Giants before the giant-killers

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The Independent Online
Q. Who, if any, were the last amateur team to win the FA Cup?

A. The first 12 winners of the FA Cup were all amateur teams - Wanderers (five times), Oxford University, the Royal Engineers, the Old Etonians (twice) Clapham Rovers, the Old Carthusians and Blackburn Olympic. The first professionals to win the Cup were Blackburn Rovers in 1884, since when no amateur team has reached the final. Since the formation of the Football League in 1888 only three non-League clubs have reached the final - Sheffield Wednesday (1889-90), Southampton (1899-1900 & 1901-02) and Spurs, who won the Cup in 1900-01, the last to do so. Since 1919-20 only seven non-League clubs have got as far as the fifth round - Cardiff City and Plymouth Argyle (both 1919- 20), Colchester United (1947-48), Yeovil Town (1948-49), Blyth Spartans (1977-78), Telford United (1984-85) and Kidderminster Harriers (1993-94).

Brian Tabner, Preston

Q. Henry Blofeld (25 January) writes of Wes Hall's "enormous run". But which fast bowler had the longest run-up in cricketing history?

A. In the Seventies when Lever and Shuttleworth, of Lancashire, and Mike Proctor, of Gloucestershire, were bowling from the football stand end at Headingley, spectators at the Kirkstall End lost sight of them as they started their long run from the boundary edge.

Kevin Maguire, Batley


Q. What became of two Czech internationals signed by Derby County in 1988 after being granted political asylum in England?

Niall Lovejoy, Bucks

Q. Is Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch the best-selling sport book of all?

Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby

If you know the answers to either of these questions or have a sporting question of your own, write to Q&A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894.