As we continue to count down the world transfer records since the introduction of the professional game, Karl Graham takes us back to 1951 and John Sewell’s transfer from Notts County to Sheffield Wednesday.
Ever since the introduction of professionalism in football by the English FA in 1885, there have been 43 world transfer records. Over the next few months, Karl Graham will be bringing us up to date with the history behind every single record.
A new one shall be revealed on the site every Friday, from the very first one in 1893 to the most recent in 2013, and who knows there may even be a new record set before we reach the end.
Number 15 – John Sewell to Sheffield Wednesday
A year on from Trevor Ford breaking the transfer record; he got his wish of losing that tag when Notts County sold Jackie Sewell to Sheffield Wednesday.
John “Jackie” Sewell was born on the 24th of January 1927 in Whitehaven, England. He was a prolific striker, who is one of the few players to have played for two different countries.
Sewell was one of those players who epitomised the difference between players from his generation and the players from ours. The fact he would travel hundreds of miles when he wasn’t playing football, to work in the mines, bares testament to this fact.
He started his career at Notts County, who just so happen to be the oldest football club in the world to still be playing professionally, in 1946 and although he was still quite young, he scored an impressive 97 goals in 178 appearances for the club. He helped lead the team to the Football League Third Division South title in 1950, before Sheffield Wednesday made their bid a year later.
A fee of £34,500 was a huge show of confidence in Sewell, as it was a significant increase on the amount paid for Ford just a few months prior.
Although Wednesday had splashed out a huge amount of money to bring Sewell to Hillsborough, his goals couldn’t prevent them from spending the early 50s yo-yoing between the First and Second Divisions. He left the club after four years having bagged another 92 goals.
His time at Sheffield Wednesday would also see him represent England for the first time. He made six appearances for his country scoring three goals, including one during the infamous game with Hungary in 1953.
Wednesday managed to recoup £20,000 of the fee they paid when they sold Sewell to Aston Villa. Nobody could argue that Sewell hadn’t repaid the near £15,000 difference during his stay at Hillsborough.
Sewell had probably his finest moment while playing for Villa. They caused a massive upset in the FA Cup final by beating Manchester United’s Busby Babes. Although the game was considered highly controversial due to Peter McParland breaking the cheekbone of goalkeeper Ray Wood whilst scoring the winning goal, nothing was going to take the gloss off the victory for Sewell.
Sewell left Villa in 1959 having represented them 145 times, scoring 36 goals. With his career beginning to wind down, he chose to spend his remaining days in professional football at Hull City. By this stage he was well past his prime and only managed eight goals during his two-year spell in Yorkshire.
Retirement in 1961 brought him to Northern Rhodesia, hardly a normal path for the average English footballer. He became player/manager at City of Lusaka F.C. which eventually, following their independence, led to him representing Zambia ten times.
John Sewell remains as the only surviving member of that England squad who were masterfully dispatched 6-3 by a deadly Hungary side.
Karl Graham, Pundit Arena.
Featured image by SMJ [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons