Which footballer has played for the most teams in one city? | The Knowledge

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<span class="element-image__caption">Clive Allen at West Ham in 1994 during his London odyssey.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Anton Want/Getty Images</span>
Clive Allen at West Ham in 1994 during his London odyssey. Photograph: Anton Want/Getty Images

“During the recent Fulham-Tottenham FA Cup match, the commentator mentioned that Scott Parker has played for five London clubs,” notes Paul Savage. “Has any player played for more clubs in the same city?”

Rivaldo played for 15 clubs during his career and six of them were based in São Paulo – Paulista, Mogi Mirim (where he later returned and is now club president), Corinthians, Palmeiras, São Paulo FC and São Caetano – but David Leggott has found someone who might top the Brazilian. “Surely Clive Allen must be a serious contender here,” he begins, “with spells at QPR (twice), Arsenal (although he didn’t make any first-team appearances for them, he did play in the Gunners’ 1980-81 pre-season friendly campaign), Crystal Palace, Spurs, Chelsea, West Ham and Millwall. So that’s definitely six – and seven if you count Arsenal.” Eight if we add American football and the London Monarchs.

Dropping down to the non-league, Gary Fairclough has a name. “If we say the ‘city’ refers to the greater municipal area as is generally used as catch all phrase for commentators, then my nomination is Jody Banim,” he mails. “Banim played, over 20 different spells, for 10 teams within Manchester: Manchester United (as a youth), Trafford, Altrincham (two spells), Flixton, Hyde United, Radcliffe Borough (four spells), Droylsden (five spells), Stalybridge Celtic (two spells), Salford City and Ashton United (two spells, currently player-manager). And despite his Manchester preponderance, he still managed spells in London, the Midlands and very briefly the USA over the course of a career during which he largely terrorised Northern Premier League defenders.”

Unbeaten international woe

“Currently, Australia are in the Asian play-off position for World Cup qualification,” writes Peter Rist. “But, they have yet to lose a game. If they stay there by drawing their remaining games, they could be in the Asian play-off, and not qualify while still not technically losing (away goals or penalties). Has a country ever failed to qualify for the World Cup finals without losing a game?”

Here’s Chris Richmond: “Firstly, Australia have lost a game in qualifying, getting beaten 2-0 by Jordan in the second round of Asian qualifying. Of other teams not to qualify without losing …

Hungary 1974: finished second in their qualifying group. Won two, drew four, getting knocked out on goal difference.

Belgium 1974: finished second in their qualifying group. Won four, drew two, getting knocked out on goal difference. [And without conceding a goal – Knowledge Ed.]

Colombia 1974: finished second in their qualifying group. Won one, drew three, getting knocked out on goal difference.

East Germany 1978: finished second in their qualifying group. Won three, drew three, finished one point behind Austria.

Tunisia 1970: drew all three of their final-elimination matches with Morocco and knocked out on a coin toss.

Syria 1994: finished second in their first-round qualifying group. Won three, drew three, getting knocked out on goal difference.”

Israel 2006: finished third in their qualifying group. Won four, drew six. Finished behind second-placed Switzerland on goal difference.”

<span class="element-image__caption">Israel fought back for a 2-2 draw against the Republic of Ireland at Lansdowne Road in 2005, as they went unbeaten through World Cup qualifying … but failed to progress.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/PA</span>
Israel fought back for a 2-2 draw against the Republic of Ireland at Lansdowne Road in 2005, as they went unbeaten through World Cup qualifying … but failed to progress. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/PA

There’s more on the Belgians, mind. “Incidentally, Belgium are also the only country to ever qualify for a World Cup without winning any of their qualifying matches,” explains Stijn. “For the 1934 World Cup in Italy, they were drawn in a group with the Irish Free State and the Netherlands. After a 4-4 draw with the Irish, a 4-2 defeat to the Netherlands was enough to get the Red Devils to Italy. The Irish Free State had lost 5-2 to the Dutch earlier.”

Jamie Fitzgerald chimes in with one more. “Angola went undefeated through the qualification process for France 1998, yet failed to qualify,” he explains. “They defeated Uganda 5-1 on aggregate (winning both matches) then played out four draws, alongside two wins, in their Group 4 matches. Cameroon finished top of the group, four points ahead of the Angolans.”

Jumping the gun

“Has any announced man of the match gone on to have a disastrous effect on the outcome of that same game, such as scoring an own goal to concede a winner or giving away a penalty and maybe getting sent off?” muses a man known only as Steve.

“In my first year at Portsmouth University I attended one Pompey game, against Peterborough at Fratton Park in 2011,” remembers Sam Bysouth. “Norwegian winger Erik Huseklepp was named man of the match by the stadium announcer for his contribution in helping Portsmouth fight back twice from losing positions in around the 88thminute, at which point the score was 2-2. In the 95th minute, however, Huseklepp chased a Posh counter attack from a Pompey corner the length of the field in a valiant attempt to avoid conceding, before inadvertently diverting the ball into his own net to lose the game 3-2.”

Mark Aspinall has another tale. “Other Manchester City fans of a certain age will also remember that Gillingham goalkeeper Vince Bartram was named man of the match towards the very end of the scheduled 90 minutes of the 1999 Division Two play-off final, when Gillingham were beating City 2-0 with only a couple of minutes to go. While it would be rather harsh on Bartram to say he had a “disastrous effect” on the match, he did concede two goals in the 90th and 95th minutes and thereafter fail to save any of the penalties it took City to win the shootout. Trivia fans may also recall that the only one of City’s pens that failed to score – which wasn’t saved by Bartram but hit the inside of both posts before rolling out to safety – was taken by the scorer of City’s last-gasp equaliser, Paul Dickov, and that Dickov and Bartram were such good old friends that each had been best man at the other’s wedding (previous to this match, of course). The rest, as Sheikh Mansour might say, is history.”

Keeping it in the club

“Recently Austria played Finland in a friendly international,” begins Robert Gadsby. “Opposing goalkeepers Heinz Lindner for Austria and Lukas Hradecky for Finland both play their club football for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga. Has one club ever before provided both the starting keepers for a full international?”

Wigan Athletic were represented by both keepers at the 2010 World Cup meeting between Ghana and Serbia, Vladimir Stojkovic coming out on the wrong end of the result, while Richard Kingson was left celebrating. The honours were even back in 2003 when Southampton colleagues Antti Niemi and Paul Jones met in Wales 1-1 Finland, while in August last year Chelsea pair Thibaut Courtois and Asmir Begovic lined up in Belgium’s 4-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“Here’s one I can answer,” cheers Marat Airapetian. “On 4 September 2004, Russia and Slovakia played in a World Cup 2006 qualifier in Moscow. Both goalkeepers for the game, respectively Viacheslav Malafeyev and Kamil Contofalsky, represented Zenit St Petersburg. The game ended 1-1.” Dirk Maas has another: “On 20 August 2008, Juventus team-mates Gianluigi Buffon and Alex Manninger faced each other in a friendly between Italy and Austria.” It finished 2-2.

Nigel Boston keeps things simple: “England-Wales, October 1945; the goalkeepers were Bert Williams and Cyril Sidlow, both of Wolves.”

<span class="element-image__caption">Bert Williams of Wolves and England, seen here in 1950 during <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2010/jun/10/world-cup-2010-usa-1950-england" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:England’s infamous 1-0 defeat to the USA." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">England’s infamous 1-0 defeat to the USA.</a></span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images</span>
Bert Williams of Wolves and England, seen here in 1950 during England’s infamous 1-0 defeat to the USA. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images

Handball horrors

Peter Goldstein writes: “Following up on the question about two yellow cards for diving: in the match between Togo and Angola in the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, Kassim Guyazou of Togo was sent off after receiving two yellow cards for flagrant handball. Any other instances of this?”

“This gave me harrowing memories of the 2009 Championship play-off final between my beloved Sheffield United and Burnley,” sighs Richard Mace. “With the Blades 1-0 down to a stunning long-range effort from Wade Elliott, United brought on young Jamie Ward in the fifth minute to spark some pace into our attack. He was certainly enthusiastic and keen to get on the end of any balls forward, and didn’t care which part of his body got on the end of it either. He was booked on 75 minutes and then on 79 minutes, both for deliberate handballs, and given his marching orders. It was a dismal and painful end to what had been a successful season. Thanks for reminding me …”

Knowledge archive

“In 1999 while living in England I watched a TV programme about a fictional team which wins the FA Cup in the 1970s. Throughout the show they used footage of Sunderland’s FA Cup run in 1973. Does anyone remember the name of this show?” asked Peter Greaves in 2012.

Bostock’s Cup!” screamed Kevin Watts. “It was shown on ITV the night before the 1999 Champions League final and was absolutely hilarious, with parodies of Alan Shearer, Bob Paisley, Phil Neal, John Toshack, Malcolm Allison and many others. Shamefully overlooked and miles superior to the Mike Bassett film that turned up a couple of years later. There’s a few clips on YouTube, but it never got released on DVD. Personal favourite clip is the cup tie on the sloping pitch. Superb.” It was indeed shown the night before the 1999 final, in a prime-time 9pm slot on ITV. You can watch some highlights here and here.

Can you help?

Reading were thumped 7-1 by Norwich, but Reading still sit fourth in the Championship table and stand a chance of gaining promotion with a negative goal difference. Has this ever happened before?” asks Roger Thomas [Topical reading: has anyone ever gone down with a positive goal difference? – Knowledge Ed].

John Spooner has both a long memory and a question: “The penalty/encroachment controversy at Newcastle took me back to my time as a penniless student oaf in Manchester, when one evening I took time off my studies to watch a match at Maine Road. The most memorable incident of the game was a penalty which had to be retaken twice (so taken three times) because of encroachment. The penalty taker was Dennis Tueart (who actually scored another penalty later that game in a 2-0 win over Norwich) and the referee was the unforgettable Mr Roger Kirkpatrick of Leicester, who The Times described afterwards as having a “chubby frame and glistening pate who finds publicity as readily as Elizabeth Taylor or Vanessa Redgrave”. Is there a record for retaken penalties?”

“As a Derby County fan, any Knowledge questions regarding goalscoring feats often lead me to check Steve Bloomer’s records,” writes David Hopkins. “On one such hunt I noticed that he was Derby’s top scorer for 12 consecutive seasons, from 1894-95 to 1905-06. This naturally led me to wonder who held the records for most consecutive seasons as top scorer for one club?”

“To date this season Coventry have registered nine cup wins and eight league wins,” emails Ian Forth. “Are there any clubs that have finished a season with this lopsided record?”

“When was the last Premier League game to use the old-fashioned stanchions (attached directly to the posts, rather than the current, standalone stanchions behind the nets)?” ponders Ronan Brennan.

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