Has anyone crossed two bigger derby divides than Alex Greenwood?

Guardian sport on 23 September 2020

“Alex Greenwood has signed for Manchester City Women, which means she’ll have played for City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton. Can any player (male or female) match those pairs of local rivals?” asks Derrick Cameron.

We have covered this question before, back in 2007, and Greenwood shares the honour of having crossed the derby divide in both Manchester and Liverpool with Peter Beardsley. “His stints at the two Merseyside clubs are both fairly memorable,” writes Chris Page. “Bookending those are a single league cup game for United in the early 80s, and a brief loan spell at City towards the end of his career. And that, as they say, appears to be your lot. The closest other name I could get was John Gidman, who along with winning a solitary England cap in 1977, played for three of the four clubs, plus began his career in the Liverpool youth team but without ever making their first team.

“To make things a little more interesting, I can also give you pre-WW1 player George Livingstone, who played for both Manchester clubs and both Old Firm clubs in Scotland, and Andy Cole who played for both Manchester clubs, as well as both Newcastle and Sunderland. David Burrows also played for both Merseyside clubs, and three rival Midlands team in West Brom, Coventry and Birmingham.”

Simon Drury thinks he can do better. “Ronaldo (the proper one) is the only player to have played for Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter and Milan,” he writes. “Not only that, he played on both sides in both derbies. And not only that, he scored for both sides in both derbies!”

And Jordi Gómez tips his hat to Miquel Soler. “He played for Espanyol, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid. He also played for Sevilla, Zaragoza and Mallorca. He was never considered a traitor at any of the clubs. He was thought of as a model of professionalism.”

Premier League goalscoring US university graduates

“Jack Harrison might be one of the first Premier League scorers to have attended a US university before making it over in Blighty,” writes Richard Whiddington. “The other that comes to mind is Clint Dempsey. Thoughts?”

There have been a few, Richard. “Brian McBride (St Louis University) and Carlos Bocanegra (UCLA) played together at Fulham, scoring 40-odd goals between them,” offers Steve Cuthbert. “Joe-Max Moore graduated from UCLA before going on to score eight goals for Everton. But the best of the lot must be Brad Friedel, another UCLA alumnus, who scored his one and only professional goal against Charlton in February 2004.” Steve also cites Jay Demerit: “He attended the University of Illinois and scored two Premier League goals for Watford.”

Brad Friedel
Brad Friedel celebrates after scoring for Blackburn against Charlton in 2004. Photograph: Phil Cole/Getty Images Sport

Here’s Andrew Foskett: “Ex-New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen scored for each of his clubs – Blackburn, Spurs, and QPR in the Premier League and attended Stanford University.” Rashaad Jorden weighs in with John Harkes, who attended the University of Virginia and scored for Sheffield Wednesday against Arsenal. And Chris Williams rounds things off in Coventry, with a nod to Roy Wegerle (University of South Florida) and Cobi Jones (UCLA).

When referees blow for time early (revisited)

Back to this one

“Here’s a good one,” begins Matthew Rudd, who clearly backs his storytelling ability. “On the famous night Arsenal went to Tottenham to try to secure the 1971 league championship, their only rivals for the title, Leeds United, were in Hull. They had already completed their season and were playing a testimonial for legendary Hull City striker Chris Chilton. So there was this bizarre situation going on where Leeds were having a lark about at Boothferry Park while waiting for news on what was happening in a rather more serious match at White Hart Lane, where a win or goalless draw would seal the title for Arsenal, with defeat or a score draw taking the trophy to Elland Road.

“And it really was a lark about – with less than 10 minutes to go the score was 7-6 to Hull. Chilton and his strike partner, Ken Wagstaff, had a hat-trick each, while Hull’s other goal had come from goalkeeper Ian McKechnie, who had come on as an outfield sub, reliving his early days as a winger. Jack Charlton had scored twice for Leeds, including one rather incongruously from a penalty, while sub Rod Belfitt had a brace and Norman Hunter took a break from playfully clattering Chilton to get one too. All good fun for the 28,250 crowd.

“Then word came through that Arsenal had scored late, through Ray Kennedy, and the game was over, figuratively as well as literally. Leeds United’s players instantly lost interest in the testimonial and such was the speed with which their shoulders dropped, referee Maurice Fussey blew up five minutes early. The Leeds players shook Chilton’s hand each before scarpering from the pitch, and from view, as quickly as they could.”

Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks.

Can anyone beat Can’s goal-of-the-season awards?

“Emre Can won the Bundesliga goal of the season, meaning he now has one in two different leagues,” writes Alex Davies. “Is there anyone who’s won it more often, or in different countries?

“My mind immediately turned to Zlatan, and I wasn’t disappointed,” writes Ben Cordes. “He apparently has claimed the league’s goal of the year awards in 2008 (Serie A), 2014 (Ligue 1), and 2018 (MLS). He also, perhaps unsurprisingly, won the Swedish Guldbollen a record 11 times including an unbroken streak from 2007–16, and was also awarded the German goal of the year for his ridiculous overhead effort against England.”

Knowledge archive

“Cambuur’s newly-bought striker Reza Ghoochannejhad scored on his debut after just nine seconds,” noted Karim el Esawy in February 2010. “Is this the fastest goal a debutant has scored?”

A deluge of Southend fans (well, four) got in touch to poo-poo Ghoochannejhad’s slow start compared to the Shimpers’ own Freddy Eastwood. “Eastwood, on his debut for Southend United and indeed his debut in the Football League, scored a goal within 7.7 seconds of the start of the League Two match against the then league-leaders, Swansea City, at Roots Hall on 16 October 2004,” recalled Matt Walker. “This is widely acknowledged to be the fastest debut goal ever scored in English professional football. For good measure, Freddy then went on to complete a hat-trick. As debuts go, he has tended to set the bar rather high for his successors at Roots Hall.”

Knowledge archive

Can you help?

“With Manchester City’s 3-1 victory over Wolves, we now have seen 18 Premier League games this season without a draw,” writes Daniel Bickermann. “When will we reach the draw-less record number for a season start in the Premier League – and any major European League?”

“After Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s hat-trick scored with his backheel, studs and his back, has there ever been another hat-trick scored without using the head, instep or top of the boot?” asks Chris Large.

“In the Europa League qualifiers I saw the remarkable scoreline of Backa Topola 6-6 Steaua Bucharest, with Steaua winning 5-4 on penalties. Are there any other high-scoring examples of the shoot-out containing fewer goals than the match?”

Send your questions and answers to knowledge@theguardian.com or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU.

Latest football headlines

Latest Football News