Trevor Francis' career-defining moment came in February 1979, when he was transferred from Birmingham City to Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest for a seven-figure fee totaling just over £1m.
Trevor Francis will always be remembered as England's first million pound player, but that landmark transfer should not overshadow a long and successful career.
Francis joined Birmingham City as a schoolboy, and after making his debut in 1970 at the age of 16, he set about establishing himself as one of the most talented English players of his generation. He scored four goals in a single game before he had turned 17, and finished his first season in the Second Division with 15 goals from 22 games. The following season Francis was ever-present as the Blues won promotion to the First Division.
Francis remained with the Blues for six seasons in the top flight, and by the time he left for reigning champions Forest in 1979, he had scored a total of 133 goals in 329 games. Nimble, skilful and prolific; he remains the second-highest scorer in the club's history. He also played his way into the England set-up, making his debut under Don Revie against Holland in 1977.
In 1978 Francis left the Midlands and went on loan to the Detroit Express in the North American Soccer League (NASL). He scored 39 goals in just 38 appearances, and joined the likes of Franz Beckenbauer in the NASL first XI. He joined Forest on his return to the England, though he would return to Detroit for another loan spell in the summer of 1979.
That year Francis played a crucial role in Forest's famous European Cup win. Clough's boys came up against Swedish side Malmo in the final in Munich, and just before half-time Francis nodded home a John Robertson cross to put them in front. Forest held on to win 1-0, and match-winner Francis achieved legendary status. A giant picture of the moment he stooped to head the ball in to the net remains on display at Forest's City Ground stadium to this day.
Francis missed out on Forest's second consecutive European Cup win in 1980 with an achilles problem, and with injuries limiting his playing time at Forest, he was sold to Manchester City in 1981, this time for £1.2m. Injury problems persisted, but Francis still managed 12 goals in 26 league games at City and earnt a place in the 1982 England World Cup squad, where he scored twice before England's elimination in the second group phase.
Francis duly left England and joined Italian side Sampdoria for £700,000. He won the Coppa Italia in 1985 with Sampdoria before joining Atlanta. He impressed in Italy, and in 2008 England manager Fabio Capello hailed Francis as the best English player ever to have played in Serie A. But after managing just one goal in 21 appearances for Atlanta, Francis returned to Britain in 1987 with Scottish giants Rangers, managed by former Sampdoria teammate Graeme Souness. Later that year he signed for Queens Park Rangers, where he became player-manager in 1988, before taking on the same role at Sheffield Wednesday for the final four seasons of his playing career.
Francis guided Wednesday to an excellent third place finish in 1992, and led them to FA Cup and League Cup finals the following year. In 1994, however, he was sacked after a 13th place finish. He hung up his boots that year at the ripe old age of 40. He stayed in management though, and took charge at his spiritual home of Birmingham City between 1996 and 2001, before taking the reins at Crystal Palace from 2001 to 2003.
In a playing career that spanned 23 years, Francis scored a total of 229 league goals in 623 appearances. He also won 52 England caps, scoring 12 goals.
For the million pound man, these are the numbers that really matter.