“Do any clubs have a stand named in honour of a person who isn’t an ex-player, manager or owner?” muses Andy Palmer.
The slightly surprising answer to this is: yes, loads. We’ll start with this impressively detailed email from Tim Hoult. “France is a good place to start,” he writes. “Nice’s Allianz Riviera has a stand named after Italian politician Giuseppe Garibaldi. It’s also possible the club’s hierarchy really loved biscuits, especially given the city they play in. Saint Etienne’s Stade Geoffrey Guichard has stands named after a former player, a president and two key men involved in the history of the club, Henri Point and Charles Paret, albeit not as managers or owners.
“Lens’ Stade Bollaert-Delelis has stands named after Elie Delacourt, a former supporters’ club president, and Max Lepagnot, who was the club’s secretary as they transitioned from amateur to professional status. Toulouse renamed their East Stand in 2015 after Brice Taton, a fan who died of injuries received during an attack in a Belgrade bar, before a Europa League match. Bastia have recently had to close their Jojo-Petrignani stand after fan violence marred their match against Lyon. The stand was named in honour of yet another prominent supporter. Lyon’s Stade Gerland has a stand named for Jean Bouin, a 1912 Olympian who also lends his name to the Stade Français rugby ground in Paris and previously to Angers’ home.
“It is also worth looking at Lewes FC and their magnificently named Dripping Pan.
One of their stands is the Philcox Stand, opened in 2003. It’s named for a local firm of builders, but the name has been connected to the club for many years – SJ Philcox was honorary secretary as long ago as 1910-11, and there were at least two players with the same name in the squad that season.”
Here’s David Leggott. “A story with tragic origins: Lincoln City’s Sincil Bank ground houses the Stacey-West stand,” he mails. “The stand was named in memory of the two lifelong Imps supporters (Bill Stacey and Jim West) who, together with 54 Bradford City fans, died in the Valley Parade fire disaster of May 1985.”
Rich Jones rightly points out that “there’s a stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan named after the football referee Tofiq Bahramov, who was a linesman in the 1966 World Cup final (yes, that linesman).”
Phew. Who’s next? “Let’s start with the old ‘Jessica Ennis Stand’ at Bramall Lane, home of Sheffield United,” notes Dermot Wickham, among others. “Ipswich Town, bizarrely, held a competition mid-season a few years back. The prize was that the winner had the North Stand named after them for the rest of the season. Hence, it was called the Sandra Cunningham Stand for a couple of months, before being named the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.” There are plenty of others, so it’s time for us to enter list mode:
SV Darmstadt 98 renamed their stadium in honour of Jonathan Heimes, a supporter who died after a long battle with cancer. (Thanks to Kristof in Berlin.)
Gillingham have the Brian Moore Stand at their Priestfield ground, a tribute to the great ITV growler. Moore was a supporter and had been a director of the club. (Thanks to Michael Pilcher.)
Raith Rovers’ ground, Stark’s Park, includes the McDermid stand, named after crime writer Val McDermid – her father was also scout for the club. (Thanks to Rhuaraidh Fleming.)
Northampton Town boast the Alwyn Hargrave Stand, a tribute to a former councillor who helped push through the building of the stadium. (Thanks to Nick Jones.)
Chesterfield’s Karen Child Stand is nod to the lottery-winning supporter who funded it. (Thanks to Mike Pollitt.)
Homes away from homes
Last week, we looked at which teams’ grounds are furthest from their town or city centre. We missed a few …
“New England Revolution of MLS play in Foxborough, Massachusetts, 20 miles from downtown Boston,” begins Glenn Harmon. “If you calculate their location relative to the geographic center of the six New England states they represent (Dunbarton, New Hampshire) they are 72 miles away.”
Next? Here’s Ken Kwadwo Amaniampong: “Bolga All Stars were originally based in Bolgatanga, the capital of the Upper East Region of Ghana. They play their home games at FC Utretch Park, in Tamale, capital of the Northern Region of Ghana. The distance between Bolgatanga and Tamale is 168km, and this is all because the league board has deemed their home ground, the Bolgatanga Sports Stadium, unfit to host Premier League games.”
Sam Watt offers up “Qarabag FC in Azerbaijan, named after the Karabakh region where their original home city, Agdam is located. Azerbaijan and Armenia went to war over Karabakh in the 1990s and Agdam is now under Armenian control along with the whole of the Karabakh region. Qarabag now play in Baku, which is about 230 miles away from Agdam by road. For similar reasons, Shakhtar Donetsk currently play in Kharkhiv, 188 miles from Donetsk, but they only moved there recently and before that played in Lviv which is over 760 miles from their home.” Watch about the latter here.
“During the 2011-12 Serie A season Cagliari’s Stadio Sant’Elia was deemed unsafe,” writes Joe Wilson. “After a brief tenure at another unsafe local stadium they ended up at Stadio Nereo Rocco in Trieste. Several ‘home’ games were played there, 666 miles from their actual home in Sardinia.” And Kasper Lugowski offers one more example, remembering that “for one season in Poland’s second or third tier, Piotrcovia Piotrków played home matches in the former Pogoń Szczecin’s ground due to the activities of owner Aleksander Ptak. That was a whopping 327 miles to travel for a home game from the home city.”
“When Barnet played Wycombe at home last month, their team featured two sets of brothers on the pitch at the same time – Jack and Harry Taylor started the match alongside John Akinde, with John’s brother Sam coming on in the 85th minute.” says Will Evans. “Can any other side match that?”
“Please see the example of Kolo and Yaya Touré, and André and Jordan Ayew in Ivory Coast’s 3-1 victory against Ghana,” writes Brendan Chapman. Onwards to Sweden. “When Sven-Göran Eriksson’s IFK Gothenburg won the 1981-82 Uefa Cup, two sets of brothers – twins Conny and Jerry Karlsson and Tord and Tommy Holmgren – started both legs of the final v Hamburg,” recalls Nils Henrik Smith. “Have a double set of siblings ever won a more prestigious trophy together, I wonder?”
Laurence Wright has another international example. “Two sets of brothers have represented British international teams on at least two occasions,” he writes. “On 20 April 1955, Wales featured John and Mel Charles, and Ivor and Len Allchurch when they defeated Northern Ireland 3-2 at Windsor Park (with the great John Charles scoring all three Welsh goals). Several years earlier, on 3 February 1883, Wales had been on the receiving end as they were beaten 5-0 at the Kennington Oval by an England team that included Arthur and Charles Bambridge, alongside Arthur and Harry Cursham.” Read more about the Bambridges here.
“What is the most prestigious match to have been decided by a toss of a coin?” asked Paul Miller in 2002.
The most important coin-toss in the history of football came in the semi-finals of the tedious 1968 European Championships, Paul. Having drawn 0-0 with the Soviet Union, Italy (led by Internazionale defensive legend and crowd-pleaser extraordinaire Giacinto Facchetti) progressed to the final after winning a thrilling coin-toss.
Meanwhile, Yugoslavia were dispatching England 1-0, thus ensuring they could be robbed in the final by the Italians. Trailing 1-0 with 10 minutes left, Angelo Domenghini was allowed to take a free-kick with the Yugoslavs in the process of retreating the full 10 yards. Goal, and a 1-1 draw. Italy won the replay 2-0; not exciting.
The next biggest match decided by the flicking of a coin took place in the 1964-65 European Cup quarter-finals, after Liverpool and Cologne played out two dour 0-0 draws and then a 2-2 after a play-off in Amsterdam. Ron Yeats guessed right in the centre circle, as befitting a man who won more 50-50s than most. You’ll Never Walk Cologne? Liverpool were then controversially dispatched 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-finals by Inter, led by that man Facchetti again.
But no hard-luck story is complete without Spain [this was written in 2002, when Spain were rubbish – Knowledge Ed]: they missed out on a place in the 1954 World Cup finals after beating Turkey in a two-legged qualifier 4-2 on aggregate. Sadly, aggregate scores counted for nothing in those days, and having won and lost a leg apiece, the teams played off. After the inevitable draw (2-2), it was down to a blind Italian boy to draw lots; even he could see what was going to happen next.
Can you help?
“Players are banned for disciplinary issues on the pitch and more than a few have found themselves without a driving licence for various reasons,” mails Vince Ely. “What are the most unusual things that players have been banned from doing away from football?”
“Has a professional game ever involved a player and referee who were related,” muses Chris Ross. “Or, indeed, has a ref been forced to step down because of a family member participating?”
“Having just watched West Ham lose to Liverpool at their new stadium, I couldn’t help but notice the vast amount of space between the crowd and the pitch on the opposite side from the broadcast side of the stadium,” sighs Jonny Foster. “Where are the two furthest-apart dugouts in a ground and how far are they apart? Are there any on opposite sides of the field of play?”
“While perusing the record of the truly dominant Chichester City Ladies FC this season (P22 W21 D1 L0 F120 A8), I noticed that one of their results was a 5-4 victory over Plymouth Ladies,” explains Andy Brook. “There is still one match to play but this means that 50% of the goals they conceded over the whole season occurred in a single match. Are there any more instances of 90 minutes providing such a high proportion of the goals scored/conceded by a team over the season?”
“In 1984-85 John Still managed Dartford when they finished third in the Gola League (now known as the National League),” says Andy Boyd. “This season his Dagenham & Redbridge side were just one place lower at the same level. Has any other manager led different clubs to almost identical final placings more than 30 years apart?”
James Mason wants to know: “What is the origin of the song that goes ‘Everywhere we go, Everywhere we go, We’re the [club name] boys, making all the noise, everywhere we go …? This has been driving me mad. If you can’t help then I’m going to have to release a single which has the same tune and wait to see who sues.”