The multi-million super-subs

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The Independent Online
Q. In 1989, Rush and Beardsley (cost: £5m) were the Liverpool substitutesin a League match at Wimbledon. Has there been a more expensive substitutes' bench at home or abroad?

A. It was interesting that on the very day that you published Ajay Chatrath's query as to whether the £5m Rush/Beardsley substitute pairing had ever been bettered, a certain A Cole was on the subs bench as Manchester United faced Liverpool at Anfield. Cole alone is reputedly worth £7m. I should imagine that even this figure has been exceeded regularly in the Italian league, where even average players are rated in the millionaire class. - Tom Bancroft, Timperley

A. This afternoon (Sunday, 19 March) on C4's Italian football coverage when Sampdoria was playing Milan. The world's most expensive player Lentini, £13m, was on the bench for Milan. - Chris Jones, London N1

Q. Can you answer a pub argument? Was Ellery Hanley the first black person to captain a British national team, in the France v Great Britain rugby league international in 1985?

A. Clive Sullivan of Hull FC was the first black player to captain a British national side when he led the Great Britain rugby league side which won the World Cup in 1972.

During his long and illustrious career he played for both Hull sides, winning Challenge Cup medals with each club, and he still holds the try- scoring record for Hull with a career tally of 250. He gained 17 Great Britain caps and was awarded the MBE for his services to the game.

Sadly, Scully died in 1986 and such was the affection and respect he was held in throughout the city that the newly completed main road into the city was given the name Clive Sullivan Way at public insistence. - Linda Ellis, Hull

A. As a Rugby League supporter your questioner should know that Ellery Hanley was not even the first black captain of the Great Britain rugby league team.

On 6 February 1972, Clive Sullivan captained Great Britain for the first time against France at Toulouse. Some readers may recall Sullivan's famous touchline try in the World Cup final later that year against Australia at Lyon. Thus Sullivan beats both Hanley and Douglas by a number of years. - Michael O'Hare, Northwood

Q. There are 13 professional clubs in London, but the dismal average attendances of Wimbledon and Barnet show that the capital cannot support so many teams. Do any other cities in the world have more than a couple of professional clubs, with the obvious exception of Glasgow?

A. The answer is yes - Tel Aviv. Apart from Maccabi Tel Aviv, the city has Hapoel Tel Aviv, Betar Tel Aviv, Shimshon, B'nei Yehuda and Maccabi Jaffa. - Joseph Mills, Foreign Editor, Jewish Chronicle, London EC4

Q. Am I right in thinking Bobby Charlton was actually booked towards the end of his career?

A. Yes. Bobby Charlton was booked in a game at Old Trafford against Newcastle United in the early Seventies. His offence was to disagree with the referee about the distance of a Newcastle defensive line from the ball as he was about to take a free-kick. The referee booked Charlton before moving the line back to the 10 yards required by the rules of the game. Indeed, Charlton was booked for asking the referee to ensure that other players played to the rules. - David Hancock, Rossendale

Q. During the 1993-94 season, Dundee fielded 11 players born outside the United Kingdom. Has any other football club had more foreign-born players within its squad at one time?

A. With the recent signing of Alex Mathie from Newcastle United, Ipswich Town can currently field an entire team not qualified for England:- Forrest (Can), Yallop (Can), Wark (Sco), Taricco (Arg), Williams (Wal), Norfolk (NZ), Guenchev (Bul), Thomsen (Den), Paz (Urug), N Gregory (Zambia), Mathie (Sco). All 11 players have been used in the Ipswich first team this season. - Peter Marjoram, Ipswich


Q. The transfer deadline for footballers passed last Thursday. Why is this date chosen and why is it well before the end of the season? - Peter Locke, Barnsley

Q. A frequent feature of matches at Recreation Park, Alloa, is for the ball to leave the ground either on to the Clackmannan Road or on to the disused railway line. Does this happen at other grounds? Which grounds holds the record in this respect? - Ian Donaldson, Inverlochy

Q. We hear a lot these days, unfortunately, about sportsmen and women who have been caught taking drugs. But who was the first person to be banned for indulging in an illegal substance? - Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby

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