“What is the most unusual non-football event to be staged at a football ground?” asks Zara Wildoom.
The answer to this is as strange as you’d expect. In 1970, and just before the FA Cup final, Wembley Stadium staged the Horse of the Year Show, the effects of which wreaked havoc with the hallowed turf and the silky passing game played by Leeds United and Chelsea; as such, when they drew 2-2, the replay was switched to Old Trafford. And the Twin Towers also played host to the stunts of Evel Knievel, while Eddie Kidd played at Harwich & Parkeston’s Royal Oak Ground.
Biathlon once took over Schalke’s Veltins Arena, @FCToon points out, which sounds like a doddle compared to Jeremy Corbyn at Tranmere Rovers’ Prenton Park and the Brexit Party at AFC Fylde’s Mill Park. Elsewhere, Goodison Park was used for Territorial Army drill training during the first world war, Songs of Praise once visited Old Trafford, and Billy Graham has held prayer rallies at Wembley, Maine Road, Bramall Lane, Carrow Road, Ashton Gate, Anfield, Roker Park, Villa Park, Upton Park and, according to Darren Leathley, Elland Road.
Plenty of grounds have hosted plenty of music. Cardiff City’s former home, Ninian Park, offered hospitality to the Pope and Bob Marley, though not on the same bill, while Hampden Park has been visited by Hollywood stars and Status Quo. There are, of course, many other examples.
No doubt you’ve heard of the father-son stunt duo who created and showed off this ode to Transformers at FC Oryol’s Central Stadium in Russia, while just this year visitors to Carrow Road enjoyed Fightmare 3, starring Grant Holt.
But it’s not all high culture: the opening ceremony of the Edinburgh International Festival took place at Tynecastle.
But let us finish with the greatest of them all, as pointed out by @YPLAC:
Pass pass pass
Manchester City, understandably, are the pass-masters in the Premier League, becoming the first side to reach four figures in a match when they completed 1,015 in a 5-0 drubbing in Swansea in April 2018. The Welsh side did not have much a of say during the fixture, as Pep Guardiola’s side enjoyed 83% of the possession.
Rising stars II
There is a new name to add to the list of people who have scored in all four divisions. “Ian Ashbee scored 10 league goals for Hull City over nine seasons; three in the fourth tier, one in the third, five in the second and one in the Premier League,” Rob kindly points out.
Meanwhile, as we like to plan ahead, we’ll be keeping an eye out for Charlton’s Lyle Taylor who has “scored in Isthmian Div 1, Isthmian Prem, Conference South, Conference Prem, League 2, League 1, Championship as well as Scottish First and Scottish Premiership,” James O’Brien explains. But can he do it on a mild Saturday afternoon at Old Trafford?
“Has there ever been a deaf professional footballer?” asked Clinton Mansell 2004.
There has indeed, including one very big name. “Although not totally deaf, Arsenal’s former record goalscorer, Cliff Bastin, was almost deaf,” Andy Kelly explains. In fact, he had an inherent problem with his middle ear, part of which had to be removed. “So much so,” he continues, “that he was not conscripted during the Second World War. His deafness was bad enough that during play he was unable to hear his teammates calling him. It obviously wasn’t too detrimental to his game, as he won five league titles, two FA Cups and 21 England caps.”
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Can you help?
Aron Royle ponders: “The referee for the Cambridge United vs Oldham Athletic game this weekend was non other than a Mr Scott Oldham. No suggestion of bias of course, but are there any other examples of referees sharing their name with one of the teams they are officiating?”
“Manchester City’s Phil Foden, John Stones and Kyle Walker were all born on 28 May. Does any other club boast a greater number of players that share a birthday?” Michael Daunt wonders.
“Earlier this season, my father-in-law’s team, Crewe Alexandra, were top of League Two after four games with a goal difference of zero,” Robbie Swale points out. “I remember that West Ham once finished high up with a negative goal difference, but what is the latest in a season that a team has been top of their division with a goal difference of 0 or below (or, if teams have won their divisions with 0 or less, who are they and when)?”