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Orange's football trivia expert answers your best questions

Ask The Gaffer



Ask The Gaffer
Ask The Gaffer

Derek, Middlesbrough – 13 January 2015

Can you tell me other than Jimmy Armfield who played for Blackpool throughout their whole career? How many players have played for just one club?

The Gaffer says:

Other one-club men for Blackpool include Harry Johnston (1934-55), Hughie Kelly (1943-60), Glyn James (1959-74), John Charles (1912-24), Mike Davies (1984-95), Edward Threlfall (1900-11), Bob Birkett (1896-1906) and Bert Tulloch (1914-24). There are hundreds of other players around the world who played for just one club in their career. Ryan Giggs holds the British record for longest span having spent 24 years at Manchester United between 1990-2014. Bob Crompton also enjoyed 24 years at Blackburn between 1896-1920, but the Football League was suspended due to the First World War between 1915-19 (during this period he turned out as a guest player for Blackpool in the regional leagues). Counting only active players, goalscoring goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni (Sao Paulo) and Italian forward Franceso Totti (Roma) made their first-team debuts in 1993 and remain with their respective clubs after 22 years.

Jamie, England – 5 January 2015

Hi gaffer. I was just wondering what the highest points record is in Europe's top 10 leagues

The Gaffer says:

Well wonder no more, Jamie! Record points totals for Europe's top 10 leagues (top 10 countries defined by current Uefa coefficients) are as follows: Italy - Juventus 2013/14: 102pts (this is the Europe-wide record for a 20-team league), Spain - Real Madrid 2011/12 and Barcelona 2012/13: 100pts, England - Chelsea 2004/05: 95pts, Germany - Bayern Munich 2012/13: 91pts, France - Paris St Germain 2013/14: 89pts, Portugal - Porto 2010/11: 84pts, Netherlands - Ajax 1971/72: 63pts (two points for a win, would've been 93 today), Russia - Zenit St Petersburg 2010: 68pts, Ukraine - Dynamo Kiev 1999/00: 84pts, Belgium - Club Brugge 1997/98: 84pts.

Ross, Dundee – 2 January 2015

HI Gaff, can you please tell me the last time Celtic or Rangers weren't top of the Scottish League on New Year's Day?

The Gaffer says:

Before this year, you have to go back to 1992 when Hearts were top of the pile with 44 points from 27 games - one point clear of Rangers and 11 ahead of fourth-placed Celtic. Hearts, though, finished the season in second behind champions Rangers. Nb: During the 1993-94 season, Aberdeen went into the New Year leading the division, but Rangers beat rivals Celtic on New Year's Day to climb above the Dons.

Andy, Birmingham – 2 January 2015

Hi Gaff. Your page is always a pleasure and fills many a break time in our office! Here's one that has us stumped: Is there a player who has played for Albion, Villa, Blues and Wolves? We don't think so.

The Gaffer says:

I don't think so either, Andy. Plenty have played for three (Craig Gardner, Kevin Phillips, Curtis Davies, Andy Gray etc) but I can't find anyone with the full set on their CV.

James, London – 31 December 2014

Name three managers who've won top flight titles with two different clubs.

The Gaffer says:

The last manager to do so was Kenny Dalglish, who guided Liverpool to three First Division titles before steering Blackburn to Premier League glory in 1994-95, when he famously clinched the title at Anfield. Herbert Chapman was the first manager to win titles with different clubs. He was in charge of Huddersfield when they were champions in 1923-24 and 1924-25, and went on to win the title with Arsenal three times in the early 1930s. The other manager to achieve the feat is Brian Clough, who led Derby to the title in 1972, and Nottingham Forest in 1978.

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).

Jeff, Cardiff – 20 January 2015

Name 2 players that have been capped by England for 5 different Premier League clubs

The Gaffer says:

Scott Parker PA

I reckon there are three players, Jeff. David James's 53-cap England career spanned his time at five different Premier League clubs - Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Manchester City and Portsmouth. Emile Heskey also won caps whilst at five Prem clubs - Leicester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Wigan and Aston Villa. The final man is Scott Parker, whose first four England caps were, quite remarkably, earned while representing four different clubs (Charlton, Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham). He later earned further caps as a Tottenham player.

Harry Roberts, Glasgow – 24 December 2014

How many father and son combinations have played for the same team at the same time? And can you name them?

The Gaffer says:

There have been a couple of examples in England. Ian Bowyer, who won two European Cups with Nottingham Forest, and his son Gary, the current Blackburn Rovers manager, played one game together for Hereford against Scunthorpe in April 1990. They became the first father and son to play in English League football since Alec and David Herd for Stockport County in 1951. In Northern Ireland, George Eastham, a non-playing member of England's 1966 World Cup-winning squad, appeared for Ards alongside his father George Sr, who was player-manager of the club during the 1950s. Recent examples outside of the UK include Rivaldo and Henrik Larsson, who played alongside their sons, Rivaldinho and Jordan, for Mogi Mirim and Hogaborg respectively. Eidur Gudjohnsen and his father Arnar almost joined the elite club in 1996. Both played in Iceland's international friendly against Estonia in Tallinn but they weren't on the pitch at the same time as debutant Eidur replaced his father as a second-half substitute. Apparently, coach Logi Olafsson was under strict orders not to play them together as the Icelandic FA wanted it to happen on home turf in a World Cup qualifier later in the year. However, Eidur broke his ankle and by the time he recovered his old man had retired.

B Glenn, Birmingham – 17 December 2014

Which two men faced each other as both players and managers in FA Cup finals?

The Gaffer says:

You little beauty! That is a belter of a question, even more so because I've just nailed the answer. It's Bob Stokoe and Don Revie. They faced each other in the 1955 FA Cup final when Stokoe was part of the Newcastle side that triumphed 3-1 over Manchester City, for whom Revie was up front. Fast forward to 1973 and Stokoe was again triumphant. His second-division Sunderland side caused one of the biggest FA Cup final shocks of all time by beating Revie's all-conquering Leeds United 1-0 at Wembley.

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.

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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