Outside the Box: Warning to managers - quadruple jeopardy of signing the double-jointed


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The Independent Football

Clubs about to sign players may want to make sure they are not double-jointed, which according to research from Leeds Metropolitan University almost quadruples the risk of injury.

The study found that of 54 Premier League players surveyed throughout a full season, the "hypermobile" ones suffered a rate of 22 injuries every 1,000 hours, whereas the rate otherwise was just over six.

Hypermobility is defined as having at least four abnormally flexible joints, and it is surprising how many players are in that category. It applied to a third of those surveyed, who were also 12 times more likely to sustain a "severe" injury, but one Premier League club contacted by OTB said no more than 10 per cent of their players came into this category.

Lead researcher Gareth Jones said: "If you've got to make a decision about purchasing a player, the more information you have about risk factors for injury, it may guide you to select one player above another. We believe it's an important factor and needs further investigation."

The Football Association's medical department are considering a wider-ranging survey.

Cold comfort for Miller in Siberia

Alex Miller, a former assistant to Craig Brown with Scotland and Rafa Benitez at Liverpool when they won the Champions' League in 2005, has broken new ground for a Briton by becoming coach of FC Sibir (Siberia).

Based in Russia's third city, Novosibirsk – which is three time zones east of Moscow – Sibir played in the Russian Premier League until last season when they were relegated. They are now fifth in the First Division and at a training camp in Turkey to escape the worst of the Siberian winter, which at -30C is fierce even for an old Aberdeen player.

The 62-year-old Scot complained about not getting a job in British football, suspecting his age counted against him. He cannot be accused of insularity after playing in Hong Kong and coaching in Japan and Sweden.

Connor's from good stock

Dietmar Hamann, a member of that Liverpool Champions' League team, had a disastrous first managerial job at Stockport County this season and left in November after three wins in 19 games in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

For a successor, Stockport went for a familiar figure in Jim Gannon, who was in charge from 2005-09, and he in turn has reflected the club's past in signing defender Joe Connor, who follows his father and grandfather at Edgeley Park.

A County fan, he has been playing in North Carolina for Charlotte Eagles, a division of Missionary Athletes International, who use sport to spread the gospel of conservative Christianity. Dad Jim played briefly in 1978-79 and grandad Jack is still their record scorer, with 132 League goals in 206 games, including hat-tricks in three successive games in 1953.

Notts out for the count?

Following last week's item about Notts County becoming the first League club to celebrate their 150th anniversary, Dr Graham Curry has drawn attention to an article he wrote for Soccer History magazine that questions whether they are not two years early.

His conclusion was: "Hard evidence does not exist for 1862 but does for 1864. More likely playing informally in 1862." A club spokesman says they take the date from a Nottingham Guardian report of 28 November 1862. Dr Curry's article agrees that County's rivals Nottingham Forest are the second oldest League club (1865-66).

Among non-League clubs, he found no hard evidence for the dates claimed by Cray Wanderers in Kent (1860) or Worksop Town (1861).

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