"While randomly trawling the web this afternoon I discovered that a Norwich-based club called Gothic FC existed in the 1960s and 70s," mused Pete Green in December 2007. "Presumably they didn't all wear black, but does anyone know why they were called that or anything else about them?"
You've got us stumped on Gothic FC Pete - we can't tell you anything beyond the fact non-league Norwich United borrowed their Heartsease Lane ground for a stint while looking for a new ground in the late 1980s. We're guessing they must have had a fondness for pointed arches, ribbed vaults and flying buttresses. We did, however, stumble across the appalling Real Goth FC, a team of goth musicians, who play a team of locals twice a year in the sunny seaside resort of Whitby, home to Europe's largest biannual goth festival. And yes, the kit is all black, the club crest is inspired by the Sisters of Mercy logo, though make-up is generally removed before kick-off.
According to Philip Oltermann's article in the Guardian's Weekend magazine, "the match tradition started in 2004, when Mike Uwins, guitarist for Manuskript, got talking to a reporter from the Whitby Gazette. With their white face paint and bolted belts, Uwins admits, goths might have looked intimidating to the residents of Whitby - football changed that. 'The first match was a horribly drunken performance on our behalf. We lost 1-10, but once you've kicked lumps out of each other on the pitch, it's much easier to start a conversation.' Nowadays pubs in Whitby carry signs reading 'Goths Welcome'.
"In April 2004, however, relations between goths and locals suffered a minor setback. Jim Moyle remembers: 'One of our players, Geoff, went for a high ball and clashed heads with the Whitby player. He left two teeth in his opponent's forehead. Given Whitby's Dracula connection, you can imagine the headlines.'"
The goths won a seven-goal thriller 4-3 in this year's October fixture, though from pictures of the event there seems to be a disappointing lack of hair, tattoos and piercings, and a rather unwieldy 22-man Real Goth squad. They must have a rotation policy.
"As a young boy I am sure I saw advertised on Eurosport a pre-season friendly in Italy involving three teams and a pitch specifically designed to accommodate all of them at the same time," wrote John Quinn in October 2007. "I missed said extravaganza, but does anyone out there have any more details?"
It is probably the Trofeo Birra Moretti that you're thinking of, John, and it has run as the August curtain-raiser to the Italian season every year since 1997. Disappointingly, though it would no doubt have been exciting, the Cup has never hosted three teams on the same pitch at the same time. Instead, the game is split into three 45-minute periods in which three Serie A teams play against each other - one on one - in a round-robin format. Draws are settled by a penalty shoot-out meaning there are three points for a win, two for a penalty win but none for a loss.
Chosen by invitation, this year Inter (who have played in every tournament), Juventus and Napoli battled it out at Naples' San Paolo Stadium, with Inter the runaway, undefeated winners. While technically a pre-season warm-up, the 'game' is treated as competitive and features full, rather than reserve, teams. Juventus, with five titles under their belts, are the Cup's most successful team, followed by Inter, who've won three times.
"I vaguely remember waking up on Boxing Day morning a couple of years ago (with a massive hangover) and seeing a caption on Football Focus with an old list of Boxing Day fixtures and an awful lot of goals. Was it something to do with the DTs or did this really happen?" asked Ken Davro back in 2000.
We're not doctors, so our lawyers have advised us to make no comment about the floating spots in front of your eyes. But we can help you with the Boxing Day thing.
On December 26 1963, an amazing 66 goals were scored in the old First Division, leaving some teams wishing there had been a repeat of the previous season's Big Freeze (which had wiped out nearly all the football between Boxing Day and March). Here are the classifieds:
Blackpool 1 - 5 Chelsea
Burnley 6 - 1 Man Utd
Fulham 10 - 1 Ipswich
Leicester 2- 0 Everton
Liverpool 6- 1 Stoke
Nottm Forest 3 - 3 Sheff Utd
WBA 4 - 4 Tottenham
Sheff Wed 3- 0 Bolton
Wolves 3 - 3 Aston Villa
West Ham 2 - 8 Blackburn
If that wasn't weird enough, the results two days later - when many of the teams played the "return leg" - beggar belief. West Ham, who had lost 8-2 at home to Blackburn, won 3-1 at Ewood Park. Manchester United, fresh from a 6-1 thrashing at Burnley, turned the tables at Old Trafford with a 5-1 win.
And poor Ipswich, who had clearly been on the Christmas Day pop, avenged their 10-1 defeat by Fulham with a 4-2 victory over the Cottagers at Portman Road. Much good the two points did them, mind you: they finished bottom.
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