Which football clubs have won major trophies across three centuries?


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“As a Blackburn fan I put more stock in 19th century trophies than perhaps I should,” writes Simon Elliott. “However, are Rovers unique in winning major trophies in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries? Are there any equivalents from other countries? For the purposes of this, the 2002 League Cup is a major trophy.”“Though organised football was more or less restricted to these islands in the 19th century there are a number of other clubs who can match or better Blackburn’s achievement,” begins Sean DeLoughry. “Celtic, Rangers, Linfield and Glentoran have won every major domestic competition available to them each century. Additionally, Hibernian, Hearts, Bangor, Distillery and Cliftonville have racked up major honours in each century. Here’s an overview:
England: Blackburn (19th Century Cup, 20th Century League/Cup, 21st Century LC)Scotland: Celtic (19C League/Cup, 20C League/Cup/LC, 21C League/Cup/LC), Hearts (19C League/Cup, 20C League/Cup/LC, 21C Cup), Hibernian (19C Cup, 20C League/Cup/LC, 21C Cup/LC), Rangers (19C League/Cup, 20C League/Cup/LC, 21C League/Cup/LC)Wales: Bangor (19C Cup, 20C League/Cup, 21C League/Cup)Northern Ireland Cliftonville (19C Cup, 20C League/Cup, 21C League/LC), Distillery (19C League/Cup, 20C League/Cup, 21C LC), Glentoran (19C League/Cup, 20C League/Cup/LC, 21C League/Cup/LC), Linfield (19C League/Cup, 20C League/Cup/LC, 21C League/Cup/LC)
“Other English clubs who could match Blackburn during the 21st century are Aston Villa, Everton, Wolves, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Preston and Sunderland (plus Bury if you count 1900 as the last year of the 19th century).”Jason Sarfo-Annin picked out the same examples from the British Isles but also looked at some potential three-century major trophy-winners from other nations. “Argentina and Italy established their leagues in the 19th century but the usual suspects didn’t win their first titles till the 20th century,” he writes. “Genoa can still become the only Italian club to have titles across three centuries if they win something in the 21st century. If you consider winning other leagues in the professional football pyramid as major honours then RFC Liège in Belgium fit the bill having won the top flight in the 19th and 20th centuries and the fourth tier in the 21st century.“In Switzerland Grasshoppers are a fun case. They won the top Swiss league in the 1897-98 season but it isn’t considered an official season as the league was not run by the Swiss FA that year. They also won the league in the 1899-1900 season. So if you agree with the view that a new century starts in 1901 and 2001 rather than 1900 and 2000 – then they just meet the criteria. They’ve won the top Swiss league across all three centuries. Peñarol in Uruguay are in the same boat as Grasshoppers with a league title in 1900.”Another team triumphing in 1900 were AIK, notes David Ekstrand: “This means that when they won their first Swedish championship on 29 July 29 of that year, it was still the 19th century. AIK then won nine Swedish titles in the 20th century and have so far won two in the 21st, the latest being in 2018.”Z v Z“Has there even been, in a UK match, another pair of opposing captains whose surnames start with Z,” posed this commenter. “Katie Zelem (Manchester United) and Shelina Zadorsky (Tottenham) faced each other.”“I get that we’re specifying the UK to avoid listing hundreds of matches in countries where ‘Z’ players are commonplace,” mails Chris Page, “but can we make an exception for something as big as a World Cup semi-final? Back in 1982, a victorious Italian team captained by Dino Zoff defeated Wladyslaw Zmuda’s Poland. Similarly, the Euro 2004 quarter-final between France and Greece saw the teams captained by Zinedine Zidane and Theodoros Zagorakis. I did wonder if Zidane had ever captained a French team that went up against a Slovenian team captained by Zlatko Zlahovic, for a pair of ‘ZZ’ captains, but although they did line up against each other a couple of times, they didn’t do so with the armbands on.”Manchester United captain, Katie Zelem (10), takes a shot as Spurs captain Shelina Zadorsky watches on. Photograph: Malcolm Bryce/ProSports/ShutterstockThe Uniteds question“Which player has played for the most Uniteds?” tweets Ryan Murphy.Chris Page – again – has an answer we can all unite around. “With this sort of question, John Burridge never lets you down. Here were go: Southend, Sheffield, Newcastle … oh, that’s all. Of the 30-odd clubs he played for, only three I can see were ‘United’. There are plenty of well-known players who can match that, such as Rio Ferdinand (West Ham, Leeds, Manchester), Alan Smith (Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle) and Teddy Sheringham (Manchester, West Ham, Colchester).” There’s also Freddie Sears (West Ham, Scunthorpe, Colchester). “Scott Wootton can bring us up to four (Manchester, Peterborough, Leeds, Rotherham). And although we’re dipping into the non-league scene here, how about former Dominican international Jefferson Louis, who has had spells at Thame, Aylesbury, Oxford, Maidenhead, Hayes & Yeading, Banbury and Chesham, totalling seven.”Andy Brook also throws Imre Varadi into the mix with an impressive six (Sheffield, Newcastle, Leeds, Oxford, Rotherham and Scunthorpe). It would have been seven but after joining Boston, he was cut loose without playing a game.Scott Wootton, right, in action for Leeds United in 2013. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty ImagesKnowledge archive“In the 1985-86 Screensport Super Cup, Liverpool played the first leg of the semi-final against Norwich City on 5 February (1-1) but the second leg did not take place until 6 May (3-1 to Liverpool). Is this the longest gap between two legs of a tournament,” asked John Martin in September 2012.Michael Haughey pointed us in the direction of the 1955-58 Fairs Cup. It began on Christmas Day 1955 and ended on 1 May 1958 and the group stage was initially split into four groups of three teams, with each team to play the others twice. However, the withdrawal of the Cologne XI from Group C left Leipzig and Lausanne Sports to battle it out over what was essentially two legs. The German side won 6-3 in Leipzig on 6 March 1956 but Lausanne mounted a stunning fight-back nearly eight months later, winning 7-3 on home soil on 21 October 1956 to progress to the semi-finals (the first leg of which did not take place until 16 September 1957).“The query brings to mind the Anglo-Scottish Cup,” wrote Darren Hudson. “I recall the competition was revived in 1987 in which the FA Cup and Scottish Cup holders would meet over two legs. This pitted Coventry and St Mirren together in their version of a ‘Battle of Britain’, with the first leg taking place on 23 December 1987 at Highfield Road and ending 1-1.“The first leg was poorly attended and two sides couldn’t agree on a return date. As a result 23 December 2012 will mark 25 years since the playing of the first leg with the outcome still to be decided.”The Knowledge archiveCan you help?“Are Cameron Brannagan’s four penalties (out of four) for Oxford at Gillingham a domestic – or world record – during a 90-minute game?” asks David Weston.Leyton Orient have one more point than Hartlepool in League Two but a goal difference that’s superior to the tune of 25 goals. But what’s the largest ever gap in terms of goal difference that has decided the positions of teams locked on the same points at the end of a season?— Agatiefan (@AgaTieFan) February 1, 2022
“Frank Lampard is the seventh Everton manager that Duncan Ferguson will be a member of the coaching staff for,” notes Brendan O’Mahony. “Is this a record for one continuous spell at a club?”Has any player made their debut in each of the top 5 divisions in a shorter period (1498 days) than Dan Burn? League Two12 December 2009Conference03 January 2011League One29 September 2012Championship 03 August 2013Premier League 18 January 2014— dan almond (@pompeyrabbi) February 1, 2022
Mail us your questions or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU.


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