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£13,000 star lost at the cinemas

Albert Stubbins, Newcastle United’s England centre forward, was transferred to Liverpool to-night for a fee of £13,000, only £1,000 less than Arsenal paid for Bryn Jones, and around the same figure Tommy Lawton cost Chelsea.

The signing completed one of football’s most amazing transfer stories, for not only did Liverpool get the player in face of competition from their Everton neighbours, but the man who mattered – Stubbins – was in a cinema while club officials sought him to sign the forms.

When he learned that he was wanted he took a bus to the Newcastle ground, decided to join Liverpool – and that was that. Albert, the £13,000 star, had been to the pictures and changed clubs all in one night. Liverpool and Everton were only two of many club who raced to sign Stubbins when, on Tuesday, Newcastle put him o the transfer list at his own request – so that he could play in the First Division.

Inquirers had been received from Sheffield Wednesday, Tottenham, Blackpool, Wolverhampton, West Ham, and even Third Division clubs, but today when Liverpool and Everton officials arrived here, the issue was quickly narrowed down, and I understand these decisions were reached:

1. £13,000 would be the transfer fee.
2. The player himself should be left to settle whether Liverpool or Everton were to get him.

Then Stubbins could not be found and while Newcastle was combed United, Everton and Liverpool officials sat down to a game of cards in the board room. As the hours rolled by the room filled with tobacco smoke, coats were discarded. There was still no sign of the £13,000 centre forward. Messages were being flashed on cinema screens asking Stubbins to report at once to St. James’ Park.

A taxi sent to his home in Wallsend returned empty, with the message from a neighbour that Mr. and Mrs. Stubbins had gone to the pictures and wouldn’t be back before 7.30. For three and a half fours Liverpool and Everton officials faced each other across the long oak table, none knowing whose player Stubbins would be.

There was a telephone call from Sunderland’s manager, Mr. Bill Murray. He was told the agreed transfer fee, said his directors would be consulted. Mr. Arthur Stollery, Notts County manager, called to inquire the price. He went away again when he was told £13,000. Eventually came Stubbins. He had known nothing of the hunt.

“I just went to the pictures with my wife, and when I got home a neighbour told me that I was wanted at the Park. So I just came back on the bus,” he told me.

After a few minutes’ interview with Mr. McConnell (Liverpool) and Mr. Kelly (Everton) Stubbins decided to sign for Liverpool. Mr. Kelly was called into the room and wished player and his new club the best of luck. Stubbins cost Newcastle United nothing when he joined them in 1937. He had been an amateur for one season with Sunderland. In the last six years he has scored 201 goals in 164 matches and played for England against Wales last season.

Copyright - Daily Mail, 13-09-1946, written by Tudor Davies - Transcribed by Kjell Hanssen

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