Ask ESPNFC

Premier League's journeymen

August 29, 2013
By Richard Jolly
(Archive)

If you have any questions on football facts, statistics or trivia, please send them to ESPN's team of football anoraks at askespnfc@outlook.com and they will try to answer as many as possible.

Together with Nicolas Anelka, now that Scott Parker has gone to Fulham, both players have represented six Premier League clubs. Is that a record or not? I tend to remember one or two players, like Icelandic defender Hermann Hreidarsson have also featured for a few clubs, and I think you have pointed out previously he has been relegated the most times. Ken from Hong Kong asked.

Yes, Anelka's brief West Brom career means he has appeared in the English top flight for six clubs: Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Bolton, Chelsea and Albion. So, too has Parker, a former Charlton, Chelsea, Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham midfielder who is now lining up for Fulham.

Scott Parker Tottenham v West Ham
GettyImagesScott Parker has continued his travels in the Premier League but is still not the most avid journeyman.

However, while they have clocked up a half-dozen Premier League clubs, one of Parker's former team-mates has remained one ahead of them by playing for a seventh this season. Cardiff's promotion has allowed Craig Bellamy to add to a list that already included Coventry, Newcastle, Blackburn, Liverpool, West Ham and Manchester City.

But even the much-travelled Welshman is one behind the record holder. Marcus Bent is the Premier League's ultimate journeyman, having appeared in the division for eight different clubs: Crystal Palace, Blackburn, Ipswich, Leicester, Everton, Charlton, Wigan and Wolves.

By the way, Bent and Bellamy also share a Premier League record for scoring for most clubs. Both are on six - if Bellamy can strike for Cardiff, he will be the outright record-holder - along with Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Nick Barmby, Peter Crouch, Robbie Keane and Parker's new Fulham team-mate Darren Bent.

As for the unfortunate Hreidarsson, he has played Premier League football for Crystal Palace, Wimbledon, Ipswich, Charlton and Portsmouth, and has been relegated with each of his five clubs.

Scott Parker has played top-flight football for five different London clubs after making his Fulham debut. Is that a record? Joe from London asked.

It is a new Premier League best. Paul Konchesky, who has also played for Charlton, Tottenham, West Ham and Fulham, was level with Parker on four before he appeared for Fulham. The ultimate traveller around the British capital was Clive Allen, who had spells at seven London clubs: QPR (twice), Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Tottenham, Chelsea, West Ham and Millwall. But Allen, who was signed and sold by the Gunners without making a competitive appearance in the summer of 1980, only played for Millwall in the second tier so he, too, only played top-flight football for five London clubs, a feat now emulated by Parker.

Bebe Manchester United
PA PhotosBebe joined Manchester United from Vitoria de Guimaraes, his third club in the same transfer window.

I would like to know if it is possible to sign for a club and leave for another in the same transfer window? Brown from Nigeria asked.

It is possible. FIFA rules state that: "Players may be registered for a maximum of three clubs during the period from 1 July until 30 June of the following year. During this period, the player is only eligible to play in official matches for two clubs." What those rules don't dictate, however, is when a player moves. So, for the sake of argument, he could leave his first club for his second at the start of July and sign for another in August, before the summer transfer window closes. A case in point is Bebe, who joined Vitoria Guimaraes in July 2010 and, without making a competitive appearance for them, moved on to Manchester United a month later and in the same transfer window.

The Chicago Fire set a record for the most draws in an MLS season in 2011 with 16. What is the highest percent of draws achieved by a team in a top flight league? Frank Montabon from Ames, Iowa asked.

Yes, both Chicago and the New York Red Bulls drew 47% of their 34 MLS games in the 2011 campaign. That is only one off the record in La Liga: six teams have drawn 17 league games in a season, the most recent being the Espanyol side of 1997-98. Seventeen draws is also a Premier League record in a 38-game campaign, achieved - if that is the verb - by Aston Villa twice and Newcastle once. That amounts to 45% of their games finishing level, a higher ratio than the 43% of the three teams (Manchester City, Sheffield United and Southampton) who drew 18 times in a 42-game campaign. The overall record in England belongs to the Norwich side of 1978-79; they drew 23 of their 42 matches (55%).

There is a recent record of a top-flight French team drawing the majority of their matches: Bordeaux finished level in 20 of their 38 games in 2004-05, which is 53%. The highest percentage I can find in a major European league season, however, came in Italy. The Perugia side of 1978-79 drew 19 of their 30 league games, won 11 and lost none: despite being unbeaten, they weren't champions but, with 63% of matches ending tied, they do top the list of draw specialists.

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