Arsenal Set A Transfer Record On This Day, 4th August 1938

The transfer of Bryn Jones from Wolverhampton Wanderers to Arsenal for a fee of £14,000 was the highest paid at that time, anywhere in the world. It underlines Arsenal’s standing in the game at that time. In today’s money, £3.7m barely registers but it represented a near 50% increase on the previous record, David Jack joining Arsenal a decade earlier from Bolton for £10,890.

It is fair to say that Jones’ potential at Arsenal cannot be fully assessed with the outbreak of the Second World War denying the club the prime years of his career. Reports from the time suggest it was not a successful move but how many players struggle in their first season yet go on to live with up to expectations in future years. We will never know in this instance.

Jones was a member of the title-winning squad in 1947-48 but left in the summer of 1949 for Norwich.

Contemporaries of Jones point to a modest man; that is underlined by his refusal to participate in a press conference, preferring to be at home rather than broadcasting to the world. A marked and pointed contrast to the attitude of players today; few would have rejected the chance for a few pounds for a few banalities.

1 thought on “Arsenal Set A Transfer Record On This Day, 4th August 1938

  1. Jones suffered from the expectation of having to fill Alex James’ boots. He played in the same position but was a different style of player and a different character – far less flamboyant than James.

    There is a link with the previous post. One newspaper ran a story with a picture of Jones and Shackleton with a caption saying that one of them was the most expensive player in the world whilst the other cost nothing (although Shackleton would go on to break the transfer record). That was more pressure for Jones to live up to.

    During his first season he appeared to be struggling with the pressure from the big crowds so he was played in a reserve game. 26,000 turned up!

    Just one minor thing, David Jack was signed from Bolton. These two transfers meant that Arsenal held the world transfer record for 20 years.

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