“St Albans City (sixth tier) have announced that their sponsor for the 2020-21 season will be rock band Enter Shikari (five UK top 10 albums),” notes Michael France, who posed a question on big bands sponsoring small teams. “Can anyone beat St Albans City’s small-big score of 30 (sixth tier multiplied by five UK top 10 albums)? No side projects or solo albums allowed to pad the numbers.”
We answered a variation on this question in 2009 with nods to Wet, Wet, Wet, Bad Manners and Goldie Lookin’ Chain. But life moves pretty fast in popular music and association football, so it’s definitely worth an update. Thus to Germany, where a group of old rockers have put their money where their heart is.
“Die Toten Hosen have frequently sponsored their favourite team, Fortuna Düsseldorf,” writes Ben Entwistle. “The team are now in the second division and the band have had, I think, 17 albums in the German charts?” Die Toten Hosen have had 11 albums reach the German top 10, so that gives Fortuna a rating of 22.
Rory Mackie has a couple of cracking answers to the question. “I offer up the Prodigy’s 2012 sponsorship of Eastleigh FC Under-13s,” mails Rory. “The Prodigy have scored an impressive eight top 10 LPs, and Eastleigh are currently a fifth-tier side. So assuming that youth teams count, that equates to a small-big rating of 40.
Then there’s Ian Brown and Chiswick Homefields FC. “King Monkey sponsored his local team when they were in the 11th tier,” notes Rory. “He has also recorded seven top 10 LPs (not even counting his work with The Stone Roses!), giving us a surely unassailable small-big rating of 77.”
Players on either end of a gubbing
“Most of the Barcelona team thrashed 8-2 by Bayern Munich also played when Barcelona beat Huesca by the same scoreline in 2018. Has anybody experienced even greater highs and lows – nine or 10-goal victories and defeats – while playing for the same team?” asks Russell Young.
These extreme ups and downs are more common than you might thnk. A few of you cited the example of Ryan Bertrand, who played in Southampton’s 8-0 win over Sunderland in 2014 and their 9-0 defeat to Leicester last year (though technically he was sent off when the score was 1-0).
At least those two games were spread over five years. “In 1965-66, several Wolves players did it in the same season,” writes Paul Quinton. “Wolves had been relegated to the old second division at the end of the previous season, and on 18 September they lost 9-3 away to Southampton. A mere 10 weeks later, Wolves beat Portsmouth 8-2 at Molineux. Sadly, I was only 11 at the time and my mother wouldn’t let me go because of the weather. I did see us beat Cardiff City 7-1 the following season, though.”
The same season? Pah! “How about in the same week?” writes Chris Page. “My mind turned to 2002 World Cup qualifying and the famous Australia v American Samoa match that finished 31-0.” American Samoa were very much the Oceania whipping boys, notes Chris. “Sure enough, Samoa beat American Samoa 8-0 just seven days before losing 11-0 to Australia. I would imagine there’d be several players who played in both matches.”
“We can still top that if we head to Belgium,” Chris offers. “Anderlecht registered their record victory in 1966 in a European Cup match against FC Haka of Finland, winning 10-1. Almost exactly 10 years earlier, they were defeated 10-0 by Manchester United, again in the European Cup. Both Pierre Hanon and Jef Jurion played in both matches.”
John King: an apology
Last week, we listed some legendary managers for whom clubs had built statues. The list was supposed to comprise only those who did not also play for said clubs. In an unprecedented development, we cocked up by including John King (260-odd games for Tranmere). We hope you can find it in your heart to forgive us but if not, we understand.
Readers did also have some additions …
Scoring at both ends, in both halves
“Romelu Lukaku figuratively scored at both ends in the Europa League final, with a goal for Inter in the first half and then an own goal in the second. Has anyone ever scored at both ends both literally and figuratively? Basically, an own goal and an actual goal in each half?” asks Jacob Kaminsky.
The first person who came to mind was Knowledge favourite Chris Nicholl, who famously scored all four goals in the 2-2 draw between Leicester and Aston Villa at Filbert Street on 20 March 1976. We’ve checked the Guardian archive and can confirm that the scoreline was 1-1 at half-time. That means Nicholl scored a goal and an own goal at both ends. But he still didn’t get to keep the match ball.
“A friend of mine was telling me the other day about an Icelandic referee who disallowed a goal because his teeth had fallen out,” says Jon Bennett. “Am I right to assume he was talking bobbins?”
Technically you would be right to assume that, Jon, but only because the referee in question was actually Danish. Henning Erikstrup had been preparing to whistle for full-time on Noerager’s 4-3 win over Ebeltoft when his false teeth fell out of his mouth and on to the pitch. Ebeltoft equalised moments later, only for Erikstrup, who had not even seen the goal, to immediately rule it out on the grounds that he would have whistled before it went in. “I had to get my teeth back before some player put his big foot on them,” parped the official afterwards when asked why he didn’t just whistle without his teeth in.
Can you help?
“Seeing Jimmy Anderson bowl at his own end in recent Tests made me wonder: has a player has ever scored in front of a stand dedicated to them?” asks Craig Fawcett.
”In the final of this year’s Women’s Champions League, Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir won both gold and silver, as she’d transferred from Wolfsburg to Lyon halfway through the competition,” notes Kári Tulinius. “Has any other player won two or more medals in one season in the same competition?”
“I see that in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup, a notable tie was Quorn v Melton Town,” begins Zak Mockton. “I wonder whether this bringing together of two clubs whose names are so heavily linked with foods has happened before?”
“Coventry have technically gone unbeaten throughout 2021; even their FA Cup exit to Birmingham came on penalties, so they are yet to lose a game in this calendar year. It’s September! Is this a record?” asks Ian Forth.