Q & A: Steam's worldwide legacy . . . and streaking in history

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The Independent Online
While watching the Italian football on Channel 4 this season, I have noticed that the fans often sing 'Na na hey hey kiss him goodbye' by Bananarama. Can any readers explain why?

This song was originally a hit for the American group Steam in early 1970 and it was immediately adopted by crowds throughout Europe (but not in the British Isles) and has been used ever since. The tune is simple, the words even easier and the suggestion is to indicate goodbye to the losing team. - David Jenkins, Stoke, Staffs.

While watching Eurosport, I have heard it sung by Hungarian football fans. - Miss K Brown, London W10.

The chant is popular at ice hockey games in the NHL, usually started by the organist. - Martin Cook, New York.

What is the highest position achieved by a football team who scored fewer goals than they conceded?

Burnley came third in the First Division in 1898-99, having scored 45 goals and conceded 47. More recently, Clydebank were third in the Scottish First Division in 1987-88, after scoring 59 goals and letting in 61. - Michael Crick, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.

In an average football match, how many miles are run by the players?

In a football match a player can expect to run between six to eight miles. During the game he will sprint for 5 per cent of the time, run moderately fast for 10 per cent of the time, and jog or walk for 85 per cent of the time. He can expect to lose about 7lb in the game, mostly due to fluid loss, and will use up about 600 calories of energy. - Dr Malcolm Morrison, MB ChB, Crewe Medical Centre, Edinburgh.

Why are almost all football managers former players? Surely playing ability has little effect on one's understanding of the dynamics of a team. Wouldn't a sports scientist or psychologist be better equipped?

It is a gross error to assume that 'knowing about football' only comes from playing the game full-time as a professional. Many ex-players are only aware of their own, possibly very limited, experiences and remain blinkered. Managing/coaching is both an art and a science and must be developed through essential study of the psychology of skill, including effects of different practice conditions at different stages of development, improving player understanding, tactics, motivation, stress, team dynamics, man-management, physiology and the effects of different types of training on fitness, to provide the 'knowledge'. The other prerequisite is assessed and evaluated practice over extended periods of time. This is in contrast to what happens in professional football in Britain - a player one moment, a manager the next; no training, no assessment, appointments of ex- internationals who are clearly unsuitable and who predictably fail.

It is also in contrast to what happens in other sports which are tentatively moving towards a proper system of qualification which demands extensive lower-level practice and where, as in athletics, many top coaches are not former top-class performers. In Germany a football league manager must have either completed a full-time course lasting 18 months or the part-time equivalent. Most of West Germany's highly successful post-war national managers were not successful players.

Ours is a self-perpetuating mould waiting to be broken - a big interest and background in football, but not necessarily as a professional. It's a bit like assuming that pupils who achieve the highest grades in A levels will automatically be the best teachers, and without any training - a palpable nonsense. - John Severs, Durham City.

Why don't football supporters throw toilet rolls any more?

One of the many answers must be the present legislation of the Football (Offences) Act 1991. Section 2 creates a new statutory offence of throwing anything at or towards: a) the playing area, or any area adjacent to the playing area to which spectators are not generally admitted, or b) any area in which spectators or other persons are or may be present without lawful authority or excuse (which shall be for him to prove). - M Vincent-Smith, London N7.

When was the first instance of a streaker at a sporting event?

While I can shed no direct light on the solution, it seems likely that, at the Ancient Greek games, in which many competitors were naked, clothed spectators periodically ran on to the field of play. - Paul Howard, London E7.

It must have been Erica Rowe at Twickenham. - Brian Shearing, Reading.

Who were the first black players to appear in the Football League (particularly the First Division)?

On 9 January 1937 the Trinidadian Alfred Charles played his one and only league game for Southampton (then a Second Division side). Alf had arrived in this country five years previously as a 'bat man' to the famous West Indies cricketer Learie Constantine but had stayed to make a name for himself in both footballing and cricket circles. Apart from his one outing as a Saint, Alf was also on the books of Burnley, Nelson and Stalybridge Celtic but thereafter is lost to all records. He was also, apparently, a professional magician, and if anyone could enlighten me as to his subsequent movements I would be grateful. - Duncan Holley, Twickenham.

I am not sure whether he was the first or not but Charlie Williams of Doncaster Rovers must qualify as the one who has gone on to become the most famous outside football. - Brian Shearing, Reading.

Jamaican-born Lindy Delapenha was a popular Middlesbrough player of the 1950s. After a handful of games for Portsmouth, he signed for the Boro in summer 1948 and the following year made around 260 League appearances.

Although noteworthy in that era because of his colour, Delapenha's outstanding characteristic was his goalscoring instinct. Essentially a winger and occasional inside-forward, he nevertheless bagged some 90 League goals, a rate of slightly more than one every three games and comparable with many of the modern-day breed of pampered out-and-out strikers.

Delapenha was transferred to Mansfield Town in 1958 and later saw out his playing days in non-League football, before pursuing a career in broadcasting in the West Indies. He returned to Ayresome Park in 1966 to cover the World Cup. - Brian Bennison, Corbridge, Northumberland.

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?

West Bromwich Albion find themselves in a peculiar position in that one stand, the Rainbow Stand, is in the county borough of Birmingham whilst the remaining three stands and the playing area are in the County Borough of Sandwell, part of the Black Country.

This has meant that West Brom are stuck in between Wolves to the west and Aston Villa and Birmingham City to the east, drawing support from both the Black Country and Birmingham, areas that differ in many respects despite their geographical closeness.

This has led to a fierce rivalry for some supporters with Wolverhampton Wanderers whilst others detest with a passion the Claret and Blue Brummies. (Birmingham City have never attracted the level of hate of the other two clubs due to their lack of real success).

In turn Wolverhampton supporters hate West Brom and can put up with another season in the First Division provided 'the s**t' as they affectionately refer to their rivals, remain in a lower league. Villa hate Birmingham City first and foremost but will always hate West Brom as a very close second. - John Parkin, Warley, West Midlands.

ANSWERS PLEASE

Why do county and international cricketers always wear vests, no matter how hot or humid the conditions? - Hugh O'Sullivan, Birmingham B24.

In football, what is the smallest number of points, or equivalent number of wins, that have separated champions or promoted teams from relegated teams? - John Capstaff, Glasgow G13.

What is the highest number of referees to perform in the same Football League game, and what is the most interesting reason for a referee's leaving the field? - Brian Shearing, Reading.

Have any cricketers played for England despite never playing county cricket? And have any footballers played for England despite never playing in the League? - Kevin Maguire, Batley.

Which football team holds the record for the fewest wins in a season? And has any team matched Cowdenbeath's achievement of failing to win at home all season? - Andrew Wenley, Norwich.

Why do modern batsmen make a pointed acknowledgement to their team- mates after completing a half-century, while ignoring the spectators? - Keith Collins, Whitton, Middx.

If you know the answers to any of these questions, or have a sporting question of your own you would like answered, write to:

Q & A

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