“When Bobby Clark came on for Liverpool against Bournemouth it meant that James Milner played alongside father (Lee Clark at Newcastle) and son (Bobby). How many other players have played with a parent and a child in their career?” asks Gregg Bakowski. “I think the ball is going to affect some players from Iceland.”
James Milner has been playing football in the Premier League for almost 20 years, so it’s no surprise that he ended up on the list. And it’s extremely long, so let’s crack on. “I’m sure there are plenty of other players in the side with Ian Wright and Shaun Wright-Phillips,” writes Tim Postins, “but I’m quite busy today so I stopped after thinking about Eyal Berkovic, who was at West Ham [and Celtic] with Wright Sr in the late 90s and then with Wright-Phillips at Manchester City from 2001-04.”
Patrick Vieira played with both as well, for Arsenal and then Manchester City, and some of you mentioned the various England players who appeared alongside Wright (who finished his England career in 1998) and Wright-Phillips (who made his debut in 2004). The list includes Rio Ferdinand, Michael Owen, Sol Campbell, Gary Neville, David Beckham, David James and Nicky Butt. A couple of other English regulars around that time, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole, joined Wright for West Ham and Wright-Phillips for his country.
The Wright-Phillips story isn’t done yet. “Phil Jagielka played for England alongside Shaun Wright-Phillips for the first time in a friendly win against Spain in February 2009,” writes Adam Pinder. “Fast forward to 2022 and Jagielka is playing for Stoke alongside Shaun’s son D’Margio Wright-Phillips. They met for the first time in a 2-0 win over Hull in January.” Adam also praises Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who turned out for Hearts alongside Andy Kirk (2002-04) and his son Makenzie (2022).
Because of their longevity, retreats are prime candidates for this question. “Gianluigi Buffon achieved this feat a few seasons ago when he played alongside Federico Chiesa at Juventus,” noted Daniel Herlihy (and others). “During the 1990s, Buffon shared a dressing room at Parma with Federico’s father, Enrico.”
And although he is not in the question, Alan Owens believes that Buffon played against at least three father and son combinations: Patrick and Justin Kluivert, Diego and Giovanni Simeone, and Lilian and Marcus Thuram.
There are many examples where fathers and sons have played together, meaning all their teammates go into the Milnerlist. We looked at this in a previous Knowledge question, but there are a few more examples worth mentioning. “I’m probably not the only one,” Erin Ralf begins, “to point out that they played (and lost 2-0) against Stockport County father and son pair Alex and David Herd in the final. of the 1951 Third Division North season.” That also means nine other Stockport players featured alongside them.
“This season, Queens of the South player-manager Willie Gibson and his son Lewis made the first team,” writes Craig Wilson, “meaning that most of the current Queen’s squad has played alongside father and son. ” There is, as Andy Masters points out, the case of Gordon and Gavin Strachan at Coventry – they did not play together (Gordon’s last game was in 1996-97, Gavin’s first the following season) but his looks pretty close than most. Coventry players, including Dion Dublin and Darren Huckerby, appeared alongside the pair.
John Curry represents a similar example at QPR, where England international Dave Clement teamed up with Les Allen (1965-1969), and his son Clive (QPR 1978-1979). And finally, consider former Manchester United goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington. As Russell Lowdon points out, Pilkington didn’t play alongside Peter and Kasper Schmeichel – but he was a back-up for both of them, Peter at Old Trafford and Kasper at Notts County.
“What is the first instance of surname + ball to describe a manager’s football philosophy? I thought it was Sarriball but a friend pointed out that Stoke played Pulisball for a while. Are there any earlier examples?” asks Daniel Marcus.
The earliest reference to Pulisball comes from the Stoke Sentinel in 2009, when the late writer Stephen Foster was interviewed before the publication of his book, And She Laughed No More:
In my senior year I went to maybe half the games. It was not worth going to them all to see Pulisball. But you have to respect it.
Foster used the word a few times and it slowly became part of the lexicon, to the point where we now have TenHagball, Southgateball and the rest.
Pulisball was anathema to Arsenal’s style of play during that period. That style already had a name: Wengerball, which seems to date in the early 2000s. The first reference in the newspaper archive comes from the Observer in October 2006, in a piece by Amy Lawrence about Wenger’s 10th anniversary at the club:
what did [the Invincible season] the style achieved was even more impressive. Fans called him ‘Wengerball’. There aren’t many finer scenes than Wengerball in full swing.
The location of Arsenal Mania in January 2004, when Arsenal signed José Antonio Reyes from Sevilla, is the earliest reference we can find on the entire global network of manager ball.
[Opposition managers] they already had reason to fear us, but now they have reason to fear that it was much more difficult to stop the fluid movement that many of us at Arsenal-Mania like to call Wengerball.
Can you beat that? If so, get in touch.
Don’t call him back
We’re not sure about the latest, but friend of the Knowledge Dirk Maas has unearthed a gem from Serie A in 2004-05. “In January 2005, Internazionale did the impossible,” he writes. “After being 2-0 down at home to Sampdoria in the 88th minute, they turned the tables in five minutes and 26 seconds. Obafemi Martins (88), Christian Vieri (90+1) and Álvaro Recoba (90+3) were responsible for Inter’s unexpected victory.”
“What is the earliest in a game a player has been booked for ‘wasted time’?”asked John Briggs in 2006.
“I’m sure your Norwegian readers will remember the World Cup qualifying match in Rotterdam between the Netherlands and Norway in November 1972,” said Bjørnar Steinbakken. “The Iranians hit back from the start by the formidable Johan Cruyff and his friends and their goalkeeper, Per Haftorsen, was yellow carded for time wasting after only five minutes. The game ended with a 9-0 win for the home team.”
Not bad, but not the fastest, according to Ed Gilbert. “On 22 December 1979, Derby played Liverpool and the Rams were awarded a penalty after 20 seconds, which they scored. At the time Derby was spiraling down towards near-bankruptcy, Robert Maxwell and the Old Third Division. Roy McFarland recognized that Derby were unlikely to win against the eventual league champions and so, without much humour, when he took the ball from the kick-off afterwards he hung the ball high into the stands; the referee was not amused and booked him. The exact time is not listed in the report, but it was about two minutes long.”
Can you help?
“The signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang means that there are now 10 players who have played for Chelsea who are their respective nation’s top scorers: Weah, Gudjohnsen, Mutu, Drogba, Shevchenko, Younghusband (Philippines), Falcao, Lukaku , Eto’o. and Aubameyang. Is this a record?” asks Jesse Pajwani.
Can any other three footballers’ careers beat the above for combined unbroken longevity?
“As a Brit living in Mali, I’m struck by the contrast between the number of teams based in the capital who play in the top flight,” says Seán Smith. “Although the Cymru Premier has not included a club based in the capital for much of its history (and currently only one team is based in Cardiff out of 12), 13 teams out of 18 in the Malé Première Division are based in Bamako. Are there any other top national divisions with a higher or lower percentage of clubs based in the capital city?”