Park's pride of place


Q. Is the Glasgow football club Queen's Park still an amateur side? If so, have they ever been tempted to go professional? Can a professional play for them? When were they last in the top Scottish Division?

A. Queen's Park are still strictly amateur. Players are not paid for playing. They have never considered professionalism and never will. The club is run by a membership who are staunchly proud of their amateur status.

Ex-professionals have played for them, but only if positively vetted by the club's committee. The most recent to do so, Ross McFarlane, was a former Queen's Park player who spent 13 years at Clyde before returning to Hampden. He lasted 60 minutes before being sent off in his comeback match at Montrose last year. He was transferred from his firm's Glasgow office to London before his suspension elapsed and did not play again.

Queen's Park spent two seasons in Scotland's top division in 1956-57 and 1957-58, were relegated and have never returned to the top flight since. - Keith McAllister, Queen's Park FC Supporters' Association, Glasgow

Q. What is the worst debut any sportsman or woman can claim to have made in a team sport?

A. On the occasion of their first game in the Second Division, having won the Third Division South, Brighton and Hove Albion gave a surprise debut to a young goalkeeper, Dave Hollins, away at Middlesbrough on 23 August 1958. Brighton lost 9-0, with Brian Clough helping himself to five. In the next away game another five were conceded, this time at Liverpool.

Nevertheless, Hollins (brother of England's John) subsequently did well enough to achieve international recognition with Wales. - Alan Parr, Tring

Q. Whatever happened to Pickles the dog, who discovered the World Cup under a bush following its theft in 1966?

A. The owner of Pickles was asked this very question during an interview on Greater Manchester's local BBC radio station a few years ago. Sadly, football's most famous investigative canine strangled himself to death on his own lead while chasing a cat. - Michael Wray, Birkenhead


Q. Anne Hayden played table tennis for England in the Fifties and as Ann Jones won Wimbledon in 1969. In her early sporting career, as a table tennis player, she was a beaten finalist in five World championship events, including singles, but won numerous domestic honours in the Fifties. Has any sportsman or woman changed sports and had even greater success? - Iain Newton, South Woodford

Q. I understand Bjorn Borg is still playing tennis on the Champions Tour, a senior players' event. Can anyone tell me how this championship functions and who plays in it? - Philip Granton, Solihull

Q. In Formula One motor racing, what is meant by the terms "over-steer" and "under-steer"? - Jane Epsom, Colchester

Q. Now that three substitutes are allowed in league football, has a substitute come on for a substitute and then been himself substituted? And if so, for which reason? - Andrew Long, Hagley

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

Fax: 0171-293 2894

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