BRIEFLY, on Stewie Downing… the Pally Park prodigy has finally come of age and joined a big club, although some may think he has still sold himself short but, hey, let’s not quibble. He will be an England squad shoo-in and tabloid darling now, a vindication of years of facing ill-informed flak from the poison pen rat pack. And he really is “one of our own.”
He was Boro’s most consistently creative force throughout his prolific spell here, the pin-point crossing assist king and his exit was a great loss as we said at the time, despite what the Riverside ranters had to say about him being a pea-hearted Fancy Dan. After an injury induce wobble in his first year at Aston Villa he has continued in that vein. According to Opta, Villa’s player of the year completed 135 crosses last term, the most by any player for three years. I bet Andy Carroll can’t wait. Get the pair in your fantasy team for next year.
The transfer will be sealed for around the £20m mark, which will make Downing the most expensive Teessider ever. The previous highest price paid for a parmo powered player was the £13.4m shelled out by Real Madrid for Jonathan Woodgate when he left Newcastle. Third is the £12m that Villa paid for Downing in July 2009.
Naturally transfer fees are up in the oxygen starved stupidcashosphere now and after decades of inflation you may well ask how much Brian Clough or David Mills or Gary Pallister were worth when they made their exits from Ayresome Park. Let’s have a look.
Clough left in 1961 for Sunderland for a then Boro record sale (and top price for a Teessider) for £45,000. In today’s dosh that is £700350. Bargain. In 1964 his erstwhile partner Alan Peacock left to join Leeds for a new record £65,000, or £921,000 in today’s terms. In 1979 David Mills joined West Brom for then new British as well as Boro record of £517,000, which today would be a relatively modest £1.83m. Gary Pallister (yes, I know he was born n Ramsgate but that was due to the diasBoro and he is as Teesside as the Transporter) left for Manchester United in a £2.3m deal in 1988, a cut-price £4.3m. I remember when this was all fields.
(I’ve got a time-tunnel currency ready reckoner open, if you want any other fees calculated while I’m here, shout up. Alf Common… £85,010 plus thruppence and a vat of dubbin.)