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Orange's football trivia expert answers your best questions

Ask The Gaffer



Ask The Gaffer
Ask The Gaffer

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.

Robert Mcguire, Glasgow – 20 November 2014

Did Willie Johnston of Glasgow Rangers ever win a league medal?

The Gaffer says:

No but the controversial Scottish left winger, who was sent off over 20 times in his career and sent home in disgrace from the 1978 World Cup for taking a banned substance, did win a Scottish Cup and two League Cup medals during his first spell with Rangers between 1964-72. He also inspired them to a 3-2 victory over Dynamo Moscow in the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup final, scoring either side of half-time on one of of the clubs most memorable nights.

Ali, Isle of Man – 19 November 2014

Everyone keeps going on about Rooney catching Lineker and Bobby Charlton as the highest goal scorers but how many goals did they score in friendlies? I would imagine that a lot of Rooney's were in friendlies but Lineker and Charlton's would have been in proper games when caps meant something.

The Gaffer says:

Rooney PA

You'd think so, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong. Very wrong! Wayne Rooney has scored only 14 goals in friendly games for England, and 32 in competitive matches. That's a far better ratio than Bobby Charlton (22 in friendlies out of his total of 49) and Gary Lineker (24 in friendlies out of 48 in total).

Derek, Middlesbrough – 19 November 2014

Hi Gaffer, can you tell me what country has played in the European Championship final the most but not won it.

The Gaffer says:

Of course, Derek. Before the break-up, the then national team of Yugoslavia appeared in two European Championships and lost them both. They reached the first-ever European Championship final, or the European Nations' Cup final as it was known then, and were edged out 2-1 by the Soviet Union with Viktor Ponedelnik scoring the winning goal in extra-time. Then in 1968, after beating England 1-0 in the semi-final, Yugoslavia took Italy to a final replay but went down 2-0 at the Stadio Olympico in Rome. Countries to have lost in the one final they have appeared in are Belgium (1980) and Portugal (2004).

 

Alan Cooksey, Wolves – 19 November 2014

Who has most goals/least caps ratio for England?

The Gaffer says:

This record belongs to goal machine George Camsell. He scored an incredible 18 goals in just nine games for England - which is the highest goals-to-game ratio of anyone who has played more than one England international. His goalscoring feats don't end there, either. He is Middlesbrough's all-time record scorer with 345 goals in 453 games (he is actually the fifth-highest English scorer of all-time) and his 63 goals in the 1926-27 season is a Boro record too. He also scored an incredible 27 hat-tricks for the club.

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).

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.

Paul Eastwood, UK – 9 December 2010

Name the footballer who has scored a goal in the top flight in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s?

The Gaffer says:

Roy Race, from Roy of the Rovers. Next!

Aaron, Leeds – 14 February 2011

Which is the biggest stadium in the world?

The Gaffer says:

May Day Stadium

The Rungrado May Day Stadium in North Korea can seat 150,000, making it the largest non-racing stadium capacity in the world. The Maracana in Rio seats 88,992, but reputedly housed a whopping 199,854 spectators for the 1950 World Cup final.

Taffy, UK – 9 December 2010

Is it true that West Auckland in County Durham won the first World Cup?

The Gaffer says:

West Auckland were the winners of the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, one of the first international footballing competitions, in its two initial years (1909 and 1911). It is sometimes referred to as 'The First World Cup' but is predated by the Torneo Internazionale Stampa Sportiva, which was hosted in 1908, as the first international competition.

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