“On 21 April, it was possible that, at the Sunderland v Burton match, both sides could kick off with a mathematical chance of survival but, by full-time, each could be relegated. Have there been any examples of two un-relegated teams playing each other and both going down at full-time?” poses Mark Stephenson.
It turns out that there have been a couple Mark. Christopher Vaughan gets the ball rolling with an example from back when Manchester City were a comedic shambles instead of today’s Pep-fuelled turbo-elite Premier League champions. “On the last day of the 1997-98 season, Manchester City beat Stoke City 5-2 to condemn them to the third flight. Results elsewhere, however, meant a win was not enough for the Laser Blues (as they were known at the time, to promote their kit deal with Kappa) and they joined the Potters in what was then Division Two. The away fans serenaded the Stoke faithful with: “Going down, going down, going down … so are we, so are we, so are weeee-eeee!”
And Ben Lander takes us to the Madejski Stadium on 28 April 2013 when two teams, who both needed to win to stay up, set about doing absolutely nothing to help their cause. “Reading and QPR started their Premier League fixture knowing mathematically they were able to survive. Both needed a win, a draw would send both down. It finished 0-0.” Whoops.
“Faiq Bolkiah of Leicester Under-23s is the son of the Prince of Brunei, the nephew of the sultan, and the Brunei national team captain,” tweets Kenn Drumm. “Are there many other examples of royalty or particularly powerful figures/ their progeny playing for professional clubs?”
There is one obvious example Kenn. Here’s Chris Anton: “I recall the recent Jay Bothroyd article mentioning that one of the sons of the late Colonel Gaddafi, Al-Saadi Gaddafi, played for Perugia (albeit only making one appearance). By all accounts, he played 10 minutes for Udinese as well.” His colourful time in Italy also included testing positive for steroids when picked out for a random drugs test after a tough afternoon sat on the Perugia bench doing nothing.
Meanwhile, Chai from Atlanta got in touch to point us in the direction of PSG. “Timothy Weah is the son of former Milan striker and current president of Liberia, George Weah. Besides making his debut for the club this season, he was also capped by the US men’s national team.”
“When Marcos Alonso made his international debut against Argentina, he became the third generation of his family to represent Spain,” reports Jacob Bidmead. “Has any other family represented a national side over more consecutive generations?”
“The Weisses in Slovakia,” cheers Jonathan Cullen. “All three were called Vladimir Weiss, too, which is handy. Vladimir Weiss played for Inter Bratislava and represented Czechoslovakia at the 1964 Olympics. His son, Vladimir Weiss, also started his career at Inter Bratislava before winning 31 caps for Czechoslovakia and Slovakia, and then managed his country. His son, Vladimir Weiss, started his career at Inter Bratislava as well, before playing for Manchester City, Rangers and a host of others, winning (a family record) 64 senior caps.”
Dirk Maas can go one better: “Albert Gudmundsson, a former Milan and Arsenal striker, played for Iceland in the 40s and 50s. His son, Ingi Björn Albertsson, was an Iceland international in the 1970s. Albertsson’s daughter, Kristbjörg Ingadóttir, was an international for the Iceland women’s national football team. She married Gudmundur Benediktsson, who won seven caps for Iceland between 1994 and 2001. Kristbjörg and Gudmundur have a son, Albert Gudmundsson, who made his debut for the national team of Iceland in 2017.”
In August 2011 we recalled the last time professional football matches on English soil had been played during normal working hours, a trip down memory lane that prompted some of you to write in with more always-welcome information.
“I remember a few years back that Halifax Town were due to play Hartlepool in the Auto Windscreens Trophy (or whatever it was called then),” wrote Andy Burrows. “It was the last game of a three-team group stage, and, as both teams had mathematically no chance of progressing, they asked the FA if they could simply not bother playing the game. The FA refused, so the match went ahead, as I recall, on a Friday afternoon, to save on floodlight costs. I think about a hundred people turned up.” That was a sterling effort by Andy, although he wasn’t quite right as the Football League Trophy (as it was then known) match in question, which Hartlepool won 1-0, was actually played on 7 December 1999, which was a Tuesday. Our thanks to Southampton fan Steve Grant for helping us out with that one, not least for pointing out that “one notable player in the Halifax line-up was Grant Holt”.
But wait, Tommy Hughes chimed in: “As you may know, Scottish bank holidays often differ from the rest of the UK, yet Berwick as a Scottish League team are regularly allocated home bank holiday fixtures during English working hours – particularly on 2 January (us Scots get an extra day’s bank holiday at new year to sober up),” wrote Tommy. “I attended Berwick Rangers against my beloved Clydebank FC at a 3pm kick-off on 2 January 2001. Poor Berwick fans and players had to take the day off work to attend their own home game, whereas the Bankies fans and players had no such problems.”
Can you help?
“Which teams have won the league and had the fewest number of players in the PFA team of the year?” asks Chris Lambert. “Or vice versa, not winning the league (or indeed suffering relegation) and having the most number of players in?”
“As of 20 April, the average goals per game in Scotland’s Highland League is 4.24, with 3.50 the lowest at any club,” begins Andy Wright. “Having checked the tables of all the prominent leagues (30-odd in Europe and South America) I can find only one (Scottish League One) that averages over three. Is the Highland League the world’s most prolific?” – Andy Wright.
@TheKnowledge_GU the first away team to win a competitive game at the JJB (now DW) Stadium was Wigan Athletic when their 1999 FA Cup first round game against Cambridge City was moved but Cambridge still classed as the "home" team. Is this unique?
— Gaz F (@gazlatic) April 20, 2018
“I’m currently watching the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League between Toronto FC and Chivas Guadalajara. The temperature at kick-off in Toronto was 2C. The commentators mentioned that the high in Guadalajara today was 31C. Before the second leg, I wondered what is the largest difference in temperatures between two games in a two-legged tie. Perhaps a European knockout tie in January/February between a Russian team and one from Southern Europe?” – Alan Sheppard.
“Which English ground was the first to have a public address system and when did clubs first start announcing the team line-ups” asks Aron Royle.