Mark Draper

The Transfer Record: Mark Draper

In July 1994, England Under-21s midfielder Mark Draper became Leicester City’s first £1M player when he signed from Notts County for a Club record fee of £1.25M.

Joining Notts County as a nine year-old, he became an apprentice in 1987 and made his first team debut as a 17-year-old in a third tier match against Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1988.

He was key member of Neil Warnock’s side, which gained back-to-back promotions in 1990 and 1991 to achieve top-flight status before being relegated in 1992.

By this time, Mark had become an England Under-21s international. He spent two more years at Meadow Lane, playing for the Magpies in the 1994 Anglo Italian Cup Final at Wembley.

In July 1994, he moved to Filbert Street to join Brian Little’s side, which had just won promotion to the Premier League.

Notts County valued Mark at £2.5M, so the case went to a tribunal, which set the fee at £1.25M.

Mark only stayed at Leicester for one season. His impressive performances resulted in him being called up to Terry Venables' England squad. 

However, City struggled in the Premier League. Little, who left to manage Aston Villa in November, tried to sign Mark in the January transfer window but Mark agreed to stay at Leicester.

That was on condition that he would be allowed to leave at the end of the season if the Club was relegated, which they were.

Consequently, in July 1995, Mark signed for Villa for a fee of £3.25M. Mark stayed at Villa Park for five seasons, when they were consistently a top-six side.

Additionally, they won the League Cup in his first season and regularly qualified for Europe. He was also called up for Glenn Hoddle’s England squad.

In January 2000, he went on loan to Rayo Vallecano prior to moving to Hoddle’s Southampton in the Premier League for a fee of 1.25M in July 2000.

By this time, though, injuries were beginning to take their toll, leading to retirement in December 2003.

He has subsequently worked at the Notts County and Stoke City academies and set up his own coaching school.

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