Football has a million and one stories and just as many facts and figures. Here are a few of them - the record-breaking, unusual and bizarre.

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The phrase hat-trick has its origins in cricket. When a bowler took three wickets in three balls a collection was made to reward the feat. However it is unsure whether it was called a hat-trick because the collection was made in a hat or because a new hat was presented to the bowler from the proceeds of the collection. 

The perfect/golden/classic hat-trick is where a player scores with his left foot, right foot and his head. The German have their own definition of a hat-trick, as they would, it being where a player scores three consecutive goals, no other goals being scored between the three goals of the hat-trick.


After having made two substitute appearances in the League for Southampton Alan Shearer made his starting debut for the Saints against Arsenal at the Dell on Saturday April 9th 1988 - and at 17 years 240 days of age became the youngest player to score a hat-trick in the top flight with Southampton winning 4-2.


The quickest hat-trick in Football League history was scored by James Hayter for Bournemouth on Tuesday February 24th 2004 in a 6-0 Division 2 victory over Wrexham at Dean Court. Brought on as a substitute with only six minutes remaining he scored a hat-trick in just 2 minutes and 20 seconds. His parents and brother were at the match but ten minutes before the final whistle and with no sign that James would make an appearance they left early to catch a ferry back to their home in the Isle of Wight and so missed the history-making achievement.


The first Premier League hat-trick was scored on August 25th 1992 - just ten days after the first matches were played in the competition. Eric Cantona - then of Leeds United - scored three times in the 5-0 defeat of Tottenham at Elland Road. Earlier in the month Cantona had scored a hat-trick for Leeds in their 4-3 victory over Liverpool in the Charity Shield at Wembley.

The quickest hat-trick in the Premier League was scored by Southampton's Sadio Mané on Saturday May 16th 2015. His three goals were scored in 2 minutes 56 seconds in the 6-1 defeat of Aston Villa at St Mary's. The Senegal international's 176 second record beat the previous best which had stood for nearly 21 years - Robbie Fowler had scored all of Liverpool's goals in their 3-0 victory over Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday August 28th 1994 in four minutes 33 seconds.


One of the more unusual hat-tricks was scored by Alvin Martin in West Ham's 8-1 First Division victory over Newcastle United at Upton Park on April 21st 1986. He put one past Martin Thomas after just 3 minutes but the regular Newcastle was injured and replaced by outfielder Chris Hedworth at the start of the second half - no goalkeeper subs in those days. Alvin Martin scored his second goal against Hedworth who also then also injured and replaced between the posts by Peter Beardsley. Alvin Martin then completed his hat-trick with a goal past Beardsley to complete a hat-trick scored against three different goalkeepers.
Link - match details and West Ham results 1985/86


Watford's Cliff Holton scored two League hat-tricks in two days in the 1959/60 season. He scored 3 in the Fourth Division match against Chester (won 4-2) on Good Friday April 15th 1960 and another 3 in the 5-0 victory over Gateshead a day later. Both matches were played at Vicarage Road.


John Charles played three Second Division matches for Leeds against Rotherham United in 1953 and scored a hat-trick in each of them. On January 17th 1953 he scored a hat-trick in the 4-0 victory at Elland Road, on August 22nd three more in a 4-2 victory at Elland Road and in another 4-2 victory at Millmoor on December 19th  he again scored a hat-trick.


In November 1946 Liverpool's Jack Balmer hit Division 1 hat-tricks on three successive Saturdays. On the 9th he scored 3 against Portsmouth at Anfield, on the 16th he scored four at Derby and back at Anfield on the 23rd he hit a hat-trick against Arsenal. Those three matches were the start of a run that saw him score in seven League matches in a row, recording 15 goals in those matches.


On Saturday February 11th 1922 at Bury Bill Poyntz became the first Leeds United player to be sent off in a League match. On Monday February 20th he got married in the morning and later in the day scored a hat-trick in the 3-0 Second Division victory over Leicester City. An eventful week!

Another player who got away with 'I'm off to the match this afternoon, darling' was Southport's Billy Holmes. Married in the morning of Saturday 30th October 1954 he also scored a hat-trick in the afternoon in a 4-1 Division 3 (North) victory over Carlisle.


It's certainly not unknown for goalkeepers to score in the Football League but none have come close to matching the goalscoring exploits of Paraguayan goalkeeper José Luis Chilavert. On 28th November 1999 he scored a hat-trick - all from the penalty spot - in his Argentinian club side Vélez Sarsfield's 6–1 victory over Ferro Carril Oeste. Amazingly Chilavert scored 48 goals in his 341 appearances for Vélez and another 8 in his 74 international matches for Paraguay.

I'm pushing it a bit here but there was an English goalkeeper in a European tie who kept the ball having scored a hat-trick during the match. Although to be fair he scored his goals before he took over in goal! Gareth Bale scored three against Greek side Asteras Tripolis at White Hart Lane in October 2014 in a 5-1 Europa League victory and took over in goal for the final few minutes after Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris was sent off. And he fluffed a save to give the Greeks their goal!





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