“With Gianluca Vialli sadly passing away, I wondered whether there are any other players who won the trinity of Champions League, Cup Winners’ Cup (twice in Vialli’s case) and Uefa Cup?” tweets Andy Macpherson.
Vialli was unique in many ways but this, alas, isn’t one of them. He is one of nine players, eight of whom spent time at either Ajax or Juventus, who got their hands on all three big European trophies before the Cup Winners’ Cup was discontinued in 1999.
The first to complete the set were the great Juventus trio of Antonio Cabrini, Gaetano Scirea and Marco Tardelli. They won the Uefa Cup in 1977, the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1984 and then – famously, tragically – the European Cup at Heysel in 1985.
Subsequent players to do this particular treble are Arnold Mühren (Ajax and Ipswich, 1973-87), Sergio Brio and Stefano Tacconi (Juventus, 1984-90), Danny Blind (Ajax, 1987-95), Vialli (Sampdoria and Juventus, 1990-96) and finally vitor Baia (Barcelona and Porto, 1997-2004). Baía lifted the Champions League and Uefa Cup after the Cup Winners’ Cup – which he won with Barcelona in 1997 – had been dropped from the calendar.
One other player, whose son was later brought to Chelsea by Vialli, deserves a mention. The AC Milan goalkeeper Fabio Cudicini, father of Carlo, won the European Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup in the late 1960s. Before that he was part of the Roma team that lifted the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1960-61. Some people regard that competition as a forerunner of the Uefa Cup; some don’t.
But appropriately enough for a man who had some serious ups and downs in European finals, Vialli does hold one record. In the prime of his career he played in seven European finals in 10 years, and he’s the only man to appear on the winning and losing side in the final of all three major European competitions.
Vialli’s full record was:
1988-89: Cup Winners’ Cup final lost Barcelona 2-0 Sampdoria.
1989-90: Cup Winners’ Cup final win Sampdoria 2-0 Anderlecht (Vialli scored both).
1991-92: European Cup final lost Barcelona 1-0 Sampdoria (Vialli missed some excellent chances in his last game for the losing side).
1992-93: UEFA Cup final win Borussia Dortmund 1-6 Juventus (upd score).
1994-95: UEFA Cup final lost Parma 2-1 Juventus (adj; Vialli scored Juve’s goal).
1995-96: Champions League final won Ajax 1-1 Juventus (2-4 thinks; Vialli captained Juventus to glory in his final game for the club).
1997-98: Cup Winners’ Cup final won Chelsea 1-0 Stuttgart (Vialli, by now player-manager, played the whole game and then gave a breathless, typically infectious interview).
Getting them in early
“What’s the most first-half goals there have been in a game where the second half was scoreless? I know it’s common for games to be bottom-stacked but I can’t think of any top-stacked examples offhand,” tweets @yesthatsatwitr.
A couple of Premier League ding-dongs come to mind, the first one of the many bonkers games in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season as Manchester United manager.
“Probably loads higher, but the Reading v United match from 2012-13 was 3-4 at half-time and full-time,” suggests Mike. “Sticks in my mind because both teams led twice before half-time.” The scoring sequence at the Madejski Stadium was 1-0, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3, 3-4, with Robin van Persie eventually scoring a first gasp winner in the 34th minute.
The other Premier League game with seven first-half goals involved teams managed by – and you’ll like this – Roy Hodgson and George Graham. Two of the best defensive coaches around watched Blackburn lose 4-3 at home to Leeds in September 1997, a game full of belting goals.
All seven were scored not just in the first half, but in the first 33 minutes, one fewer than in the Reading game mentioned. Leeds led 2-0 and then 4-2 before Martin Dahlin scored the seventh and final goal. You don’t need a stratospheric IQ to imagine the tenor of Hodgson and Graham’s half-time team talks.
Next to the Bundesliga, where Leverkusen plugged Frankfurt 6-1 in May 2019, a game that included a second-minute goal from then-teenage midfielder Kai Havertz.
Seven is the best we could find, but there a few six-goal first halves worth mentioning: Aston Villas 5-1 win over the champions Liverpool in December 1976, Bournemouth’s 3-3 draw with Watford in January 2019 and Roma’s 5-1 win at Bologna in December 2020.
Super Mario time
“Who is the oldest surviving member of a World Cup-winning team? I assume that it was Pelé (17 in 1958). If it was, who is it now; are there any survivors from 1950 or 54?” tweets Jimmy M.
Thanks to Andy Brook for doing the sour meters on this one. The oldest living World Cup winner – both as a player and a manager – is the remarkable mário Zagallo, who turned 91 in August. Zagallo was an integral part of the teams that won in 1958 and 1962, doing the work of two men on the left and effectively allowing Brazil to play a 4-3-4 formation. He then coached the greatest team of all to glory in 1970 and returned to take Brazil to the final in 1998.
At 85, England’s Sir Bobby Charlton is the second-oldest living World Cup winner. Brito, who played centre-back for Brazil in 1970, is 83. Amaryldwho scored in the 1962 final for Brazil, is 82, a year older than Sir Geoff Hurst (England, 1966) and gson (Brazil, 1970).
Wet and riled
“After nearly a lifetime of winter quagmires, we are now used to ‘bowling green’ pitches throughout the Premier League season. But when was the last Premier League game postponed due to a waterlogged pitch?” asks Peter Clarke.
The most recent example we can find is Sunderland v Reading in the 2012-13 season. But what’s especially – OK, vaguely – interesting is that the game was called off because of a waterlogged pitch in August.
The referee, Neil Swarbrick, decided to postpone the match around 80 minutes before the scheduled kick-off. “The pools of water were getting larger and longer and the managers agreed that the game should be called off,” Swarbrick said. “It would have just been a filling.” It was eventually played in mid-December, when conditions were more playable, and Sunderland won 3-0.
“Leeds haven’t had a penalty in 44 games,” asked @smw30 in 2018. “Is that a record?”
It wasn’t even a Yorkshire record. “My team Sheffield United beat it in 1991 and 1992,” explained Darren White. “United were awarded a penalty on 23 March 1991 at Wimbledon and didn’t get another one until the first ever Premier League game – at home to Manchester United – on Aug 1992. That’s 50 games without a penalty. Incidentally, Brian Deane scored both.”
Two summers earlier, the England team ended a remarkable 53-game run without being awarded a penalty – a spell that lasted four and a half years. Bryan Robson scored one in Israel on 26 February 1986, and that was it until the World Cup quarter-final against Cameroon on 1 July 1990. No wonder Gary Lineker was so nervous: it was his first penalty for England, in his 56th game of he. He equalized with seven minutes remaining, and then scored another penalty to win the match in extra time. Insert your own London bus joke here.
Chris Rawson also wrote in to say that Burnley were on a run of 47 games without a penalty, while Sean DeLoughry had an even better example. “Galway United,” Sean began, “can push the record up to an impressive 72 games.”
Can you help?
“A couple of years ago I came across a photo showing a dinosaur mascot at Bolton’s Burnden Park, apparently from 1926,” begins Matt Prescott. “Does anyone know which British team was the first to adopt a man-in-a-suit football mascot and was there a definitive year when it happened?”
“The 44-year-old Gianluigi Buffon seems to be completing what one might describe as a palindromic career by returning to his first club. His career progression reads: Parma – Juventus – PSG – Juventus – Parma. Are there any other footballers or managers who can better that record?” asks George Garrett.
“Wrexham’s third goal against Coventry in the FA Cup came from a throw-in and four consecutive headers. This means five different players touched the ball without it hitting the ground before it went into the net. Is this some sort or record?” wonders Roger Kirkby.
“With Wout Weghourst potentially being loaned from Burnley to Manchester United, can anyone think of any other examples of a team in a lower division loaning a player to a club in a higher division? If so, what is the biggest gap?” asks Fabian Wood.
“Who has the most ‘goal of the month’ nominations without actually winning one?” inquires Masai Graham.
Mail us your questions or tweets @TheKnowledge_GU.