Barnsley 61 not out

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The Independent Online
Q. We often hear about the time Arsenal have remained in the top flight, but which teams have stayed in one of the other three divisions for the greatest duration? Which side has gone longest without promotion?

A. Barnsley are the senior club in the current First Division (formerly the Second Division), next season being their 16th since being promoted. They also hold the record for most seasons in that Division - next season is their 61st out of a possible 94 and for most successive seasons - 30 from 1898 to 1932.

Bournemouth have spent most seasons in the Second Division (formerly Third). Next season is their 28th out of a possible 39. Walsall have the record for most in succession - 16 from 1963 to 1979. The senior club this season was Swansea City: eight seasons since being promoted, but because of relegation, next's season's senior members will be Bournemouth and, if they are not promoted, Bradford City, who will be in their seventh season since being relegated.

The senior members of the bottom division are Rochdale. Next season is their 23rd since being relegated - also the most successive seasons in the division by any club. Hartlepool United hold the record for most seasons in the bottom flight, 1996-97 being their 35th out a possible 39.

Of the clubs who could be promoted, Southend United hold the record for the longest wait. They joined the League in 1920-21, remained in Third Division South until 1959, joining the new Third Division. After being relegated, they finally gained promotion in 1971-72, their 45th League season. - Andrew Kirkham, Knaresborough

Q. Which new sports are being introduced at this year's Olympic Games?

A. Though arguably only a division of its parent sport, beach volleyball will be contested for the first time at Atlanta this summer. - Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby


Q. A crowd of 31,626 turned out for Paul Merson's testimonial between Arsenal and Tottenham at Highbury on Wednesday. What is the record for an attendance at such matches? - Paul Wheeler, Bolton

Q. In the 1959 FA Cup final, which Luton lost 2-1 to Nottingham Forest, Luton were led out on to the field by their chairman as they did not have a manager at the time. Who was the manager who took Luton to Wembley and what were the circumstances leading to his departures before the team's greatest moment? - Mitchell Sandler, London N17

Q. Gillingham have just set the record for the fewest goals conceded in the lower divisions. However, have they set another by being promoted with the fewest goals scored (49)? - Robin Kettle, Birmingham

Q. The Welsh town of Aberdare, with a population of 36,000 and once boasting a Football League side, now appears to lack even a non-league team. What happened to football in Aberdare and to Aberdare Athletic, the town's former professional club? - N P Lovejoy, Shenley Brook End, Buckinghamshire

Q. Why is there no standardised identification system for the pockets of a snooker table? - I Donaldson, Inverlochy

If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a question of your own, write to: Q & A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL.

Fax: 0171-293 2894