Q & A: Strips of quick-change artists

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Q. Which Football League or FA Premiership clubs have instituted changes in their first-choice kit and colours since their foundation?

A. A little research suggests that kit changes are more common than one might expect, the trend being exacerbated in recent years by the cynicism of the companies who design and market football-related clothing. Over the last 15 years alone, both Tranmere and Rochdale have changed, like Leeds United, from wearing predominantly blue to predominantly white, while Bradford City, whose traditional colours are claret, amber and black, wore all white in the early 80s. The most schizophrenic team would appear to be Shrewsbury Town, who have worn amber and blue (their traditional colours), white and blue, and all blue in the last few years, though Crystal Palace come close with their change from claret and blue to white with a red/blue sash to red and blue stripes. Perhaps the most comprehensive change has occurred at Scunthorpe, who wore scarlet shirts until about 1982, before changing to claret and sky blue, then sky blue, and now finally white (at current rate of progress, they should be wearing tartan by about 1997). - Andrew Okey, Lancaster

Q. The former National Hunt jockey Dick Francis, has achieved fame as a successful crime-writer. Is there a sportsperson who has had as much success as this?

A. Johnny Weismuller was a successful US Olympic swimmer, before making his name in the film world as Tarzan. Cricketer Charles Thomas Studd (1860-1931) played for England in his youth, before becoming a famous missionary. Sir Charles Aubrey Smith (1863-1948) captained the first English side to visit South Africa (1888-89), later being known as a stage and movie star. And still with cricket, Sir Francis Stanley Jackson also captained England, going on to enter Parliament as a Conservative MP. He was a Financial Secretary to the War Office and a Chairman of the Party. In 1927 he went out to India as Governor of Bengal. - Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby

Q. In 1934 England played Australia in a Test match in London, shared between Lord's and The Oval, three days at each. Was this a one-off, or were London Test matches frequently shared between the two grounds?

A. The Australian tourists played Middlesex at Lord's, starting on Saturday 26 May. The game was scheduled for three days, but actually ended on the second day - Monday - the Australians winning by 10 wickets (Bradman's innings of 160 in two hours is described by Wisden as 'amazing'). Their next fixture was a three-day match against Surrey at The Oval, running from Wednesday 30 May to Friday 1 June. This was a high-scoring draw - 1,266 runs for a total of 19 wickets in the match, from an aggregate of 317 overs. Bradman flopped with 77.

It would seem that London Transport's poster must have puffed this up as 'Australia v London' or some such, but contemporary aficionados would have been aware that the reference was to two quite separate matches. - Nicholas Horne, Godalming

Q. How far would one have to walk, cycle or swim to expend the same effort as running a marathon?

A. The aerobic limit is when the body is using oxygen as fast as it can be taken in. The marathon keeps us at or near this limit until the ready-use fuel store (glycogen in the blood and liver) is used up, and then for five or six miles beyond. This is what makes the event special for the recreational runner. Walkers who eat can keep going until they get blisters or fall asleep. I can testify only that a walk across Scotland from Oban to Arbroath (220 miles, 50,000ft of climb and a 30lb sack in 10 days) requires less effort than 26.2 miles along the road in 3 1/4 hours.

Any sporting activity carried on near the aerobic limit will require the same effort: the corresponding distance will be that achieved by an outstanding athlete in 2hr 10min. However, you could paddle or pedal very slowly, again covering an indefinite distance without ever requiring the marathon effort. It is possible to compare walkers and runners in terms of challenge. The marathon is the greatest task that a healthy and determined runner has a sporting chance of achieving. The corresponding challenge for walkers is the Long Distance Walkers' Association's annual 100-mile non-stop walk. This will be held in 1995 over the hills of in Shropshire on May Bank Holiday weekend. Unless the weather is very bad, more than half of the 300 who start will finish within 48 hours. - Ronald Turnbull, Thornhill


Q. When did the last amateur footballer in Great Britain or Ireland play for his country? - Ken Nolan, Dukinfield

Q. Port Vale appear to be the only team in the Football League not named after a geographical location. Is this so and how did the name come about? - Alan Slater, London NW1

Q. Does a fanzine in any sport appear more frequently than Wild Rover, a different issue of which is released to coincide with every Featherstone Rovers RLFC first-team home game? Nineteen issues were released last season. - Michael Wray, Birkenhead

Q. Why exactly is it tougher to swim the English Channel going from England to France than it is from France to England? - Tom Minic, Basle, Switzerland

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