Sheffield over the rainbow : Q&A

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Q. Which football club has worn the greatest number of different strips during the course of a single season?

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A. Sheffield Wednesday began last season with two new strips - their traditional blue-and-white stripes plus a new black away kit. However, early in the season they wore white shirts with black pin-stripes at Newcastle, thus forcing the Toon to wear all blue at home. Then, unable to wear black in a Coca-Cola Cup tie, Wednesday wore the youth team's plain yellow shirts - their fourth strip of the season. This term, they have produced another number; the traditional yellow away shirt. . . with purple trimand shorts! Not too surprising, considering their recent penchant for ghastly away outfits - silver with purple shorts was soon followed by green, white and blue hoops. - Jarvis Cocker, Sheffield 737 235.0 50

I have a copy of the Southend United v Newport County programme from the 1968-69 season which states that the Essex club had been ordered by the Football League to change their navy blue strip (presumably because it clashed with the black of the referees) and they had then experimented with different blue kits over a number of home matches. The designs used were the strips of West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea, Ipswich Town and Coventry City and fans were invited to choose their favourite. I believe the blue/blue-white of Chelsea was chosen. Added to their standard change strip, this would mean that Southend wore six different kits that season - a record even Manchester United would be hard pressed to equal.

Incidentally, Walsall have introduced a new first-choice strip each season from the start of the 1981-82 campaign onwards. Can any other club boast such a rapid turnover of designs? - N A Morris, Croydon 737 235.0 50

Q. Does gelding a racehorse make it run faster, and why do mares who have fallen pregnant show improved form?

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A. Gelding helps focus a horse's mind. If a horse in training shows very wayward tendencies and is too distracted by fillies and other horses, he often becomes more manageable after gelding. Not only does he become better suited to training and less distracted at the races, it also means he can have better quality holidays turned out in the company of other horses.

Some fillies whose training and racing programmes are disrupted by their oestrous cycles can be helped by getting in foal. Being in foal also naturally alters their hormone levels. This gives improved recovery rates from training, making them easier to train and able to do better quality training, and this results in improved performance. We have had quite a bit of luck with racing pregnant mares. Indian Queen won an Ascot Gold Cup carrying Prince of India, who won a listed race as a two-year-old last year. Starlet also won a Group 2 race carrying Success Story, who won twice last year. - The Earl of Huntingdon, West Ilsley Stables, Newbury 737 235.0 50

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Q. During the week, which witnessed the record transfer paid in Britain for a footballer, a casual discussion took place at work with a VAT inspector over the question of whether VAT would be paid in such transactions. Could anyone throw any light on thetax situation of transfers? Is a club liable to pay Capital Gains Tax when selling players?

A. I am grateful for the chance offered by Michael Williams (22 January) to enlighten him as to the tax position on transfer arrangements.

The man in the middle is VAT, a broad-based tax covering a wide range of supplies of goods and services. The transfer of a professional footballer is regarded as a supply of services from one football club to another and so is subject to VAT - Lorna Sinclair, Head of Media and External Relations, HM Customs and Excise, London SE1

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ANSWERS PLEASE 737 235.0 50

Q. In cricket, why do off-spinners not have a leg-break as a standard part of their armoury since leg-spinners have the googly or "wrong'un" in theirs? - Adam Campbell, London W11

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Q. Where is the highest spectating position at a British football ground, in metres above pitch level? - Richard Allen, Lowestoft 737 235.0 50

Q. In most cricket-playing countries the person who prepares wickets is known as the groundsman. In Australia he is given the title of curator.

Why? - Kevin Maguire, Batley.

Q. Is Manchester United's fine and ban of Eric Cantona to the end of the season the biggest punishment handed to a player by his club, leaving aside what action the Football Association may take? - John Hood, Stourbridge 737 235.0 50

Q. Last Saturday, Burnley played a home match before a crowd of only 9,841, following a late pitch inspection. In the event this was the lowest attendance of the day for an Endsleigh League First Division match. Given Burnley's recent history in the lower divisions, and the high attendances at Turf Moor during that time, when was the last time Turf Moor hosted the poorest attendance of the day for a Saturday League match (of any division)? - William J Frugal, Hebden Bridge 737 235.0 50

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 Sports Desk Independent on Sunday 1 Canada Square Canary Wharf London E14 5DL Fax: 071-293 2894

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