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Orange's football trivia expert answers your best questions

Ask The Gaffer



Ask The Gaffer
Ask The Gaffer

Bernie, Liverpool – 14 March 2013

The Great Dane Morten Olsen scored for Denmark in 1971 but had to wait until 1988 before bagging his next international goal. Is there a bigger gap between international goals?

The Gaffer says:

morten olsen pa

Not that I can come up with, Bernie, certainly not in international football since the Second World War. Morten Olsen scored four goals in his 102 appearances for Denmark, his second coming in a 3-2 friendly win over England on 1 August 1971. The wily libero/defensive midfielder had to wait until 5 June 1988 for his next international goal, in a 3-1 victory over Belgium. For the record, his other goals for Denmark were against Switzerland and Brazil.

Rob, Winchester – 14 March 2013

When was the last time no English clubs were in the quarter-finals of the Champions League?

The Gaffer says:

Before this season, it was in 1995-96 when Blackburn failed to reach the knockout stage after finishing bottom of Group B. And it wasn't any better for Scotland as Rangers were bottom of Group C. This was the first Champions League tournament in which three points were awarded for a win instead of two.

Terry, London – 13 March 2013

A guy at work says Nigel Spackman never got a yellow card in his career but I reckon he was sent off. Who's right?

The Gaffer says:

Bizarrely, you're both right, at least as far as the Premier League is concerned. Spackman did indeed go through his entire Prem career without being booked, but he was given a straight red when playing for Chelsea v Arsenal in September 1995. According to Opta, the midfielder played a total of 5,390 minutes in the Premier League without seeing yellow. But that pales into insignificance when compared with John Barnes's record 16,407 minutes without a booking.

Eddie, Shrewsbury – 13 March 2013

Regarding players who have scored furthest from their birthplace. I give you Spanish player Dani Sanchez of Wellington Phoenix in the A-League. He appears to have scored more than 12,000 miles from his birthplace of Malaga!

The Gaffer says:

Nice one, Eddie. Yep, Dani's the boy - born in Malaga, which is apparently 12,132 miles from Wellington, New Zealand.

Dougie, Newcastle – 13 March 2013

Where does Messi stand now in the Champions League scorers table? Thanks Gaff.

The Gaffer says:

Lionel Messi PA

Lionel Messi is on his own in second place after his double in Barcelona's 4-0 victory over AC Milan at the Nou Camp. The Argentinian's Champions League tally is now 58, two more than that of Ruud van Nistelrooy. But Messi still has a fair way to go to match Raul's 71. After van Nistelrooy come Thierry Henry with 50, and Andriy Shevchenko with 48. Messi, above, now holds the record for most doubles scored in Champions League matches. His brace against the Rosseneri was his 16th in the competition.

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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