Old readers may recall the tipster Horace Batchelor, who advertised his 'infra-draw' method on Radio Luxemburg in the 1960s. I don't know whether he won any money using the system himself, but I assume that he made a reasonable living out of selling it to the general public.
A friend of a friend of mine visited his grave in Keynsham, Bristol, recently; apparently it has eight crosses on it. - Chris Heaton, London SE10.
Who were the first black players to appear in the Football League (particularly the First Division)?
The distinction of being the first belongs to Walter Daniel Tull, son of a West Indian father and English mother. Tull made 10 appearances for Spurs during the 1909-10 and 1910-11 seasons, scoring two goals. - Barry Martin, Hythe, Hants.
There were a number of black players appearing in the Football League in the 1920s and 30s. The first to appear in the Home International Championship was the Bradford Park Avenue outside-left Eddie Parris, whose parents were West Indian. He played for Wales against Ireland on 5 December 1931. A big fuss was made when he appeared in the same match as Plymouth Argyle's Jack Leslie later that month; two black men on the same field was a major event. - Tony Smith, Newcastle, Staffs.
On the subject of recent queries about Scottish football club names that make no obvious reference to their location, what are the origins of Morton (Greenock), Queen of the South (Dumfries) and Albion Rovers (Coatbridge)?
The origins of the names requested are not as romantic as one would hope:
Albion Rovers: from Albion Street, where Cliftonhill House stood, the site on which the club's ground, Cliftonhill Park, was built.
Greenock Morton: the Morton part of the name was taken from Morton Terrace, the street in which many early club members lived.
Queen of the South: this was a colloquialism historically used when referring to Dumfries in the far south of Scotland, only about 60 miles from Carlisle. - Steve Tombs, London SE19.
Every football team seems to have local rivals their fans love to hate. Do rivalries vary in intensity across the country? And are most rivalries mutual? Newport used to have Cardiff as their main rivals, while Cardiff fans considered Swansea their most loathed opposition. Are there cases where a team has supplanted another as a third team's main rival?
A rather complex love-hate affair has blossomed here in the East Midlands, which over many years has included all of the prime ingredients for a pulp romance novel; unrequited love and hate, exotic strangers, prolonged separations and finally (sadly for those of us who support Nottingham Forest) a bittersweet reunion that may see four of the involved parties meeting next season.
Originally, Nottingham Forest and Notts County must have been each other's major rivals. County were Forest's first opposition in 1865. Somewhere along the line however, and my guess would be around the early Seventies, Notts have been superseded by Derby County. This newer rivalry has unfortunately been known to manifest itself in ugly scenes and hostile atmospheres and one hopes for more harmonious rendezvous next season. The Forest/ Derby feelings are apparently mutual and have never subsided despite relatively little contact and a number of temporary relationships with whichever other clubs have threatened to win anything at Forest's expense. Meetings with Liverpool in the late Seventies were particularly fraught, but real rivalry has been almost exclusively reserved for Derby and even the saddest defeat seems slightly less harsh when the Rams have lost.
Notts County supporters still regard Forest as the No 1 enemy. It is said that the biggest roars of approval at Meadow Lane do not greet County victories, but come at half- and full-time when hearing Forest are behind. Conversely, Forest supporters tend to look kindly upon their nearest neighbours and the prevailing attitude is that 'it is good for the city if County do well'. Reports of County victories generally get a cheer at the City Ground. Without exception, County supporters tell me that they loathe this attitude, which they find patronising. Notts fans would desperately like to be loathed. However, not even Mansfield Town supporters oblige particularly fervently. Stags, like Forest supporters, tend to look into Derbyshire for their fiercest rivals and opt, generally, to reserve most ill-feeling for Chesterfield.
My own experiences at Filbert Street suggest that Leicester City supporters dislike all other football teams with a burning intensity. I suspect, however, that Forest and Derby possibly just edge it over the rest of the football world. - Peter Hillier, Nottingham.
A recent ITV Teletext poll revealed that Rangers v Celtic is the most intense local rivalry, with 18 per cent of votes, whilst Sunderland and Newcastle were the biggest English rivals. Rivalry between Sunderland and Newcastle fans has always been ferociously intense and indeed this is how natives of Sunderland apparently got their nickname, 'The Mackems'. In 1908, when Sunderland beat Newcastle 9-1 at St James' Park, Newcastle supporters remarked that Sunderland 'macked all the chances and tacked all the chances', hence the 'mackems and tackems'. Others suggest that it was because Sunderland 'macked' the best ships in the world. - Jonathan Ward, Sunderland.
In football, cricket and rugby union and rugby league, which ground is the highest above sea level and lowest at ground level? Are performances affected by these locations?
Oh dear] When your questions stray into basic science, things go badly wrong. Last week your correspondent was allowed into print with errors which most schoolchildren should be able to correct.
The pressure in a football is the gauge pressure, that is, the excess above local atmospheric pressure. It matters not at what altitude this is measured, so if the ball went flat, it must have been caused by a leak.
As a point of interest, a change in altitude of 541ft (reputedly the height of the highest League ground) would cause a drop in atmospheric pressure of less than 2 per cent, much less than the sensitivity of the ref's pressure gauge and the wide limits of allowable pressure in the ball. - R A Smith, Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, Sheffield University.
Why have at least two players in the Scottish rugby union team, Tony Stanger and Paul Burnell, taken to wearing thin strips of black tape around the top and bottom of one thigh, connected by a single vertical strip of tape?
The answer given on 18 April was ill- considered. It stated that the vertical strip acts 'as an additional ligament', and that it would 'ensure that the joint doesn't move into positions that could cause injury'. A perfectly sound real ligament would do no such thing any more than that Heath Robinson piece of tape.
The role of ligaments in joints is one of passive support. They are strong, only slightly flexible, and hold groups of bones together. But they are not involved in the production or transmission of locomotive power; that is supplied by muscles and their tendons.
The narrow range limit of the knee- joint is already fixed by its natural structure and is controlled by muscles. If muscle control is breached by external force - rugby or other violence - damage to the joint is likely. Ligaments have to be supported/protected by the locomotive power of muscles at joints.
Muscles are different in their structure, and are amenable to external support from broad bandaging firmly in place transversely across the longitudinal line of the muscle fibres. Firm elastic bandaging round the joint supports the muscles and their tendons. During competitive sports the limbs, and their owners, are under great stress, and would benefit from broad support bandages, but tight, thin strips would be rather like bits of string and would be liable to impede the circulation. - Bill Kirkpatrick, Osteopath, Do. Regd. MGO (Lon), FHPA, Greenford, Middlesex.
The United States boxing team has been very successful since the 1952 Olympics, when several black boxers, including Floyd Patterson, won gold medals. Who was the US's first black Olympic boxer? Was there ever a policy of selecting white boxers only? - David Fuller, Lancaster.
After the recent, aborted Grand National, the Independent quoted a TV audience of 350m, while the New Yorker quoted 90m. How are these figures arrived at, and what was the largest audience, on and off course, for a horse race? - Michael Matson, Edinburgh.
Is American football unique in that the scoring side restarts play? - Michael Hunt, Colchester.
Why are West Bromwich Albion called 'The Baggies'? - J Handley, Manchester M32.
Has anyone come near to equalling Wolves' record of scoring 100 League goals for four consecutive seasons (1957-61)? - J P South, Stafford.
I have a silver football medal dated 1890 with the inscription: 'NWJFA, won by J Hobson, TRFC'. Does anyone know which competition and club this refers to? - Andy Mitchell, Edinburgh.Reuse content