“Which football stadiums are named after women?” asks Taufiq A Utomo.
There are some, but so few that it is not a particularly good reflection on society. Let’s start with royalty. “The mighty Enfield Town play at the Queen Elizabeth II stadium, which also hosted the final of the Conifa World Cup in 2018,” writes Tom Paternoster-Howe. “It technically counts (and was referenced in a Knowledge that feels recent, but was two and a half blooming years ago). From that column, I also learned that Crewe Alexandra were named after Princess Alexandra, so I suspect that the Alexandra stadium counts for this question too.”
There is also a QEII stadium in Brisbane. “While athletics and rugby league have been hosted in the stadium, there have also been a range of football teams there over its nearly 40 years,” writes Nicholas Clifton. “And the now-defunct Collingwood Warriors played in the old National Soccer League for a few seasons in the 1990s at Victoria Park – named directly for Queen Victoria rather than indirectly for the State of Victoria.” We should probably count Stoke City’s old Victoria Ground here, too. It took its name from the nearby Victoria Hotel and both the hotel and the club were probably very happy to bear the reigning monarch’s name.
Steve James has an example from a recent Guardian article by Tom Griffiths which highlighted a tragic death in Italy. Here’s an extract:
The stadium in Cava de’ Tirreni, home of Serie C side Cavese, is named after Simonetta Lamberti. In 1982, the 11-year-old girl was murdered in a Camorra attack. The intended target had been her father Alfonso Lamberti, a local magistrate who had been trying to bring mafia figures to justice. She was shot while returning home from the beach. Her death was symbolic of the senseless devastation caused by mafia activity, and was aptly remembered by the city’s football club.”
In South Africa the Nathi Lions, AmaZulu, Durban Warriors, Uthongathi have all used the Princess Magogo Stadium as their home ground. And in the Netherlands the original Stadion Veldwijk was the home ground for FC Twente and Tubantia in the 1950s and 1960s; in the 1980s it was renamed the Fanny Blankers-Koen Stadium in honour of the Dutch athlete. Twente still train there, where this fetching picture of Steve McClaren was taken in 2012.
Rit Nanda delves into politics. “Indira Gandhi was India’s former prime minister, and there are many multi-purpose stadiums named after her in this country,” writes Rit. “The Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium is the one used primarily for football matches. It is the main ground of North East United in the Indian Super League. It also hosted matches for the 2017 U-17 Fifa World Cup.”
And Sami Pratt has dug out the Estadio Eva Perón, home of second division Sarmiento de Junín in Buenos Aires. “This makes me wonder, with Racing Club’s Estadio Juan Domingo Perón, are there any other husband and wife partnerships where they both have a stadium named after them?”
Strikers outscoring their team’s points tally
“Nigerian striker Simy has 19 goals in 35 games for rock bottom Serie A side Crotone this season, who have 18 points. How many times has a player scored more goals than his team had points in a season?” tweets Arjun Chadha.
We need to head back into the sepia-tinted football days of yore for this one. “Two points for a win made this more likely,” notes Tom Aldous. “For example, in 1945-46 Ferenc Deak scored 66 goals while his team Szentlőrinci AC accrued 45 points in total. Deak scored 59 goals in the 1948-49 season, while his new team Ferencvarosi TC reached 53 points – enough to win the title. Dixie Dean scored 60 goals in the 1927-28 season while Everton gained a title-winning 53 points and Josef Bican scored 45 league goals in 1941-42 for Slavia Prague, who ended the season on 41 points.
And Dirk Maas has some lower-scoring strikers:
Gunnar Andersson: 31 goals/27 points Marseille 1951-52
Arsénio Duarte: 23 goals/19 points CUF Barreiro 1957-58
Edmur Ribeiro: 25 goals/23 points Vitória de Guimarães 1959-60
Frans Rutten: 25 goals/20 points Rapid JC 1961-62
Josip Weber: 30 goals /28 points for Cercle Bruges 1992-93 and 31 goals/29 points for the same team in the consecutive season.
Older than the gaffer
“In recent games, three of Spurs’ starting XI have been interim manager Ryan Mason’s seniors (Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld and Gareth Bale),” notes Nathan Woods. “Has there ever been a top-flight game where more players than this were older than their manager?”
“I can match (but unfortunately not beat) this,” sighs Graeme Coleman. “On 1 February 2017, Hearts played Rangers in the Scottish Premiership. Hearts’ manager at the time was Ian Cathro, who was born in July 1986, making him 30 at the time of the win. Hearts’ starting XI included Aaron Hughes (aged 37) and Don Cowie (33), while Alexandros Tziolis (31) came off the bench in the second half.”
Julian Unkel has found a winner, though. “In the Bundesliga match between Köln and Saarbrücken in the 1976-77 season, Bernd Stöber served as interim manager of Saarbrücken at the tender age of 24. Six players in Saarbrücken’s starting lineup were older than him.”
“Who holds the record for the most unused substitute appearances in the Premier League?” tweeted John Briggs in January 2015.
“One position sprung to mind: goalkeeper,” began Jozef Brodala. “Second-choice keepers are usually unused so I thought it must be a goalkeeper. Having established that there was surely only one man, everyone’s favourite second keeper: Steve Harper. He spent 20 years at Newcastle and was nearly always second choice, he made only 112 Premier League appearances out of a possible 684 (he spent some time out on loan). I found stats for Harper from 2001 onwards which shows him as an unused sub an amazing 367 times in the Premier League for Hull and Newcastle. Considering that is since 2001 and he had been on Newcastle’s books since 1992 I cannot see anyone beating that.”
Can you help?
“Ever since the Premier League was formed in 1992-93 and the Championship was formed in 2004-05, who is the closest player to score 100 goals in each?” asks Graham Masai.
“When Matej Vydra and Chris Wood were replaced by Jay Rodriguez and Ashley Barnes against Fulham on Monday, Burnley actually finished the game with 11 English players on the field. When did this last happen in the Premier League,” wonders Chris Rawson.
“What happens to footballs after matches?” asks Annabel Stones, presumable referring to those used in professional matches rather than amateur ones. “I know hat-trick scorers are usually allowed to keep them, but is there a general rule for this?”
“Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday have both been relegated this season,” begins Tom Derbyshire. “When was the last time both clubs from a two-club city were relegated in the same season? Professional clubs only.”
“Since 1981, Plymouth Argyle have travelled to Gillingham 16 times, losing 14 and drawing just twice,” sighs Paul Roberts. “Can any other club beat that pathetic run of bogey-team away results?”