Which managers have had the longest breaks between spells at a club? | The Knowledge

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“Eddie Niedzwiecki took temporary charge of Reading following t.....wledge_GU.

“Eddie Niedzwiecki took temporary charge of Reading following the departure of Mark Bowen. Eddie was previously Reading’s caretaker manager way back in 1991. This means he went 29 years between matches as our manager. Is this a record?” asks Tom Brailli.

If we bend the rules a bit, it’s not. Here’s Chris Page: “I can beat that … sort of. But we’d have to count a spell as assistant manager. Former manager of Real Madrid and Brazil’s national team, Vanderlei Luxemburgo, has taken charge of just about every major team in Brazil over the last 40 years. One of his earliest roles was assistant manager of Vasco da Gama until he departed in 1982 before returning as full-time manager last year. That’s a whole 37 years between spells.

“If we’re not counting that however, there are several others that weren’t far off. Graham Turner was the closest, leaving Shrewsbury in 1984, returning in 2010 for a gap of 26 years. Jim Smith had a 21-year gap between spells at Oxford United, leaving in 1985 and returning in 2006. Jupp Heynckes, famous for being the man to win the Champions League with Real Madrid in 1998 and then get sacked immediately after, is also worth a mention as he pulls somewhat of a double header with long stints between spells as managers at two different clubs. He had 18 years between spells at Bayern, leaving in 1991 and returning for a brief caretaker spell in 2009, all this alongside a 19-year gap between runs at Borussia Mönchengladbach (1987 and 2006). Finally, Ricardo Ferretti had brief caretaker stints as Mexico manager in 1993 and 2015, giving a 22-year gap between the same international managerial job, possible a record in itself.”

But Nathan Atkinson takes us to Belfast for a bona fide winner. “I want to bring up Ronnie McFall, who left Glentoran in 1984 and returned for a short spell in 2018, 34 years later.” They say never go back for a reason. McFall resigned on 3 January 2019 after overseeing the worst run in the club’s 137-year history.

Multiple same-name scoring teammates

“When the Faroe Islands beat Malta 3-2, three different players scored, each with the same surname (Olsen); has this ever happened before?” tweets Kenn Rushworth.

Adam Rodriques is aware of a same-name duo scoring but can’t stretch to three: “Mali had two players named Adama Traoré score for them against Mauritania on 24 June 2019. Both Adama Traorés were born in June 1995. Neither of them, of course, is the Adama Traoré who plays for Wolves, nor the Adama Traoré who was a Mali U20 international and made two appearances for PSG in 2009, nor the Adama Traoré who is an Ivorian international and has had spells at Basel, Vitória, and Melbourne Victory.”

Dean Whearty keeps it in the Tehau family to go one better than the Olsens. “The Tahiti team of 2013 Confederations Cup fame had four in their squad (brothers Jonathan, Alvin and Lorenzo and cousin Teaonui). I went searching for their results in the 2012 OFC Nations Cup – they beat a Samoa team 10-1 with Lorenzo bagging four, Alvin and Jonathan a double and Teaonui one of his own. This is surely a record for members of the same family scoring in a game and the feat itself could lead you down a rabbit hole as Lorenzo and Alvin are twins.”

Jonathan Tehau of Tahiti, No 17, celebrates after scoring against Nigeria in the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Jonathan Tehau of Tahiti, No 17, celebrates after scoring against Nigeria in the 2013 Confederations Cup. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

When refs ride roughshod over the rulebook

“Your recent column about refs blowing early reminded me of an event back in July 1999,” begins Will Aitken. “West Ham were entertaining Finnish side Jokerit. There was a general pre-season friendly atmosphere to the whole thing, and the ref was no exception. At one point a West Ham throw-in was awarded, but the ball came to a stop about 10 yards from the touch line. The ref, presumably thirsty (it was mid-July and warm) indicated that he wanted it taken there and then and not to mess about with actually getting off the pitch. Steve Lomas duly took a throw-in from a spot on the pitch, roughly equivalent to the line of the penalty area.”

Have Rangers set a clean-sheet record?

“Rangers haven’t conceded in their first seven games. What is the record for clean sheets from the start of a season?” tweets Craig.

They have some way to go yet to beat what we think is the world record, Craig, though the European best is not far off. Here’s Dirk Maas: “Universidad Catolíca’s defence was solid as a rock in the Primera División 2005 Clausura: the Chilean team didn’t concede a goal in their first 14 matches. Everton de Viña del Mar prevented a 15th consecutive clean sheet. In Europe, Ajax got off to an excellent start in their 1995-96 Eredivisie season, with 27 points after nine matches and a goal difference of 33 for and 0 against. Feyenoord (in round 10) were the first to beat Edwin van der Sar that season.”

St Johnstone go close to scoring past Jonathan McLaughlin on 12 August.
St Johnstone go close to scoring past Rangers’ Jon McLaughlin on 12 August. Photograph: Stuart Wallace/BPI/Shutterstock

Knowledge archive

“Watching Arsenal thump Wigan at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, I noticed that Chris Kirkland was wearing a cap,” wrote Gunther Lindley in 2009. “Have there ever been any high-profile outfield players who preferred to wear a cap while playing? Would this even be legal?”

Stuart Gardner pointed out that this has been answered in You are the Ref, in which the referees’ chief, Keith Hackett, confirmed that, even if the cap fits, you’re not allowed to wear it. But players were permitted to wear other forms of headgear. Take the Petr Cech-style skull cap, also sported by the Charlton centre-back Miguel Llera. There were other suggestions from many years ago. The best of all came from Algy Taylor. “In 1894 Aston Villa played Sheffield United in atrocious conditions, with players on both sides suffering from frostbite,” he offered. “Villa’s legendary winger and England international Charlie Athersmith borrowed an umbrella from one of the spectators. Such was the awesomeness of the man that he even scored a goal with umbrella in hand.”

Archive

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“Which replica goalkeeper top is the highest selling of all time?” asks Chris Sloley.

“My teams, Brighton and Sussex, both walk on to the same tune (Good Old Sussex by the Sea),” begins Nick Goodwin. “Is this unique for a football and a cricket team, or for that matter any two sports teams?”

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

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