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Orange's football trivia expert answers your best questions

Ask The Gaffer



Ask The Gaffer
Ask The Gaffer

Adrian, Scotland – 24 November 2014

Has there ever been a footballer who has played for England and Scotland?

The Gaffer says:

Not officially. Tommy Pearson, who was born in Edinburgh and played at outside left, made a guest appearance for England in their 2-1 win over Scotland during an unofficial wartime international in 1939. He wasn't supposed to play and arrived at St James' Park as a spectator, but Manchester City's Eric Brook was injured in a car accident on the way to the match so Pearson stepped in. He was on Newcastle's books at the time and eight years later won two caps for Scotland, featuring in their 1-1 draw against England at Wembley in 1947. Renowned for his 'double shuffle', the skilful winger left Newcastle for Aberdeen that year before retiring in 1953.

Bap, Belfast – 20 November 2014

Hey gaffer. Who holds the Premier League record for most sending offs? I think it's Patrick Vieira but my mate is convinced it's Robbie Savage. Enlighten us Gaffer!

The Gaffer says:

I get this question a lot. The record jointly held by Vieira, Duncan Ferguson and Richard Dunne, with eight red cards apiece. Savage received 89 yellow cards (sixth on the all-time list) but was surprisingly only sent off once during his Premier League career - for Blackburn against Middlesbrough in 2006.

Robert Mcguire, Glasgow – 20 November 2014

Did Willie Johnston of Glasgow Rangers ever win a league medal?

The Gaffer says:

No but the controversial Scottish left winger, who was sent off over 20 times in his career and sent home in disgrace from the 1978 World Cup for taking a banned substance, did win a Scottish Cup and two League Cup medals during his first spell with Rangers between 1964-72. He also inspired them to a 3-2 victory over Dynamo Moscow in the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup final, scoring either side of half-time on one of of the clubs most memorable nights.

Ali, Isle of Man – 19 November 2014

Everyone keeps going on about Rooney catching Lineker and Bobby Charlton as the highest goal scorers but how many goals did they score in friendlies? I would imagine that a lot of Rooney's were in friendlies but Lineker and Charlton's would have been in proper games when caps meant something.

The Gaffer says:

Rooney PA

You'd think so, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong. Very wrong! Wayne Rooney has scored only 14 goals in friendly games for England, and 32 in competitive matches. That's a far better ratio than Bobby Charlton (22 in friendlies out of his total of 49) and Gary Lineker (24 in friendlies out of 48 in total).

Derek, Middlesbrough – 19 November 2014

Hi Gaffer, can you tell me what country has played in the European Championship final the most but not won it.

The Gaffer says:

Of course, Derek. Before the break-up, the then national team of Yugoslavia appeared in two European Championships and lost them both. They reached the first-ever European Championship final, or the European Nations' Cup final as it was known then, and were edged out 2-1 by the Soviet Union with Viktor Ponedelnik scoring the winning goal in extra-time. Then in 1968, after beating England 1-0 in the semi-final, Yugoslavia took Italy to a final replay but went down 2-0 at the Stadio Olympico in Rome. Countries to have lost in the one final they have appeared in are Belgium (1980) and Portugal (2004).

 

Masai Graham, West Bromwich – 18 November 2014

Of all the players to have represented more than one nation, who earned the most amount of caps before defecting?

The Gaffer says:

Puskas PA

This accolade belongs to one of the most famous 'dual nationality' international footballers of them all. It's Ferenc Puskas, who played 85 times for Hungary between 1945 and 1956, scoring a ridiculous 84 goals, before defecting to Spain. In 1956, the Hungarian uprising against the Soviets led to several Hungarian players fleeing the country. At the time of the uprising, Puskas' team Honved were in Bilbao playing a European Cup tie. After serving a two-year Fifa ban for refusing to return to his native Budapest, Puskas settled in Spain and was signed by Real Madrid in 1958. He was capped by Spain four times, three of those at the 1962 World Cup, but he never scored for his adopted nation. The next highest number of caps before a 'defection' (and I'm ruling out players who've played for a country which subsequently changed its own identity, such as Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia) is by Michel Platini. He played 72 times for France before coming out of retirement in 1988 aged 33 to turn out for Kuwait. He played 21 minutes of the 2-0 defeat to the Soviet Union in a friendly as something of a publicity stunt organised by the Emir (ruler) of Kuwait.

Colin Mcloughlin, Liverpool – 12 November 2014

Hi Gaff, heres one to test the old grey matter. What was a little odd about the 1937-38 English League Division One final table?

The Gaffer says:

I know what you're getting at here Colin! It's the extremely curious case of Manchester City's relegation the year after winning the title. City scored 80 goals that season - more than any other team, in fact three more than champions Arsenal - yet still went down, finishing second from bottom. They 'only' conceded 77, losing lots of games fairly narrowly but winning several by big margins (two 7-1s, a 6-1, 6-2 and 5-3). It has to be said, they were very unlucky; 1937/38 produced the closest relegation battle in top-flight history with only four points spanning the bottom 11 clubs. With one game left, Man City were top of a group of six clubs joint-bottom on 36 points, with Huddersfield on 37 and Everton 38. But City lost their final game at Huddersfield and other results conspired against them.

Cymru_lad, Croesyceiliog – 21 October 2014

Why did the old Division One have an odd number of teams in the league in the late 80s? How did this work and why did this happen!?

The Gaffer says:

You're right, the top flight of English football did have 21 clubs in 1987/88. It's still the only year in history that the top flight has had an odd number of teams. The reason was that the Football League were coming under pressure to reduce the amount of games per season in order to benefit the international side. In 1986/87 the First Division consisted of 22 teams and it was proposed that it was whittled down to 20 over the course of two seasons. In the first of those two seasons, Division One was slimmed to 21 clubs and Division Two had 23. At the end of 1987/88, four teams went down from the top flight and only three came up (including Middlesbrough in a relegation/promotion play-off against First Division Chelsea), thus evening things out again.

Martin Burns, Glasgow – 14 October 2014

Hi Gaff, I saw last week that John Terry had played 100 games in the Champions League, all for Chelsea. Have many other players played 100 or more games in the Champions League all for just one club? I guess Ryan Giggs would be one, and Xavi.

The Gaffer says:

Not including qualifying games, Terry is the 13th player to join the 100 club following Giggs (145 games for Manchester United), Xavi (143 for Barcelona)*, Iker Casillas (142 for Real Madrid)*, Paolo Maldini (135 for AC Milan), Raul (130 for Real Madrid), Paul Scholes (124 for Manchester United), Carles Puyol (115 for Barcelona), Gary Neville (109 for Manchester United), Roberto Carlos (107 for Real Madrid), Victor Valdes (106 for Barcelona), Oliver Kahn (103 for Bayern Munich) and Frank Lampard (102 for Chelsea). If you did count qualifiers, then Roar Strand (Rosenborg), Oleksandr Shovkovskiy (Dynamo Kiev)* and Javier Zanetti (Inter Milan) would also make the cut. *Active player at that club.

Ali Stirling, Prestwick – 4 September 2014

With Rolando Aarons scoring a goal at the weekend, making him top alphabetically of Premier League scorers, can you tell me gaff, who is bottom of this list? My mate Iain says it must be Zola but I'm sure you can prove him wrong?

The Gaffer says:

I certainly can, Ali! Firstly, you're right that Rolando Aarons' recent goal for Newcastle against Crystal Palace does indeed make him the top all-time Premier League goalscorer if you arrange them all in alphabetical order (taking over from previous incumbent Gary Ablett). Your mate is wrong about Gianfranco Zola being last alphabetically though. It's former Coventry forward Ysrael Zuniga, who scored three goals in his two seasons at Highfield Road between 1999 and 2001. Elsad Zverotic is the last on the list of all-time Premier League appearances, but he didn't score a goal in his six games for Fulham last season (2013/14).

Bap, Belfast – 20 November 2014

Hey gaffer. Who holds the Premier League record for most sending offs? I think it's Patrick Vieira but my mate is convinced it's Robbie Savage. Enlighten us Gaffer!

The Gaffer says:

I get this question a lot. The record jointly held by Vieira, Duncan Ferguson and Richard Dunne, with eight red cards apiece. Savage received 89 yellow cards (sixth on the all-time list) but was surprisingly only sent off once during his Premier League career - for Blackburn against Middlesbrough in 2006.

Liam, Buxton – 7 October 2014

With Watford sacking Billy McKinlay after two games, what is the short reign ever by a manager?

The Gaffer says:

Rosenior PA

Undoubtedly Leroy Rosenior's 10 minutes in charge of Torquay during his second spell at the Gulls. Regular readers will be familiar with the tale, but for those that aren't, Rosenior was unveiled as the Conference-bound side's new manager on 17 May 2007. However, just 10 minutes later, chairman Mike Bateson phoned him to say he'd sold the club to a new consortium and the new owners' first act was to relieve Rosenior of his duties. He said afterwards: "I did the press conference, I did all the interviews, and within 10 minutes, Mike called me to let me know he had actually sold the club. It was something that I knew was going to happen but I didn't think it was going to happen after 10 minutes."

Wally Thomson, Norwich – 9 June 2014

Who is the youngest player ever to play at a World Cup?

The Gaffer says:

An old one but as it's that time of the year... Norman Whiteside, aged 17 years and 41 days, for Northern Ireland against Yugoslavia in 1982. Pele is the youngest to play in the final. He was 17 years and 249 days old when he scored twice in Brazil 5-2 victory against Sweden in 1958.

Frederick Gillespie, Nottingham – 15 May 2014

Gaffer, my wife informs me that this season has seen a record number of managers leaving their posts in the Premiership? when was the previous record set and what was it?

The Gaffer says:

I wish my wife casually dished out football trivia over the dinner table! She's spot on. There were 10 managerial departures during the 2013/14 Premier League season, and 12 if you count Tim Sherwood and Pepe Mel, who technically left after the season had ended. The previous record was in 2008/09, when there were nine, but again 12 if you count the proceeding summer. They were, in chronological order, Alan Curbishley (resigned at West Ham), Kevin Keegan (quit Newcastle), Juande Ramos (sacked by Spurs), Harry Redknapp (left Portsmouth for Spurs), Roy Keane (resigned from Sunderland), Paul Ince (sacked by Blackburn), Tony Adams (sacked by Portsmouth), Luiz Felipe Scolari (sacked by Chelsea) and Joe Kinnear (stepped down at Newcastle). Then after the season had finished Guus Hiddink left as interim manager of Chelsea, Ricky Sbragia resigned at Sunderland and Steve Bruce left Wigan to replace him on Wearside.

Richard, St Helens – 15 May 2014

Which nine players have scored for six different Premier League clubs

The Gaffer says:

Bellamy PA

Craig Bellamy has now scored for seven different Prem clubs, making him the sole the record holder. He's netted for Coventry, Newcastle, Blackburn, Liverpool, West Ham, Man City and Cardiff. The others are: Andrew Cole (Newcastle, Man Utd, Blackburn, Fulham, Man City and Portsmouth), Les Ferdinand (QPR, Newcastle, Tottenham West Ham, Leicester, Bolton), Robbie Keane (Coventry, Leeds, Tottenham, Liverpool, West Ham and Aston Villa), Nicolas Anelka (Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, Bolton, Chelsea and West Brom), Darren Bent (Ipswich, Charlton, Tottenham, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Fulham), Marcus Bent (Crystal Palace, Ipswich, Leicester, Everton, Charlton and Wigan), Peter Crouch (Aston Villa, Southampton, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Tottenham and Stoke) and Nick Barmby (Tottenham, Middlesbrough, Everton, Leeds, Liverpool and Hull).

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