“What’s the maximum number of games that an English league club could theoretically play in one season,” asks @jamesv_t.
Adam W starts us off with some linear, perfectly sensible thinking. “By my calculations, assuming they reach the finals of all three cup competitions they are in and need replays where possible in the FA Cup, Wolves could play 74 games this season (38 PL, eight FA Cup, six League Cup, 22 Europa League).”
Some lateral thinking from Andy Brook. “I think a League One team can play 78 matches if they reach the finals of the play-offs, FA Cup (with replays in every round), League Cup and Football League Trophy, “ he says. “They would start all cup competitions in the first round, of course. Although thinking further, that team could have theoretically won the FA Cup the previous season. In which case, they’d have the Community Shield and a bunch of Europa League matches too.”
Original asker @jamesv_t goes yet further into the unknown and almost certainly impossible. “If a League One team had won the FA Cup two years previously, and the Europa League/FA Cup last season, could they not have Champions League football too? Maybe dropping down to Europa League after the group stage?”
Finally, Brook returns to break it all down for us: “Season one: wins Champions League but relegated to Championship. Season two: retains Champions League, wins FA Cup but relegated to League One. Season three: competes in League One and makes playoffs, FA Cup, League Cup, EFL Trophy, Champions League, Community Shield, Super Cup and World Club Cup!
“Working it out: Football League regular-season matches 46, playoffs three, FA Cup 12, League Cup six (I assume they’d start in the third round due to European competitions), EFL Trophy eight. Champions League group six. They finish third and enter the Europa League to play nine further games. Plus Community Shield for one game, Uefa Super Cup for another game, World Club Cup adds two more games. Which makes 94 (ninety-four)!”
Pep Guardiola, it’s over to you.
Mixing it up
“What is the highest tier of men’s football in which a woman has played?” asks Alexander Ediassen.
“I’m sure that many people have already contacted you to say that the highest tier is the top tier … in Palau!” writes Harry Shave, who is in fact the only person to write in and tell us that. “According to this archived link from the Palau FA’s website, at least in 2012, the highest level of football in the country was a mixed league and Kramers FC at least included two women in their squad, Jennifer Anson and Jane Menz. I can’t find any evidence that any of the other teams included women in their squads, so maybe it wasn’t all that mixed after all.”
Scoring in the same minute as your squad number
“Who was the first Premier League footballer to score in the same minute as the number on their shirt?” tweets Paul Jenkins.
“Peter Beagrie was only one minute out on the first day of the 93-94 season. He scored in the 10th minute while wearing the number 11 shirt for Everton,” begins Tim Postins. “But @NickTheStatsGuy has nailed it. Roy Keane (No 16) scored in the 16th minute for Manchester United against Sheffield United on 18 August 1993. Ian Wright scored for Arsenal in the eighth minute away at Wednesday three days later. Mike Newell then scored in the 10th minute for Blackburn at Manchester City on 24 August, Lee Sharpe scored in the fifth minute for Manchester United away at Southampton on 28 August, and I’ve really got to get back to work.”
“In light of the imminent cinematic release of the movie The Men Who Stare at Goats and its depiction of the US military attempting to harness psychic abilities, I was wondering if there has there ever been a football manager (or player) who has attempted to do the same; and if so were there any reports of this being a success?” wrote Tim Grey in April 2010.
“I’m a Gloucester City supporter,” begins Simon Clark, “and on 22 August 1959 we tried hypnosis to see the possible winning effects on the team. Led by the celebrity hypnotist Henry Blythe, we proceeded to beat Merthyr Tydfil 3-1. We again tried this on 19 September 1959 against our great rivals Cheltenham Town, and went on to lose 3-1 to the Robins. The experiment was briskly ended! There’s even a fantastic Pathé News piece about this interesting episode in our history.”
Can you help?
“On Friday Liverpool’s goalkeeper, Alisson was substituted by Adrián. When was the last time, if ever, that a keeper whose name begins with the letter ‘A’ was substituted by another whose name begins with an ‘A’?” – Jonathan Tasker.
“On Saturday, Brislington FC won their FA Cup local derby at Keynsham Town – a journey by road of just 1.4 miles. While Brislington is within the city of Bristol, Keynsham is not, instead being part of BANES (Bath and North East Somerset). Is there a closer derby match between teams in different cities? Teams playing outside of their traditional area would not count” – Robin Tucker.
“Can you name the goalkeeper who has conceded the most opening-day goals throughout their Premier League career? My chums and I were discussing this and couldn’t find an answer online. I feel like Tim Krul has conceded a few in his time, which sparked the initial brainstorming session during Liverpool’s 4-1 win over Norwich” – Michael Corrigan.
“After this midweek round of fixtures in the National League, only 1 team (Halifax) still has a 100% win record, despite there only being 2 rounds of games so far. This got me thinking, what is the fewest number of games in a league before no teams had a 100% record, and conversely what’s the longest winning run to start a season?” – Matt Du Gay.
“This season, Newcastle’s No 9 is Joelinton. Two of their other forwards are Dwight Gayle and Andy Carroll, both of whom are former No 9s at the club. This can’t be the only time where more than one, much less three players in the same squad, have all worn the same number. So where else has this happened, and how many players were involved?” – Mike Lavery.
“Last season, Luton fielded full-backs (both now sold) named James Justin and Jack Stacey. Both of these men have first names as surnames. Have there been other occurrences of teams having multiple players following this naming convention,” asks Jake Kaminsky.