Brian Viner : Nul points for Norway? Not when it comes to football and nostalgia

I was delighted the lawyer from the Inner Temple prefaced his answers: 'In respect of your questions in yesterday's article...'
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My thanks to the 91 fellow nostalgia buffs (my wife prefers the more concise term 'saddos') who attempted last week's quiz questions, lifted from the 1971 Boys' Book of Soccer.

My thanks to the 91 fellow nostalgia buffs (my wife prefers the more concise term 'saddos') who attempted last week's quiz questions, lifted from the 1971 Boys' Book of Soccer.

I was overwhelmed by the response, and apologise for not getting back to everyone individually; to do so I would have needed a team of clerical assistants such as those who used to sit at clacking typewriters behind Dickie Davies on World of Sport. Anyway, here are the answers.

The holders of the European Nations' Cup in 1971 were Italy, who defeated Yugoslavia in the 1968 final.

The team which had won the First Division championship with the most points were Leeds United, with 67 points in 1968-69. Quite a few of you, knowing my fondness for all things Toffee-flavoured, reckoned it was Everton in 1969-70. In fact Everton mustered only 66 points in that glorious season, as did Spurs in 1960-61, another common answer.

Who was the manager of Derby County? This foxed nobody; it was Brian Clough. Who was the manager of West Brom? This foxed most of you. Quite a few guessed Ron Atkinson, but Big Ron was still a player at Oxford United in 1971. The answer was Alan Ashman, with commendations for those who delved deep into your anorak pockets to produce the postscript that Don Howe took over at The Hawthorns on July 8, 1971.

Everyone remembered that Tostão played for Brazil, as if anyone could forget. Asparoukhov troubled you, though; he played for Bulgaria, not the USSR. Rivera was Italian, and Beckenbauer West German (I was very strict about the 'West').

Question five asked who was the youngest player to feature in an FA Cup Final? The answer given in the book was 17-year-old Howard Kendall, playing for Preston North End against West Ham in 1964, but some of you trumped that by going further back in time. Cris Freddi from west London even declined to enter the quiz, lamenting: "I just know they were trotting out the old chestnut about Howard Kendall... when we all know it was James Frederick McLeod Prinsep of Clapham Rovers in 1879." Sure enough, Prinsep was 99 days younger than Kendall – so I accepted both answers.

The first continental side to beat England at Wembley were, of course, Hungary, whose 6-3 victory in November 1953 issued a seismic blow to English notions of footballing superiority.

Martin Chivers was the player transferred from Southampton to Spurs for £125,000 in 1968, and my thanks to Phil Roberts who added a wholly unnecessary reference to the size of the Chivers proboscis by dredging up the old joke that his nose was frequently off-side even when the rest of him was well on-side.

Mr Roberts, incidentally, e-mailed from Unilever (global team, emulsifiers and thickeners). It's amazing what information you can glean from e-mails.

For example, I was delighted to find that the respondent who ventured Ipswich Town as the answer to question eight (name the only club south of London to have won the First Division championship) works for the schools inspectorate, Ofsted. And I was similarly delighted that the lawyer from the Inner Temple prefaced his answers: "In respect of your questions in yesterday's article."

The answer to question eight (Ipswich being, ahem, located some distance north-east of London) was in fact Portsmouth, champions in 1948-49 and 1949-50. England's most prolific scorer in 1971 was Bobby Charlton (who by then had played his last game for England, the heartbreaking 1970 World Cup quarter-final against West Germany). Unsurprisingly, nobody was nutmegged by question ten; Alan was the first name of Ball (Everton), Gilzean (Spurs) and Oakes (Man City).

Of the 91 entries, 23 were correct, and hats off especially to Bjornar Steinbakken of Norway, who confounded the theory that the Norwegian entry always gets nul points. I would in all honesty struggle to name Rosenborg's manager in 1971, but, somehow, Mr Steinbakken knew that Alan Ashman was in charge at West Bromwich.

The winner, randomly picked out of my moth-eaten, 30-year-old, blue-and-white bobble hat, is Kevin Cummins. So congratulations to him. A prize redolent of 1971 will be dispatched to London SW16 as soon as I find one. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who took part, from Ron Potter in Ilford who aptly sent an old-fashioned letter as a protest against the fiendish e-mail culture, to the dozens of readers who kindly shared with me their own football memories of 1971.

Fascinating stuff. Several of you endorsed my campaign to rehabilitate the reputation of Gary Sprake. "He was my idol – my party-piece was to dive full-length across the living-room shouting his name," wrote Michael Caine from Paris (surely not the Michael Caine who starred in Escape to Victory with, and not a lot of people know this, Kevin Beattie as his body double?).

And David Coatham was stirred by my incredulity that Hull City should have been one of the teams Bill Shankly earmarked for an 18-strong "super league" in 1971. It wasn't so bizarre, he suggested, as around that time Hull had a fantastic stadium, great support, and seemed on the verge of a breakthrough to the big time. "We also had a manager, Terry Neill, who seemed to be going places," he wrote. "Unfortunately, he did – to Spurs."

b.viner@independent.co.uk

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