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Orange's football trivia expert answers your best questions

Ask The Gaffer



Ask The Gaffer
Ask The Gaffer

Frankie, Guildford – 28 February 2013

Hi Gaff. How does Rafa's record at Chelsea compare with Di Matteo's?

The Gaffer says:

Roberto Di Matteo's win percentage as Chelsea manager was 57% (1.9 points per game), compared with Rafa Benitez's 52% (1.8 points per game). Mind you, Di Matteo did win the Champions League and FA Cup during his time in charge of the Blues.

Gary, Ireland – 28 February 2013

Going back to the question about players scoring in stadiums furthest from where they were born. Would Rory Fallon have scored further away than Nelsen? Presuming the SPL is a "top flight" league.

The Gaffer says:

Fallon was born in Gisborne on New Zealand's North Island, while Ryan Nelsen who comes from Christchurch on South Island. The distance from Gisborne to Aberdeen is given by one airline as 11,145.6 miles, which is slightly less than Nelsen's football journey. To be honest, I'm not too sure how accurate the distances are on the various websites I've looked at. They do seem to vary somewhat.

Marc, UK – 28 February 2013

Remember Dario Hubner? I was just wondering what his career stats are. Also, where is Inzaghi in the Italy all-time scorers list?

The Gaffer says:

dario hubner pa

Dario Hubner, left, impressed in Serie C1 and Serie B with several clubs in the late 1980s and 1990s but had to wait until he was 30 before making his mark in Serie A, first with Brescia in 1997. He scored against Inter Milan on his top-flight debut and proved the doubters wrong with 16 goals in his first season. After Brescia's relegation and another career lull, 'The Bison' ended up at Piacenza where, in his first season, he finished joint top scorer in Serie A with Juve's Trezeguet on 24 goals. And so Hubner holds the rare distinction of having been top scorer in Serie C1, B and A. He scored 38 goals in 60 league appearances for Piacenza from 2001-03 before moving on to Ancona and Perugia. With a career tally of 262 goals in 543 league appearances, he remained uncapped by Italy and underrated by many. As for Filippo Inzaghi, he scored 25 goals in 57 appearances for Italy from 1997-2007, putting him equal sixth on the Azzurri list.

Danny, Chiswick – 27 February 2013

Who's been subbed most times in the Prem so far this season? Cheers Gaff.

The Gaffer says:

lukas podolski pa

Lukas Podolski is your man. The Arsenal striker has been replaced in 19 of his 24 Premier League appearances so far this season. Three of those 24 appearances were as a sub, so he has played only two full Prem matches - against Liverpool and Reading. According to Opta, no player in Europe's big five leagues has been substituted more often than Podolski this season. Amid all his comings and goings, he has managed eight goals, nine assists and 41 shots for the Gunners.

Jamal, England – 27 February 2013

Who are the oldest players to play in a Champions League final?

The Gaffer says:

Dino Zoff is the oldest European Cup/Champions League finalist. The legendary Italian keeper was aged 41 years 86 days when Juventus lost 1-0 to Hamburg in the 1983 final. Edwin van der Sar is the second oldest: he was 40 years 211 days old when Manchester United lost 3-1 to Barcelona in the 2011 final.

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.

Steve, Wiral – 30 July 2014

Hello Gaffa. Here`s one for you. Which was the last club to win the FA Cup, knocking out a previous winner of the trophy in every round?

The Gaffer says:

Good one! It was actually Arsenal in 1978/79. They beat Sheffield Wednesday (winners in 1896) in round three, Notts County (1894) in round four, Nottingham Forest (1898) in the fifth round, Southampton (1976) in the quarter-finals, Wolves (1893) in the semis and Manchester United (1909) in the final. Arsenal almost repeated the feat last season, playing previous winners Spurs, Coventry, Liverpool, Everton and Wigan, but their win in the final was against first-time finalists Hull City.

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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