“What’s the most number of times that a team has hit the woodwork in the same game?” asks Ally McPhail.
Let’s start by looking at a couple of examples of teams who hit the woodwork multiple times in the same attack. Earlier this season Duisburg whacked wood four times in a few seconds against Fortuna Düsseldorf, and Brazil did so three times during the foreplay to Roberto Dinamite’s goal against Poland at the 1978 World Cup.
As for multiple woodwork-rattling across a whole match, the first game that comes to mind is from Euro 96. The Czech Republic drew 3-3 with Russia, a result that put them through to the quarter-finals ahead of Italy, and also hit the woodwork four times from a variety of angles and distances.
At least they got the result they needed – as did Chelsea in the 2010 FA Cup final, when they hit the woodwork five times in a goalless first half against Portsmouth. They eventually won the match 1-0 and did the double.
Back when they were still a comedy club, Manchester City battered Bolton at the Etihad Stadium at the start of the 2005-06 season. They hit the woodwork five times, and then lost 1-0 to an injury-time penalty from Gary Speed.
That tale of woe was topped in Nuremberg in 2012, when Germany beat Kazakhstan 4-1 in a World Cup qualifier – and hit the woodwork six times. The same happened in the Southern League West in January, when Evesham United were repeatedly denied during a 2-1 defeat at Yate Town.
Six times! Can you top that? If so, you know what to do.
FA Cup glory with multiple clubs
“If Manchester United beat Chelsea on Saturday, will José Mourinho be the first manager to win the FA Cup with two different clubs?” wonders Ellie Parker.
Mourinho won the FA Cup in 2007, when Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 after extra-time in a game that the BBC co-commentator Mark Lawrenson described as a “great advert for cricket”. We know José loves a bit of the old heritage, so he’s probably aware that he wouldn’t be the first. It’s been done twice before. The first man to achieve the feat, and so many other feats, was the remarkable Herbert Chapman: he won the cup with Huddersfield in 1922 and Arsenal in 1930.
In a sense, Billy Walker’s achievement was even more notable, because his second cup win was 24 years after the first. He won it with Sheffield Wednesday in 1935 and Nottingham Forest in 1959.
Mourinho wouldn’t even be the first manager to win it for and against the same club, as Chapman’s Arsenal beat Huddersfield in 1930. But he would be the first to win it for and against two clubs, so he can still be special.
“Had a goalkeeper ever been sent off for a second yellow during a penalty shoot-out prior to the Republic of Ireland v Netherlands U17s game?” tweets Daryl Bolger, among others.
Yes, is the rather abrupt answer. In November 2017, Qatar’s U19 goalkeeper Shehab Mamdouh was sent off after receiving a second booking, having made what he thought was a match-winning save during a penalty shootout. Qatar had a much happier outcome than Ireland’s young team, however. Their captain, Nasser Abdulsalam, stepped in to face the retake, and managed to save it. The shoot-out win ensured that Qatar qualified for the AFC U19 Championship finals. There’s also the 2003 case of the Botswana goalkeeper and captain Modiri Marumo, but he was shown a straight red for punching a Malawi opponent during their Castle Cup shoot-out.
We’re shaving, we’re shaving (2)
Last week we looked at players who had been made to trim their facial fuzz by a manager or chairman. Norman Biggar has more:
“When Dougie Bell moved from Aberdeen to Rangers in 1985, he was forced to shave off his moustache as Rangers’ policy at the time was that all players should be clean shaven. A special allowance had previously been made to allow John Greig to grow a beard for the 1972 Cup Winners’ Cup final, to protect the stitches on his chin from being nicked by a razor. Less than a year after Bell’s arrival, a hirsute Graeme Souness was installed as player-manager and that particular signing policy was immediately dropped, soon to be followed by the dropping of other ‘unofficial’ policies.”
“A friend of mine was telling me the other day about an Icelandic referee who disallowed a goal because his teeth had fallen out,” said Jon Bennett in 2008. “Am I right to assume he was talking bobbins?”
Technically, Jon was right to assume that, 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 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 them in.
• Take a trip to the font of nerdvana in our archive
Can you help?
“Given that they pick players for sticker albums in advance of the squads being announced, what has been the most glaring Panini omission?” enquires Dan Leach.
“Swedish international Robert Gojani this week managed to score an own goal and receive a red card in the first 19 minutes of Elfsborg’s 5-0 defeat to Häcken,” writes Joe Murphy. “Is this the fastest a player has managed the unwanted double?”
“I’ve recently discovered that, in Nigeria, Dundee United is slang for ‘idiot’ or ‘fool’, apparently the result of a disastrous tour they played there in the Jim McLean days,” mails Nicholas Reid. “Are there any similar examples of football club names becoming slang terms around the world?”
“Has anyone picked up a manager of the season gong while also managing a relegated club?” asks Kári Tulinius.
“I notice that Hull finished this season 18th in the Championship with a goal difference of 0, while the team directly below them, Birmingham, had a goal difference of -30,” mails Christopher Harding. “Is this the largest goal difference, um, difference between two teams finishing next to one another?”