Football: Carlisle's Defeat of Brazil Ends QPR Trophy Drought
Maume, Chris, The Independent (London, England)
SO, NOW we know the identity of Britain's Brainiest Footballer (ITV, Wednesday). Well, apart from that think-tank known as the Premiership, not one of whose finest minds could be persuaded to bring their neurons off the bench. Not even Graeme Le Saux (specialist subject: antiques), Robbie Savage (specialist subject: amateur dramatics) or Paul Gascoigne (specialist subject: kebabs).
I suppose we could hardly expect the really big names, the denizens of Hello! and OK!, to expose themselves to their team- mates' withering ridicule (Question: What's the technical term for wearing your wife's underwear?). But of the top flight's 600-700 players, there must surely have been one with enough brains and balls.
Instead - and fair dos to them all - we had three Colchesters, two Rushden & Diamonds, a Gillingham, a Macclesfield, a QPR and an Orient, plus three old sages - George Cohen, Malcolm Macdonald and Alan Brazil. Specialist subjects ranged from Only Fools And Horses, Harry Potter and Oasis, through Cars of the 90s, Films of the 90s and Pop Music of the 90s, to Human Biology, Admiral Lord Nelson and the American Civil War.
We even had a member of Mensa, Orient's Andy Harris, though it didn't help him much. He went out, along with five others, in a first round that threw up a few surprises.
While everyone knew that ju-jitsu is a martial art for example, and that the film Bobby Moore and Pele were in was Escape to Victory, two of them didn't know that Billy Wright was the first footballer to win 100 England caps, while five couldn't say who took over from Kate Hoey as Sports Minister (which probably says more about Dick Caborn than about them).
I'm not going to play the intellectual superiority card: along with nine of them, I couldn't name the leader of the 1953 Everest expedition (clue: it's not Edmund Hillary), and nor, like seven of them, was I aware that MTV Europe's first video in 1987 was Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" (though I'm happy not to have known that).
As it went on, so the quizmistress, the jolly Carol Vorderman, teased out a few personal details: QPR's Clarke Carlisle chose questions on Food and Drink because "I eat a lot of food and I drink a lot of drink", while Rushden's Jim Rodwell, probably the only lower-division defender with a law degree, correctly guessing what Nato stands for, revealed that "Me and Barry were talking about Nato the other week, like you do, dressing- room banter." Rodwell, an engaging scruff with a distrait air, made it to the final along with Carlisle and Brazil. …