5. Ernie Blenkinsop - A Barrel of Beer
The son of a Barnsley coal miner, young Ernie Blenkinsop followed his father down t'pit while turning out at left-back for the colliery team at weekends. In 1921, while playing for local village side Cudworth United Methodists, Blenkinsop was spotted by Second Division Hull City and quickly snapped up. It being shortly after the First World War, and Yorkshire, Hull were understandably not that keen on parting with much actual money for their potential future star. In the end they settled on a humble £100 in addition to a barrel of beer to share around Blenkinsop's former team-mates, something that probably went down pretty well in Cudworth. How did he do?
19 year old Blenkinsop only made a handful of appearances for Hull, but did enough to convince Sheffield Wednesday to pay actual money (not even a cask of whiskey or anything) to move him from Yorkshire's East Riding to the West. At Wednesday Blenkinsop became the driving force behind a team that rose from the bottom of the Second Division to become back-to-back League Champions. He went on to earn 26 England caps, captaining the team 5 times. In 1934 Wednesday sold him to Liverpool for £5000, at pre-war prices the equivalent in beer of about 60,000 pints (or over 200 barrels), a pretty impressive increase in value.