“What is the highest number of different teams in the same league played for by one player?” asks Grant Ninnes.
“Six of the seven clubs Scott Parker played for over the course of his career were all in the Premier League during the 2004-05 season,” writes Tim Postins. “That includes Norwich City, for whom he played six times on loan. The only one of his clubs not in the league that season were West Ham, although Parker did play against the Hammers during that season in a 1-0 win for Chelsea in the League Cup. During the same season six of Peter Crouch’s former clubs were also in the Premier League, but the 2012-13 season went one better for him with Spurs, QPR, Norwich, Southampton, Villa, Liverpool and Stoke all in the Premier League.”
Chris Rawson takes us back more than four decades and cites John Burridge, who during his career played for six of the teams who were in the top flight in the 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons during his career – Wolves, Aston Villa, Southampton, Crystal Palace, Manchester City, QPR and Derby (Palace and QPR swapping divisions in those two season, while Burridge was playing for the former, from whom he joined the latter in 1980): He also played for Workington, Blackpool, Southend, Sheffield United, Newcastle, Scarborough, Lincoln City, Manchester City and Darlington.”
Dave Mellinger points out that Kei Kamara has played for eight teams in MLS. “In fact he played for Columbus during two distinct spans, in 2006-07 and 2014-15. He has scored for all of the eight, which might be a separate record,” writes Dave. “It’s not clear to me why he has changed teams so often, since he’s good at what he does: He’s currently fifth on the MLS career goalscoring list, and will probably move up to third or possibly even second if he plays again next year and scores as much as he has in recent seasons. He also played for a couple of years in England, at Middlesbrough and Norwich City.”
First up is the well-known FA Cup replay between Everton and Liverpool in 1991, after which Kenny Dalglish resigned as the Reds’ manager. The game ended 4-4, with Liverpool leading (and Everton equalising) four times. However, in the 1970-71 Fairs Cup, Anderlecht and Zeljeznicar went one better, as the game finished 5-4. Dirk Maas, meanwhile, offers these nailbiters: “Rotation Babelsberg 5-5 BSG Motor Desau (GDR 1950-51), and Akademisk BK v Aarhus GF (1997-98), Kuopion JS v JJK Jyväskylä (2011) and Apollon Smyrnis v PAOK (1997-98): all ended 4-4.”
Team names in nicknames
“I will go out on a limb and say that Marine are the only football club that is an anagram of an Alfred Hitchcock film. But I wonder if Marine are the also only team whose nickname is an extension of their name: Marine > Mariners?” wonders Andrew Goudie.
“Slightly different as it is not our full name, but City’s (Manchester) ‘official’ nickname is the elongated Citizens/Cityzens and has been for at least 70 years,” replies Will Dawson. “Though it is worth pointing out that no supporter ever refers to us as this; it is only used in marketing and newspaper reports.”
Bryn Mills wants to tackle the anagram element of the question, mind. “I would offer crack Laotian Premier League outfit Army FC, who of course are an anagram of Hitchcock’s 1931 German language effort Mary.”
I can see my team from here
“Where can I stand on public land in England and see the most football grounds from the league’s 92 with the naked eye?” wonders Keith Moss. “Can’t imagine it’s anywhere else than London, and one of Hampstead Heath or Crystal Palace would probably be strong contenders.”
“My vote is Winter Hill in Lancashire,” offers Alan Willis. “Strangely, I considered this whilst I was there. Bolton, Wigan (for the moment, sob), Preston, Manchester City, Manchester United, Everton and Liverpool should be visible. Binoculars needed for the more distant ones, mind. Not sure about Prenton Park for Tranmere, while Blackburn’s Ewood Park is out of view due to Anglezarke Moor getting in the way.”
Patrick O’Brien is on location with this report: “Sitting in Crystal Palace Park reading this and can confirm that you can’t see any Football League grounds, but you can see the athletics stadium, now home of non-league Croydon FC. Half a mile away at Norwood Park, on a clear day you can see Wembley and also Virgo Fidelis school, home of the reformed Wanderers, first winners of the FA Cup, 200 yards away.”
“I vaguely recall hearing that Shay Given has a special bottle of water he puts in his goal before every match,” vaguely recalled Damien Hensley in 2007. “Is this really true?”
Well, Damien, according to the man himself, it was. Prior to every game he played, the Republic of Ireland keeper placed a vial of Lourdes holy water at the back of his goal as a lucky charm. “I carry it in my kit bag and it goes everywhere with me,” he told the Irish News of the World in 2002. Apparently, the water carried with it powers that many Roman Catholics ascribe to the Lourdes spring, where apparitions of the Virgin Mary first appeared in 1858. Given also takes a picture of his late mother wherever he goes. “He’s been doing it since he was small,” revealed his father Seamus. “I don’t know how much he remembers her because he was so young when she died, but he doesn’t want to forget about her.”
Can you help?
It’s our Christmas special next week, so if you have any festive-themed teasers too, please fire away …
“What is the greatest differential for a professional player in terms of their substitute appearances outstripping starting occasions?” asks David Killip.
“We often hear about strikers having favoured opponents (Vardy v Arsenal, Rooney v Newcastle, Suárez v Norwich, etc),” begins John Ruddock, “but which individual keeper has conceded the most goals to the same player over the course of their career?”
“Has any club scored as many goals in the Champions League group stages as Manchester United this year (15) and not qualified for the knockout stages?” wonders Tim Leehan.
“In November, player of the month in England, Spain and Italy were all Portuguese (Bruno Fernandes, João Félix and Cristiano Ronaldo), as was the Premier League manager of the month, José Mourinho,” notes António Marreiros. “Is this the first time one nationality has dominated the monthly awards?”
“What is the furthest away from goal someone has been sent off for a professional foul?” muses Robert Davies.