Number five in our countdown looks at the move of Danny Shea to Blackburn Rovers in a world transfer record in 1913.
The world transfer record was broken twice within three months for roughly the same price during 1913. Danny Shea moved from West Ham United to Blackburn Rovers, while Tommy Barber left Bolton Wanderers to join Aston Villa.
Daniel Harold Shea was born on the 6th of November 1887 in Wapping, London. He was a centre forward who had a prolific goal scoring record.
He was playing for his local pub team when he was spotted by West Ham United coach, Charlie Paynter in 1908.
He proved an instant success, with his mazy dribbling skills and rocket shot producing 111 goals during his first spell with the club. He even managed to score 31 goals in just 43 appearances in the 1909-10 season.
Shea also came with a cheeky side to him. During an FA Cup game against Nottingham Forest, which was engulfed in a dense fog, he scored twice to earn victory for the Hammers. He later admitted that he had taken advantage of the fog and, in full view of some opponents, punched in his two goals.
Halfway through the 1912-13 season, when he had already scored 15 goals in 15 games, he set a new record with his transfer to Blackburn Rovers. The fee was £2000, which translates to approximately £200,000 of today’s money.
Unfortunately, Shea’s time at Rovers was interrupted by World War 1 but he still managed to score an extraordinary 61 goals in just 97 appearances. He also made his international debut for England in a 3-1 defeat to Ireland, while he would go on to represent his country a further four times.
He was top scorer for Blackburn as he led them to the 1913-14 title. However, the following season they only managed to finish third. This would prove to be the last professional football he would play, as by the time the war had ended he was past his best.
He returned to West Ham in 1919 but with the league still suspended, he had to play in the London Combination (equivalent to today’s reserve league).
Shea went on to represent Birmingham, Fulham and Celtic, among others before retiring in 1926. He later took in coaching spells at Zurich and Woking before becoming a publican.
He died on Christmas Day of 1960.
Karl Graham, Pundit Arena.