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Orange's football trivia expert answers your best questions

Ask The Gaffer



Ask The Gaffer
Ask The Gaffer

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.

Sam Jennings, Bolton – 13 October 2014

Hello Mr Gaffer! Can you tell me what the heaviest defeat San Marino have suffered in a competitive game?

The Gaffer says:

It came back in 2006 when San Marino lost 13-0 to Germany in their opening qualifying game for Euro 2008. Unsurprisingly, they finished bottom of the group, scoring just twice and conceded a whopping 57 goals in 12 games.

Stuart, Aberdeen – 13 October 2014

Alright Gaffer, I know Ashley Cole made 107 appearances and scored zero goals for England but is this a world record for an outfield player?

The Gaffer says:

Nordqvist PA

No it's not, Stuart. One player has managed to go one 'better', well, eight games better and that man is...Sweden's Bjorn Nordqvist. The centre-back made 115 appearances for the Swedes without scoring a goal and his last appearance came in 1978.

Barry, Australia – 14 October 2014

Alright Gaffer. Having a dispute with a mate of mine. I reckon out of the 92 current League teams, the majority have a higher 'record transfer fee received' than 'record transfer fee spent' on an individual player. He thinks it's vice-versa. Hope this makes sense and you can clear it up.

The Gaffer says:

I've got good news, Barry. Only 10 teams out of the 92 have a higher transfer record fee paid than received - Arsenal (Mesut Ozil £42.5m); Manchester City (Sergio Aguero, £38m); Everton (Romelu Lukaku, £28m); Middlesbrough (Afonso Alves, £12.8m); QPR (Christopher Samba, £12.5m); Stoke (Peter Crouch, £10m); West Brom (Brown Ideye, £10m); Norwich (Ricky van Wolfswinkel, £8.5m); Sheffield Wednesday (Paolo Di Canio, £4.5m); Bradford (David Hopkin, £2.5m). Nb: There are conflicting reports about how much Cardiff paid to make Gary Medel their record signing, ranging from £9-11m. They sold him for £10m which is their record sale so you could include the Bluebirds to boost the total to 11 teams. Chelsea's record fees match - they paid £50m to sign Fernando Torres and reportedly sold David Luiz for the same amount to PSG. Thanks to Bentley from Birmingham and Tubs from London for their help.

Woody, Swindon – 5 June 2014

Following on from your 'Premier League winners who've been relegated' question, has anyone got a Premiership and Championship winners medal?

The Gaffer says:

Yes they have Woody. Quite a few, in fact! The following have all won a Premier League winner's medal. I have listed in each case the club and year in which they also won a Championship/old Second Division winner's medal: Nicky Butt (Newcastle 2009/10), Andy Cole (Newcastle 1992/93), Steve Bruce (Norwich 1985/86), Teddy Sheringham (Millwall 1987/88), Dwight Yorke (Sunderland 2006/07), Bryan Robson (Middlesbrough 1994/95 - as player/manager), Lous Saha (Fulham 2000/01), Tim Sherwood (Portsmouth 2002/03), Paul Warhurst (Oldham 1990/91), Luis Boa Morte (Fulham 2000/01), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Man City 2001/02), Clayton Blackmore (Middlesbrough 1994/95), Mike Phelan (Norwich 1985/86 - he also has a Div 3 medal with Burnley in 1981/82) and Alan Smith (Newcastle 2009/10).

Barney Chadwick, Hull – 5 June 2014

Spain are the current holders of the World Cup, European Championships, Champions League and Europa League. Has this ever happened before (including the European Cup/Uefa Cup days)?

The Gaffer says:

Beckenbauer PA

It happened in the mid-'70s, Barney. West Germany won the European Championship in 1972 and lifted the World Cup two years later. At club level, Bayern Munich were crowned European Cup winners three years on the spin between 1974-76, while Borussia Monchengladbach won the 1975 Uefa Cup final. So all four trophies were in the Germans' possession for a year from 1975-76.

Thomas, Derby – 1 June 2014

Hi Gaffer, could you please tell me which manager has managed the most national football teams please? Thanks :)

The Gaffer says:

There's only one winner here - a German now aged 87 called Rudi Gutendorf. His career spanned 53 years and included spells as boss of Schalke, 1860 Munich and Real Valladolid, but most remarkable are his stints as national boss of EIGHTEEN different countries. In chronological order, between 1972 and 1999, they were: Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela, Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Antigua, Botswana, Australia, New Caledonia, Nepal, Tonga, Tanzania, Ghana, Nepal (again), Fiji, Zimbabwe, China, Iran, Mauritius and Rwanda.

Neily Brown, Campbeltown...Argyll...Scotland – 28 May 2014

Hey Gaffer... a wee teaser for you! Which player, on his only appearance for Scotland, scored before he even kicked the ball? :-)

The Gaffer says:

That would be Joe Craig. He won his only Scotland cap against Sweden at Hampden Park on 27 April 1977. The former Celtic striker replaced Kenny Burns in the 76th minute and scored a header a couple of minutes later before he had kicked the ball.

Danny, Midlands – 27 May 2014

How many players have won the Premier League and also been relegated from it? I've found 37. Are there any more and could you name them please?

The Gaffer says:

Butt PA

Cracking question, Danny. I've got 39 in total: Nicky Butt, Nwankwo Kanu, Damien Duff, Tim Flowers, Chris Sutton, Jason Wilcox, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Alan Smith, Fabio da Silva (all relegated with two different clubs),  Denis Irwin, Roy Keane, Michael Carrick, Park Ji-Sung, Joe Cole, Lee Sharpe, Geremi, Joleon Lescott, Robert Huth, Paul Ince, Andrei Kanchelskis, Tomasz Kuszczak, Raymond van der Gouw, Graeme Le Saux, Ian Pearce, Tim Sherwood, Paul Warhurst, Jeremie Aliadiere, Luis Boa Morte, Stuart Taylor, Matthew Upson, Nigel Winterburn, Jose Bosingwa, Glen Johnson, Adam Johnson, Clayton Blackmore, Roy Carroll, Michael Owen, Kieran Richardson, Ronnie Wallwork. If you spot anyone missing then let me know and I'll add them in.

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).

David Forster, Co.Durham – 23 April 2014

Hi Gaffer, There is one team in the United Kingdom with a letter in there name that no other club has, what is the letter and who is ths team?

The Gaffer says:

I'm feeling in a good mood this afternoon so I'll indulge you this one old chestnut! It's St Johnstone; the only league team in Great Britain with a J in their name.

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