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Orange's football trivia expert answers your best questions

Ask The Gaffer

Ask The Gaffer
Ask The Gaffer

Danny Inverness, Yemen – 2 September 2014

How many different Asian teams have qualified for the World Cup? My mate from Dubai says it's less than eight...

The Gaffer says:

It's 12 in total, but three of those are slightly complicated! The simple ones are South Korea (nine times in all, including every World since since 1986),  Japan (five), Iran, Saudi Arabia (both four), North Korea (two), UAE, Iraq, China and Kuwait (one each), who have all qualified from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). In addition, Australia have qualified four times, but only two of those (2010 and 2014) were as members of the AFC. Indonesia have qualified just once (by default in 1938), when they were known as the Dutch East Indies. The other anomaly is Israel, who these days are part of the Uefa (European) system, but were part of the AFC between 1954 and 1974, during which time they qualified for the 1970 World Cup finals via a play-off system.

Harry Klinsman, Hull – 2 September 2014

Has any team ever won back to back League Cups?

The Gaffer says:

Hi Harry. Three teams have won the League Cup in successive years. Liverpool actually won it four seasons in a row between 1981 and 1984 (the first three under Bob Paisley and the last under Joe Fagan). Nottingham Forest have won it two years in a row on two separate occasions (1978 and 1979 as well as 1989 and 1990 - managed by Brian Clough on all four occasions). The other successful defenders of the trophy are Manchester United, who beat Spurs in the 2009 final and Aston Villa in 2010.

Andy, Wolverhampton – 2 September 2014

How many Liverpool players have played in 16 consecutive seasons?

The Gaffer says:

Elisha Scott PA

I reckon seven players have spent 16 or more consecutive seasons at Anfield. Two of them - Elisha Scott (18 competitive seasons in a row - 1912/13-1933/34) and Donald Mackinlay (16 in a row - 1909/10-1928/29) - had their careers interrupted by World War I, and Billy Liddell's (17 - 1939/40-1960/61) first competitive appearance was delayed for seven years by World War II (although he played regularly during unofficial war-time friendlies). Scott holds the record for Liverpool's longest-serving player (21 years, 51 days, including the hiatus for WWI). If war hadn't got in the way, those three players would have clocked up more consecutive seasons of competitive football for the Reds, but it's Ian Callaghan who holds that record with 19 between 1959/60 and 1977/78 (he was still on the books in 1978/79 but played no games). Jamie Carragher (1996/97-2012/13) and Steven Gerrard (1998/99-present) have both played for 17 straight seasons and Tommy Smith clocked up 16 (1962/63-1977/78).

Steve, Scarborough – 1 September 2014

What's the highest shirt number ever worn in the Premier League?

The Gaffer says:

Sam Hutchinson (51) and Nicklas Bendtner (52) immediately came to mind, but the record belongs to former Manchester City midfielder Adbul Razak who wore shirt number 62 during his five appearances for the club. The Ivorian was highly-rated but at 21, he now finds himself plying his trade in the Greek Superleague for OFI Crete.

Dwight Preston, Motherwell – 29 August 2014

Are Arsenal the team who have played the most Champions League play-off matches and if so who is second on the list? Cheers Gaffa!

The Gaffer says:

Champions League PA

Arsenal are joint second on the list with Celtic. Both British sides have featured in four of the six Champions League play-off rounds since they were introduced in the 2009-10 season. However, Danish side Copenhagen have been in five play-offs, with their only win coming against Rosenborg in 2010-11.

Jonathan, Cornwall – 6 August 2014

Gaffer, here's a very interesting one for you - which of the 92 English League clubs broke their transfer record the longest time ago?

The Gaffer says:

Buckley PA

Love the question, Jonathan! After scanning through the record books of all 92 clubs, the longest-standing transfer record belongs to Walsall who paid Birmingham City £175,000 to re-sign Alan Buckley as player-manager in June 1979. It was Buckley's second spell as a player at the club and the transfer sum remains a Saddlers record. He's also their all-time leading scorer with over 200 goals.

Steve, Wiral – 30 July 2014

Hello Gaffa. Here`s one for you. Which was the last club to win the FA Cup, knocking out a previous winner of the trophy in every round?

The Gaffer says:

Good one! It was actually Arsenal in 1978/79. They beat Sheffield Wednesday (winners in 1896) in round three, Notts County (1894) in round four, Nottingham Forest (1898) in the fifth round, Southampton (1976) in the quarter-finals, Wolves (1893) in the semis and Manchester United (1909) in the final. Arsenal almost repeated the feat last season, playing previous winners Spurs, Coventry, Liverpool, Everton and Wigan, but their win in the final was against first-time finalists Hull City.

Thomas, Derby – 30 July 2014

Hi Gaffer, who is the longest serving international manager ever, either still managing them now or in the past?

The Gaffer says:

Josef Herberger PA

The legendary Bora Milutinovic holds the world record for taking charge of most international matches as a coach. The exact figure differs slightly depending on the source, but he has at least 287 games under his belt with Mexico, Costa Rica, USA, Nigeria, China, Honduras, Jamaica and Iraq. He is Yugoslav-born, married to a Mexican, lives in Qatar and retired in 2009. If, however, you're asking me who is the longest serving international manager in one job, the answer is Josef "Sepp"Herberger (pictured). He was coach of Germany/West Germany from 1936-1964, spanning 167 games, four World Cups and even an eight-year break during and after World War II!

Paul Debman, Ipswich – 29 July 2014

How many players have played for more than one country at the World Cup finals?

The Gaffer says:

Prosinecki PA

Seven. Luis Monti and Attilio Demaria (both Argentina 1930 and Italy 1934), Ferenc Puskas (Hungary 1954 and Spain 1962), Jose Santamaria (Uruguay 1954 and Spain 1962), Mazzola (Brazil 1958, Italy 1962 when known as Jose Altafini), Robert Prosinecki and Robert Jarni (both for Yugoslavia in 1990 and for Croatia in 1998 and 2002). Monti is the only player to appear in two finals for different nations, while Prosinecki (pictured) is the only one to score for two separate teams.

Jacko, Merseyside – 28 July 2014

Which team in the World Cup has had managers of 13 different nationalities?

The Gaffer says:

Great stat! It's Costa Rica. Since their first coach Eladio Rosabal Cordero (who was actually Costa Rican!) in 1921, they've had managers arriving from all across the globe. The full list is - Costa Ricans, El Salvadorian (Ricardo Saprissa 1935-38), an Englishman (Randolph Galloway in 1946 - a former Derby, Nottingham Forest, Luton, Coventry and Spurs striker who managed clubs in Spain and South America), several Spaniards, eight Brazilians (most recently Rene Simoes in 2009), four Uruguayans, a Chilean (Hugo Tassara Olivares in 1960), three Argentinians (most recently Ricardo La Volpe 2010-11), a Czech (Ivan Mraz in 1980), a Yugoslavian who became a naturalised Mexican (the famous Bora Milutinovic), a Hungarian/Brazilian (Americo Brunner), an American (Steve Sampson 2003-04) and three Colombians (including current boss Jorge Luis Pinto).

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:


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.

Crag, Wigan – 14 February 2011

What is the highest number you can have on the back of your shirt?

The Gaffer says:

Ceni PA

It depends entirely on the league in question, and whether they entertain such nonsense - Mido requested 99 when he joined Tottenham, but the Premier League refused. Looking further afield, Rogerio Ceni wore number 618 during his record-breaking 618th appearance for Sao Paolo, which is believed to be the highest shirt number ever worn during a professional match. Vitor Baia wore 99 for Porto in the 2003 Uefa Cup final, which is the highest number in a European match.

Harry, Torpoint – 9 December 2010

What's the most amount of goals scored in an English league match?

The Gaffer says:

Seventeen, set on Boxing Day 1935 when Tranmere spanked Oldham 13-4.

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