This article titled “Which managers have changed their club’s colours?” was written by John Ashdown, for guardian.co.uk on Wednesday 29th February 2012 00.05 UTC
“The recent hiring of the much-loved Neil Warnock by the nation’s sweethearts Leeds United led me to speculate if the mercurial Warnock could bring back the glory days and sexy football of Don Revie; however this is not my question,” begins Sam Matthews. “While discussing this subject I passed one of the few pieces of knowledge I have about Leeds to a friend, namely that Revie was responsible for Leeds changing their strip from sky blue to white in homage to the mighty Real Madrid. Is my knowledge correct? And are there any other notable examples in recent history of a manager making his club change their strip? As a footnote, I was also informed that the late, great Brian Clough was responsible for changing the club emblems of Nottingham Forest and Derby County to their present-day more stylised forms. Is this correct and, if so, are there any other examples of a manager making such a change (rather than the corporate image department)?”
First let’s clear up Don Revie and Leeds. “Sam is indeed correct,” writes Arron Fellows. “Revie completely changed the Leeds colours when he took over as manager in the early 60s to the all-white kit people are familiar with today in order to replicate the great Real Madrid side of the late 50s and early 60s. Prior to this change Leeds had played in horizontal white and blue stripes before changing to half-yellow, half-blue shirts in 1934 and then swapping between yellow and blue shirts from 1948 until Revie overhauled the idea with a plain white strip in 1961.”
And as for Brian Clough: “First of all, although Clough was responsible for modernising the Derby club badge, the Forest badge was actually changed around March 1974,” writes Warren Lyons. “Cloughie didn’t arrive at the City Ground until January 1975.”
Plenty of other managers, though, have believed in the power of the kit colour.
Bill Shankly “Shankly changed Liverpool’s red shirts and white shorts to the now familiar all-red strip,” writes Peter Seddon. “Legend has it that he asked Ron Yeats to try out the red shorts. When Yeats ran out into an empty Anfield to model the kit, Shankly said: ‘Jesus Christ, son. You look bloody massive. You’ll scare them to death.’ And the kit was worn for the first time on 25 November 1964 in a European game against Anderlecht.”
Malcolm Allison “Palace fans such as myself will remember well the quantum leap (or stumble) led by Allison at the start of the 1973-74 season,” writes Phil Hawkins. “It was all change for club colours and playing strip, from claret and blue to Barcelona-inspired red and royal blue stripes, the Glaziers became the Eagles, a brand new badge – and sadly, at season’s end, a brand new [Third] Division.”
Jimmy Hill “On Hill’s arrival, he brought in a change which would alter the face of the club for its entirety,” report Coventry City on their website. “The new sky blue kit at the time gained widespread approval from the crowd and critics alike. It was described as ‘smart’ and ‘continental-like’ and it had the advantage of rarely clashing with the opposition’s colours.”
Mike Summerbee “Summerbee became Stockport’s player-manager in the summer of 1979 and promptly changed Stockport’s kit to replicate the Argentina kit in an attempt to get the team playing like World Cup winners,” writes Phil Rhodes. “We still constantly finished near the bottom of the Fourth Division. This stayed in place until March 1982 when the outbreak of the Falklands war forced a rapid alteration of the kit. We even had to ask the Football League if we could change our registered colours midway through the season.”
John Bond “Back in 1971, the Bournemouth manager is said to have been the person behind the adoption of the red and black stripes for the Cherries kit for the 1971-72 season in homage to Milan,” writes Simon Melville.
Graham Taylor “I’m sure that many other Watford fans will write in to tell you this, but Watford’s traditional colours of gold and black were changed by Taylor, whose lucky colour is red,” writes GH30. “He moved from Lincoln City, who play in red and white, and requested that red be included in the club’s colours. Watford have played in yellow, red and black ever since.”
WORLD CUP JOHNNY-COME-LATELIES
“Last week my favourite footballer Roberto Baggio and I couldn’t help noticing that in his illustrious career he played in 16 World Cup finals matches, but only nine qualifiers,” writes Marc Harrison. “Which players have found themselves on the plane without having put much effort into the qualifying campaign? And vice versa, who’s played the most qualifiers without ever making it to the finals while their team have?”
Step forward Giuseppe Bergomi. “A late call-up to the 1982 squad at the age of 18, Bergomi played the final three matches of the tournament,” writes James Borg. “Since Italy won the World Cup in 1982 and hosted it in 1990 they did not have to qualify for either the 1986 or the 1990 World Cup. Bergomi played three matches in 1986 and, as team captain, played all seven matches in 1990. He was then dropped from the Italian national team during Arrigo Sacchi’s tenure. He was recalled to it just in time for the 1998 World Cup and played another three matches in that tournament. Overall record: zero qualifiers, 16 tournament matches.”
No one can quite match that, though we should tip a hat in the direction of Mario Kempes, who mustered 18 appearances in tournament games and a solitary qualifier against Bolivia before the 1974 tournament.
On the flip side there’s New Zealand’s Richard Wilson. “One of the unluckiest men in NZ sport was the All Whites goalie Richard Wilson who played in all 15 of New Zealand’s qualifying matches for the 1982 World Cup,” writes Wi Kiwha. “However, in the All Whites’ three World Cup games he was controversially replaced by Frank van Hattum.”
As far as England are concerned, the best we can do is Les Ferdinand, who went to the 1998 tournament without getting on the field but played in nine qualifiers, just ahead of Carlton Palmer’s eight. To be fair, all Palmer’s caps came between 1992 and the 1994 World Cup, for which England failed to qualify, and he has therefore got a long way to go to match Vitalijs Astafjevs, who has played in what we believe to be a record 45 qualifiers for perennial non-qualifiers Latvia without ever appearing in the finals.
ON THE SPOT
“Have Liverpool won the most major trophies on penalties?” asks Carl Wilson.
Liverpool’s victory over Cardiff was their fifth on penalties in a major cup final: they beat Roma and Milan in the European Cup in 1984 and 2005, Birmingham in the League Cup in 2001 and West Ham in the FA Cup in 2006. It’s comfortably a record for English clubs – the next highest is Manchester United with two – but not around the world. This partly depends on your definition of a major trophy, so we have gone with the trophies deemed ‘major honours’ on the Fifa website. Based on that, Boca Juniors have won six trophies on penalties: three Copa Libertadores (1977, 2000 and 2001), a Supercopa Sudamericana (1989), an Intercontinental Cup (2003) and a Copa Sudamericana (2005).
ESTONIA: RECORD BREAKERS
“Has any Uefa nation played against all the other nations in Uefa?” tweets Chris Shilton. “If not, who has played against the most and the least?”
Several readers emailed in to point out that Estonia will become the first nation to collect the full set of 52 when they face France in June. “France is traditionally one of Europe’s top teams and currently on the rise again,” Estonian Football Association chief, Aivar Pohlak, said. “But if we look at the match purely from the Estonian football perspective, then for us it is an important fact that we will be the first European football team to have played an official match with every other Uefa member.”
“Harry Redknapp has recently been bleating on about Tottenham’s fixture congestion – they play six matches in 17 days, including one in Ukraine and one a cup final at Wembley,” noted Tommy Dark back in 2009. “But what manager has had the most congestion to worry about – Roy Hodgson and Trevor Francis excluded?”
Let’s start with Luke Williams and David Paton, who point out that in 1896-97 and 1915-16 respectively, Woolwich Arsenal and Celtic had to play two games in one day. Arsenal’s reserves beat Leyton 5-0 in the FA Cup while the big boys took an 8-0 shellacking by Loughborough in the Second Division – still their record defeat.
At the other end of the scale, Graham Bristol says that in the 90 days between 31 January and 30 April 1959 Norwich played an absurd 27 matches, including three lots of fixtures on consecutive days. “Out of the 27 games three players were ever-present (Bly, Butler & Crossan), Ashman, Crowe & McCrohan missed only one game, while Brennan & Hill missed two and Thurlow missed a mere four.”
And somewhere in between lie the lung-busting, muscle-deadening runs of eight games in next to no time. Spurs played eight in 19 days between 21 March and 5 April 1972, and eight in 17 between 1 May and 17 May 1982. But spare a thought for Don Revie’s Leeds – no, really – because they had to play eight in 15 days, including semi-finals in the FA Cup and European Cup, between 21 March and 4 April in 1970. “Funnily enough they ended the season winning nothing,” says Alistair Fraser. “Obviously it would be a very bitter man who suggested that the FA hated Leeds. But that’s exactly what I am.”
Surely the most absurd fixture pile-up, however, was that of Canvey Island at the end of the 2000-01 season, as pointed out by Liam McGuigan. They played their final five games of the season on 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 May, their last eight in nine days and in all their final 12 Ryman League matches in 17 days between 18 April and 5 May.
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CAN YOU HELP?
“Have two cousins ever both missed a penalty in a cup final?” wonders Mike Cameron. “Or relations of any type?”
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“Nicolas Anelka has won the Premier League twice, once with Arsenal in 1998 before having to wait 12 years to win it again with Chelsea in 2010,” says Stuart Jewell. “What is the longest gap between a player winning his first and second league title?”
“Since Martin O’Neill left Wycombe Wanderers in 1995, five Wycombe managers have gone on to manage Premier League teams: O’Neill, John Gregory, Lawrie Sanchez, Paul Lambert and Tony Adams,” begins Tom Glynn. “Furthermore out of their last 10 managers, half have gone on to manage in the Premier League. Is there any lower league club to have contributed as many managers to the Premier League in such a short amount of time or to have had such a high proportion of managers go on to manage in the Premier League?”
“After falling to a 1-0 defeat at Oldham on Saturday, Les Parry’s Tranmere extended their run of poor form to one win in 19 matches,” writes Chris Payne. “What is the worst run of form a professional football manager has endured without losing his job?”
“Have two players ever made their debuts in the same match as each other and then also retired from football playing their last match with or against each other?” asks Joe Hegarty.
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