Monday, 19 March 2018

1985/86: West Bromwich Albion

On the whole, the 1985/86 football season was a pretty sorry affair for clubs in the Midlands. Aston Villa, Coventry, and Leicester hovered dangerously close to the Division One drop zone throughout the campaign, but nothing could prevent Birmingham City from the fate of relegation. The demise of Wolves continued, as they fell into the league basement. Although fans of rivals West Bromwich Albion may have found this amusing, they had enough of their own problems to consider.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

1982 FA Cup Sixth Round: Leicester v Shrewsbury

The last time Leicester City won an FA Cup Sixth round match, they had to do it the hard way, using three different keepers on an afternoon of gripping drama.

After suffering relegation to Division Two at the end of the 1980/81 season, Leicester City initially struggled for consistency at the start of the next campaign. But come the start of a very wintry 1982, the team turned the corner. The combination of a memorable FA Cup run, and an upturn in league form, made for exciting times.

Friday, 2 March 2018

1986: The Miracle of the Grotenburg

Basel, Porto, and Besiktas will have their work cut out to overturn first leg deficits in the Champions League. If they need inspiration, they should take a look at the Miracle of the Grotenburg in 1986.

With just 32 minutes remaining in the second leg of their 1985/86 European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter final match, you could have forgiven many Bayer Uerdingen fans for taking a glance towards the exits. Losing 5-1 on aggregate to East German rivals Dynamo Dresden, Uerdingen needed a miracle to score the five goals required to make it through to the last four of the competition. They needed the Miracle of the Grotenburg.

Monday, 26 February 2018

1983/84: England's cricket tour of New Zealand

There can be something almost enjoyable about a cricketing tour that slowly comes off the rails. As the injuries mount, the defeats follow, and off-field allegations begin, you can develop a gallows humour towards your team, as you ponder whether new levels of rock bottom can be reached. England’s tour of Australia in 1994/95 is one of my personal favourites of this genre. But the 1983/84 ‘Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll’ tour to New Zealand takes some beating.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

1988 League Cup final: Arsenal v Luton

Not many gave Luton a chance of winning the 1988 Littlewoods Cup final against Arsenal. But in one of the greatest League Cup finals ever, the underdogs would prevail.

The warning signs were there for Arsenal prior to the 1988 Littlewoods Cup final. Predicted by many to easily dispose of Luton Town in the Wembley showpiece, George Graham’s team were expected to maintain their grip on the trophy that they had won the year before against Liverpool. But history had proved that Arsenal had often not coped well with the tag of favourites.

Monday, 29 January 2018

1980: England v Wales (Rugby Union)

Looking back this week at a violent England-Wales Five Nations match in 1980, as Paul Ringer is sent off, and England only just manage to keep their Grand Slam hopes alive.

Generally, Anglo-Welsh rugby union clashes do not require much promotion. But the hype surrounding the 1980 Five Nations contest between England and Wales at Twickenham was suffocating. Billed as the match that would decide the championship, Triple Crown and Grand Slam, you could almost taste the tension as the February date neared.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Cyrille Regis memories

Growing up, there were not many non-Arsenal players I admired. Cyrille Regis was one of them. This this week I'm looking back at some memories of the great man during the 1980s. RIP Cyrille.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The rise and fall of Swansea City

There is a possibility that Swansea City will be relegated from the top flight this season. But surely the situation will not be as dire as the last time they suffered this fate.

Swansea City Football Club lived the dream at the end of the 70s and the early part of the 80s. Their rise from the Football League basement to the top table between 1978 and 1981 was rapid, and their debut season in Division One was a thing of joy to their supporters. But the fall from grace was just as quick. The demise of Swansea City after their party with the A-listers was the stuff of nightmares.

Monday, 8 January 2018

1988/89: Bristol City's Littlewoods Cup run

Bristol City will have their work cut out to beat Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-finals. But in 1989 they came within a whisker of making it to Wembley.

After 180 minutes of their gripping Littlewoods Cup semi-finals, it looked as if extra time would be needed to separate Bristol City and Nottingham Forest. But there would be one final chance for Joe Jordan's Division Three team. As the black and white cue mark flickered on the screens of ITV viewers, a corner dropped on the left foot of City's Alan Walsh, a little over twelve yards out from goal. Opportunity knocked.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

1989: Crystal Palace v Brighton

Brighton meet Crystal Palace in the FA Cup Third round this weekend, but the match will have to go a long way to beat the drama surrounding their Easter Monday clash at Selhurst Park in 1989.