"What is the most number of clubs a player has played for which all have the same basic colours on their home kits?" mused Ahmer Naqvi last week. "Is Roberto Soldado the record holder with three white-clad teams (Real Madrid, Valencia and Tottenham)?"
He's not, Ahmer, but you're in luck, because your question prompted quite a response. Quinten Taylor was moved to spend his lunchtime trawling the web, and came up with Frank Worthington, who, he says, "donned blue and white at least eight times, for six league clubs." We reckon it's actually 11 times, with a list that includes Huddersfield Town (who in the late 1960s, when he was around, wore solid blue shirts and white shorts, and later blue and white vertical stripes); Bolton Wanderers (white shirts and blue shorts); Leicester City (in his first season it was blue collars and cuffs on a white shirt, before the more familiar solid blue with white collar); Birmingham City (white adidas stripes on blue); Leeds United (if we're allowed a dash of yellow); Brighton (Phoenix Brewery shirts); Tranmere Rovers (blue kit with white shorts, and then blue shirts with white shorts); Preston (white shirts with navy blue flashes); Stockport County (vertical stripes); Stalybridge Celtic; Guiseley. "He was also player-coach at Halifax Town," says Quinten. They had a sky-blue and white kit at the time. "But sadly he didn't get any playing time."
Quinten also nominated Glenn Cockerill, who played almost 300 times for Southampton but was rarely to be found out of red and white in his 22-year career. Lincoln City were kitted out in red and white stripes in the late 1970s, while Swindon Town welcomed him in red shirts and white shorts. Sheffield United, his next club after another stint at Lincoln, hadn't been out of red and white stripes since 1891. At Southampton he had the variety of the red Patrick shirt (with white shoulders) and the panelled Hummel shirt that bore more than a passing resemblance to the Denmark kit on show at the 1986 World Cup. Cockerill's three-year stay at Leyton Orient coincided with a particularly bad set of home shirts (here he is wearing the Akklaim shirt of 1995-96, for instance). Cockerill finished his career at Brentford, back in the familiar red and white vertical stripes and black shorts. We make that six different clubs. "Perhaps most impressively he clocked up double figures for all of them," says Quinten, "and they were permanent clubs as opposed to loans. And they were all football league too."
Also kitted out in red and white stripes is Danny Higginbotham, nominated by James Murton, having turned out for Southampton, Stoke, Sunderland and Sheffield United. "Additionally, if we're talking basic colours and not identical designs," says James, "he has also had loan spells with Royal Antwerp and Nottingham Forest, both of whom of course play in red with white as a secondary colour (while Higginbotham was there, Forest even reprised the red and white striped socks that haven't been seen since the 1950s). "This is also true of the national team of Gibraltar, who it's likely he will soon be turning out for (presumably after failing his application for Paraguayan citizenship). That makes six teams, soon to be seven."
"I can offer two players who have gone one better than Soldado," says Paul Vickers. "In a long career, Steve Claridge played for four teams in blue: Birmingham City, Leicester City, Portsmouth and Millwall." Given that Claridge played for 8,293 different clubs, it seemed odd that he only four times ended up in blue, so we did a bit of digging. Strictly speaking, Brighton were in stripes when he was there, but we're pretty sure he made his one appearance for Gillingham in a solid blue kit, which would make it five. No upgrade for Tony Cottee, though. He played in the blue of four clubs: Everton, Leicester City, Birmingham City and Millwall.
"Rory Delap equals Soldado," says Nick Hailstone, naming the same three red-and-white clubs for whom Ian Maguire nominates Kenwyne Jones: Southampton Sunderland and Stoke City. By our reckoning, Delap is ahead of Soldado on four, having also appeared in the current red shirt and white shorts combo of Barnsley.
INTERNATIONAL SPORT SWAPPING
"After seeing former Ipswich goalkeeper Shane Supple line out for the Dublin GAA team in recent years, and with the Republic of Ireland team currently struggling to fill three goalkeeping jerseys, the question occurred to me: has a player ever been called up for an international football team, based on his performances in a sport other than football?" asked Declan Johnston last week.
"There was an example in Ireland a few years ago," says John Brennan. "It comes from women's football: Kacey O'Driscoll." O'Driscoll played Gaelic football (and basketball, it turns out) at school, starring for her school team, Coláiste na Sceilge, and Kerry senior ladies. At 16 she was named in the Ladies Gaelic Football All-Star team. "This attracted the attention of the Irish underage [soccer] coaches, even though the town she hailed from did not even have a men's soccer team, let alone a women's team.
"She was selected for the Republic of Ireland Under-19 team despite never having played a competitive game. Eventually she went to college in Limerick and joined their soccer team, and went on to win senior international caps as well as earning a scholarship to college in America [where New York college Hofstra listed her as a midfielder/forward who also dabbled with golf]. Unfortunately she no longer plays either sport due to injuries, but take it as someone who played against her up to the age of 14: she was a sensational talent."
STARTING WITH SACKINGS (2)
"I've just read that like José Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson is the next football manager to have a road named after him but can you tell me which ex footballer has the longest road named after them?" writes Danny Peacock. "I reckon Brian Clough has a shout with the A52 stretch between Nottingham & Derby named after him but there must be longer roads out there?"
The stretch of the A52 known as Brian Clough Way runs from the Pentagon traffic island on the outskirts of Derby city centre to the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham – that's a 13.64 mile stretch of Tarmac.
The next best we can find is the Cahill Expressway in Sydney, Australia. The 1.4 mile road was originally named after the politician Joe Cahill, but in June 2013 it was temporarily renamed the Tim Cahill Expressway ahead of Australia's World Cup qualifier against Iraq.
Can you do any better? Let us know at the usual address.
"Other than Blackburn's recent David Betnley gaffe, have there been any other instances of footballers' names being spelt wrongly on the back of their shirts?" asked Pete Warren back in 2007.
Oh yes, Pete. Plenty. Let's start with the one that seems to have tickled most correspondents' fancy: the time David Beckham morphed into David 'Beckam' during the 1997 Charity Shield against Chelsea. "I thought the lads were winding me up," he is reported to have said at the time. "Then I saw it for myself. It was too late to do anything about it, so we all had a laugh instead."
If you think such basic typographical errors are limited to one of the richest sporting institutions in the world, you'd be half-right. When John O'Shea turned out for Manchester United against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final second leg at Old Trafford in April 2003, his shirt bore the legend 'S'hea', prompting one talkboard wag to speculate that the club were saving their Os for the arrival of Wayne Rooney.
Completing an unholy trinity of United spelling howlers is their Polish goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak. Now, the potential pitfalls here demand sympathy. Except that the person responsible for imprinting names on shirts was presumably concentrating so hard on that tricky 'zcz' combo that when Kuszczak played only his second game for United, in a Carling Cup tie against Crewe in October 2006, he mysteriously became 'Zuszczak'.
Cláudio Gameiro writes from Portugal with news of the Sporting Lisbon striker Liedson, who might be the only player actually happy to live with a misprint. Liedson scored on debut in 2003, when the 's' in his name was printed the wrong way round. "That made it look like a z," says Cláudio, "and he continued to wear the z shirt for the rest of the season as a lucky charm and trademark. Apparently, it worked: he passed the 100-goal mark for Sporting a few weeks ago."
The Guardian's very own Steve Claridge can confirm he shrugged off the indignity of becoming 'Clarridge' during a televised game for Leicester against Sheffield Wednesday in 1996-97 to score what Tom Reville describes as a "rare screamer", while Costa Rica's Mauricio Wright was turned into 'Wrigth' for his country's World Cup game against China in 2002.
And for the best howler-related chant? "There's only one h in Palace," as sung by the Selhurst Park faithful after the club's name was rendered "Chrystal" on the team shirt's badge in 2004.
For thousands more questions and answers take a trip through the Knowledge archive.
Can you help?
"In his 10-year professional career, Mathieu Flamini has thrice changed clubs on a Bosman transfer," writes Chai in Atlanta. "Both his transfers to Arsenal (in 2004 and 2013) and to Milan (2009) were free. Has there been any other professional footballer who has moved more than three clubs in a career longer than a decade without any transfer fee being paid?"
"Watching the West Brom v Arsenal game at the weekend," begins Patrick Leach, "I was reminded of the frequency with which the man of the match award, often decided by a TV pundit during live games, is awarded a couple of minutes before the game has actually finished. Has any player ever been named MOTM, and then gone on to have an absolute shocker in the final throes of the game, eg horror tackle, red card, own goal etc?"
"Last weekend, I attended the Veris v Rapid Ghidighici in the Moldova Divizia Nationala, the top division. In the 89th minute, Veris number 88 (Dumitru Seul) was replaced by number 77 (Igor Picus)," writes the globetrotting Alun Thomas. "Has there ever been a numerically higher substitution in such a high ranking league?"
"Last weekend Derby recorded their 10th successive victory over Leeds," writes Paul Reeve. "Is this the longest winning sequence in matching between two clubs?"
"Reading the match report of the Malta-Russia U19 European Championship qualifier, I was struck by the somewhat unusual information that a player named Kurt Zammit replaced another player named Kurt Zammit," writes Mark Muscat. "Does any part of your readership know if there any other such instances at international level of a player being substituted by one with the same name and surname?"
Send your questions and answers to firstname.lastname@example.org