The TV show “Pointless” is based around correctly guessing obscure answers to questions. Season 5, Episode 48 had a question about England goalkeepers.

Specifically the question is:

We gave 100 people 100 seconds to name as many goalkeepers who have played for England men’s team as they could.


(anyone who’s played in goal for England between 1966 and 2011 – no unused substitutes)

Well this falls right into an area of something I am interested in, quizzes and football! The strategy seems obvious, the more caps a goalie received likely the more well known he would be and the more points you would score. So we want to find a player with as few caps as possible.

Obviously I wanted to check the hypothesis.

This has an R^2 value of 0.7 with a P-value of 9.75e-8.

Well the theory holds – the fewer caps, the better the score in Pointless.

There are two interesting players to mention. Robert Green – who for relatively few caps scores highly (it’s not hard to guess why) and Ron Springett who played 33 games for England, and was even part of the 1966 World Cup winning squad, but seems fairly unknown.

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