IN recent years, transfer fee income for Cowdenbeath FC, and many other clubs, has been much constrained thanks to Jean-Marc Bosman (The Bosman ruling).

At one time, Cowdenbeath reared players and transfers were a vital part of the club’s operating model along with stock car income – both of which have now gone west.

Club historian David Allan looks at some of the big transfers from Central Park.

Said David: "Transfer fee information really only became widely available after the 1st World War. The first major fee received by Cowden was the £800 paid by Portsmouth to sign Cowden full-back John Cumming in August 1920. "This was soon dwarfed by the massive £3,000 shelled out by Derby County to sign Cowden's free-scoring centre-forward Willie Paterson in January 1921. This remained the Cowden record fee until March 1926 when English League champions Huddersfield Town signed the even more prolific Cowden centre-forward and legend, Willie Devlin, for £4,200.

"Thereafter the depression hit Cowdenbeath and Scottish football in general and it was long after the 2nd World War before Willie Devlin's record fee would be surpassed.

"Indeed it took four decades until Devlin's fee was beaten in March 1966. Full-back Bobby Wilson was transferred from Cowden to Dundee in that month for a fee of £5,000.

"A year later, Stan Mortenson, the manager of Blackpool came to Central Park to watch Wilson's former full-back partner Andy Rolland perform. However, it was Rolland's full-back partner who caught the eye and Henry Mowbray was promptly sold to Blackpool for a £6,000 fee in April 1967.

"Rolland's departure though was only delayed. In October 1967, Andy Rolland joined Bobby Wilson in Tannadice Street by signing for Dundee United - £10,000 being the consideration in this instance".

Added David: "16 years elapsed before Rolland's record was broken in February 1983. In that month, popular centre-forward Jim 'Gunner' Liddle was sold to Forfar Athletic for a fee of £15,000.

"Gunner's record though didn't last long and the new record was to be a quantum leap from the realms of previous fees. In November 1983, defender Craig Levein was sold to Hearts in a deal which eventually produced £40,000 for the Cowdenbeath coffers. Thus Cowden's record fee has now stood for some 37 years.

"Who knows when, in the current Bosman era, Cowden will again realise such a sum? Largest transfer fees received since then seem to be Derek Grant £35k (Airdrie), Dene Shields £30k (Gretna), Nicky Henderson £30k (Falkirk), Sandy Ross £28k (Berwick Rangers), Mark Yardley £25k (St Mirren), Stephen Husband £25k (Hearts), Alan Combe £24k (St Mirren), Roddy Grant £22k (St Johnstone) and Alan McKenzie £20k (Raith Rovers).

"On the other hand though, we can also consider the transfer fees paid out by the club. This is an area where frugality has been the watchword for many years. However, at one time Cowden weren't afraid to buy big. In September 1921, £700 was paid over to Clyde to secure the signature of Willie Devlin. Then when Cowden won promotion in 1924, the cheque book was brought out to facilitate the move of Motherwell's highly regarded inside-man Willie Rankin to Central Park for £1,000. A fee later matched twice in the same season to bring back Willie Paterson from Derby County and acquire inside-forward Andy Rankine from Aberdeen".

The club historian went on: "It took over 40 years for Cowden to go any further in the transfer stakes. It was June 1957 when a £1,500 cheque was handed over to Forfar Athletic in exchange for forward Albert Craig.

"The biscuit tin then was left virtually untroubled until Cowden found themselves in the 1st Division in 1970/71 when some serious Christmas shopping was undertaken in December 1970.

"Firstly, Airdrie's big, bustling centre-forward Davie Marshall was signed in a £3,000 deal and then a few days later Cowden paid over £5,000 to Forfar Athletic to sign ex-Rangers full-back Davie Cairns.

"After this spending spree the cheque book was firmly locked away again for a couple of decades. In November 1990 though, £8,500 was paid to Meadowbank to sign their combative midfielder Neil ‘Zorro’ Irvine.

"Then in August 1992, the current record was established via a rather back door method. Roddy Grant was transferred by St Johnstone to Dunfermline. As a consequence St Johnstone owed Cowden a further £12,000 as a clause in the original transfer agreement provided that Cowden would receive a percentage of any future fees paid for Roddy. Unfortunately, the Saints board persuaded Cowden to accept the transfer of midfielder Iain Lee in lieu of the cash.

"Lee proved fairly ineffective and was not a fan favourite. Most significant fee paid in recent years was £10k to sign Jon Robertson back from St Mirren

"Back in 1924 our record fee paid was 1/6th of the world transfer fee record thus to match this Cowden should be looking at £33 million fees or thereabouts when trying to sign players nowadays!"