Back in 1994, West Ham United completed a deal to sign Joey Beauchamp from Oxford United.
The deal cost the club £1.2m at the time, a club-record sale for Oxford, and hopes were high that he would come into the Hammers and re-energise the club.
Billy Bonds was in charge and they had finished 13th in the Premier League the season prior. Beauchamp was supposed to be one of the players to help them climb the table.
Amazingly, he lasted 58 days.
Indeed, Bonds swiftly resigned, as Beauchamp was sold, at a loss, to Swindon Town for £850,000.
In today’s money, the deal to sign the then 23-year-old winger would cost £2.4m, per the Bank of England’s inflation calculator.
In total, during his time at the club, he cost a princely £41,000-per-day, or £290,000-per-week.
He has since spoken out on the incident, insisting that he was happy at Oxford and wanted to stay; he lived in the area at the time, but they had just been relegated to the old Second Division and, quite simply, needed the money.
Per a Sky Sports interview in September, he said: “It was put to me that West Ham had come in, and it was a million-pound offer. I was a local player and star, the fans loved me and I lived locally. To me, I was happy where I was.
“But it was made clear that Oxford needed the money, they needed to pay the wages and if I didn’t go, there was a chance they were going to be in trouble. So obviously I felt a bit of pressure.
“I didn’t really want to leave. I was at Oxford doing what I love doing, playing for my hometown team. What could be better? But obviously I did want to play in the Premier League and maybe go on to play for England. It wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility that that was going to happen.”
And then the story turns sour.
Beauchamp says that he was promised he could live in Oxford and commute to West Ham’s training ground and to games; he was later given new information that he needed to move to London. He didn’t want to.
Harry Redknapp took over from Bonds, there was interest from Swindon Town – “just up the road from me”, says Beauchamp – and the fans turned on their new signing, whose unhappiness became a hot topic in the press.
He says he suffered death threats and was essentially told to move to Swindon for his own safety.
Swindon eventually went down, Beauchamp returned to Oxford, spent seven years at the club, and drifted into retirement.
West Ham’s investment, though, looks crazier by the day. Whoever’s fault it was – Beauchamp maintains he was pressured into signing his Hammers contract – it is a remarkable story.
There isn’t a single player at the London Stadium currently earning over £200,000-per-week; in terms of their investment, the Hammers were forced to stump that money up across 58 ill-fated days.
It’s lucky they haven’t signed any duds since…