“What are the highest fees paid by clubs for other teams’ managers?” asks Alan Gomes.
“I immediately thought of the fee paid by Frank Lampard’s Chelsea to acquire Frank Lampard from Derby County, which was reported to be £3m-4m,” begins James Wayne. “A quick search led me to this tweet, and a list drawn up by Portuguese newspaper A Bola.”
André Villas-Boas tops that list, after Chelsea triggered his Porto release clause in 2011 for €15m (£13.2m at the time). That didn’t work out too well, and neither did the £6.2m Manchester City paid Blackburn for Mark Hughes.
As James points out, there are some success stories: Chelsea paying €6m for José Mourinho, and Real Madrid forking out just under €4m for Carlo Ancelotti in 2013. The Italian secured the Spanish club’s sought-after decima in the European Cup – so it was money well spent.
Earliest league title winners (II)
Following last week’s column, we’ve had more nominations for the earliest title winners – starting in Scotland …
“Celtic clinched the 2013-14 Scottish Premiership on the 26March,” notes Michael Mooney. A 5-1 away win at Partick Thistle sealed the deal for Celtic, who finished 29 points clear of Motherwell. That was the earliest title win in Scotland since 1928-29, when Rangers wrapped it up on 16 March.”
Tony Attwood takes us back to England, and the inaugural Football League season: “With only 22 games [lasting from September to February], Preston won the title in January with three games to spare.”
And on 5 January 1889, Preston beat Notts County 4-1, leaving Aston Villa needing to avoid defeat at Burnley. Villa lost 4-0, handing North End the title. Preston memorably went on to finish the league season unbeaten.
Playing at rivals’ grounds (III)
Another entry for our list of clubs playing “home” games at their rivals’ grounds, from Rob Fielding:
In March 2001, Port Vale were just two games away from the Football League Trophy final, and had been drawn at home against local rivals Stoke City. Amid fixture congestion and with the Vale Park pitch in a poor state, Vale voluntarily gave up their home advantage to play at the Britannia Stadium instead.
It turned out to be a successful gamble. Vale won the ‘home’ game 2-1, and despite a fixture backlog which saw them play seven league games in April, they made it to the Millennium Stadium, beat Brentford 2-1 in the final and lifted only the club’s second domestic trophy.”
High-scoring debutants (redux)
Following up on a question we posed back in January, Michael Baars nominates the legendary coach Rinus Michels, who wasn’t a bad player either.
Michels made his Ajax debut as an 18-year old in 1946 and although he wasn’t a substitute, he had been called into the squad after an injury to Han Lambregt. The teenage centre-forward, very much the Erling Braut Haaland of his day, banged in five goals as Ajax beat ADO Den Haag 8-3.
Keepers winning penalties
“Has a goalkeeper, sent up into the opposition area in the last minute, ever won a penalty?” wonders James Murton.
“In November 2011, Blackburn Rovers were away to Wigan, when goalkeeper Paul Robinson went up to join the attack,” writes Kenny Hodkinson. “He won a penalty after getting a kick to the head.” The Latics’ David Jones was the guilty party, and Yakubu converted to earn Rovers a 3-3 draw. Here’s some fan footage of the incident.
Alexander Stephenson suggests a tale we highlighted recently: “David James was sent up front for Manchester City by Stuart Pearce, against Middlesbrough in 2005. He caused sufficient panic in the away defence that they conceded a penalty. Robbie Fowler took the spot-kick, knowing a goal would send City into the Uefa Cup at Boro’s expense – but Mark Schwarzer saved it.”
“Against which player did Peter Shilton make his only penalty save for England? It’s got me stumped,” admitted Carl Hollingworth, back in 2000.
Shilton’s only penalty success in an England shirt came when he saved a spot-kick from West Germany’s Andreas Brehme in a 1985 friendly in Mexico City. England won 3-0 in a game that was part of the “Azteca 2000” tournament, a warm-up for the 1986 World Cup. Hosts Mexico won both their matches to top the standings.
According to commentator Brian Moore, Brehme’s blunder was the Germans’ fourth straight penalty miss. Brehme had the last laugh, pelting one past the spring-haired custodian in some match or other in Turin five years later. And a few days after that, he became the first man to settle a World Cup final from the spot – his first penalty scored for his country in open play.
Can you help?
“With the increase in games with no spectators because of the coronavirus outbreak, have there been instances in the past of teams using loudspeakers, cardboard cutouts of fans, or similar effects to try and replicate the atmosphere of a full stadium?” wonders Christopher Sato.
“The 1957 Floodlight Cup final in Germany between Frankfurt and Schalke was decided on the number of corners won (8-6 to Frankfurt) after the tie finished level on aggregate,” writes Andrew Burrows. “Any other unusual ways of deciding matches or tournaments?”
“What is the highest position in the Premier League a club has finished with a negative goal difference? And what is the lowest position of a club with a positive goal difference?” asks Mitch Mitchell.
“On Saturday 7 March there were 12 matches in the National League and only one home team (Sutton United) managed to notch a win,” notes John Edwards. “Is this some sort of record?”
“AZ defender Teun Koopmeiners has already scored nine penalties in the Eredivisie this season,” writes Bas Vlaming. “This is a lot, but surely someone must have scored more penalties in a season?”
Email your questions and answers to [email protected] or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU.