“What is the highest number of goals in a season that a player has scored for a relegated club?” ponders Andy Brook. “And has one ever finished as the league’s top scorer?”

Bernd Jatzwauk gets the ball rolling with Angelo Vier, who was top scorer in the 2. Bundesliga in 1996-97 with 18 goals while his team Rot Weiss Essen finished 13 points from safety.

Chris Waters
(@Clapham_Grand)

Andy Johnson scored 21 goals for #cpfc in the 2004-05 season, though we were still relegated on the last day. He was quite sensational that campaign and was deservedly called up by England in Feb for a friendly against Holland, though Sven put him on the wing


April 14, 2020

Dirk Maas nominates Igor Protti, who found the net 24 times for doomed Bari in the 1995-96 Serie A season, and throws in Lenos Kittos (14 goals in the Cypriot top flight for Ermis Aradippou in 1983-84) and Niklas Skoog (17 goals in Sweden’s Allsvenskan for rock-bottom Västra Frölunda in 1995) for good measure.

Tom Aldous finds a high-pedigree rival for Protti: our old pal Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who scored 24 for Atlético Madrid in their relegation season of 1999-2000, while Tom Johnson unearths a less glamorous goal machine: David Leworthy, who scored 32 goals in the Conference for Farnborough Town in 1992-93, who finished second bottom despite scoring 68 goals in 42 games. Conceding 87 was the problem.

And lastly David Carr points out that Southampton went down from the First Division in 1973-74 (along with Manchester United) but Mick Channon was top scorer in the division with 21 goals.

Kings of the world

“The Santos-Botafogo game played on this day in 1962 featured eight world champions,” writes Andrew Downie. “Is that a record? Pelé, Zito, Gylmar, Mauro, Garrincha, Amarildo, Nilton Santos, Zagallo. It’s 11 including those who won medals but didn’t play in the finals.”

Bernd Jatzwauk is making good use of lockdown. He returns to the fold to draw our attentions to Borussia Mönchengladbach v Bayern Munich in October 1974, which featured nine world champions – and a further two who won World Cup medals but hadn’t played: Wolfgang Kleff (did not play), Bertie Vogts, Rainer Bonhof, Herbert Wimmer, Jupp Heynckes, Sepp Maier, Franz Beckenbauer, Jupp Kapellmann (did not play), Georg Schwarzenbeck, Uli Hoeness and Gerd Müller.

Benjamin Dom recalls that the November 2010 clásico featured every member of Spain’s triumphant World Cup final XI except for Joan Capdevila. Dara O’Reilly expands: “Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, Gerard Piqué, Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta, Pédro, Xavi and David Villa had all started the World Cup final. Additionally, Victor Valdes, Joan Capdevila, Álvaro Arbeloa and Raúl Albiol featured, who were in the squad but did not play in the final. And a bonus to Matt Barrowclough, who spots that there were also two future world champions playing: Mesut Özil and Sami Khedira.”

From dressing room to dug-out

“Which manager has managed the most clubs they formerly played at?” asks Richard Wilson. “Most that come to mind are two former clubs managed (Vujadin Boskov and Kenny Dalglish) but I suspect there will be someone who beats that.”

Alan Gomes knows his gaffers: Jorge Jesus, current manager of Brazil’s Flamengo, has managed four of the 13 clubs he played for: Sporting, Belenenses, Estrela da Amadora and União de Leiria.

Staying domestic, Dan Taylor gives us Tony Mowbray (Middlesbrough, Celtic and Ipswich), while Tom Aldous goes for Sam Allardyce (Preston, Bolton, Sunderland), Alan Pardew (Charlton, Crystal Palace, Reading) and – outstripping them all – Peter Taylor, with Dartford, Enfield, Southend and Crystal Palace. Dan Almond adds the name of Terry Venables, who played for and managed QPR, Spurs, Crystal Palace Palace and England.

But the winner may well be Dermot Keely who played for and managed Home Farm, Dundalk, UCD, Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers – as noted by Sean DeLoughrey.

And this week’s quirk-inclusion goes to John Gregory, who as well as having played for and managed Aston Villa, QPR and Derby County, was also appointed as manager of Plymouth in 1990, but only lasted two games. His replacement, David Kemp, immediately selected him as a player and he made three appearances. So, as well as managing three clubs he formerly played for, he also played for a club he formerly managed. Thanks to Pete Moxon for that.



Former Aston Villa manager John Gregory coached three teams he played for, and played for one team he had coached. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Knowledge archive

“What is the longest distance a footballer has been known to travel on a daily basis to attend training at their club?” asked Dan Brady in November 2006.

We had a few nominations for the longest daily to trip to training, including Winston Bogarde (Amsterdam-Chelsea: 356km) and Wolfsburg’s Pablo Thiam (Berlin-Wolfsburg: 150km), but no one got near the monster commute, albeit not a daily one, undertaken by the Australian striker Damian Mori.

“Mori, playing at the time in the A-League for Central Coast Mariners, still lived in Adelaide,” explained Andrew Stockings. “Before that he was playing for Perth Glory, when he also commuted between matches from Adelaide. The journey from Adelaide to the Central Coast is approximately 1,500km; Adelaide to Perth is 2,700km.”

More recently, between 2011 and 2013 big-spending Russian Premier League side Anzhi Makhachkala based their training facilities near Moscow, meaning their expensive recruits had to travel 1,200 miles (1,930km) for “home” games in Dagestan.

Knowledge archive

Can you help?

“This week, Port Vale announced that the final batch of seats had been added to their Lorne Street stand,” writes Rob Fielding. “Work on the stand began in 1998 and multiple club owners failed to complete the structure over the next 22 years. What is the longest time it has taken a club to complete a new stand?”

“Which teams have been sponsored by products that don’t exist anymore and which team has been sponsored by the most defunct products?” asks Noble Francis.

Tim Postins
(@TimePositions)

Which football ground has been renamed the most times in its history?


April 14, 2020

“In these weird times, I’ve been delving into some classic European football on YouTube,” writes Christopher Sousa. “Got me thinking: what is the most frequent cup tie among all Uefa competitions? Anecdotally, it appears that Bayern and Real Madrid have played each other 26 times (13 home-and-aways) across all competitions. Can any pair of clubs beat that?”

Daniel Stevanato
(@Stevros1988)

In 2016-17, each of Huddersfield’s first 14 league wins finished either 1-0 or 2-1 (in the end 22 of our 25 wins were by one goal). Has any team had a longer run of wins by a single goal, or won as many games in a season with such a high proportion (88%) coming by the odd goal?


April 14, 2020

“I was reading Gabriel Paletta’s Wikipedia page and noticed that he made his competitive international debut against England in World Cup 2014,” notes James Cranford. “He only made three appearances for Italy, meaning 33% of his senior international caps were World Cup games. Seven of Toto Schillaci’s 16 caps came in World Cup games (44%): does anyone have a higher percentage?”

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