“How many clubs around the world have won the league title in their 100th anniversary and which was the first?” asks Maasai Graham.
Quite a few clubs have celebrated the big 100 with a league title, Masai. Alan Gomes gets the ball rolling with an example from Portugal. “Porto’s official founding date is September 1893. And Porto won the Portuguese title for the 1992-93 season. However, there is some controversy as to when Porto was founded. The club recognizes 1893 as the official founding year, however the club’s founder, António Nicolau de Almeida, was persuaded in the late 1890s by his English wife to give up football, which she apparently found ‘too violent’. The association was dormant until 1906, when it was “re-established”. But if you want to start from 1906 instead of 1893, then Porto also won the Portuguese championship in 2005/06.”
Peter Collins becomes symmetrical. “Chelsea won its first league title in 1954-55, 50 years after its inception, and its second in 2004-05, 100 years after its inception.” From there, Richard Wilson takes us to the former Yugoslavia. “There are a few centenarian champions, but some of their claims are more controversial than others,” he writes. “Dinamo Zagreb was founded in 1911 as HSK Gradanski and won a league and cup double in 2010/11. Given that Gradanski was disbanded after World War II, due to the partisans’ perception of the club as a collaborator (as were so many clubs in Yugoslavia), there is a good argument that the club was founded from their ashes only 1945 and as such we’ll have to wait and see if they pull off a centenary title. The club would definitely reclaim the legacy of Gradanski’s start.
“Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) could also be accused of something similar – although the club was founded in 1945, their origin is similar to that of Dinamo, since it was founded from the ashes of another club in SK Jugoslavija, and if that lineage is accepted then would have been Zvezda’s 2013/14 title win during their centenary season. The club would definitely not claim heritage back to the beginnings of Yugoslavia. But both would beat Zrinjski Mostar, which was founded as Dacki in 1905 before becoming Zrinjski in 1912. They were then banned during WWI, came back, were banned after WWII for being explicitly nationalist, and then came back in 1992. Zrinjski won the title in their centenary year 2005 and to top it off, won the title this season which marks 100 years since the Zrinjski name reappeared after being banned.
“And finally, if you want an undeniably uninterrupted centenarian champion, look to Celje from Slovenia. Founded in December 1919, they won their only domestic title in their centenary 2019/20 under Dusan Kosic thanks to a final matchday draw against Olimpija – the first of three consecutive seasons that decided the Prva Liga last day.”
And Dirk Maas has amassed virtually every example he could find and believes Linfield could be the first team to achieve a centennial title win. It is limited to Europe, South America and North America. Take a look at the full list below.
“Fulham and Norwich last played each other in the league in 2017/18 and avoided each other by swapping divisions at the end of each of the four seasons since. What is the longest such continuous sequence?” asks Iain Mew.
We’re proud to be a weekly anal trivia based feature. We checked the exact terms of this question with Iain. He was referring to sides that criss-cross each season rather than those that are promoted or relegated at the same time – like Fulham and Rotherham, who have yo-yoed between the Premier League and the Championship in recent years gone Fulham’s fall and the Championship and League One in Rotherham’s fall.
So to the actual question. Knowledge regular Chris Roe was like a cheap Statto, telling us the Fulham/Norwich switcheroo – entering its fifth season in 2022-23 – is a record in the English league.
Norwich and Burnley played in different directions for four seasons between 2013 and 2017 but unlike Fulham and Norwich were not in the same division in the seasons before or after these ups and downs. They’re probably not an answer to the real question, but being climate conscious we couldn’t bring ourselves to waste good research.
Chris has highlighted a number of teams that have avoided each other for three seasons after playing in the same division immediately prior and after beginning the cycle of ascent and descent. Leicester and Bolton (1994-97), Birmingham and West Brom (2006-09), Norwich and QPR (2013-16) and Norwich and Hull (2014-17) all fit this particular statistical calculation. We don’t yet know if Fulham and Norwich will end up back in the same division in 2023-24, 2024-25 or whenever their current sequence ends.
“About two-thirds of the teams that have done yo-yo games for at least three seasons have happened in the last 30 years,” adds Chris. “Does this mean that the standard gap between divisions is getting bigger (ie, a team is too good for rank two but not strong enough for rank one)?” Questions like these go well beyond our pay grade and intelligence. But yes, yes it does.
Statutes of bookable offenses
“I suspect you’ll get plenty of these, but obviously the most famous statue of a bookable offense [only bookable? – Knowledge Ed] is the five meter high statue of Zinedine Zidane, who bangs his head on Marco Materazzi. It was originally placed outside the Center Pompidou in Paris.”
“Which top English game holds the record for the most footballers/coaches/managers attending to go on to become regular TV pundits/commentators?” wondered Patrick McGorman in 2005.
Well Patrick, you would do well to find more than the 16 ‘media authorities’ who played a role in Arsenal’s famous last-minute 2-0 title win at Liverpool on 26 May 1989. While the Reds have seven players (Ronnie Whelan , Alan Hansen, Ray Houghton, John Aldridge, Ian Rush, John Barnes and Steve McMahon), their manager Kenny Dalglish and their coach Roy Evans, all of whom in later years will have their TV/radio/ Refining newspaper skills, Arsenal had six (Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Paul Merson, David O’Leary, Alan Smith and Nigel Winterburn) as well as their manager George Graham.
Can you help?
“Liverpool’s parade route is 13.5km long, while Manchester City’s is 1km eco-friendly and restricted to the city centre,” notes George Jones. “What is the longest parade route and has a parade bus ever driven provocatively past a rival’s stadium to allow players to show their cutlery?”
“What’s the highest-ranking English team not to have played at Wembley?” asks Tom Solan.
“The combined age of Watford’s managers in the 2021/22 season was 185,” writes Owen Powell. “Anyone ever been higher in a top league?”