It's not all about a digit, seven zeros and a pound sign. There are other numbers involved in the world of football...


The number of minutes that Ali Dia managed on the pitch for Southampton following his bizarre transfer to the Saints in 1996.

Having received a phone call recommending the player, purporting to be from former FIFA World Player of the Year, George Weah, manager Graeme Souness immediately handed Dia a one month contract. Souness had planned to give Dia an initial run out in a reserve team match, but it had been cancelled, so he brought him on as a 32nd minute substitute for Saints legend Matt Le Tissier against Leeds Utd instead. It was Souness's first real look at the player in an actual match situation. And it wasn't pretty. In the words of Le Tissier, "He ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice. It was very embarrassing to watch". Dia was substituted himself in the 85th minute and had his contract cancelled in the proceeding days.

It later transpired that it hadn't been Weah who'd made the original phone call at all, but a student friend of Dia's.


The number of miles (approximately) that Joey Beauchamp was commuting from Oxford to West Ham after signing for the Hammers back in 1994, before he decided that the travelling wasn't for him, and that moving house to live nearer to London wasn't an option either. So just 58 days after signing for a club record fee, Beauchamp was offloaded to Oxford Utd's rivals Swindon Town for £400,000 less than the Hammers had paid for him.

The tricky winger later claimed that he'd been told that if he didn't sign for West Ham for the £1.2 million fee, then Oxford were in serious danger of going bust. So being a lifelong U's fan he felt forced him into the move, although the daily commute had the final say.


Most self-respecting football fans will be able to name Trevor Francis as the world's first million pound player, having signed for Nottingham Forest from Birmingham City back in 1979. However, there's a transfer myth that Brian Clough refused to pay the full million pounds because he didn't want Francis to suffer the pressure of being the first player to be bought for such an iconic value, so it was alleged that he offered a figure £1 short of the mark. The reality of the transfer though, is that when tax and the Football League's commission was added on, the figure actually reached about £1,150,000.


The amount bid by Arsenal back in the summer of 2013 to trigger the release clause in Luis Suárez's Liverpool contract.

The sneaky ploy was met with widespread derision, not just on Merseyside, but throughout the media and footballing world, being seen as Arsenal taking the Mickey rather than trying to come up with a serious bid to take the player to north London.

To be fair to the Gunners, the Uruguayan striker had indicated that he was looking to leave Liverpool earlier in the summer, but it was the cheeky manner of their bid that grabbed the headlines and made any future deal with Liverpool highly unlikely. In the end Suárez stayed at Anfield for a further season before heading off to Barcelona for £64 million in 2014.