“When Jude Bellingham made his England debut against the Republic of Ireland, he joined his Borussia Dortmund teammate Jadon Sancho on the field. Is this the first time England have had multiple players from the same non-English team?” wonders Colin Brown.
Of course not, Colin. Many of you wrote in with examples from Rangers in the early 90s but Dara O’Reilly did this and more, so apologies if you feel irked for missing out on a namecheck. “Gary Stevens and Terry Butcher played together for England on 11 occasions while they were both Rangers players, three of those with Trevor Steven, also of Rangers playing, and a further one where Chris Woods, also of Rangers was in goal, for four Rangers players. Mark Walters’ only England cap came as a Rangers player, also with Woods in goal, a friendly against New Zealand in 1991. But, excluding British clubs, we have the following:
“Michael Owen and David Beckham played together for England while both contracted to Real Madrid on seven occasions between September 2004 and May 2005. Mark Hateley played for England with fellow Milan player Ray Wilkins on four occasions in 1986, the last one being in the 1986 World Cup finals against Morocco, in which Ray was sent off. Mark also represented England with fellow Monaco player Glenn Hoddle for 14 minutes in a friendly defeat by West Germany in 1989 in which Hateley came on as a 51st-minute sub and Hoddle was withdrawn for Neil Webb in the 65th minute.
“Near misses include Des Walker and David Platt. They never managed to take to the field together for England as Sampdoria players. They played together in the United States Cup the day before David Platt signed for Sampdoria from Juventus, and the next time they took to the field together – although both represented England in the intervening period – was against San Marino nine months later, when Walker had signed for Sheffield Wednesday.
“Similarly, Trevor Steven and Chris Waddle represented England together on nine occasions, 17 if you include one coming on for the other as a sub, which I do not! However, none of these came in the nine-month period when they were teammates at Marseille.” See? Pretty comprehensive.
What’s the best penalty comeback?
“What’s the biggest deficit recovered in a penalty shootout?” asks Tom Goddard. “I imagine you can only ever go 3-0 down (with a pen in hand) but you’re the guys who will know!”
“Yep, mathematically 3-0 down with one in hand is the worst situation that you can recover from,” pipes up Bryn Mills. “One famous example was Wolves 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday (4-3 on pens) in an FA Cup fourth round replay in 1995. Wednesday took the first and scored their first three. Wolves missed their first two putting them 3-0 down and meaning that every one of the next seven penalties would have to go Wolves’ way for them to win. Which they did.”
Jezz Nash also remembers this shootout. “It featured the best penalty ever by Kevin Pressman and poor old Chris Waddle as fall guy again.”
The origins of shirty goal celebrations
“When and why did shirt removal become a form of goal celebration?” asks Simon Hooper.
“I think it was popularised at Anfield on 13 December 1995 when Jack Charlton’s Republic of Ireland and Guus Hiddink’s Netherlands met in a play-off for Euro 1996,” writes Robin Clarke. “The Netherlands won 2-0 with Patrick Kluivert scoring both. After scoring his second in the 89th minute, and having taken a lot of pressure off his team, he ran to the touchline and removed his top. He did not receive a booking. The match was televised live in the UK and the goal and his celebration were shown on the news. Photos of Kluivert’s naked torso appeared in the women’s pages of the popular press. It was the first time I’d seen that form of goal celebration. Another detail from the match: Jack Charlton resigned as manager the following week.”
“The origins of Sunderland’s Black Cats nickname makes me wonder if there are any other clubs with a similarly official nickname that resulted from some kind of formalised poll,” wondered Mark Goodge in January 2009.
There certainly are Mark, in fact one of them was confirmed just last year. Fans of Sydney FC in Australia were invited to submit their own suggestions for a new club nickname at the end of 2007, before team officials named the “best” one as winner early in 2008. You can draw your own conclusions about the quality of submissions received from the fact they settled for Sky Blues. “No one has used it since,” insists reader Adoni Patrikios. Closer to home, Michael Haughey wrote in to tell us Welling United held a similar competition before settling on their nickname “The Wings”.
Can you help?
“Under a Guardian article about the ‘James Milner Door’ at Liverpool’s new training ground, a comment from Bludred67 stated that no other footballer has a door named after them. Is this bold statement true, and are there any other household fixtures or fittings that have honoured by a footballer?” asks John Tait.
Fulham 2-3 Everton with goals from Calvert-Lewin, Decordova-Reid and Loftus-Cheek. Is 3 a new record for double-barelled scorers in the same match?
— Tim Robinson (@SmokeyTimRobbo) November 22, 2020
“John Burridge played alongside both Jimmy Armfield (professional career began 1954) and Richard Edghill (professional career ended 2008), meaning teams he played in had players whose careers spanned a total of 54 years. Is there any player who played alongside players who cover a greater span?” asks Andrew Lawler.
“When did referees universally adopt the ‘bro shake’ in place of the conventional handshake?” asks 88 Benbulbin.
Has there ever been more than 4 of the same football club endings together in the table? pic.twitter.com/VvVsQOBt70
— Derek Brosnan (@DerekBrosnan) November 17, 2020
“Ravel Morrison became an international footballer when he turned out for Jamaica last week in a squad that comprised players playing in no less than 11 different national league systems: Jamaica, Sweden, the United States, Belgium, England, Scotland, Germany, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Costa Rica and Serbia. Is this a record?” asks Emilie Kent.
Read again the fantastic Ali Dia story. And thought: Are trialists still allowed in the PL? And if not, who was the last player to appear as trialist?
— Karl Fasch (@Zueignung) November 25, 2020
“Goalkeeper Phil Parkes made 344 appearances for QPR and then exactly the same number of appearances for West Ham,” writes Bryn Mills. “Surely no other player can boast a higher pair of matching club turnout stats?”