Monday, 14 May 2018

1987/88 play-offs: Chelsea v Middlesbrough

It hasn’t always been a case of winning titles and triumphing in Europe for Chelsea. There was a time when the club were playing in a rundown stadium, with property developers lurking, and just staying in the top flight was a challenge in its own right. The 1987/88 season was a prime example of the down side of supporting the West London club. And people say Chelsea have no history.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

1986 World Cup: Uruguay

Uruguay entered the 1986 World Cup as one of the favourites; they left with their reputation in tatters.

Like it or not, there has always been a place in sport for a pantomime villain. The kind of behaviour that generally unifies opinions, as a competitor or team acts in a way that brings derision from all quarters. Think of the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, and the names Harald Schumacher and Diego Maradona immediately spring to mind.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

1987/88: Dave Bassett - A season to forget

There is a chance that Mark Hughes may be involved with two relegated clubs this season. Dave Bassett knows how that feels after his terrible 1987/88 campaign.

If 1992 was the annus horribilis for Queen Elizabeth II, then there can be no doubting the comparable period of time for Dave Bassett. Leading Wimbledon from the basement of the Football League to sixth place in Division One in six years, Bassett’s star was rising. But all that was about to change.

Monday, 16 April 2018

1982/83: Fulham despair

Sometimes it can be a struggle to explain to an outsider just how hard it is to be a supporter of a football club. The emotional roller coaster we all board when we nail our specific colours to the mast can leave you drained. We all love the highs, but the crushing lows often take a long time to flush out the system. Indeed, they sometimes never leave us.

Take the example of Fulham in the 1982/83 season. Promoted to the Second Division during the previous campaign, the club were flying under the management of Malcolm Macdonald. A team full of quality – keeper Gerry Payton, defenders Tony Gale, Roger Brown, Jeff Hopkins, midfielders Ray Houghton, Robert Wilson, Sean O’Driscoll, and Ray Lewington, along with strikers Gordon Davies and Dean Coney – it appeared as if back-to-back promotions was a serious possibility.

Friday, 6 April 2018

1988 World Snooker Championship

Snooker seemingly stood at a crossroads as the 1988 World Championship tournament neared. With less coverage of the sport on our television screens, and viewing figures declining, the glory days of the sport appeared to be fading into the distance.

It probably didn’t help that a major crisis was hovering over snooker. During the 1987 World Championships, a number of stories had broken in relation to drug usage, both recreational and performance enabling/enhancing. The next year would be dominated with front page news involving snooker players, rehab, drugs tests, and beta-blockers.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Dad and Masters Sunday

As a golf fan, there are not many occasions that compare to Masters Sunday. There are a number of aspects that make it what it is: the beautiful Augusta National course; the first major of the season; a signal of winter turning to spring in Britain; and the fact that when I was a child, that I could stay up and watch the drama unfold with my dad.