Did you know? Part III

Following on from our Did You Know? parts one and two, here’s a third compilation of interesting football facts and events that will hopefully come as news to you. My compilation comes from recent (both very recent and relatively recent, stretching back a number of years) events in the world of football, general facts and interesting records of the beautiful game. Featured in this piece is an act of great charity from Turkish fans, the origin of “hat-trick” and lots of Jaegermeister.

Fans unite

In October and November of 2011, two earthquakes struck in the same region of Turkey; a place named Van. Cerca 650 people died in the two disasters combined, while over 4,000 were also injured.

When fierce rivals Besiktas and Fenerbahce met on October 27th, the home fans decided to do something extraordinary, showing a great deal of humanity and charity.

Besiktas scarves on the pitch

As the game drew to a close, the Besiktas fans began to throw their scarves onto the pitch. This wasn’t an act of hooliganism or a disturbance to the match itself, but the scarves were thrown on to be collected afterwards and donated to victims of the earthquake, so they could keep themselves warm over the harsh winter. Many have been left homeless after the disasters and the scarves will be necessary to keep themselves warm.

Banners were also displayed at the game with supportive messages to the earthquake victims. Below is a video taken of the events of the charity of the match, which ended in a 2-2 draw.

The Fin from Sierra Leone

Finland played host to the FIFA Under 17 world cup in 2003. The competition was the first time that players like David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Freddy Adu, and Ezequiel Garay were able to showcase their skills on such a large stage. But another player who was given a chance to shine was Mohamed “Medo” Kamara, along with the rest of the Sierra Leone squad.

The civil war in Medo’s homeland ended two years prior, but there was still plenty of unrest going on at the time. During the civil war in his native country, both of Medo’s parents were killed. Not wanting to go back to Sierra Leone, the squad of youngsters in Finland for a football tournament actually ran away from their camp. The boys applied for asylum in Finland and were granted it, but FIFA refused them licenses to play football until their 18th birthdays.

When he turned 18, Medo signed for a team called JIPPO, who he was training with before his birthday. After a year with them in which they got relegated and won the Finnish League Cup, Medo signed for Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi (commonly referred to as “HJK”, so just pronounce that in your head). At HJK, Medo won two league titles and a cup too, as well as earning himself the 2010 Player of the Year.

Kamara originally wanted to play international football for his adopted homeland, but FIFA rejected his application to play for Finland. Instead, Medo began his international career with Sierra Leone in March 2011.

Unbeaten Record

Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Montenegro and South Korea aren’t exactly know as being powerhouses in world football. Sure, Korea have had some decent World Cup appearances, even finishing 4th in 2002, but that was almost a surprise result, especially after their dubious victory over Italy.

However – these non-heavyweights all boast an impressive record of being the only four nations in the world never to have been beaten by England.

Argentina, Germany, Brazil, Italy, Spain – everyone else; England have overcome them all in the history of the game but failed every time against these four.

The last time Saudi Arabia took the three lions on, the game ended in a 0-0 stalemate in Wembley Stadium. The year was 1998 and players such as Alan Shearer, David Beckham and Paul Scholes all started for the home side. Legendary Saudi ‘keeper Mohamed AlDaiee had a memorable performance, pulling off plenty of great saves to earn the draw for his side.

Fabio Capello’s England side most recently met Montenegro in two Euro 2012 qualifiers. Another 0-0 draw was played out in England, but their final game of the qualifying round took place in Montenegro where England blew a 2-0 lead to only draw the match 2-2. The game will also be remembered by England fans as the day Wayne Rooney ruled himself out of the Euro 2012 group stages with his ridiculous rush of blood to the head red card.

In a friendly as a warm up to the 2002 World Cup, England travelled to South Korea to play against them. The game was also used to help the players get used to playing matches in the heat of the Korean summer, as they were going to have to do only two weeks later when the competition kicked off. Owen and Park scored for England and Korea respectively as the two teams played out a 1-1 draw.

Algeria was the last team to play England and not lose. In one of the more boring games of the 2010 World Cup, they frustrated England to their core in the Group C game. It was both sides’ second match of the tournament and the 0-0 draw left England only on two points, needing to beat Slovenia in their final game to progress.

The most memorable thing from the 0-0 with Algeria


Eric Cantona scored the first Premier League hat-trick for Leeds United in a 5-0 victory over Tottenham on 15th of August, 1992. But where does the term “hat-trick” come from?

Well, nobody knows for 100% certainty. But the most commonly accepted origin for the term comes from cricket. In 1858 during a game of cricket, HH Stephenson took three wickets from three balls – something that is apparently an achievement and a rarity in cricket, not that I’d know… His teammates decided to all chip in and buy Stephenson a brand new hat as an award for his great efforts.

The media first used the term in print in 1878 to describe Fred Spofforth a.k.a. “The Demon Bowler” playing for New South Wales taking three consecutive batsmen out in a game against Hastings and District. The term first appeared in ‘The Sportsman’, a newspaper that ran from 1865 to 1924. As a side note – it was at the offices for this very newspaper in 1871 that the Football Association committee first got together and organised a knockout football tournament, becoming the first football competition in the world. This competition was of course, the FA Cup.

The Stag

Uruguayan club Peñarol are often cited by soccer historians as the first club to have sponsorship on their jerseys, as they started doing this in the 1950s when they first became a professional outfit. A small number of French, Danish and Austrian teams followed suit in the following years, but the notion of jersey sponsorship was strongly opposed by the authorities of the biggest leagues in Europe.

But in 1973, Jaegermeister and German club Eintracht Braunschweig changed everything. Günter Mast wanted to place the logo of his uncle’s liquor on the Bundesliga side’s shirt, but the club’s request for permission for this was banned. They then had the ingenius idea of changing the crest of the football club to Jaegermeister’s logo – rendering the football authorities powerless. The Bundesliga changed their position and allowed shirt sponsorships to be shown only seven months later.

Eintracht Braunschweig's 1973 home and away kits

Pat Fenlon’s new club, Hibernian FC, was the first top tier UK side to display a sponsor on their shirts. Their 1977 kit had “Bukta” written on the front of the shirt. Bukta was the company that made the Hibs jersey. The company decided to advertise themselves more prominently with growing competition coming from Admiral and Umbro from the UK, and Adidas coming in from Europe more recently.

Liverpool were the first team in England to carry a sponsor on the front of their jersey. Japanese business conglomerate Hitachi had their name written on Liverpool shirts in 1979.

Double Champions

Linfield, of Belfast, playing in the Irish League have completed more doubles than anybody else in world football. A double consists of winning the top tier league in a country, and the country’s primary cup competition all in the same season. Linfield have managed this feat 20 times in total. In truth though, considering the overall quality of the league and the extra financial resources Linfield get from the IFA to rent Windsor Park for international games, this isn’t too surprising.

Rangers come second on the list of double winning sides. The Scottish club have achieved this feat a total of 18 times, most recently in 2009. However, the SPL is widely considered the most “two-team league” in the world, with Rangers and Celtic ridiculously winning 96 league titles between them.

Getting into a more open league, Bayern Munich boast the most double winning campaigns in German football’s history. The Bavarians have won a total of eight doubles, most recently in 2010. Interestingly, six of their eight doubles have come in the 21st century – 2000, ’03, ’05, ’06, ’08, and in ’10. Also, only three other German clubs have managed to win a double, and all three have only ever done it once. Schalke 04 won the league and cup in 1937, FC Cologne did it in 1978 and Werder Bremen rounds it off winning the double in 2004.

Of Europe’s elite leagues – England, Italy, Spain, Germany and perhaps France – Bayern Munich by far lead the way in terms of double winning victories. Barcelona are three glorious campaigns behind them with 5 doubles to their name, while Saint-Etienne have done it in France four times. Manchester United and Arsenal have only managed three doubles in their history.


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