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40 years on: How football’s first million-pound man changed the sport

On February 9, 1979, Birmingham City shattered the record transfer fee when they paid Nottingham Forrest £1.18m for Englishman Trevor Francis.

Birmingham’s offer doubled the previous British transfer record at the time.

The deal secured Francis’ place in history as football’s first million-pound man, making him one of the most well-known and best-remunerated footballers in the world.

Football finance specialist Dr Rob Wilson told Macquarie Sports Radio this transfer laid the foundations for today’s multi-billion-dollar football market.

“We look back on any industry, sport in particular, and look for these seminal or watershed moments. The Trevor Francis deal was certainly that,” Dr Wilson told Macquarie Sports Radio‘s Cam Reddin.

“He was the first player that really stepped up the transfer market as a commercial entity. [Francis’ transfer] demonstrated that clubs would be prepared to pay, in those days, very significant fees,” he said.

Forty years on, the world record transfer fee stands at £198m, following the sale of Brazilian superstar Neymar from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.

Click below to hear the full interview. Listen to the Weekend Warm-Up with Cam Reddin from 4.00am-7.00am Saturday and Sunday mornings.

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