“After the Son, Haaland and Ferguson treble of trebles in the Premier League, which is the highest number of hat-tricks scored in one division on one day?” asks Stuart Goodwin.
Only six of the 10 Premier League fixtures that weekend were played on Saturday 2 September, but Son Heung-min, Erling Haaland and Evan Ferguson all scored hat-tricks. It was only the second time in the Premier League era that three have been scored on the same day.
The first instance was 23 September 1995. A blond Robbie Fowler hit four in Liverpool’s 5-2 win over Bolton and Alan Shearer scored three – all assisted by Mike Newell – when Blackburn belted Coventry 5-1. The most eye-catching hat-trick came at Selhurst Park, where Leeds’s Tony Yeboah ran amok in a a 4-2 win over Wimbledon.
The record for hat-tricks on the same day is Serie A is also three, most recently on 5 May 2013. Miroslav Klose (Lazio 6-0 Bologna), Edinson Cavani (Napoli 3-1 Inter) and Gonzalo Bergessio (Catania 3-0 Siena) were the scorers.
There were four hat-tricks in Ligue 1 on 5 February 1961, three of them in the same game: Troyes 3-7 Sedan. All of Troyes’ goals were scored by Antoine Keller; six of Sedan’s seven were scored by Yannick Lebert and Maxime Fulgenzi. The other hat-trick that day was scored by Jacques Meyer in Rouen’s 7-0 evisceration of Toulouse.
Still, that looks like a borefest in comparison to the opening day of the 1955-56 La Liga season: 46 goals were scored in just eight games, including six hat-tricks.
Julian Arcas (Espanyol 4-3 Valladolid)
Eneko Arieta (Athletic Bilbao 6-1 Sevilla)
Adrian Escudero and Francisco Molina (Atlético Madrid 9-0 Hercules)
José Gallardo (Murcia 5-4 Deportivo La Coruña)
Pahino (Murcia 5-4 Deportivo La Coruña)
Even that isn’t a record, though.
It was a good day to be called Jimmy, Jack or Joe.
Jack Ball (Leicester 2-5 Sheffield Wednesday)
Les Bruton (Blackburn 5-3 Huddersfield)
Jimmy Dunne (Sheffield United 3-1 Manchester United)
Jimmy Easson (Portsmouth 4-0 Liverpool)
Jack Firth (Birmingham 4-1 Grimsby)
Jack Lambert (Arsenal 5-3 Middlesbrough)
Joe Robson (Blackburn 5-3 Huddersfield)
English people in hot weather
The answer to this depends on the small print of Gary Lineker’s contract with Nagoya Grampus Eight. England had players from at least four different leagues in the squad when they played Finland on 3 June 1992 in a warm-up before the European Championship: England (various), Scotland (Gary Stevens, Rangers, who got injured and missed the tournament), France (Trevor Steven, Marseille) and Italy (David Platt, Bari).
Lineker, who retired from international football after Euro 92, had played his last game for Tottenham on 2 May. His debut in Japan was more than a year later, when the J.League was launched, and it’s not entirely clear when he officially became a Grampus Eight player. Contemporary reports suggest his contract began in February 1993, though there’s a degree of ambiguity and you shouldn’t always trust what you read in the papers anyway.
We think that’s the only time England have come close to having five leagues represented in the same squad. They had four in the Euro 88 squad, though: England, Scotland (Chris Woods, Rangers), Spain (Gary Lineker, Barcelona) and France (Glenn Hoddle and Mark Hateley, Marseille). Alas, Paul Elliott, who was playing in Serie A with Pisa at the time, didn’t get the call.
Left out after hat-tricks (2)
In last week’s Knowledge we looked at players who had been left out after scoring hat-tricks. There are a couple more to round up before we stick this question on the bench …
Carlos Tevez started the Wigan game ahead of Dzeko, who stayed on the bench throughout City’s 3-0 win. All three goals were scored by Sergio Agüero, who did start the following match.
This one needs a bit of context, doesn’t it. SK Prostejov, a second-tier Czech club, beat TJ Repiste 26-0 in the MOL Cup, with Silny getting 11 of them. But he had been a substitute in the league since being sent off in the second match of the season, and has yet to score in 224 minutes of action since.
That primal scream you can hear is the sound of Crystal Palace fans suffering flashbacks to the start of the 2017-18 season. They lost their first seven Premier League games – four under Frank de Boer, three under his replacement Roy Hodgson – without scoring a goal. Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta put them out of their misery, scoring a slapstick own goal in the 11th minute of Palace’s eighth game. Palace beat the champions Chelsea 2-1 and eventually finished 11th.
Excluding added time, it took Palace 641 minutes to score their first league goal. In 1990-91, Division Four club Halifax Town took a whopping 729 minutes, though in that time they did score home and away against Manchester United in the League Cup. Eventually, on 16 October 1990, Billy Barr put them 1-0 up at Carlisle in the ninth minute. The relief was such that they added two more before half-time and won 3-0. They eventually finished 22nd out of 24 and scored 59 goals in 46 games, only nine fewer than the champions Darlington.
We think that’s an English league record, but if not drop us a line.
“Has anyone ever rivalled Gary Lineker for receiving no bookings in their professional career?” asked Dave Hollis in 2005.
Among them was an Everton legend even greater than Lineker, Dixie Dean; the striker once claimed the only thing he ever received from a referee was a boiled sweet. Another Goodison great, Tommy Lawton, also went through his career without finding his way into the referee’s book.
We couldn’t forget the great Sir Stanley Matthews, often referred to as the “first gentleman of soccer”, whose exemplary sportsmanship during a career spanning around 700 games for Stoke, Blackpool and England saw him go booking-free. Or Sir Tom Finney for that matter, who was never even spoken to by an official in all his years with Preston, England and one game for Irish outfit Distillery.
In 541 games for Wolves and 105 for England, Billy Wright never once blotted his copybook, while Welsh hero John Charles, “The Gentle Giant”, didn’t earn the nickname for nothing; revered around the world for his sporting conduct, he too never saw yellow. The moniker “Gentleman Jim” was afforded to Jimmy Dickinson, veteran of 812 appearances for Portsmouth and England between 1946 and 1965 without so much a stern stare from an official.
And two Scots also navigated booking-less passages through their careers: Liverpool’s Billy Liddell, whose mercurial displays during the 1950s helped win his team the nickname “Liddellpool”; and Eddie Gray, a member of Leeds’s rock-hard side of the 60s and 70s. “We had enough players in our side who could take care of that side of things,” said Gray.
Can you help?
“Which club is football’s worst finalist?” asks Josh Davis. “I’m hoping to find the Tantalus of football mythology: a team with the most embroidered ‘final’ shirts, without a single one of them on display in the club museum.”
“On a recent deep dive into obscure clubs and their kits, I happened upon Scotland’s Loch Ness FC. Their new away kit features various graphics of the fabled Loch Ness Monster – check out the sock details! – and it got me thinking: have any other clubs’ kits (not just the badge) featured mythical beasts or monsters of some kind?” wonders Derek Robertson.
“When Norway beat Jordan 6-0 last week, six different players scored their first goal for their country. Is this a record?” enquires Christian Johannessen.
“Has a team ever had more than one captain sent off in the same match?” ponders James Doorne.