glimpse of their new player. He made a promising start, scoring on his debut against his former team-mates. The press were critical of such last-minute transfers though, stating that they system “gives too much power to the clubs with the money bags”. Plus ca change.
When Mo Johnston left Glasgow Celtic for Nantes in 1987 he promised he’d never return to Scottish football. He did two years later, and caused huge controversy when doing so. The striker was photographed back in green and white, claiming that “there is no other British club I would play for apart from Celtic”.
However, two months later their huge rivals Rangers announced a press conference to unveil a new signing. There were audible gasps of shock from journalists when Johnston entered the room. The Scottish international became the first high-profile Catholic to sign for Rangers and the shock deal became highly incendiary on both sides of Glasgow.
Campbell was seemingly Spurs through-and-through, at the club since a kid and a loyal captain with over 250 appearances. With his contract running down in 2001, he assured the club that he was going nowhere despite interest from the likes of Barcelona and Inter Milan.
He’d spoken previously about the fact he’d never play for Arsenal. So, having been offered the biggest contract in Spurs history, he promptly joined….bitter rivals Arsenal. The move caused consternation amongst Tottenham fans, who immediately branded him a “Judas” and have still not forgiven their former hero.