Wednesday, 20 May 2015

1983-84 FA Cup final

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth rounds and semi-finals of the 1983/84 FA Cup, which you can view here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

For a young football enthusiast, May 1984 was an exciting time. In the space of a few weeks, both the UEFA Cup (second leg) and European Cup finals would be shown live, with Scotland v England, and the second half of Brazil v England also broadcast to the nation. In an era of famine this was a feast of live action, but even during this special period there was one day that stood out.

On paper, the FA Cup final between Everton and Watford was hardly the sort of match that would set the pulses racing, yet such was the prestige of the competition and the sense of occasion that the game was as eagerly anticipated as ever. Although the final will not go down as an all-time classic, it provided us with enough topics of discussion before, during and after the 90 minutes. The first FA Cup final to witness shirt sponsorship on display would be the scene of triumph and despair, redemption and controversy. For one man in particular, the agony had started in earnest a few weeks before the big event.

Monday, 13 April 2015

1983-84 FA Cup: Semi-finals

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds of the 1983/84 FA Cup, which you can view here, here, here, here, here and here.

FA Cup semi-final Saturday in 1984, and as the thousands of supporters of the clubs involved made their way to the neutral venues in glorious April sunshine, there were a couple more chapters to be written in the fascinating tale of the competition.

Could the Plymouth adventure extend one match further and the Third Division club make history by reaching Wembley? Would Watford's six year journey from the Fourth Division to the Twin Towers be completed? Would Everton return to Wembley and make up for their Milk Cup final disappointment? Or would Southampton crown a marvellous season and reach their second FA Cup final in eight years? So many questions would be answered on Saturday April 14.

Friday, 27 March 2015

1989 World Snooker Championships

Steve Davis had not enjoyed the greatest season in 1988/89, yet at the Crucible he showed his true class, winning his sixth and last World Championship.

Monday, 23 March 2015

1989 US Masters: Nick Faldo

Nick Faldo shot a final round 65, helping him to win his first green jacket, but his victory owed a lot to Scott Hoch and his infamous missed putt on the first play-off hole. 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

1986-87: Dundee United

Not every story has a happy ending. Sometimes the boy doesn't get the girl and not everyone lives happily ever after. Sport is no different, the very nature of the beast meaning that more often or not there will be a tale of woe to be told, with plenty of visits to the hotel named Heartbreak. When the disappointment arrives after months of hope and expectation, it makes it an even more bitter pill to swallow.

Take Dundee United's gruelling 1986/87 season. A nine month campaign comprising of 67 matches in four different competitions (70 in five if you include the Forfarshire Cup), the season saw the Tayside club bring joy to their supporters and provide Scottish football with a boost when it was needed. Yet during five days in May the dream turned into a nightmare, two final defeats leaving Jim McLean's side without a pot to show for their efforts. Sport hurts.

Monday, 9 March 2015

1980: Argentina Grand Prix

The first Grand Prix of the 1980 World Championship was anything but dull. Taking place at the Municipal Autodrome in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on the number 15 version of the Oscar Galvez circuit, the track surface may have been far from ideal, yet it helped to create an entertaining spectacle, that just 13 days into the new year, gave a reasonable indication of what was to follow in an exciting decade for the sport.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

1983-84 FA Cup: Sixth round

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the first, second, third, fourth and fifth rounds of the 1983/84 FA Cup, which you can view here, here, here, here and here.

"The FA Cup that has overflowed with surprises is almost empty of quality. Among the unlikely sixth round survivors are a third division club that was 10 minutes away from extinction two years ago, a second division club facing a winding-up petition on Monday, and the poorest supported first division club that is expected to be relegated in May". The Times' preview of the 1984 FA Cup quarter finals was hardly endorsing. But if you looked closely enough you could make a defence for the competition and the surviving clubs.

Everton were at the start of a run that would take them to a League title just over a year later; Southampton were enjoying a season to remember, many of their players hovering around in Bobby Robson's England thoughts; Watford were continuing their rise under Graham Taylor, with a prolific strike partnership and one of the most exciting talents in the domestic game; and who could fail to be warmed by the tale of John Hore's Plymouth as their FA Cup adventure showed no signs of abating? Maybe the 1984 FA Cup was not quite as mediocre as some would have us believe.