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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 – 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.

Graham, Work – 4 November 2014

Since the Premier League's introduction, where has the team placed 2nd at Xmas/NYE gone on to finish?

The Gaffer says:

OK, I've done the research for you and I'm not sure that it proves very much, but I'll leave it up to you to analyse! Here's the list (in each case, the team listed occupied second place on New Year's Day that season, and the position is where they finished): 1992/93 - Man Utd; top. 93/94 - Blackburn; 2nd. 94/95 - Man Utd; 2nd. 95/96 - Man Utd; top. 96/97 - Man Utd; top. 97/98 - Blackburn; 6th. 98/99 - Chelsea; 3rd. 99/00 - Man Utd; top. 00/01 - Arsenal; 2nd. 01/02 - Newcastle; 4th. 02/03 - Chelsea; 4th. 03/04 - Arsenal; top. 04/05 - Arsenal; 2nd. 05/06 - Man Utd; 2nd. 06/07 - Chelsea; 2nd. 07/08 - Man Utd; top. 08/09 - Chelsea; 3rd. 09/10 - Man Utd; 2nd. 10/11 - Man City; 3rd. 11/12 - Man Utd; 2nd. 12/13 - Man City; 2nd. 13/14 - Man City; top. So, on seven occasions, the club in second place at the turn of the year has won the title. On ten occasions they have remained in second. On only ONE occasion has the New Year second-placed team dropped out of the top four. If there's one conclusion to be drawn, it's that Southampton fans might want to start thinking about booking flights for next autumn!

Trev, Manchester – 4 November 2014

Which players have played for Manchester United and Chelsea in the Premier League?

The Gaffer says:

Paul Parker PA

Paul Parker (pictured), Mark Hughes, Mark Bosnich, Juan Sebastian Veron and Juan Mata are the five men to have worn the respective red and blue shirts of United and Chelsea since 1992/93. Before the Premier League era, Ray Wilkinsm Alex Stepney, George Graham and Mickey Thomas are among the luminaries to straddle both camps.

Masai Graham, West Bromwich – 4 November 2014

Has anyone ever finished as the season's Premier League top goal scorer without having a hat-trick within their tally?

The Gaffer says:

Hasselbaink PA

This has only happened twice in the 22 completed seasons of the Premier League. In 1998/99, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, then of Leeds, finished joint top scorer on 18 with Michael Owen and Dwight Yorke. All the Dutchman's goals were in singles apart from braces against Liverpool and Aston Villa. In 2001/02, Thierry Henry finished as top Premier League goal scorer for the first time with 24 goals, none of which were part of a hat-trick, although he did score twice on seven occasions.

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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