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Orange's football trivia expert answers your best questions

Ask The Gaffer



Ask The Gaffer
Ask The Gaffer

Martin Burns, Glasgow – 11 November 2014

Hi Gaff, I have been a team mate of Tony Vidmar, Jorge Cadete, Jean-Claude Darcheville, Victor Sikora, Karel Poborsky and Nicolas Anelka, who am I?

The Gaffer says:

I love these... especially when I find the answer after half an hour's research! I think your man is Pierre van Hooijdonk. He was with Tony Vidmar at NAC Breda in 2005/06, spent two years with Jorge Cadete at Celtic from 1995-97, was with Jean-Claude Darcheville at Nottingham Forest in 1998/99, played with Victor Sikora for a season at Vitesse in 1999/2000, was strike partner to Karel Poborsky at Benfica in 2000/01 and was one of Nicolas Anelka's many career team-mates, for the latter half of the 2004/05 season at Fenerbahce.

Richie, Worthing – 10 November 2014

A discussion in the bar arose about which Premier League club has had the most 100 cap players play for them. A mate reckons it was Sunderland with 8 whereas I say Liverpool. Can you enlighten us?

The Gaffer says:

You're right, Richie! Twelve players have made a Premier League appearance for Liverpool and won 100+ caps - Steve Staunton, Dirk Kuyt, Sami Hyypia, Javier Mascherano, Kolo Toure, Fernando Torres, John Arne Riise, Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane, Rigobert Song and Jari Litmanen. That's more than any other current/former Premier League side, although Manchester United will tie their rivals when Wayne Rooney makes his 100th cap this week. The other Red Devils are John O'Shea, Park Ji-sung, Henning Berg, Tim Howard, Henrik Larsson, Diego Forlan, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karel Poborsky, Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar. I can only find seven Sunderland players from the Prem - John O'Shea, Thomas Sorensen, Stern John, Kevin Kilbane, Claudio Reyna, Paulo da Silva and Mart Poom. Who's the eighth your mate has included?

David, Glasgow – 10 November 2014

Awrite gaffer?? Please could you name all the players that have won the European Cup/Champions League and also managed in the Premier League (not including caretakers). Cheers!!

The Gaffer says:

Not a problem David. Here's the list - Paul Lambert (won Champions League with Borussia Dortmund, 1997), Ronald Koeman (PSV 1988 and Barcelona 1992), Phil Neal (Liverpool 1977, 78, 81 and 84), Martin O'Neill (Nottingham Forest 1979 and 80), Carlo Ancelotti (AC Milan 1989 and 90), Frank Clark (Forest 1979 and 80), Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool 1978, 81 and 84), Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Roy Keane (both Man Utd 1999), Brian Kidd (Man Utd 1968), Kevin Keegan (Liverpool 1977), Trevor Francis (Forest 1979), Felix Magath (Hamburg, 1983), Michael Laudrup (Barcelona, 1992), Gianluca Vialli (Juventus 1996), Sammy Lee (Liverpool 1981 and 84), Ruud Gullit (Milan 1989 and 90) and Graeme Souness (Liverpool 1978, 81 and 84).

Ian Neary, Dublin – 5 November 2014

Gaffer, which player from each continent has made the most Premier League appearances? (For Europe can you please exclude British & Irish players).

The Gaffer says:

Distin PA

Europe (excluding Britain & Ireland) - Sylvain Distin of France (448 appearances); Africa - Kolo Toure of Ivory Coast (329); South America - Nolberto Solano of Peru (302); North America - Brad Friedel of USA (450); Australia - Mark Schwarzer of Australia (508)*; Asia - Yossi Benayoun of Israel (194)*; Antarctica - N/A. *Australia are part of the Asian Football Confederation and Israel are members of the European Football Confederation (as well as appearing in the Eurovision Song Contest according to Mrs Gaffer) but geographically speaking they don't sit in those continents.

Martin Burns, Glasgow – 5 November 2014

Hi Gaff, which six players have scored 50 or more Premier League goals but have never been given a full international cap?

The Gaffer says:

Nice question, Martin! Regular readers will know Kevin Campbell is the highest Premier League goalscorer to have never won an international cap. The former striker scored 82 goals (22 for Arsenal, 9 for Nottingham Forest, 45 for Everton and 6 for West Brom) and only represented England at U21 and 'B' team level. The other five uncapped players to score 50+ goals are Chris Armstrong (71 goals), Kevin Nolan (68)*, Paolo Di Canio (68), Dean Holdsworth (63) and Mark Bright (50). *Still active.

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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