Ask Norman: United's record breakers
Norman Hubbard is Soccernet's resident anorak. If you have any questions on football facts, statistics or trivia, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and he'll try to answer as many as possible.
Who is the most capped player in the Premier League and who has scored the most goals for Manchester United? asked Amponsah Tabiri from Ghana.He is not a current international, but the man with the most international appearances to his name is Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, who played a record 130 times for Holland before retiring in 2008. Second, to my surprise, is Bolton's Ricardo Gardner with 109 games for Jamaica. He is just ahead of Manchester City's Patrick Vieira, who has represented France 107 times. The scoring records at Old Trafford are dominated by Sir Bobby Charlton. Possibly United's greatest player, he scored 199 league goals and 249 in all competitions, which unrivalled since then. His former team-mate Denis Law, with 237 in all competitions, comes closest. Jack Rowley, who played either side of World War II, is the only other man with a double century with 211. In addition, a further seven players have reached 150 - Dennis Viollet and George Best on 179, Joe Spence (168), Mark Hughes (163), Ryan Giggs (156) and Ruud van Nistelrooy and Paul Scholes (both 150), the latter reaching the landmark at Fulham on Sunday. The first five on the list were all Sir Matt Busby's players at some point, Spence struck between the two World Wars while Hughes, Giggs, van Nistelrooy and Scholes are from the Sir Alex Ferguson era; as Hughes' tally includes goals scored when Ron Atkinson was in charge, Giggs has struck most for Ferguson. I want to know which team has played the most against Manchester United and never won a match, asked Asad from Pakistan. That dubious privilege belongs to Wigan Athletic who have faced Manchester United 11 times and haven't even drawn a game, let alone won one. All 11 meetings have taken place in the last five years, 10 of them in the Premier League and the other in the 2006 Carling Cup final, which United won 4-0. Wigan came closest to a point at the JJB Stadium (as it was then known) in March 2006 when Pascal Chimbonda's 90th-minute own goal gave United the win. As both games last season ended in 5-0 wins for Sir Alex Ferguson's team, the statistics suggest Wigan are getting further away from winning one. The other eight meetings include three 4-0 wins and two by a 3-1 margin. The overall aggregate score is: Manchester United 35 Wigan 4. Often in Champions League broadcasts you see a stat onscreen showing how many kilometres a player ran; how exactly is that distance measured? asked Neil Higginbotham of Austin in Texas. UEFA have used a company called Tracab which specialised in sports statistics and data. A spokesman explained: "We have several fixed cameras covering the field positioned around main camera position, these are in real-time stitched together to a panorama of the entire field from with which we track all the objects in 3D." I would really like to know when replica kits for fans were first introduced, asked Nkem Nwafor. The first English club with official replica kits were Leeds United in 1973. Having finished third in the old Division 1 and runners-up in both the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup the previous year, Leeds were one of the most successful and glamorous clubs of their era and their money-conscious manager Don Revie thought it would be a way of increasing revenue and - correctly - reasoned fans would be willing to pay to wear the same shirt as their heroes. Leeds' kit in the 1973-4 season was manufactured by Admiral and, with Revie's side winning the title that year, it proved an opportune time to sell it. Incidentally, while the famous white strip was the first fans could buy, it was nonetheless copied, Revie remodelling Leeds in the white of the great Real Madrid side of Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas. Previous strips had involved various combinations of white, yellow and blue.