“The other week, Sampdoria beat Milan 1-0 with a goal after 33 seconds,” mails Alasdair Brookman. “Is this the earliest ever game-winning goal?”
Nope. We were inundated with examples of early match-winning strikes. Here’s M Rosedon to get the ball rolling with a painful memory for Steve Bould. “I was at Hillsborough in the 1989-90 season to see Bould’s own goal first-touch after 16 seconds – the only goal of the game in Sheffield Wednesday’s 1-0 win against Arsenal.”
And Tom Greenwood has a quicker decisive strike from Edgeley Park. “I took some American friends to see Stockport County play West Brom in the early 2000s [lucky friends – Knowledge Ed] when Lee Hughes scored after 14 seconds. Then nothing else happened all game until big Kevin Francis, having just been re-signed, had a header go close with the last touch of the game.”
Paul Levay takes us 34 miles down the A34 to shave two seconds off Hughes’s winner. “The Potteries derby on 12 March 1996 ended in a 1-0 victory for Port Vale at home to Stoke City after Ian Bogie’s goal on 12 seconds. It was a memorable strike but I’m not sure how many of the home crowd were through the turnstiles by that point, especially with the snowy weather making travel difficult. I don’t think anyone can remember anything else about that match.” The fired-up local commentary is definitely worth a watch, too.
Alexandre Chesneau speeds things up by a second by taking us to Ligue 1, where Denilson holds the record for the fastest goal scored, after 11 seconds in Bordeaux’s 1-0 win against Nice during the 2005-06 season. “Bordeaux that season were more remarkable for their defensive prowess rather than expansive play, which explains the result (they finished second with the league’s best defensive record).”
“In 1982 John Hewitt scored the winning goal in a Scottish Cup match for Aberdeen away at Motherwell in 9.6 seconds. I know, because I was at Fir Park to see it!” brags Jim Love. But it’s a Brazilian who would appear to be the scorer of the earliest ever match-winning goal. Marcos Tavares, take a bow. His left-footed strike after eight seconds against Domzale, gave Maribor a 1-0 win in the Slovenian Premier League in April 2017.
Playing more than one game in a day (2)
Following on from last week’s column in which we looked at teams who have had to play two, or in the case of Gremio three, games in a single day, the Venezuelan Football Federation has given us a timely example by forcing Deportivo Lara to play a league game on the same day as a Copa Libertadores fixture.
Deportivo had asked for their league game at Llaneros de Guarane on 3 April to be postponed but the request was turned down and Leonardo Gonzalez’s side had to gear up for two matches, six hours apart. The first was away at Llaneros, meaning there was a two-hour journey back to the Estadio Metropolitano de Fútbol de Lara to face the Argentinian side Huracan. Gonzalez oversaw both games and, most impressively, he recorded two wins. Llaneros were dispatched 3-2 before Gonzalez got on a bus to go and mastermind a 2-1 win against their Argentinian visitors.
Mind the gap
In 2004 we were asked if Dennis Bergkamp, 35, and Cesc Fàbregas, 17, were the teammates with the biggest age gap in football. Steve Hudson wrote in with a response, just the 15 years later.
“When Sir Stanley Matthews played his last game for Stoke on 6 February 1965 (against Fulham), he was 50 years and five days old. He set up Stoke’s second goal for John Ritchie, then aged 24, an age gap of 26 years. There were probably younger teammates in that game, but I haven’t managed to find team sheets so I can’t confirm that.”
The Knowledge would like to take you to Japan, where the oldest ever regular professional footballer, Kazuyoshi Miura, has just signed a one-year contract extension with Yokohama FC aged 52. He didn’t play in the first game of the new 2019 season but on 4 November 2018 he did make a brief cameo off the bench in a 3-1 victory against Oita Trinita. This means Miura, who also has the strange honour of being the only footballer to appear in Fifa 96 who is still playing, shared a minute on the pitch with 21-year-old forward Kosuke Saito, a teammate 30 years his junior.
And, according to the Guinness Book of Records, Isaak Hayik, 73, officially became the oldest player to play a professional football match last Friday when he kept goal in the Israeli side Ironi Or Yehuda’s 5-1 defeat by Maccabi Ramat Gan. The result does not appear to have been recorded anywhere, though, so if it was not a competitive fixture we’re not sure it should count, though we’re pretty certain there would have been a huge age gap between Hayik and his teammates. Sorry Isaak.
“Has a club ever tried to publicly get rid of a player they deemed not good enough only for them to have to turn to them in time of need which has resulted in the player becoming a first team regular and even a club legend?” wondered Nick Best, in September 2012.
“During Paul Merson’s catastrophic spell as Walsall manager he effectively ostracised a young centre-half by loaning him out for almost the entire 2005-06 season,” writes Tom Lines. “When he returned from spells at Danish club Koge BK and local Conference North sides Redditch United and Hednesford Town, Merson recommended that he be released. Only Merson’s sacking prevented this from happening and the youngster was given a three-month contract to prove himself. The player in question was Scott Dann who became an important part of Walsall’s League Two-winning side the following season and earned a £1m transfer to Coventry City in January 2008. Subsequent moves to Birmingham City and Blackburn mean that Dann has now been sold for more money than any other home-grown player in Walsall’s history – over £10.5m at the last count.”
Can you help?
“In a recent episode of Football Weekly, Jonathan Wilson mentioned that somewhere in the world there is a statue of a referee. I believe it is Tofik Bakhramov, who also has a stadium named after him. Have any other football officials been honoured with statues of had stadiums named after them?” asks George Jones.
“I have a strong, but fading, memory that Leeds United were top of the Premier League on 31 December 1999. Can anyone confirm that Leeds won the English 20th century” asks Sarn Warbis. And can anyone chip in with the winners of the 20th century in other nations?
“Oliver Norwood was a key player for Brighton when they were promoted in the 2016-2017 season but then was sent out on loan to Fulham prior to making a top-flight appearance. He established himself as an important cog in Fulham’s promotion-winning season but, again before playing in the Premier League, he was promptly sent to Sheffield United. For the third season on the trot he is on track to be promoted to the Premier League. Has any other player ever managed this – especially without making an appearance in the upper division?” asks Lee.