Norman Hubbard is ESPNsoccernet's resident anorak. If you have any questions on football facts, statistics or trivia, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and he'll try to answer as many as possible.
There are occasions where both father and son are part of a football team, where the father is the coach/manager and the son a player. An example is the Maldinis, when Cesare Maldini coached while Paolo Maldini was the Italy captain. However, were or are there any football teams where both the father and son play in the same team? Nuzaihan from Malaysia asked
There are a few examples in the past, but not many. I am only aware of two in English league history - Ian Bowyer (best remembered as a European Cup winner with Nottingham Forest) and son Gary at Hereford and the former Manchester City player Alec Herd and future Manchester United forward David for Stockport in the early 1950s. George Eastham, a non-playing member of England's 1966 World Cup-winning squad and a trailblazer in transfers, appeared for Northern Irish side Ards alongside his father, another George and the manager, in the same decade.
One notable near-miss is the case of Eidur and Arnar Gudjohnsen. The current Stoke player made his Iceland debut as a substitute for his father in 1996, but was injured soon after and the chance to play together passed.
After Chelsea's FA Cup win last year I know Ashley Cole became the most successful player in FA Cup history with six winners' medals. Has anyone appeared in more FA Cup finals than Ashley Cole and how many finals has he featured in? Garrett asked
Cole has appeared in seven finals, losing the first (for Arsenal against Liverpool in 2001) and winning the subsequent six: for Arsenal in 2002, 2003 and 2005 and then for Chelsea in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
The record holder is a man from football's distant past: Arthur Kinnaird, a five-time Cup winner who played in nine finals for either Wanderers or Old Etonians. Indeed, he appeared in nine of the first 11 FA Cup finals, playing in just the second in 1873.
In today's football, are there any managers in top European leagues that have never played football professionally prior to becoming manager? Henry Liu from Jakarta, Indonesia asked
Well, there is no record of Jose Mourinho appearing for the first team at either Rio Ave or Belenenses, where he was on the books, though he did play reserve-team and lower-league football. But one who was never employed as a professional footballer, let alone taking the field, was Arrigo Sacchi, the shoe salesman who won two European Cups with AC Milan and reached the 1994 World Cup final with Italy.
Indeed, the 1994 World Cup final was contested by two managers who weren't players: Carlos Alberto Parreira, the winner with Brazil, fell into the same category. He has managed five different countries in six World Cups, though his success was at international level rather than with the top European clubs.
I was wondering how many trophy-winning goals has Steven Gerrard amassed in his impressive career at Liverpool? Colin Eberl-Coe of the United States asked
Technically, the answer is none, though he has struck for Liverpool in four finals. Most famously, Gerrard scored in the 2005 Champions League final, although it was the first of Liverpool's three goals. He also scored twice in the 2006 FA Cup final, including a 90th-minute equaliser, as well as scoring a penalty in the shootout. His first final goal was in the 2001 UEFA Cup final win against Alaves. Gerrard was on target, too, in both the 2003 and the 2005 League Cup finals, though the latter was an own goal for Chelsea.
As his goal against Manchester United in 2003 was the first in a 2-0 win, technically none are trophy-winning goals though in two of those finals, at least, it is unlikely Liverpool would have won without him. Part of Gerrard's reputation for scoring vital goals also derives from the 2004 match against Olympiakos when his late goal secured progress to the last 16; without that, they would not have been in Istanbul.
In the history of English top-flight football was there ever a top scorer who won this award despite never taking a penalty in that season? Vova from Estonia asked
There are two very recent examples. Nicolas Anelka finished top scorer in the 2008-9 season without a penalty among his 19 goals. Indeed, Didier Drogba's 29 strikes last season only included one penalty, while of his 20 goals in 2006-7, when he also finished as the most prolific player, none came from the spot. All are signs that Frank Lampard takes nearly all the penalties and, until this year, rarely missed a game for Chelsea.
Just one thing I'd like to add to Ola's "Is Samuel Eto'o the only player to win the Champions League in back-to-back years and with different clubs?" question in December 7's column. Hope you can confirm this, but I believe that Eto'o is the only player ever to win a Treble back-to-back with different clubs. I'm almost certain of this as the only clubs to ever complete a Treble (European Cup or the current Champions League, domestic league and cup) are Celtic, Ajax, Man Utd, Barca and now Inter, Ronald Chong from Bangkok asked.
Eto'o is indeed alone in having that distinction, though there is one other side to complete that notable treble: Guus Hiddink's PSV Eindhoven side of 1988. To confirm, Celtic were the first to achieve the feat in 1967, followed by Ajax (1972), PSV, Manchester United (1999) and, in the last two seasons, Barcelona and Inter.
In addition to the December 7 column, reader Ronald Chong remembered one of the most famous examples of all eight goals being scored in one goal in a match. "As a loyal Man Utd fan, may I also highlight our dramatic turnaround in White Hart Lane (not so long ago) which ended Spurs 3-5 Man Utd," he wrote. It was September 2001, and he was correct to spot it.