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Orange's football trivia expert answers your best questions

Ask The Gaffer



Ask The Gaffer
Ask The Gaffer

Ted, Nairobi – 20 December 2014

Harold Halse is one of only two Manchester United players to net six times in a game. Name the other.

The Gaffer says:

The great George Best, who scored six against Northampton Town in United's 8-2 win at the County Ground during the FA Cup fifth round on 7 February 1970.

Dave, Liverpool – 20 December 2014

Name the players who have scored hat-tricks in the Premier League with a 'z' in their name.

The Gaffer says:

Cazorla PA

Santi Cazorla, Edin Dzeko, Jordi Gomez, Eden Hazard, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Maxi Rodriguez, Roque Santa Cruz, Luis Suarez, Carlos Tevez and Gianfranco Zola.

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.

Dave, Waltham Abbey – 15 December 2014

Which former Premier League player has been sent off for three different clubs in the Champions League?

The Gaffer says:

That would be Patrick Vieira. He managed to pick up three red cards for three different clubs in the Champions League in three consecutive seasons, beginning with Arsenal in the 2004/05 campaign. The following season he was sent off whilst playing for Juventus and completed the hat-trick with Inter Milan the year after. Vieira also holds the joint-record with Richard Dunne and Duncan Ferguson for the most red cards in the Premier League history (8).

Martin Whittaker, Oldham – 12 December 2014

Who holds the record for most penalties won then taken (by the same player) in a season in English top tier football history?

The Gaffer says:

Francis Lee PA

There are no official recorded statistics for exactly which player have won penalties, but nevertheless it's almost certain that the answer is Manchester City's Francis Lee. He holds the record for scoring the most penalties in an English top-flight season, netting 13 in the league in 1971/72, plus two in cup matches. That season he earned the nickname 'Lee one pen' which fairly quickly morphed into 'Lee won pen' because he was so often the player fouled to win the spot kick in the first place (I say 'fouled' but Lee certainly had a reputation for diving). Similarly, in more recent times, Andrew Johnson was often accused of hitting the deck rather easily during 2004/05 when he recorded the Premier League record of 11 penalties in a season.

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.

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.

Rambo, Scotland – 11 February 2011

What's the only team in Britain with a J in its name?

The Gaffer says:

Of note? St Johnstone.

Paul, Angelsey – 10 February 2011

Has the score of Forfar 4 East Fife 5 ever happened?

The Gaffer says:

East Fife have never beaten Forfar by that infamous scoreline. However, in the 1963/1964 season, Forfar did beat East Fife 5-4 in a Scottish Division Two match.

Joe, Everton Valley – 14 February 2011

Who sung You'll Never Walk Alone first? Liverpool or Celtic?

The Gaffer says:

Kop PA

Although there is no clear evidence, most claim Liverpool sung the anthem before Celtic. The song is actually taken from the musical Carousel composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, and only became a terrace favourite after it was covered by Gerry and the Pacemakers in November 1963. Liverpool supporters adopted it which footage from Panorama in 1964 shows, however there is no concrete evidence that is was before or after Celtic. As an aside, the song was first heard in a footballing capacity at the 1958 memorial service for the Munich Air Disaster, but Man Utd didn't adopt it as an anthem, unlike Liverpool, Celtic, Feyenoord, FC Twente and FC Tokyo to name but five.

Harry, UK – 14 February 2011

Who is the oldest person to play league football?

The Gaffer says:

John Ryan PA

John Ryan (pictured), the owner of Doncaster Rovers, who brought himself on as substitute in the last minute of a game in 2003 aged 52 years, 11 months. Aside from that cameo appearance, the real accolade should go to Sir Stanley Matthews, who played his final game for Stoke on 6 February 1965. He was 50 years and 4 days old.

Woody, Clitheroe – 14 February 2011

Why are Hartlepool called the Monkey Hangers?

The Gaffer says:

Monkey

During the Napoleonic wars a French ship was wrecked off the coast of Hartlepool and amongst its wreckage was the ship's pet monkey. Thinking the animal could be a French spy, the residents of Hartlepool held a trial and sentenced it to death by hanging.

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