The most expensive non-league player ever makes his debut in the FA Cup at Slough Town

Ebbsfleet United's Jordon Ibe. Photo: Neil Graham.
Ebbsfleet United's Jordon Ibe. Photo: Neil Graham.

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As Berkshire football fans will no doubt be aware, Slough Town of the Vanarama National League South defeated Ebbsfleet United of the National League in an FA Cup Fourth Round replay, to set up a home tie with Grimsby Town in the First Round proper.

Eagle eyed fans may have spotted that making his debut for Ebbsfleet at Arbour Park was one Jordon Ibe, a player who signed for Bournemouth from Liverpool for a fee of £15m in 2016. This got us at FiB Towers thinking: has there ever been a more expensive footballer playing non-league football?

The rules we are enforcing for this question are:

  1. By expensive we mean individual transfer fee, not a total of fees over a players career. This rules out players like Ross McCormack who accumulated around £25m of transfer fees through his career and had a stint at National League Aldershot Town in 2020/21
  2. The player has to have played non-league after they were sold for the fee in question. This rules out players like Jordan Pickford who had loan spells at Darlington and Alfreton Town from Sunderland, and was later sold for £30m to Everton
  3. No adjusting for inflation. There are loads of players from the 50s, 60s and 70s who played in non-league at the end of their careers, but we are not interested in what their transfer fees would be in today’s money. It’s the fee they were sold for that counts
  4. Bonus point if the player played a game in Berkshire

The Berkshire Football Stories team discuss ‘Non League’s most expensive player’

After exhausting the (somewhat limited) brainpower of the Football In Berkshire editorial team we cannot think of anyone who tops the £15m mark so we are ready to declare Ibe as the most expensive footballer in non-league football.

If you can think of a player who can top Ibe’s fee and subsequently played in non-league football please let us know.

Related: The FA Cup record Reading FC have held for over 40 years

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