Black Cat hero Alf ’s ti­tle medal fetches £5,000 at auc­tion sale

Sunderland Echo - - News -

A nine carat gold Foot­ball League Di­vi­sion One cham­pi­onship medal awarded to a Sun­der­land AFC star when the Black Cats won the league ti­tle in 1902 has sold for £5,000 at auc­tion.

It is thought the medal was awarded to Sun­der­land-born Alf Com­mon, who made his­tory in Fe­bru­ary 1905 when Sun­der­land sold him to Mid­dles­brough, mak­ing him the first £1,000 foot­baller.

It had been ex­pected to fetch about £5,000 to £7,000.

Lon­donauc­tion­eerGra­ham Bud­d­said:“Itis­be­lievedthatthe medal was awarded to Alf Com­mon and was ac­quired by his friend,FredPri­est,ateam-mate at Sh­effield United.

“This Sun­der­land medal was in a group amongst oth­ers won by Priest in his foot­ball ca­reer. The cur­rent ven­dor (of the Sun­der­land medal) still has the Priest medals in his pos­ses­sion.”

It was the third time the Black Cats had won the league ti­tle, hav­ing also been cham­pi­ons in 1892-1893 and 1894-1895.

Com­mon played for South Hyl­ton ju­niors and Jar­row be­fore join­ing Sun­der­land in Au­gust 1900. In Oc­to­ber 1901, shortly af­ter break­ing into the Sun­der­land­first­tea­mandafter playingintheopen­inggame­sof the1901-1902ti­tle-win­ningsea­son, the Black Cats sold him to Sh­effield United for £325.

He went on to help the Blades win the FA Cup in 1902, be­for­ere­turn­ing­toSun­der­land in June 1904 in a record £520 move.But just eight months later, in Fe­bru­ary 1905, Sun­der­land­sol­dhim­toMid­dles­brough for a his­toric £1,000 fee.

Com­mon later played for Wool­wich Ar­se­nal and Pre­ston North End be­fore he re­tired from foot­ball in 1914.

He be­came land­lord of the Cleaver Ho­tel, in Dar­ling­ton, and­later­thetown’sAl­maHo­tel.

When Sun­der­land won the league ti­tle in 1901-1902, they won 19 of their 34 league games that sea­son. They ended up with 44 points, three more than their near­est ri­vals Ever­ton.

The SAFC ti­tle medal

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