Sporting Q&A

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Q. Last season, Nottingham's two football clubs both won promotion from their respective football league divisions - Nottingham Forest to the Premiership and Notts County to the Second Division. This term, they both seem doomed to relegation. Have the fortunes and misfortunes of one city's clubs ever been so closely mirrored?

A. Notts County, far from being doomed, have only been in the relegation zone of the second division for a few weeks, in contrast to their neighbours Forest who have been there for almost the entire season. Considering that at the time that the question was posed County were in the relegation zone, but with games in hand over their immediate rivals, it was ill- judged. But to answer it, one only has to go back two seasons when County and Forest were relegated from Premier and Second division respectively before immediately returning to the higher division through championship wins.



Q. Why do football linesmen change ends at half-time, thus ensuring that the same defending team receive their attentions all game? Surely it would be more sensible for them to remain at the same end all game so that, like other external phenomena, any variation in their performance will be balanced out.

A. While agreeing that it would appear to be beneficial to run the same "diagonal" in both halves the ultimate decision lies with the match referee who would instruct his linesmen accordingly. The options are to keep them in the same place in both halves - a scenario that most of them prefer, to move them down the touchline so that they run with the same forwards or to move across the pitch so that they have a change of forwards. The referee may also take into account when deciding where his assistants run the condition of the touchlines, the control of the benches and, not least, his own ability to run left or right diagonals.

Tony Mills (ex-Football League linesman), Kingswood, Bristol

Answers please

Q. Recently Brian Hamilton played for Ayr United against Hibs (one of his old clubs). Nothing unusual about that except that he has already turned out for Falkirk and Stranraer against Hibs this season. Has any player played against the same team team for more than three clubs in one season?


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Q. Could anyone tell me if there are any football laws that disallow lifting in the penalty area as per rugby players in a line-out? This would be difficult to prevent without defenders obstructing forwards who would be closely herded together.


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