“Brentford have just appointed former England and Fiji Rugby 7s coach Ben Ryan as their director of elite performance,” mails James Doherty. “He appeared on a commemorative 50 cent coin to mark Fiji’s first ever Olympic medal, gold in the 7s at Rio 2016. Have any other footballers, coaches or senior figures ever appeared on currency in celebration of their achievements?”
They certainly have, James, and John McDougall takes us to Australia for the first example. “Fifteen of the 2006 Socceroos World Cup squad were minted on $2 coins,” he writes, making us wonder which players in the 23-man squad were cruelly cut by the Royal Australian Mint. Hopefully Scott Chipperfield made the grade.
Next up is Ricardo Sentulio, who writes: “Niels Bohr was the goalkeeper for Danish team Akademisk Boldklub alongside his brother Harald. Harald went on to play for the Danish national team and won Olympic silver in 1908 but Niels never did play internationally. Some may argue that Niels went on to greater things, what with winning the Nobel prize for physics in 1922. But if I was their father, I think I would have been more proud of Harald. Niels was awarded the Danish Order of the Elephant in 1947 by HM King Frederik IX, and also appeared on Danish currency until 1993, with his image included on the 500 Kroner banknote.” But there’s more.
“Albert Camus was also a goalkeeper for the Racing Universitaire d’Alger junior team from 1928 to 1930 until his career was cut short by tuberculosis,” adds Ricardo. “He then went back to his fall-back job of being an author, philosopher and also winning a Nobel prize in 1957. His character Meursault appeared on the €50 coin in 2011. Camus never played professionally, but he did come up with one of the all-time great football quotes: “Everything I know about morality and the obligations of men, I owe it to football.”
If you’re thinking Camus is a pretty dubious example, Steve Hyde has ticked the box with more than 50 bona fide players here.
The website Steve links to is definitely worth a look. We’d pay good money to own the one showing a gigantic Kevin Keegan posing in front of Tower Bridge.
The Royal Dutch Mint issued a series of commemorative “Johan Cruyff Fivers” in 2017. They missed a trick by not depicting him mid Cruyff-turn in our opinion. In random currency news, we stumbled upon Steven Gerrard adorning a £5 coin issued by the State of Alderney in 2005.
And in 2006, to mark the first anniversary of George Best’s death, the Ulster Bank issued one million £5 notes with the Northern Ireland winger on them. Some are being sold for more than £100 now.
Impressive runs of gigs at stadiums
“Between 8-20 June, Anfield hosted The Rolling Stones, Elton John and The Eagles,” writes George Jones. “Has a football ground hosted more individual gigs in a shorter space of time (festivals don’t count)?”
Önder Susam alerts us to an impressive run in 1993 at the İnönü Stadium, home of Beşiktaş. As you can see from the list below, Bon Jovi, the Scorpions and Michael Jackson appeared consecutively in just 10 days, so two days faster than the run of big gigs at Anfield this summer.
26 May Guns N’ Roses
20 June Elton John
25 June Metallica
2 July Sting
13 September Bon Jovi
17 September Scorpions
23 September Michael Jackson
7 October Madonna
Long seasons (2)
Guy Carmichael reckons Rangers may have a claim for the longest-ever season, pipping last week’s suggestion: “It began at St Josephs on 9 July 2019 in the first qualifying round of the Europa League and ended on 6 August 2020 in the second leg of the Europa League last-16 tie at Leverkusen. So that’s 394 days (it was a leap year), and 11 days more than Wolves.”
“Having scored against West Ham on 9 December 2012, Joe Cole went on to sign for the Hammers just over three weeks later,” mused Mat Owen in January 2013. “What is the shortest period of time between a player scoring against a team and then signing up with them?”
We hear all the time about players scoring against their old club, but it’s common enough for them to score against their future club too. “On 2 September 2012, the Icelandic winger Rurik Gislason scored the final goal in a 2-2 home draw for Odense Boldklub (OB) against Danish Superleague dominators FC Copenhagen,” writes Lars Bogegaard. “A day later he joined FC Copenhagen.” Mark Andrews can go one better. “On 13 November 2007, Jon Main scored for Tonbridge Angels against AFC Wimbledon in a Ryman League Premier Division match,” explains Mark. “After the game Jon signed for Wimbledon, so there were only a couple of hours between him scoring against them and signing for them. He made his debut four days later on 17 November 2007.”
Can you help?
“Mauricio Pochettino was sacked as Paris Saint-Germain manager despite winning the league by 15 points last season. Has any manager lost their job after winning the title by such a margin?” muses Rob Smyth.
“Two former goalkeepers who won the Nobel prize. Is that position the most intelligent in football or can any of the outfield positions do better?” asks Ricardio Sentulio.
“I remember seeing photos in Shoot magazine in the 1980s of Everton playing a match against European opposition wearing Liverpool kits as the actual Liverpool team was unable to take part (either due to a clash of fixtures or perhaps the extended European ban),” writes Kieran McKeown. “It may have been a Super Cup game or similar. Shoot had previously had a cover featuring Ian Rush in an Everton kit holding their scarf aloft, which, thankfully for a young Red as myself, turned out to be an April Fools’ prank.”
“Reading about Liam Delap scoring at the U19 Euros, I started to look at his Wiki page and saw he started at Derby. I thought his dad Rory played there but went on to check. As I was perusing his career I notice he played for Southampton, Sunderland and Stoke between 2001-13, making more than 300 appearances. Has anyone ever managed to play back to back for that many teams and appearances in clubs who wear almost identical shirts?” asks Richard Desforges. “Niche I know … but that’s sort of your thing.”