Denmark The Cup


The Cup final opposed teams from the lower half of first division – Hvidovre IF (11th) and Lyngby BK (12th). Theoretically, Lyngby BK had the edge, for the final was played at their home town and they were higher scorers, but reality was different. In front of high for Denmark attendance of 23 500, Hvidovre destroyed the hosts 5-3. The crowd was obviously disappointed, but at least was well entertained.

Lyngby was typical Danish squad, but they had one eventually famous player – Klaus Bergreen. Well, he was not yet known name and not enough for victory. Hvidovre had no current or future star in its squad, but it did not matter.

It was glorious day for the boys in red – they won the very first Cup for Hvidovre. History is made of such days – and this day grew even larger in time, for Hvidovre so far did not win a second Cup. In a way, it is understandable why: a club sponsored by entity called ‘Yankie Bar’ can hardly have the funds for building and maintaining strong team. The case of Danish football in a nutshell. But it was excellent victory for the club and its fans.

As a last note on this season: Denmark became one of the most exciting European teams a few years later and perhaps there were some signs of coming greatness in 1980? None of it… Not in any squad, not even individual players. Apart from the goalkeepers – the weaker post in the future great squad – who never became memorable, let alone famous, the only future star playing at home in 1980 was the full back John Sivebaek (Vejle). Those, who became world famous were already playing abroad.



Denmark was fully professional by 1980, but still the top players were looking to play for foreign clubs. Nothing really changed – talent was not concentrated into 2-3 clubs, but dispersed around the league. There were no more fantastic sponsor deals, so there were no longer teams showing different add on each player’s shirt, but there was obviously no way a big sponsor to elevate a Danish club to the best European ones – it was rather money helping clubs to survive. But the championship was dramatic this year.

Down in Second Division,

Viborg FF,

B 1901 (Nykøbing Falster), and

Herfølge BK were best and won promotions. Since ups and downs were traditionally a mark of Danish football, it is pointless to evaluate what future contribution to top flight the newcomers may have had.

First Division was point in case: at the bottom were two clear outsiders.

AaB (Aalberg) were last with 6 points.

BK Frem ended 15th with 12 points – one may expect Frem to be among the title contenders, but in Denmark no club was favourite for long and relegation was often in the cards too. Miserable season for Frem – they were tremendously weak. The 14th in the final standings and the 3rd relegated club had more than twice Frem’s points – 26.

Fremad Amager were a likely candidate for relegation, but they fought to the end and were perhaps a bit unlucky – they lost a battle for survival between three clubs. Lyngby BK and Kastrup Boldklub finished with 27 points and Fremad Amager went down with 26. So much for the bottom of the league.

The drama at the top was much more interesting. There were no favourites head and shoulders above most in the league, but gradually three clubs took slight advantage and preserved it to the end. Eventually, one of the three leaders dropped out:

OB Odense finished 3rd with 38 points – two more than the 4th placed and two less than the top teams. Which finished with equal points – 40 each – and goal-difference decided the championship.

Næstved If, not a club usually found at the top, had excellent season and almost won the title. Almost… To lose on goal-difference is really tough and unfortunate. The team also enoyed most victories this season – 18. The champions had only 16. Still, the team had to either score more or to be less adventurous – apparently, they played for all or nothing, and nothing they got in 8 matches they lost. If they tried to keep a tie for a change… bit they did not.

At the end – lucky champions KB.

Kjøbenhavns Boldklub – ancient, successful, representing the capital city: usually, such clubs were big fish in their own country, but not in Denmark.

The champions had a single recognizable name: the national team goalkeeper Ole Quist and ‘recognizable’ is all to be said about him. KB clearly were not ‘a big fish’… but they won their record 15th title! As it happens, their very last success. Ever! The club is not existing since 1991, when they merged with B 1903 into FC Copenhagen. The last triumph was tricky and just lucky.

Turkey The Cup

The misery of Istanbul continued in the Cup tournament – Galatasaray reached the final and it looked like they will save face. Their opposition was not much – Altay. But the old rivalry between Izmir and Istanbul was stronger than momentary form. Altay won the first leg 1-0. The result favoured Galatasaray… but Altay managed 1-1 tie in the second match and the Cup went to Izmir. Disastrous season for Galatasaray.

Great victory for the old club, no doubt. Football in Izmir is old, yet, success was rare – the rivalry with Istanbul was not in their favour at all. And worse – the clubs declined during the 1970s and lost their historic significance to Trabzon and Ankara. They were not even ‘also run’ mid-table clubs anymore, but fighting to escape relegation. Altay barely survived this season. Which enjoyed, because their local enemies Goztepe did not. It was even better to end the season with a trophy, when poor Goztepe went down. It was great to beat Galatasaray and come on top of Istanbul. It was a rare success too – so far, Altay won a single trophy: the Turkish Cup in 1966-67. A second trophy was fantastic. It is also their last so far…


Turkey I Division

So much for the second division winners. The First Division was the real thing anyway. Most of the league was fairly equal this season, which boiled down to concerns not of winning, but about surviving: 8 points divided silver medalists from the relegated 14th placed team. Some unlikely clubs had to fret to the end… Diyarbakirspor were the seasonal outsiders, finishing last. Above them were the unlucky newcomers Kayserispor. They fought as much as they were able to, but evidently they had weak squad – Kayserispor was the lowest scoring team this year, which placed them 15th at the end with 25 points. Above them bitter fight for survival lasted to the end:

Orduspor finished 7th with 30 points – seemingly safe, when one looks at the final table.

Demirspor (Adana) – or Adanademirspor, depending of correct or incorrect writing of the name – was 8th with 29 points. Talking stable mid-table teams? Not really: 4 clubs finished with 29 points. Two with 28. Half of the league was largely trying to escape relegation… and in this group were two clubs usually competing for the title. Besiktas finished 11th.

Galatasaray was 9th. Both mighty clubs finished with 29 points, perhaps having their worst season in history. But they at least survived. Two other old and highly respected clubs were also down, but unlike the giants from Istanbul, the clubs of Izmir were declining during the 1970s. Altay survived – they ended at 12th place with 28 points. Goztepe were not so lucky – they earned 27 points and finished 14th. Two points divided Galatasaray from Goztepe – well, Izmir was pretty much equal to Istanbul. Except that Besiktas and Galatasaray remained in first division, but Goztepe was going down to second division.

Pretty equal league up to the top. Small differences and may be luck decided failure and success.

Zonguldakspor certainly had fantastic success: they finished 3rd. Not only strong season, but the best ever for club of the coal mining town (the original name of the club was exactly that: Kömürspor. ‘Kömür’ is coal, hence, the nickname ‘Kara Elmas’ – Black Diamond). Great success for a modest club, but… thanks to the weakness of the other clubs, especially the big ones. And thanks to luck – Zonguldakspor finished with 33 points. Bursaspor had the same, but worse goal-difference.

Two points better than the miners were Fenerbahce.

Silver is not what Fenerbahce cares about, but at least they finished high and compared to their archenemies Galatasaray and Besiktas, had a strong season. On the other hand, it was not a strong season at all – the team was not really above the rest of the league and, even worse, they were not contenders – they were not unlucky losers of a race for the title, but rather more consistent than the bulk of the league. Confidently above them were Trabzonspor. Nothing surprising about them by the end of the 1970s.

Standing from left: Necati, Hüsnü, Şenol, İskender, Cengiz, Güngör

First row: Mustafa, Yaşar, Selahattin, Tuncay, Turgay.

Their 4th title, a consecutive too. Trabzonspor were the strongest Turkish club since 1975. They had no real opposition this season, finishing 4 points ahead of Fenerbahce. They were also very pragmatic team – clearly depending on defense. Trabzonspor lost only 3 matches, but tied half of their championship games – 15. Iron defense, allowing just 11 goals – the next best defense permitted 19 – but that was their only strategy. The team was not concerned with scoring and entertaining, but with collecting points. Minimal victories and ties was enough to stay… above every other club. They scored 25 goals in 30 matches! And with such record they remained unchalanged the whole season. No matter what, they were the 4th big Turkish club by now and the only not from Istanbul.

Turkey II Division

Turkey had a peculiar 1979-80. No doubt, Turkish football improved during the 1970s and became stronger opponent to the best in Europe, but by the end of the decade it reached the problem of the Italian and the Soviet football – very low scoring and abundance of tied matches. This season was perhaps the worst: only 4 of the 16 first division teams finished with less than 10 ties. Three clubs, the champions among them, managed to end in a tie 50% of their matches – 15. In the same time scoring was pitiful – only 2 clubs scored more than 30 goals during the season. The most scored Rizespor, but even this was very low record: 37 goals in 30 matches. The next high scoring team practically averaged a goal per game: Fenerbahce scored 31 goals total. The champions were happy with 25… May be the teams were relatively equal. May be the dominant concept was play safe and get the point. The most open team were Rizespor and no wonder they had the fewest number of ties – 4, scored the most goals in the league, and won the most matches -14. They also lost 12 – the second worst record in the league.. and the same goes for their defensive record: they allowed 34 goals. Only the last in the league received more then them. Pinching points and keeping back in their own half were evidently the tactics in almost the whole league. Not a pleasant picture.

But the season ended and with the end – the ups and downs, the joys and disasters. Promoted from second level were:


Mersin, and

Kocaelispor (Izmit).

A historic moment for this squad: Kocaelispor were not only the youngest club among the winners of second division, but they never played top flight football. This year was their best in their short history – of course, speaking of the history of the club under this name, because in 1966 three older clubs merged into one. To a point, the birth of Kocaelispor happened because of regulations – originally, Bacspor had the ambition to be strong professional club, but they lacked proper facilities and did not have three teams (youth system, presumably) required by the rules. The merger accomplished that and the new club finally climbed up. The winning squad is anonymous here, but no doubt the boys carved their names for posterity at home.

Republic of Ireland


Republic of Ireland. Two changes before the start of the 1979-80 season: Cork Alberts changed its name to Cork United. Cork Celtic went into bankruptcy. There was no second division in the country, therefore, no promotions and relegations. Ocasional league changes were done by elections – University College Dublin was elected to replace Cork Celtic. The new league member, along with Cork United, were outsiders this season – they finished 14th and 15th . Cork United, 14th, was 9 points behind Home Farm. Last finished Shelbourne with 12 points. Like the league outsiders, the leaders were also in a category of their own. Athlone Town finished 3rd with 39 points – a point ahead of Shamrock Rovers. Behind Shamrock Rovers was Finn Harps, also with 38 points, but worse goal-difference. These three were comfortably ahead of the bulk of the league – Bohemians was 6th with 32 points. Yet, the real leaders were further ahead – Athlone Town ended 7 points behind the silver medalists. Dundalk and Limerick United fought for the title to the end, leaving the other teams in the dust. Dundalk finished with 46 points and lost the title by a point. One tie instead of a loss and much higher scoring made Limerick champions – 47 points they had, thanks to more aggresive play than Dundalk’s.

Limerick, relatively young for an Irish club – founded in 1937, had little success in its history. So far, they had been champions once – in 1959-60. The club was no longer called Limerick FC, but changed name to Limerick United – not the last change of name.

The new champions were typical Irish squad – there were no famous players, for big talent inevitably played in England. But it was historic squad nevertheless – they won not only the second title, but so far the last one for Limerick. The successful team deserves a second look because of that:

It was not just rare, but dramatic victory – Limerick United triumphed thanks to a single point in their favour. Well done, lads.

It was the season of the underdog: the Cup final opposed Waterford to St. Patrick’s Athletic. Neither team was much in the championship, so a trophy was more than desirable.

Waterford prevailed 1-0. Cumann Peile Aontaithe Phort Láirge as the club is called in Irish, won the Cup once before – in the long gone 1937. This was their second Cup.

The League Cup is the youngest Irish tournament and the last chance for St. Ptarick’s Athletic to win a trophy this year. Their opponents were Athlone Town, who enjoyed strong season and easily prevailed – 4-2.

Athlone Town – or Cumann Peile Bhaile Áth Luain – are very old endeed: founded in 1887. But success evaded them so far – to date, they had a single trophy and it was won long time ago – the Irish Cup in 1924. More than half a century later they won their second – the League Cup.

All winners of 1979-80 won their second trophies in their histories. Interesting footnote.



Norway. The winners of the two second division groups were both dominant: Hamarkameratene finished 7 points ahead of the next pursuer in Group A, and Brann – 6 points ahead in Group B. But three teams were promoted in Norway, so there was a play-off for the remaining spot between the second placed clubs. Mjøndalen (Group A) lost both legs to Haugar (Group B) – 0-1 and 0-3. As it was, all promoted teams had previous first division experience, so nothing new.

The happy players of Brann going back to familiar league.

First division had more dramatic season than second division. Skeid and Bodø/Glimt were too weak this year and finished at the bottom without much resistance, but the battle for escaping 10th place – the third relegation place – lasted to the very end. Molde ended 10th after in the very last round of the championship Lyn scored a winning goal in the 90th minute and thus finished with 19 points. Unlucky Molde had 18. The rest of the league was fairly equal and there was no large gap between those on top and the other clubs – 6 points divided 1st and 8th place. Nothing unusual – there was no really big club able to get together the best players of the country. The typical Norwegian team meant nothing to outsiders.

Fredrikstad – 7th with 23 points – was a fair sample: any name ringing a bell? Reidar Lund, Terje Jensen, Tore Jan Solvang, Per Egil Ahlsen, Kai Roger Olsen, Kai Erik Herlovsen, Åge Johansen, Steinar Berøe Mathisen, Frode Hansen, Tommy Warchol, Lars Sørlie, Jan Erik Audsen, Viggo Gilberg, Rino Nilsen, Lars Petter Hauge, Johnny Holberg, Frank Solvang, Stein Haugan. Perhaps the most important feature of the picture is that it was shot indoors: harsh climate kept Norwegian teams indoors often and many a picture was made in training halls.

Anyhow, bronze medals went to Lillestrom. The battle for the title, like the battle for survival down at the league bottom, lasted to the very end. 7 minutes before the final whistle Bryne was seemingly winning – they had 29 points and their rivals needed victory to top them. Yet, they were tied at 3-3… But Steinar Aase scored a 4th goal, the tiny lead was preserved in the remaining minutes and Bryne lost the title… Start finished also with 29 points, but with better goal-difference.

IK Start (Kristiansand) were happy and may be a bit lucky champions. Start won their 2nd title – and last so far – enjoying the best period in their long history.

The Cup final opposed Valerengen to Lillestrom. Since Lillestrom was one of the top Norwegian clubs in the 1970s and Valerengen was mid-table club normally, the winner would have been easily predictable… but predictions were not safe thing in Norway: Valerengen destroyed Lillestrom 4-1.

This was historic victory for ‘the Bohemians’ – first ever Cup! And there only 2nd trophy – the first was the champions title in 1965. Valerengen or Valerengens IF, or, more recently Valerenga Fotball – the name may be confusing, but the club belongs to and is name after the neighbourhood of Vålerenga in Oslo.The name is also pronounced Vål’enga by the fans, so go figure. It was founded in 1913, but the roots are deeper, just to make bigger confusion: the history of Vålerenga goes back to Fotballpartiet Spark which was founded in 1898, which became Idrettslaget Spring on 29 July 1913. Later the club changed its name to Vaalerengens Idrættsforening. Got the name at last?

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland – nothing new, nothing exciting. Ups and downs in the professional league every year with little significance.

Glenavon (Lurgan) were strong in 1978-79, reaching UEFA Cup spot – apparently exhausted by the effort, they slipped down to 9th place in 1979-80. Three clubs finished behind them. Good season enjoyed Glentoran (Belfast) – 3rd, and Ballymena United – 2nd. And way above every other club was familiar name – Linfield. The usual champions… they finished 9 points ahead of Ballymena United, collecting one more and entirely routine title.

The champions left nothing to other clubs: they reached the Cup final too, and promptly won 2-0 over city rivals Crusaders. The statisticians website records 2-0 victory; the Irish newspaper bellow – 2-1. Whatever the result…

A double for Linfield (Belfast) and Peter Rafferty was perhaps becoming familiar name and face around Europe, thanks to repetition of local success. Crusaders (Linfield) earned a spot in the Cup Winners Cup as losing finalists, and Ballymena United won the single Irish spot in the UEFA Cup.



Wales. May be unjustly placed with the likes of Cyprus, may be not. Welsh clubs enjoyed strong time, but they played in the English leagues. And the Cup was peculiar by UEFA standards, for technically ‘foreign’ clubs were allowed to participate.

One of them, as it happened often in the Cup’s history, reached the final – Shrewsbury Town. The other finalist was Welsh – Newport County AFC. Internationally, it was OK – even if the English club won, Wales was going to be represented in the Cup Winners Cup by the losing finalist. But it was better than that – Newport won both legs of the final: 2-1 and 3-0.

Newport County was lowly even for a Welsh club – if they played professional football at all, it was in the 4th division, hardly something noticeable. But this was the best ever season of the small club – they won promotion to 3rd division and they won the Cup for the first time.

A historic victory, considering that Wales had its own ‘big clubs’ – Cardiff City and particularly Swansea Town, which enjoyed its best years exactly at that time, climbing up to the 1st English division. First trophy is a great moment in the history of any club, but in the case of Newport County it turned out to be the greatest moment ever, for the 1979-80 success was never repeated again – it remains the only trophy won by the club, which hit hard times almost 10 years later and disappeared for awhile. Since the distant future was unknown, the club enjoyed the moment – and more: after winning promotion and Cup, they had excellent run in the Cup Winners Cup. However, even this was still unknown yet.


Cyprus had one more transitional season – for a second year continued the reduction of the top division, which now consisted of 15 teams. Two team were relegated and one promoted in order of achieving the typical for the country league of 14 members. Apart from that, the season was marked by change of guard – the two strongest clubs were unquestionably best, but exchanged places.

The exile Nea Salamina (Famagusta) won the second league and the single promotion – a quick return of the usual first division member to their natural environment.

The two rivals from the city of Paphos were to play their derby in the next season as well, but in the lower league. Both finished with 19 points, goal difference placed APOP above Evagoras, but… we are talking of the last two places in first division. Both teams were relegated – and not surprisingly, for they played more often in second division than in the first. Above them it was business as usual without anything upsetting or really surprising. Six positions in the league were determined by goal-difference – that was perhaps the most characteristic feature of this season. Last place was decided by goal-difference and so was the title. Yet, the league as a whole was either above or bellow these struggles. Perhaps one club must be mentioned from the bulk:

Keravnos Strovolos, the tiny club from Nicosia, which hardly ever played among the best, managed to finish safely 12th – on better goal-difference too. A big success really – they were not expected to stay in the league, and escaping relegation was what success meant in their case. Meantime, Pezoporikos (Larnaca) finished 3rd – confidently above rivals, but not for a second a title contender. They finished with 33 points. The two clubs above them had 48 points each.

The usual suspects – Omonia and APOEL – raced head to head to the end. Omonia lost just one match and had the best defense. APOEL won the most matches and had the best striking record. At the end, a single goal decided winners from losers: APOEL had +53 goal-difference and Omonia +52.

APOEL triumphed over their arch-rivals by a single goal, but it was very sweet victory indeed – their first since 1973, finally breaking Omonia’s monopoly.

The Cup finals reversed the roles: APOEL did not reach it, but Omonia, which played for the last time Cup final in 1974 did, opposing Alki (Larnaca). Alki, traditionally not even the top club in their own city, had no chances – as ever, they were among those fighting for survival in the league, where they ended 11th. The difference of class was obviously not in their favour and they lost the final, as expected – 1-3.

Omonia lost the title, but on the other hand won the Cup – a trophy, which they did not hold since 1974. It was Omonia champions and APOEL Cup winners in the recent years, but now the roles reversed. APOEL in particular wished the new disposition to remain in the future.