Outside the Box: There's a bit of history between Maidenhead and Hallam

Being caught up in a hoax that involved appointing Prince Frederick von Saxe Lauenberg – a man called Sid from Cheshire – as official patron is not the only controversy enveloping Maidenhead United.

The Conference South club's claim to have the oldest continuously used ground in the world, featured on BBC Television last Monday, is being bitterly disputed by Hallam FC, the Sheffield club that is believed to be the oldest in existence. Maidenhead's director Steve Jinman told Outside the Box that Hallam's Sandygate Road, although older, has not been continuously used and Glen Kirton, a former Football Association official, sent a letter confirming United's claim in 1995 on their 125th anniversary.

But Dave Atkin, a Hallam committee member, says: "The claim is untrue. Maidenhead in its various structures and names have used the York Road ground continuously since 1870 with the exception of 1914-18. Hallam FC have documented proof of playing their first match at Sandygate Road on 26 December 1860. Hallam didn't play at Sandygate Road for six years in the 1930s due to a row with the landlord but other local clubs used the ground every year."

They therefore claim continuous use for a decade longer, with a shorter pause than Maidenhead in the First World War. "This was endorsed after a mountain of research by The Guinness Book of World Records," Atkin adds.

"So Maidenhead have it wrong. A complaint has been made to the BBC with reference to the lack of journalistic research before publishing Maidenhead's claim and also to the FA and Fifa."

This one could run and run. Possibly for centuries.

Wenger: 'I did not read it'

Arsène Wenger doth protest too much in claiming that every pundit in the land rubbished his Arsenal team's prospects at the start of the season.

His wildest suggestion on the subject recently was to say: "Nobody in England even believed we could fight for the top four." Even if that is taken to be a reference to the top four trophies, which was unclear, consider this: "If I listened to everybody, it would be a miracle we are still playing for the title at all."

Well, not quite; of a dozen newspapers and websites checked at random, not one had Arsenal finishing outside the top four, while The Daily Telegraph and ITV's website both tipped them to finish in their current position of second and the Mail on Sunday plus one Times correspondent forecast they would be champions; five other papers had them third.

Vicarage Road, memory lane

A sharp-eyed reader spotted that Watford's scorers last Saturday were, in order, Graham, Taylor and Jenkins; recalling their most famous manager, and then Ross Jenkins, the lanky striker who played in Taylor's team as they climbed through the divisions 30 years ago, scoring more than 100 goals.

Jenkins was in the team at the bottom of the Fourth Division in 1975 and, seven years later, at the top of the First, leaving at the end of the 1982-83 season when they finished runners-up to Liverpool.

Ross Mark II is a local boy and midfielder with a less prolific scoring record; the goal that helped beat Sheffield United last weekend was only his second in 80 appearances for the club.

Get caught in wrong shorts

Good to see our referees cracking down on the issues that matter: namely colour of underwear.

Both the Kidderminster Harriers goalscorers in their important 2-1 win away to AFC Wimbledon, Jamille Matt and Sean Canham, were told to change theirs following the recent Fifa directive that all underclothing must be the same colour as shorts and shirts.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk; www.twitter.com/@stevetongue

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