Unlucky for the County 13

Sports questions and answers
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Why did 13 spectators watch the game between Stockport County and Leicester City in 1921 - the lowest crowd for a Football League match?

A. The reason for the lowest "crowd" for a Football League match of 13 for Stockport County v Leicester City on 7 May 1921 was that the hosts ground at Edgeley Park had been closed by an FA order following crowd disturbances.

The fixture was moved to Old Trafford and immediately followed a match between Manchester United and Derby County. The unlucky 13 were those who had paid to enter between the two games to witness a 0-0 draw, along with the estimated 2,000 already present. - Richard Malcolm, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Q. How many of the 22 GM Vauxhall Conference teams would have been eligible for promotion to the Third Division had they won the Conference title? Is the present situation really as daft as it seems?

A. During the present season, only five GM Vauxhall Conference clubs had grounds that made them eligible for promotion to the Endsleigh League. These were Bath City, whose ground already stages League football, courtesy of Bristol Rovers, Gateshead, Kidderminster Harriers, Kettering Town and Yeovil Town. The recent relegation of the latter means that next season, only four of the 22 GMVC clubs would be promoted should they finish as champions. The theory that there is "automatic promotion" between the GMVC and the Endsleigh League is thus very much a myth.

Before condemning this as "daft", it is worth considering what happened to Maidstone United who were promoted in 1989. A club without a ground of their own, they survived in the Football League just three seasons before not only going under themselves but taking with them Dartford, the non-league team whose ground they shared. With Barnet having gone through dire financial problems and Scarborough struggling one place off the bottom of the league, newly promoted clubs from the Conference - Wycombe excepted - have a poor track record. Perhaps it is not surprising that the League authorities will only accept stable, well-run clubs with suitable facilities into their fold. - Rod Cross, Southampton

Q. This season Ireland gave Davy Tweed his first cap at the age of 35. Are there other examples of similarly aged debutants? Who is the oldest debutant?

A. In football, the oldest international debutant for Scotland was Celtic's Ronnie Simpson, aged 36 years 186 days when he played his first international match in 1967. The British record, however, is held by Leslie Compton, aged 38 years 2 months on 15 November 1950 when turning out for England against Wales.

Cricket's record holder is England's J Southerton, 49 years 119 days old when playing in the first ever Test match at Melbourne, Australia, beginning on 15 March 1877. Much more recently, Miran Bux, of Pakistan, was 47 years 284 days when playing for the first time, against India at Lahore in 1954-55. - Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby

Q. Eric Cantona seems unusual among the sports fraternity in his artistic leanings. Has any professional sportsman or woman enjoyed a career as a painter or sculptor during or after their sporting days?

A. I am just finishing writing a book on Chelsea goalkeepers and one name springs readily to mind. Peter Borota, Yugoslavia and Chelsea keeper 1979-81, painted abstract oil paintings sufficiently well to have a London exhibition.

While on the subject of keepers , Jack Russell, the England and Gloucestershire wicketkeeper whose cricket drawings were accomplished enough to be the subject of a book, Sketches of a Season, published fairly recently, is another sporting artist. - David E Sawyer, Shortlands, Kent

ANSWERS PLEASE

Q. If a club has qualified for the Cup-Winners' Cup and the Uefa Cup in the same season, is it obliged to compete in the former rather than the latter? Has any such club expressed a wish to choose the latter? - Brendan O'Brien, Ballinteer, Dublin

Q. If Johnny Haynes was the first footballer to receive a three-figure weekly salary, who was the first footballer to achieve a four-figure and five-figure salary? - Kevin Maguire, Batley

Q. In golf, are links course more difficult to play than the latest designed courses - John Hayward, Bath

Q. Given the RFU decision over Will Carling, what is the biggest "u- turn" by a sports authority and indeed, the biggest display of player power? - Gary Winstanley, Crewe

Q. Stephen Hendry's 147 raises again the quiz question as to the maximum possible break in snooker (155 - free ball plus black, then the standard 147). Has any break in excess of 147 been recorded? - Alan Douglas, Birmingham

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

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