Q & A: Short reign at the Palace

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Q. In recent times, managers at Arsenal FC have had long tenures, yet Bruce Rioch was in charge for just over a year. What is the shortest term for a manager?

A. The shortest term for a manager in English football is three days. Bill Lambton of Scunthorpe United was the manager in question in April 1959. Dave Bassett was named the Crystal Palace manager in May 1984 but returned to Wimbledon four days later - he had not signed a contract with Palace.

The shortest reign in the old First Division was that of Tommy Docherty in 1968-69. He stayed just 28 days at Queen's Park Rangers between spells at Rotherham and Aston Villa, prompting national newspapers to liken him to February as the "shortest month". - E King, London E18

Q. Last month, in their match against Doncaster, Rochdale had two players sent off in a goalless first half. They went behind in the second half but recovered to win 2-1. Can any other team match or beat this fight- back against superior numbers?

A. As a Doncaster Rovers fan, I feel I must reply. In the game between Doncaster and Lincoln City on 24 April 1985, Doncaster had a player sent off after nine minutes. Four minutes later Rovers scored. After 34 minutes Rovers had another player sent off. Doncaster then converted a penalty, giving them a two-goal lead after 66 minutes. Five minutes later Lincoln missed a penalty, leaving the Rovers to hold on and keep a clean sheet. - D Beaumont, Doncaster


Q. Frankie Dettori has just won a record seven races at Ascot. But has any horse ever triumphed in more than one race in a single day? - Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby

Q. If on the first day of a Test cricket match the XI is named and then the whole game is lost to the weather, are the players still awarded caps without a ball being bowled? - David Coleman, Welford

If you know the answers to any 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