Which footballers have names made from acceptable Wordle answers?

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Plus: long-distance loans, another cracker of the late-comeback-and-win genre and winning with seven men


“The other day, the Wordle answer was MOUNT, which got me thinking – is Mason Mount the only footballer (present or former) whose first and second name are recognised five-letter words in the dictionary and therefore legitimate potential answers in Wordle?” asks Joe Hutton.

Far be it from us wanting to publicise a rival’s game, but never let it be said we are not here to serve you, readers. To the best of our knowledge, Wordle works from a list of [spoiler alert] these 2,315 words, which scuppers a number of your suggestions – many of which are wholly valid dictionary suggestions (although it now also seems likely the NYT’s list is swiftly changing). Therefore, and deep breath …

“There’s the former England goalkeeper Frank Swift,” writes Chris Page, kicking us off with a strong one. “The former SFA chief executive Gordon Smith’s son Grant Smith at the likes of Swindon, Sheffield United and HJK Helsinki. The former Cambridge and Sheffield Wednesday stalwart Robin Hardy also qualifies. In the women’s game, I also came across the brilliantly named Northern Ireland Under-19 international Holly Otter.”

Chai from Atlanta reports that, “despite common five-letter words like james, smith, green and brown being Wordle-approved, searching for footballers whose first and last names fit the bill wasn’t as easy as it seemed”. That hasn’t stopped Chai from pointing out multiple offerings of James Smith, James Brown (there are again a number of instances), James Hicks (and another), and the Arsenal and England legend Kelly Smith.

Kelly Smith with England in 2011.
Kelly Smith with England in 2011. Photograph: Lars Baron – Fifa/Getty Images

Richard Hirst reveals the lengths that readers are having to go to: “Fulham’s Roger (yes, I sacrificed a go to make sure it qualified) Brown scored 12 goals, the most in a season by a Fulham defender, in 1981-82, including the goal in our final game against Lincoln which got us promotion to the then Division Two. Captain, leader, legend.”

Tim Hoult weighs in with Harry Baker and Rocky Plaza, while Nigel Stubbs has a Harry Smith or two for us. Throw Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp in the mix too, along with Huddersfield Town’s record appearance-maker Billy Smith, courtesy of Richard Askham.

And now for some extras that we managed to dig out: Billy Askew, James Askew, Frank Baker, James Baker, James Beech, Harry Beech, James Birch, Grant Black, James Bloom, Frank Booth, James Brace, James Broad, Harry Broad, James Budge, Harry Budge, James Crane, Harry Crook, Roger Cross, Billy Drake

James Ferry, James Frost, Harry Frost, Frank Frost, James Glass, Frank Green, Harry Green, James Green, James Hatch, Billy James, Frank Large, James Leach, James Lodge, Frank Lynch, Frank Marsh, James Marsh, James Mason, Harry Moody, Frank Noble, Grant Noble, Harry Noble, James Parry, James Perch

James Perch, now of Mansfield Town.
James Perch, now of Mansfield Town. Photograph: Matt Bunn/Rex/Shutterstock

James Price, Billy Price, Frank Sharp, James Sharp, Frank Shell, James Smart, Billy Smart, Harry Smart, Billy Stack, James Stark, Billy Stark, Billy Steel, Harry Stone, James Sweet, James Young, Billy Young and Grant Young. And doubtless more.

I’ll be your long-distance loanee from …

“Aaron Connolly has gone on loan from Brighton to Middlesbrough (314 miles away),” notes Chris Sloley on Twitter. “What is the greatest distance someone has gone for a temporary switch within the same country?”

Offrande Zanzala gets us started, with his current loan spell at Exeter City, 326.8 miles away from parent club Barrow. Note, we’re using the AA route planner. “Carlisle United have had a couple players on loan from Brighton, most recently Jeffrey Monakana in 2015,” adds Andrew Ferguson. “That’s 366.3 miles.” Plymouth Argyle are also a safe bet to feature somewhere in this answer and Tom Aldous is right on cue. “Last season Argyle loaned Kell Watts from Newcastle, some 408.6 miles if you were to drive it,” he mails.

However, this is all small beer compared to elsewhere around the world. “Nicholas Sorras is currently on loan from Sydney Olympic to Perth Glory,” flags Tim Filippi. That’s the good stuff, just the 2,431.4 miles. Still, Gianfranco Facchineri’s 2020 loan from Vancouver Whitecaps to Atlético Ottawa was worth 2,708.1 miles (thanks, Noah Wheelock). But Russia trumps this, especially when SKA-Khabarovsk come to the table. “They currently play in Russia’s second tier and are on the far east side of the country,” notes Chris Page. “They’re around 2,500 miles from their nearest divisional rival, yet barely 600 or so miles away from North Korea. And they currently have a goalkeeper, Sergey Samok, on loan from PFC Sochi. A drive along the most direct roads would work out at 5,695.5 miles.”

Latest comebacks to win (2)

Last week, we looked at the teams who had come from behind to win later than the 95th minute. Here’s a splendid addition …

“Sixth-tier Clydebank (from the West of Scotland League) featured in the Scottish Cup this year for the first time since reforming, having obtained their SFA licence,” writes Stephen Farrell. “A great run ensued, knocking out SPFL teams Elgin City (League Two) and Clyde (League One). In the fourth round they faced Annan Athletic (League Two). The game went to extra-time and Clydebank were 3-2 up in the 119th minute. Sadly, too much for the legs and Annan came back with 119th- and 123rd-minute goals to turn it around. Great run though. Highlights here (Clydebank’s second well worth watching).”

Knowledge archive

“Recently on Fifa, I managed to guide Real Zaragoza to a 2-1 home win against Barcelona with just nine men,” boasted Kevin Leonard back in 2016. “This got me wondering, what is the most red cards a team has ever had in a single game and still gone on to win?”

In 2005 Grêmio, under the future Brazil coach Mano Menezes, won an astonishing promotion play-off against Nautico despite being reduced to seven [SEVEN – Knowledge vidiprinter] men when four of their players were sent off. The only goal was scored by future Manchester United midfielder Anderson, while Nautico missed two penalties. You can read more about it here.

Knowledge archive

Can you help?

“Back in the 2016-17 season, Reading defeated Ipswich 2-1 at home,” writes John Smith. “I only remember this because all three goals arose from penalties. So, excluding the obvious example of goalless games that go to penalty shoot-outs, what’s the highest scoring match where every goal scored came from the penalty spot?”

“In Newcastle’s recent win over Everton, Newcastle’s Jamaal Lascelles got the assist for an own goal by Mason Holgate, only to find his own net moments later from Holgate’s assist. Has this happened before?” wonders Jussi Kanner.

“In a recent Serie A match, Juventus beat Verona 2-0 with both goals being scored by new signings and debutants, Dusan Vlahovic and Denis Zakaria,” notes Bogdan Kotarlic. “I suppose that there have been cases when more than two new signings have scored in their same first match for the new club?”

“Chelsea’s Club World Cup final win over Palmeiras started a run of five games in five different competitions,” mails Barry Kitchin. “The next four fixtures are in the Premier League (Crystal Palace), Champions League (Lille), Carabao Cup (Liverpool) and FA Cup (Luton). Can any beat team this?”

Mail us your questions or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU.

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