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The name game

Martin's back with some statistical gems...

Features - Martin Tyler Posted 26th February 2013 view comments

Martin Tyler's stats and facts column is here!

Every week on he answers your questions and offers you statistical gems from what he's seen as he tours the world commentating for Sky Sports.

Sky Sports' voice of football and his back-up team of experts want your queries on all things statistical and historical from the beautiful game.

Hughes: read on to see what's unique about his time at Everton...

Hughes: read on to see what's unique about his time at Everton...

So if you have spotted something from a match or have been stumped by a pub quiz question, simply email and he will do his best to help.

Tyler's teaser

But as usual we'll kick off with a question for YOU. Click play to see this week's Tyler's Teaser.

Martin's Starting Stat

I was at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, where Frank Lampard's 550th league game was marred by a penalty failure. It was also Lampard's 591st Chelsea appearance and if he plays in the FA Cup clash with Middlesbrough in midweek he will equal John Hollins in third place on the all-time list of Chelsea appearance-makers. Meanwhile, Ashley Cole made his 300th Chelsea appearance against Manchester City.

The game was City's first win in four. They'd never gone four league games without a win under Roberto Mancini - and still haven't. It was the fourth season in a row that City had beaten Chelsea at the Etihad and they took their total of goals to 50 with Carlos Tevez's 8th goal in 11 appearances against Chelsea (7 in 9 in the Premier League). Yaya Toure also scored against Chelsea for the second time this season after doing so in the Community Shield.

The match was Chelsea's 47th game of the season and the very least they can play is 61 - and 62 if they win against Middlesbrough on Wednesday night.

Dear Martin. I'm sure you noticed that Newcastle had a goalkeeper called Robbie Elliot playing in goal for them at the weekend, having famously had a player called Robbie Elliott in the past, albeit with a slightly different spelling of his surname. I was wondering if any club in the Premier League has ever fielded two players with EXACTLY the same name, correct spelling and all? While I'm on the subject, the name 'Cole' has appeared three times on the back of a Chelsea shirt in the Premier League (Carlton, Joe and Ashley). Is this a record? Thanks, Mark Coates (Chelsea fan)

MARTIN SAYS: We've been through the records and I have found two instances of players with the same Christian name and surname representing one club in the Premier League.

We have seen two players called MARK HUGHES play for Everton in the Premier League. There was the famous Welshman who also played for Manchester United, Barcelona and Chelsea. He played 18 times for Everton in the 1999/2000 season. Then there was the rather less famous Irishman of the same name, who made one Premier League appearance for Everton against West Ham in December 2006. He went on to play many times for clubs such as Northampton, Walsall and Bury - and is currently on loan at Accrington Stanley.

We have also seen two players called LEE MARTIN represent Manchester United in the Premier League. The first famously scored the winning goal in the 1990 FA Cup Final against Crystal Palace, but in fact only made one Premier League appearance for the team in the 1993/94 season. Manchester United had another player of the same name, who also made just one Premier League appearance for the club; on the final day of the 2008/09 season against Hull. He is currently at Ipswich, having spent time on loan at clubs such as Rangers, Stoke, Plymouth Argyle, Sheffield United, Nottingham Forest and Charlton.

That's nothing compared to the Gateshead United team who played in Division Four in 1958/59, and had two players called KEN SMITH playing as forwards in the same team. The Football League referred to one of them as Ken Smith 1 (P24 scored 7) and the other as Ken Smith 2 (P29 scored 8). This was fine until a game against Carlisle where Ken Smith 1 scored two and Ken Smith 2 scored one! The newspaper the next day printed the scorers as: Ken Smith 1 (2), Ken Smith 2 (1)...

To answer your other question, the record for one surname appearing on the back of a particular club's shirt is the FOUR JONES to have represented Liverpool. Goalkeepers Brad and Paul have played for the Reds in the Premier League, along with full-back Rob and a Wales international forward called Lee, who played three times for them. Liverpool have also had Eifion Jones and Barry Jones on their books during the Premier League era, but they never played.

Here is a list of clubs that has had three players with the same surname represent them in the Premier League:

Johnson (Birmingham City): Damien, Michael, Roger

Pedersen (Blackburn): Morten Gamst, Per, Tore

Taylor (Bolton): Bob, Matt, Scott

Cole (Chelsea): Ashley, Carlton, Joe

Everton (Hughes): Mark, Mark and Stephen

Liverpool (Jones): Brad, Lee, Paul, Rob,

Newcastle (O'Brien): Alan, Andy, Liam

Norwich (Ward): Ashley, Darren, Elliott

West Ham (Ferdinand): Anton, Les, Rio

Dear Martin. I've noticed that when Ryan Giggs scores for Manchester United we usually win. I know he is not the highest goalscorer in Premier League history, but has anybody scored in more winning games than he has? Craig (Manchester United fan)

MARTIN SAYS: Saturday's clash with QPR was the 81st occasion where a Manchester United victory in the Premier League has featured a Ryan Giggs goal. He is the 19th highest goalscorer in Premier League history, but only six men have scored in more victories than he has.

Unsurprisingly, the man who has scored in the most Premier League wins is Alan Shearer. According to our friends at Opta he has scored in 133 Premier League victories for Blackburn and Newcastle (although with a total of 260 goals to his name it's hardly surprising).

Only three other men have scored in more than 100 Premier League victories. One of those is Andrew Cole, who is the second highest Premier League goalscorer of all-time, who has scored in 110 wins. Hot on his heels is Chelsea's Frank Lampard, who has now scored in 107 wins for Chelsea and West Ham, while Wayne Rooney has scored in 101 Premier League successes for Manchester United and Everton.

PlayerTotal goalsGoals in wins
Alan Shearer260133
Andrew Cole188110
Frank Lampard161107
Wayne Rooney154101
Thierry Henry17598
Robbie Fowler16383
Ryan Giggs10981
Les Ferdinand14979
Dwight Yorke12376
Michael Owen15075

Dear Martin. With Wolves currently sitting in the relegation zone in the Championship, I was wondering if you could tell us how often a team has been relegated from the top flight into the third tier in back-to-back seasons. Indeed, has there ever been a case of a team sliding all the way into the fourth division in three successive years? Keep up the good work. Casey (Brighton fan)

MARTIN SAYS: In the history of the Football League there have in fact been 12 instances of a team being relegated from the top flight to the third tier in back-to-back seasons. However, it has only happened once in the Premier League era - when Swindon went from playing in the top league in 1993/1994 to playing in the old Division Two between in 1995/96.

There have only been two cases of a team suffering three successive relegations and one of those actually involved Wolves! They were relegated from Division One in 1983/84 and went straight through the leagues and were in Division Four in 1986/87. The other example also came in the 1980's with Bristol City sliding from top tier to bottom tier between 1979/80 and 1981/82.

Teams relegated from top tier to third tier in successive seasons:

1994 and 1995: Swindon Town
1984 and 1985: Notts County
1984 and 1985 and 1986: Wolves
1983 and 1984: Swansea City
1980 and 1981 and 1982: Bristol City
1973 and 1974: Crystal Palace
1972 and 1973: Huddersfield Town
1968 and 1969: Fulham
1966 and 1967: Northampton Town
1921 and 1922: Bradford PA
1907 and 1908: Stoke City
1904 and 1905: Doncaster Rovers

Dear Martin. I read that Sylvain Distin has played more Premier League games than any other outfield player from outside Britain and Ireland. Is this true? It seems surprising given the number of high-profile foreign imports in the Premier League over the years. Carl Connor (Everton fan)

MARTIN SAYS: It is indeed true. On Saturday, Sylvain Distin became the 26th player to reach 400 Premier League appearances and the first outfield player from beyond the UK and Ireland to reach that particular landmark. The only non British / Irish players to have played more than him are all goalkeepers - Mark Schwarzer (493), Brad Friedel (448) and Jussi Jaaskelainen (405).

When it comes to outfield players, there are a dozen non British / Irishmen to have made more than 300 Premier League appearances and I have detailed them for you below. The Dutchman George Boateng is second on the list ahead of Dwight Yorke and Nicolas Anelka.

Non British / Irish outfield players with the most Premier League appearances:

Sylvain Distin (400)
George Boateng (383)
Dwight Yorke (374)
Nicolas Anelka (352)
Steed Malbranque (337)
Herman Hreidarsson (332)
William Gallas (320)
Sami Hyppia (318)
Dennis Bergkamp (316)
Patrick Vieira (309)
Nolberto Solano (302)
Kolo Toure (301)

Dear Martin. Thanks for all the great work you do on Sky Sports with your commentary and with your stats column. I have a question for you following Manchester United's win over QPR that saw them open up a lead over Manchester City of 15 points. I was wondering if we'd ever seen a gap that big between the top team and the second team in Premier League history? Thanks, Verinderjit (Arsenal fan)

MARTIN SAYS: To answer this question we asked the boffins at Opta to look at the biggest points gap between the top two in each Premier League season.

The largest gulf we have ever seen was the 18-point gap that Manchester United established over Arsenal on the final day of the 1999/2000 season. The Gunners drew their penultimate game of that season and lost the final match, while Manchester had the title sewn up before winning their final five games of the season.

The largest gap we've seen before the end of the season was the 16-point lead that Manchester United held over Arsenal after 33 games of the 2000/01 season. We have also seen a 15-gap at this stage of the season before. Back in 2005/06, Chelsea led Manchester United by 15 points after 27 games, eventually winning the Premier League by eight points.

There have been much closer title races though. In both 2007/08 and 2009/10, the gap between the top two teams never extended to more than five points.

Biggest gap between a team in first and a team in second in each Premier League season (NB: Where there have been equal gaps at various points we have chosen the later point):

Season1st2ndPoints gapAfter how many games
1992/93Man UtdAston Villa1042
1993/94Man UtdLeeds1417
1994/95BlackburnMan Utd839/38
1996/97Man UtdNewcastle738
1997/98Man UtdBlackburn1128/27
1998/99Aston VillaMan Utd68/7
1999/00Man UtdArsenal1838
2000/01Man UtdArsenal1633
2002/03Man UtdArsenal837/36
2005/06ChelseaMan Utd1528/27
2006/07Man UtdChelsea737
2007/08Man UtdChelsea534
2008/09Man UtdChelsea727/28
2009/10ChelseaMan Utd514
2010/11Man UtdChelsea938
2011/12Man UtdMan City832

Comments (4)

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Alun Edwards (Manchester United fan) says...

Dear Martin. I am an avid Man United supporter for over 30 years and a sky sports viewer and have always enjoyed your enthusiastic and unbiased commentary. Could you please tell me how many times sets of brothers have played for any one club, i know of three at united. Neville, Keane and Da Silva. Many thanks

Posted 08:47 28th February 2013

David Schneider (Manchester United fan) says...

Hi Martin, great column always very excited to learn something new and show off to my football fanatic friends. My question is out of the current 20 premier league teams, which team has the most youth acadamy players playing in the top flight? Either currently playing for that team or have moved to one of the other premier league sides. My guess would be my boys United.

Posted 23:28 27th February 2013

Junaid Khan (Manchester City fan) says...

Martin, is citys failure this season down to money ignorance or are they just faltering and will it all stop with the new fair play on finances rules.

Posted 14:00 27th February 2013

Nathan Pollard (Liverpool fan) says...

Liverpool also have Lloyd Jones on the books at the moment who looks a great prospect and with the youth policy at the club could well make his debut in the foreseeable future.

Posted 18:04 26th February 2013

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