Can any footballer top Kingsley Coman’s run of consecutive league titles?

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Kingsley Coman;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Kingsley Coman</a> winning the league on repeat.</span><span>Composite: Guardian Picture Desk</span>
Kingsley Coman winning the league on repeat.Composite: Guardian Picture Desk

“Leverkusen’s Bundesliga title win has broken Kingsley Coman’s remarkable run of winning the league in each of the last 11 seasons (with PSG, Juventus and Bayern). Can any player in world football ever boast of a longer run of consecutive league titles?” asks Richard Forsythe.

“It’s worth bearing in mind that Coman technically won 12 league titles in 11 seasons,” writes Sean DeLoughry, who gets the ball rolling as we spin off from this 2022 question and answer. “He played once for Juventus in Serie A at the start of the 2015-16 season before joining Bayern.

“Anyway, Coman’s run of 11 successive titles has, surprisingly, been equalled or bettered a number of times in Europe. Coman’s Bayern teammates Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer won 11 successive Bundesliga titles with Bayern (Müller has 12 league titles in total). Rosenborg legend Roar Strand won 11 of his 16 Norwegian league titles consecutively between 1994 and 2004. It would have been 13 in a row had he not spent 1993 on loan at Molde. Vitali Rodionov collected 12 titles in a row with Bate Borisov in Belarus, 2006 to 2017 – he retired before Bate won the last of 13 successive titles.”

Jack Hayward has ventured into the dusty archives of the Latvian Virsliga to dig out a a player who can potentially add another season of consecutive success. “The now-defunct Skonto FC won the first 14 editions of the Latvian league from 1991 until 2004, which remains a record streak for any European top flight. Records about whether he played in the competition’s first season are inconsistent, but I’m able to verify that Latvian defender Olegs Blagonadezdins – who started all three of his country’s matches at Euro 2004 from left-back – represented Skonto in at least the last 13 of those campaigns.”

Dave Mellinger can match that after doing some exhaustive research: “I looked at Tafea FC of the Vanuatu league, who hold the record for the longest title streak: 15 consecutive titles from 1994 through to 2008-09. Online sources say that defender Ephraim Kalorib was on that team at least from 1996 to 2008-09, or 13 seasons.”

Back to Sean though to get us up to 14 seasons – and a tip of the hat to Opeyemi Ajala and Paul Campbell, too, who also wrote in with the same example – via Lee Casciaro securing 14 consecutive titles with Lincoln Red Imps in the Gibraltarian League from 2003–16, inclusive of five consecutive domestic trebles (2004–08). Can anyone beat that?

Injured warming up as a substitute

“Have any players injured themselves warming up to come on as a substitute?” messages Paul Savage.

“Arguably he had finished his warm-up by this point but Mattias Özgun was injured by the player who he was replacing in 2019,” notes Tom Reed. The Degerfors substitute was injured after a high-five with his teammate Axel Lindahl went wrong as he was being brought on. The departing Lindahl accidentally poked the 21-year-old in the eye as he left the field during the Swedish second tier game.

“It rather depends on how you define the word ‘player’,” adds Ben Heywood. “But the legendary footballing con artist Carlos Kaiser made picking up injuries something of an art form, as he was of course terrified of actually being selected as part of any starting XI. When actually named in a matchday squad, he would jog up and down on the sidelines only to twang an imaginary muscle – and on one remarkable occasion, rather than take the field as a sub and be exposed for the charming charlatan that he was, he actually started a fight with the opposition supporters while on warming-up duty, thus hilariously getting himself sent off before he could be brought on.” And if you want more Kaiser, this is what you need.

The points per game of long-serving players

“Jonathan Hogg, Huddersfield Town captain, has been at the club through 484 league matches,” writes Richard Askham. “The club has an average of 1.17 points per game in the last 11 seasons, which reflects nine seasons of struggle and two top-five finishes. Hogg has made 345 appearances (including 15 as a sub) and has an average of 1.26 points per game. He has missed 139 games, when the team has managed 0.98 points per game. The difference of 0.28 points per game is clearly significant to a club like mine, but I wonder how much bigger differences there are or have been with other long-serving players?”

“The best I can find at Stockport County is Peter Ward,” suggests Stephen Shawcross. “He started 140 league games between August 1991 and May 1995, in which we averaged 1.76 points per game. During the same period, we averaged 1.16 points per game in the 44 games he didn’t start, a difference of 0.6 points per game (or 28 points over a 46-game season).”

Knowledge archive

“Former Serbian midfielder Vladimir Jugovic played for, among other clubs, Red Star Belgrade, Sampdoria, Juventus, Lazio and Inter,” so said Bogdan Kotarlic in November 2012. “It enabled him to participate in no fewer than five derby matches where the teams from the same city were involved (Red Star-Partizan, Sampdoria-Genoa, Juventus-Torino, Lazio-Roma and Inter-Milan). Has any other football player taken part in more derby matches than Jugovic?”

The popular pub quiz answer was that Christian Ziege also played five derbies, appearing for Liverpool against Everton, Milan against Inter, Bayern Munich against TSV 1860, Tottenham against Arsenal and Middlesbrough against Newcastle and Sunderland. We had also read somewhere that Ray Wilkins played in five: west London, Manchester, Milan, Glasgow and finally Edinburgh, after coming off the bench for Hibs a few days before moving to Millwall.

But two players went one better: Richard Gough has six derbies to his name, including Dundee, north London, Glasgow, Forest v Derby, the Merseyside set-to and San Jose Clash (now Earthquakes) versus LA Galaxy (even if that last one involves a 300-mile trip). “It’s like watching Big Brother,” Gough said of the Old Firm matches in March 2011. “The product is not great at the minute but you know there is going to be an accident happening.” The other was Paul Stewart, who notched up appearances in matches between Spurs and Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton, Crystal Palace and Millwall, Wolves and West Brom, Sunderland and Newcastle and then Stoke v Port Vale. Contrary to popular opinion, he never played for Manchester City against Manchester United.


Can you help?

“Following Pompey’s win last week against Barnsley, we’ve now won the Championship (2002-03), League Two (2016-17) and League One (2023-24) in the last 21 seasons,” writes Sid Hutchings. “Which clubs, if any, have done it faster?”

“Udinese v Roma was abandoned due to a medical emergency in the 70th minute, with the match rescheduled to play the last 20 minutes (plus additional time) 11 days later on 25 April,” begins Rob Carter. “With Gabriele Cioffi being technically sacked halfway through this fixture, and the subsequent appointment of Fabio Cannavaro – is this the first match to have two different managers for one team in the same game?”

“Jason Cummings just topped the Indian Super League with Mohun Bagan Super Giant, nickname ‘The Mariners’,” notes Robbie Dale. “He transferred there from Australian A-League team Central Coast Mariners, also referred to as ‘The Mariners’. If he transferred to Grimsby next he could do the treble. But has anyone played for more teams with the same nickname?”

“Who has made the most Championship appearances without ever playing a game in the top flight?” asks Michael Bond.

“With Stenhousemuir securing their first league title in 140 years, are there any teams worldwide that have waited so long and claimed glory?” wonders Gordon Ewing.

“To say the FAI’s search for a new Ireland senior men’s team manager has been a shambles would be an understatement,” writes Liam Farrell. “Stephen Kenny left the job on 22 November, by my count 154 days ago. Despite having this expanse of time to work with, the association’s rigorous search has failed to find a suitable candidate. Surely we must be approaching some kind of record for a vacant managerial seat?”

“Having disappeared down a rabbit hole owing to the fact I read that Walsall had beaten both Newcastle and Manchester United in the 1975 FA Cup, I was further surprised that in the quarter-final that season Ipswich and Leeds had taken four games to resolve their tie with a total attendance of 143,000. My question is: which is the tie with the highest total attendance?” asks Nicholas Idoine.