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Ask The Gaffer



Ask The Gaffer
Ask The Gaffer

Peter McCafferty, Jarrow – 23 February 2015

Which team holds the record for fielding the same team in consecutive Premier League games?

The Gaffer says:

McLeish PA

No doubt your question is prompted by Burnley boss Sean Dyche's recent run of 10 Premier League matches with the same starting XI. That sequence ended in the away game at Manchester United on February 11 when he replaced Dean Marney with Michael Kightly. The Premier League record run for matches without any line-up tinkering is 12 in succession, held by Birmingham City between November 21, 2009 and February 7, 2010. Manager Alex McLeish played the same starting XI (Hart, Carr, Ridgewell, R Johnson, Dann, Bowyer, Larsson, B Ferguson, McFadden, C Jerome, C Benitez) and it paid off handsomely. Blues won the first five games of that sequence and in all lost only one of those 12 games (3-0 at Chelsea), winning seven and drawing four.

Steve A, Glasgow – 20 February 2015

Alrighty Gaff. Since 1993, which 12 players have won the Champions League specifically two times and on each occasion with a different team? E.g. Cristiano Ronaldo for Man Utd and Real Madrid.

The Gaffer says:

Ronaldo PA

I'm with you, Steve. Along with Ronaldo, the other 11 are: Edwin van der Sar (Ajax, Man Utd); Thiago Motta (Barcelona, Inter); Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich, Man Utd); Paulo Sousa (Juventus, Borussia Dortmund); Xabi Alonso (Liverpool, Real Madrid); Didier Deschamps (Marseille, Juventus); Marcel Desailly (Marseille, AC Milan); Christian Panucci (AC Milan, Real Madrid); Deco (Porto, Barcelona); Jose Bosingwa (Porto, Chelsea); Paulo Ferreira (Porto, Chelsea). Of course, as you've only asked for players who have specifically won the Champions League twice, I've not included Clarence Seedorf - the only man to win it with three different clubs (twice with AC Milan, once with Ajax and Real Madrid), Samuel Eto'o (twice with Barcelona, once with Inter Milan), Gerard Pique (twice with Barcelona, once with Man Utd) and Fernando Redondo (twice with Real Madrid, once with AC Milan).

Mat, Yeovil – 20 February 2015

When was the last time there were no Scottish managers in the English Premier League?

The Gaffer says:

Following Paul Lambert's sacking at Aston Villa, this is the first time the Premier League has been without a Scottish manager. Just for years ago, there were seven Scots managing in the top flight: Lambert (Norwich), Sir Alex Ferguson (Man Utd), Alex McLeish (Aston Villa), David Moyes (Everton), Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool) and Steve Kean (Blackburn) - plus Scottish-born Owen Coyle (Bolton), although he was capped by the Republic of Ireland. Pre-Premier League, there has always been at least one Scottish manager in the top division since Don Mackay took over at Coventry City in December 1984.

John, Liverpool – 4 February 2015

How many players have scored perfect hat tricks in the Premier League and who are they?

The Gaffer says:

There have been 31 perfect hat-tricks (i.e. left foot, right foot, header) scored in the Premier League, the latest by Stoke's Jonathan Walters in their 3-1 win over QPR last Saturday (January 31). Robbie Fowler holds the personal record with three (all for Liverpool - W4-2 v Southampton in October 1993, W3-1 v Arsenal December 1995 and W7-1 v Southampton in January 1999). Yakubu also got two (one for Everton - W3-0 v Fulham in December 2007 and one for Blackburn - W4-2 v Swansea December 2011). Here's the full list: Jonathan Walters, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Nolan, Jordi Gomez, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Yakubu (twice), Demba Ba, Edin Dzeko, Louis Saha, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Mikael Forssell, Peter Crouch, Thierry Henry, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Les Ferdinand, Emile Heskey, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Robbie Fowler (three), Gianluca Vialli, Andrew Cole, Tommy Johnson, Chris Sutton, Matthew Le Tissier, Efan Ekoku, Mark Robins. (list courtesy of Opta).

Scott, Stirling – 30 January 2015

Hey, Gaffer. Got a brain teaser for you: I'm an English striker. I've represented my country at youth level, played in all four professional divisions and in non-league. I've played in an FA Cup final at the old Wembley, scored 42 goals in the Premier League and was top scorer for my club during a season in which they finished 6th in the top flight. I once appeared in a Ridley Scott film, and I'm still playing today aged 40. Who am I?

The Gaffer says:

Joachim PA

Here he is....out from behind the smoke and the back-stage curtain.... Julian Joachim! He's still playing deep down in the English non-league system with Shepshed Dynamo, his 11th non-league side in the last seven years! His career began way back in 1992 of course, at Leicester City, when his impishness and pace terrorised Premier League defences. He scored the Foxes' first ever Premier League goal on the opening day of the 1994/95 season. Around that time he played for England U18s, U19s and U21s. He soon moved to Aston Villa where he was part of the side that lost the 2000 FA Cup final to Chelsea at the old Wembley. After 42 goals in 156 Prem games he dropped down the divisions with Coventry, Leeds, Walsall and Boston United and Darlington, before beginning his sojourn in English football's nether regions in 2008 with King's Lynn. He did initially retire in 2011 but came out of retirement in summer 2013 to sign for Holbeach United, from whence he has since transferred to Oadby Town and now Shepshed.

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).

Jonathan, Cornwall – 6 August 2014

Gaffer, here's a very interesting one for you - which of the 92 English League clubs broke their transfer record the longest time ago?

The Gaffer says:

Buckley PA

Love the question, Jonathan! After scanning through the record books of all 92 clubs, the longest-standing transfer record belongs to Walsall who paid Birmingham City 175,000 to re-sign Alan Buckley as player-manager in June 1979. It was Buckley's second spell as a player at the club and the transfer sum remains a Saddlers record. He's also their all-time leading scorer with over 200 goals.

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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