Cities with clubs in spades

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The Independent Online
Q. There are 13 professional football clubs in London, but the dismal average attendances of Wimbledon and Barnet show that the capital cannot support so many teams. Do any other cities in the world have more than a couple of professional clubs, with the obvious exception of Glasgow?

A. How is a city defined? If the definition is a continuously built- up area, then other cities in Britain have considerable numbers of teams. Birmingham could be said to contain five (Aston Villa, Wolves, WBA, Birmingham City and Walsall). Manchester six (Manchester United, Manchester City, Oldham, Stockport, Bury, and, marginally, Bolton and Rochdale). Glasgow's built-up area has as many as seven (Rangers, Celtic, Queen's Park, Partick, Clyde, St Mirren and Clydebank). Given that those areas are all less than half the size of London, proportionally, London's 13 does not look excessive.

In London, Barnet and Wimbledon are exceptions, having emerged in areas traditionally the preserve of Spurs and Arsenal in the case of Barnet, and Fulham and Chelsea in the case of Wimbledon. It must be remembered that London is a region rather than a city. Its boroughs have all the powers of provincial cities. Areas such as Tottenham, West Ham, and Brentford have never been under the total control of an all-London authority. Consequently, wide cultural differences have emerged in different parts of London, and many teams enjoy support in a practical sense from their local borough council, e.g. Millwall from Lewisham and Brentford from Hounslow. - John Reynolds, London SW15

Q. During the 1984-85 season Charity Shield match between Everton and Liverpool, Everton scored first and a little later, one of Everton's substitutes, a young Neil Adams, was brought on. If my memory serves me, when Liverpool equalised, Adams was promptly substituted, although he did not appear to be injured. Is this a unique occurrence, especially as Adams was only on briefly?

A. I can recall during a Scottish league match in the late Eighties Paul McStay having a fairly difficult time at Celtic. He was brought on as a substitute for the club, only to be substituted a few minutes later for, apparently, not playing well enough. Immediately after this match McStay furiously demanded to be put on the transfer list. The memory of this incident stayed with me because I remember reading an article on the incident in Shoot magazine, detailing how McStay had received hundreds of letters from Celtic fans begging him to stay. The article was headed by the title "McStay Must Stay". I doubt whether quite this much attention was given to poor Neil Adams. - Tom Lippiett, Winchester

Q. Several years ago the Flat jockey Billy Newnes was banned for several seasons. What was his offence, and what was his first mount and winner on his return? Is the ban the reason he gets very few engagements from leading trainers, even to this day?

A. The jockey W Newnes was banned from the mid-Flat season 1983 to the mid-Flat season 1986. This was caused by his receiving a sum of cash from a known punter in the car park at Royal Ascot in June 1983. I believe the stewards also looked into his riding of a horse named Valuable Witness that same day, but nothing was ever proved. My records show that he may have had his first ride back from his ban on Chardonnay at Folkestone on 1 July 1986, and his first winner on My Buddy at Catterick on 10 July 1986.

Billy Newnes gets his fair share of winners. Over the years his main source has been Henry Candy, who supplied him with his biggest winner, Time Charter, who won the 1982 Oaks. He has never really been associated with the top trainers, who mainly have their own stable jockeys, or who have owners with contracted jockeys. - M G Parker, Faringdon.


Q. Can you answer a pub argument? Was Ellery Hanley the first black person to captain a British national sporting team, in the France v Great Britain rugby league international in 1985? -

P Small, Shipley

Q. Halifax Town's chairman, Jim Brown, has just resigned. When he took over in February 1989, he became one of the youngest chairmen in the Football League, being just 31 at the time. Has there been anyone younger than him? - Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby

Q. In the Independent on Sunday last week, you had a chart showing Manchester United's top 10 wins. In 1898-99 United beat Darwen 9-0. Who were Darwen and what became of them? - Frank Soughley, Dublin

Q. My team, Grimsby Town, have conceded a goal in the last minute of each of their last three games (Portsmouth away, Swindon and Derby at home), costing them a total of four points. Can anyone recall from bitter experience any similar feats of "generosity". - Neil Wood, Newcastle upon Tyne

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