Keepsakes of record breaking footballer Alf Common go to auction

KEEPSAKES from the collection of a North East footballer who became the first £500 and then £1,000 player will be sold at auction today.

Alf Common, who's transfers to Sunderland and then Middlesbrough cost a record-breaking sum in 1904 and 1905

KEEPSAKES from the collection of a North East footballer who became the first £500 and then £1,000 player will be sold at auction today.

Centre forward Alf Common, was born in Millfield, Sunderland, and played for South Hylton Juniors on Wearside before joining Jarrow, on South Tyneside.

In 1900 he joined Sunderland AFC but was later transferred to Sheffield United for £325.

During that season, he scored the opening goal in Sheffield’s FA Cup final win and in 1904, he won his first England international cap and scored a goal in the game against Wales, which ended in a 2-2 draw.

In the same year he rejoined Sunderland for a record £520 but a year later switched to relegation-threatened Middlesbrough for another record-breaking fee of £1,000.

On his debut he scored to give Middlesbrough their first away win in two years.

Common later played for Arsenal and Preston and after retirement ran pubs in Darlington where he died aged 65 in 1946.

Today Graham Budd Auctions in London will sell items including Common’s England v Wales cap for £800-£1,200, a Durham Cup winner’s medal for 1900-01 from his Sunderland days for £250-£350, three gold Sunderland Cricket League medals, a Second Division championship medal priced at £1,200-£1,800, and archives of photographs featuring Common and the teams in which he played.

Also in the auction is memorabilia which belonged to Newcastle-born Billy Moore, who played for Seaton Delaval before joining Sunderland in 1913.

He was sold to West Ham and played in the famous “white horse” FA Cup final for West Ham against Bolton – the first final at the new Wembley stadium.

The final in 1923 was preceded by chaotic scenes as vast crowds surged into the stadium, far exceeding its official capacity of approximately 125,000.

A crowd estimated at up to 300,000 gained entrance and the terraces overflowed, with mounted policemen trying to keep control including one on a white horse which became the defining image of the day.

Also for sale is a rare programme from a series of matches in Holland played against the Dutch Olympic team in 1927 by Newcastle United, who had just won the Football League championship title. It is rated at £400-£600.

Another programme from Newcastle United’s 1949 tour of Canada and the United States is estimated at £160-£240. It is for Newcastle’s match against British Columbia All Stars, which Newcastle won 5-2.

Also on offer is the away programme from Newcastle’s two-legged 1969 Fairs Cup final against Ujpesti Dozsa, signed by manager Joe Harvey and seven United players. It is expected to fetch £600-£800.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer