A career over before it began

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Q. In the not too distant past, Wayne Harrison was transferred from Oldham to Liverpool for £750,000. At the time Harrison was only a teenager and I believe he never played League football for Oldham or made his debut for Liverpool. Is this correct and what happened to him?

A. Wayne Harrison made his Oldham Athletic debut aged 16 as a substitute against Notts County in October 1984. He made four full appearances, scoring once on Boxing Day at Huddersfield in a 2-1 defeat. He signed for Liverpool for £250,000 in January 1985 and was loaned back to Oldham, playing one further game in February in the home match against Cardiff. He returned to Liverpool on 29 March.

While at Liverpool he was loaned to Crewe Alexandra in the 1988-89 season, making three appearances and scoring once. He never made his full Liverpool debut, though he played regularly in their successful reserve side, often as captain. A lingering injury forced him to retire from the game in the summer of 1991, aged 23, and he returned to his native Stockport, where he has not even played amateur football. - Paul Bishop, Stalybridge

A. Wayne Harrison found fame when he became the most expensive 17-year- old footballer in England after Liverpool paid Oldham £250,000 on 9 January 1985. He had, in fact, played five League games for the Latics. In his six years at Liverpool, he made just one first-team appearance, and that was in a friendly. His injury problems started with a groin complaint, which turned into a double hernia, keeping him out for two years. There followed two operations on his right knee, then he damaged the cruciate ligaments of his left knee. To this day (he is still only 27) his problems continue, and he lives in Stockport on a disability allowance. - Patrick J McGrath, Belfast

Q. Which footballers have played against clubs they once managed?

A. In December, 1966, the Third Division club, Doncaster Rovers signed Keith Kettleborough from Newcastle United for £12,000 and installed him as player-manager. The ex-Sheffield United midfielder was in charge at Belle Vue for 26 games. Kettleborough's lamentable record as manager was won five, drawn four, lost 17, goals for 29, against 67, and Doncaster were relegated to the Fourth Division. Kettleborough was axed as manager but retained as a player for the 1967-68 campaign. However, in October, 1967, he was transferred to local rivals Chesterfield for £6,000. The Rovers and Spireites were involved in the Fourth Division promotion race, and a local derby crowd of more than 14,000 assembled at Belle Vue on 15 March 1968, to see the teams do battle. I was on the terraces that evening, to witness Kettleborough's return to Belle Vue in Chesterfield's midfield - just one month after Roy Chapman's appearance for Port Vale against the club he had previously managed. - Tom Beardsley, Willimantic, Conn, USA

Q. What is the shortest time that a player has been on the pitch before being dismissed? Has any player ever been sent off before the game has started?

A. Glencraig United, from near Clydebank, had all 11 team members and two substitutes booked in the dressing-room before a ball was kicked in the match against Goldenhill Boys' Club on 2 February 1975. The referee, Mr Tarbet, of Bearsden, had objected to a chant which greeted his arrival. - Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby


Q. Thirty to 40 years ago top-class marathon runners sometimes arrived at the finish in a state of extreme distress - Gailly in 1948, Peters in 1954, Tsuburaya in 1964 - giving rise to the idea that marathons could only be run by supermen. Was their problem the wrong training, the wrong diet, the wrong tactics? Why do we not see such exhaustion today? - Geoff Hayman, Lytham St Annes

Q. Can anyone tell me the real reason for Belfast Celtics' withdrawal from the Irish League in 1949, while they were at the height of their history? - R V Williams, Oxford

Q. Given that the NFL, the American football league, does its best to maintain parity between its teams by devices such as salary caps, player drafts and fixture lists weighted in favour of the weaker side, can anyone provide a rational explanation for the continued dominance of teams from the National Football Conference (NFC) - 11 Super Bowl wins in a row and counting?- Andrew Okey, Lancaster

Q. Yet again, with the Five Nations in full swing, we hear about the excessive demands placed upon the modern rugby player. Has anyone actually compared the amount of time the England team spend training with the time spent by other amateur sportsmen? I am thinking particularly of sports with less money and a lower profile than rugby, such as rowing (particularly lightweights), amateur cycling, etc - Edward Fryer, London SW11

If you know the answers to any of these questions, or have a sporting question of your own you would like answered, write to:

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