“Sergio Ramos has now scored 22 penalties in a row. Is this a record?” asks Matt Prior, after the Real Madrid captain slotted home against Getafe on 2 July.
“No,” says Rob Moline, and firmly. “Matt Le Tisser scored 27 for Southampton in the old First Division and Premier League. His one and only miss was against Nottingham Forest on 24 March 1993 (actually a save by Mark Crossley), which came after his fourth successful spot-kick. So: 23 successive successful penalties.
“Another page, dated February 2019 and looking at a decade’s worth of data since 2009 (so not including Le Tissier) has a list near the bottom of long successful streaks. The top few are:
31: Robert Lewandowski between 4 August 2015 and 17 February 2018
30: Rickie Lambert between 2 May 2009 and 3 August 2014
24 and counting: Max Kruse starting 7 April 2012
22 and counting: Hamza Lahmar starting 3 March 2013
“Since then Max Kruse of Freiburg, Mönchengladbach, Wolfsburg, Werder Bremen and Fenerbahce fame, has scored another five penalties (against Schalke, Fortuna Düsseldorf, Besiktas, Alanyaspor, Galatasaray) and missed none, so up to 29 and counting.”
Tom Aldous thinks Rickie Lambert has done even better than 30: “[He] scored three penalties before joining Southampton, then converted all 34 of his Saints spot-kicks. He then missed one in a friendly for Liverpool before scoring one more for West Brom. If you don’t count friendlies then that’s 38 in a row.”
Burnley fan Robert gets in touch. “Sergio Ramos may be 22 for 22, but I’m certain that Clarets legend Peter Noble took 28 in his career and never missed. I was at university at the same time as Peter Noble’s daughter, but we never met. I’d have been too awestruck.”
Occupying every position in a single season
“Has there been a team who has been in every position in the table over the course of a single season?” asks David Esp.
“There is, I believe, just one team in the Football League that can lay claim to being in every position in a single season – Sunderland, while in the Championship during the 2006-07 season,” says Gary Cumberland, detailing a season which began with Niall Quinn presiding over a hapless beginning and then, acting as chairman, appointing Roy Keane to fire the Black Cats up the table.
“However this feat still included them moving positions while not always playing themselves, but by being moved around by other results on their non-game days. This is also helped by the fact the season took place over 111 distinct game days meaning there were more opportunities for that to happen. .
“They started with four straight losses which put them in 24th (and last place) at the end of 18 August. The next few months saw them climb up to the league and after losing only once in their last 20 games, they hit the top for the first time that season on 9 April.
“Here’s the run of league positions, using only the days they changed position. Bold means that they played on that day:
16, 20, 21, 24, 23, 21, 22, 14, 17, 14, 15, 17, 19, 17, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 15, 16, 14, 13, 11, 12, 11, 12, 10, 9, 7, 8, 9, 7, 6, 5, 6, 4, 3, 2, 3, 2, 3, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1.”
Stateside entry for the fastest team to lead 4-0
Dave Mellinger has pointed out that the USA women’s team have been as quick off the mark as Leicester and Manchester City in taking a four-goal lead. “This happened in no less than a World Cup final. The USA scored their fourth on 15min 3sec during the 2015 final in Canada in which they beat Japan 5-2. With that goal, a golazo from midfield, Carli Lloyd completed her hat-trick – the quickest in any World Cup match.”
“What is the hottest English league or cup game on record?” asked Mike Dunn in August 2018.
“In our era of climate change [and Project Restart], the answer is probably last week, but I think I know the game that was most affected,” perspires Andy Wright, before letting us in on a remarkable saga of woe.
“Bizarrely, it took place in Manchester. On 1 September 1906, in City’s first game of the season (home to Woolwich Arsenal), the temperature was reported as being ‘over 90F in the shade and too hot for sunbathing’. How much above 90F is anyone’s guess, but even that is 32.2C in today’s money.
“On 35 mins, City’s Irvine Thornley left the pitch due to sunstroke. Before half-time, he was joined by teammate Jimmy Conlin, who had started the game with a handkerchief tied on his head. City began the second half 0-2 down and with nine men, but in the 50th minute Conlin, plus handkerchief, returned to set up George Dorsett to make it 1-2. That was as good as it got for City, and before long they were reduced to eight men, losing their scorer and Bob Grieve to heat exhaustion.
“The ref consulted his linesmen, but they agreed there was no just cause for abandoning the game. Woolwich scored two more to win 1-4, by which time City’s Tommy Kelso and James Buchan had also retired, so they finished the game with five fit men and the plucky Conlin. The Daily Mail reported that Arsenal were clearly the fitter and better-prepared team, and chose not to take advantage of their opponents’ misfortune.”
Can you help?
“Wigan scored seven in the first half against Hull. Is this a record in a professional domestic league game” asks George Jones.
“Watching James McCarthy replace James McArthur for Palace against Villa got me thinking. The Glaswegian-born duo have been teammates at Hamilton, Wigan and now Palace. Are there any other examples of similarly named players having such parallel careers?” asks Brian Arthur.
What's the best result by a 9 men (or less) team? Incheon scored an injury time equaliser at the weekend despite being two players short for last 30 minutes.— Jack Tanner (@mrjacktanner) July 14, 2020
“With two games remaining in the Turkish Super Lig, none of the ‘big three’ Istanbul teams – Galatasaray, Fenerbahce or Besiktas – occupy the top three. Has the league ever finished without one of these sides in the top three before? asks Grant Ninnes.
Wycombe Wanderers left-back Joe Jacobson has ended the season as the club's top scorer with 12 goals in all competitions. What's the last time that happened to a defender at any level of football? He takes most of Wycombe's penalties, free-kicks and corners.— David Chapman (@kerlmann) July 14, 2020
“Many years ago, as a Wolves fan I remember visiting Goodison Park, where toffees were tossed into the crowd for youngsters to scrabble after pre-match,” recalls Kevin Porter. “Anyone know of other instances of other foodstuffs being freely distributed at games?”
John Egan has scored just 20 league goals in his career so far but has scored in League 2, League 1, the Championship, & now the Premier League.— Jerry Higgins (@JerryHiggins86) July 14, 2020
Has anyone else scored so few goals in so many divisions?