The UEFA Cup. Perhaps one of the most intriguing issues of the tournament. First of all, no English, Spanish, and Italian club reached the third round. To a point, fate played a role, the draw opposing teams from the top football leagues early. But it was not just poor luck – the decline of the leading nations was noticeable for some time. Thus, there were few upsets: Carl Zeiss (DDR) won both legs against West Bromwich Albion and Dynamo Dresden (DDR) also did so against Atletico Madrid in the first round. In the second round Universitatea Craiova (Romania) eliminated Leeds United, winning both legs 2-0. The results were unusual, but hardly front page news: Atletico Madrid and Leeds United were in decline; WBA – not really strong. The tournament manifested the leading position of West German football in a very special way: West Germany had 5 participants this year and all of them reached the ¼ finals – only at this stage elimination of one German team became inevitable, for at least one pair had to be between Germans. The draw was favourable and as a result the ½ finals were entirely German – for the first time the last 4 teams represented one country. Luck was on German side, but there was no doubt about the quality of the teams: they eliminated whoever they played with.

The other memorable event was the great run of the modest Bulgarian Lokomotiv (Sofia). In the first round they faced Ferencvaros (Budapest) and eliminated the Hungarians 3-0 and 0-2. Lokomotiv faced Monaco in the 1/16 finals and won 4-2 and 1-2. The matches with Monaco instantly became a legend – Lokomotiv’s star Atanas (Nachko) Mikhailov scored all 5 goals. For this he was nicknamed Monachko – a pun, combining the name of the opponents and the name fans used to call him lovingly: Mo-nachko. But this was still nothing – in the 1/8 finals Lokomotiv was paired with Dinamo (Kiev). To all, it was the end: Dinamo, although not great, was overwhelming favourite, but political arguments weighted more than purely football ones. In Bulgaria, everybody was certain that Lokomotiv will be ordered to lose without a fight. Already Dinamo played against Bulgarian team – in the first round they met CSKA (Sofia) and eliminated the strongest Bulgarian team 2-1 and 1-1. The results were misleading: Dynamo was far from great, but CSKA made sure that Kiev will go ahead. It was not for the first time and it was taken for granted that Bulgarian team will put no resistance against Soviet club. So, the first leg was surprising: Lokomotiv won 1-0 in Sofia. Nachko Mikhailov scored from free kick – his trade-mark. Still, nobody believed in final victory. The advantage was fragile, the referee for the second leg was Hungarian, and Dynamo was objectively the stronger squad. Lokomotiv had fair chance against earlier opponents: Ferencvaros and Monaco played football suitable for Lokomotiv – technical and relatively slow. Both teams had no great stars. Dynamo was entirely different: fast, physical, domineering the field. Lokomotiv’s defensive style, based on slower tempo, allowing the opponents to attack was not going to work against such an opponent: Lokomotiv depended on counter-attacks left to the imagination of Nachko Mikhailov, who was fat, slow, and too egoistic most of the time – it was clear that the Soviets will shadow him closely and block his individual efforts. So was expected, although the first leg already showed that Dynamo was not really able to stop one of the all-time best Bulgarians. The match in Kiev crushed wisdom, certainties, and expectations. Lokomotiv surprised everyone, including Dynamo’s players, with fighting spirit. Dynamo attacked, but they were lacking imagination and this helped the defensive style of Lokomotiv. With time, surprise changed to frustration: Dynamo realized they were facing determined and concentrated foe, not at all giving up. Since Lobanovsky was ruthless coach, the match turned ugly – the Soviets tackled fiercely and dangerously and the referee just allowed brutality. If the match was played today, it would be over by half-time, for Dynamo would have too many players send off to continue. But back at the end of the 1970s there was no problem with players clearly looking to break the legs of the opponents. Still, Dynamo scored 2 goals in the first half and looked like they will win, however unjustly. Lokomotiv retaliated to the brutal approach and eventually Khapsalis (Dinamo) and Stoykov (Lokomotiv) were sent off. After the match Soviet commentators lamented the expulsion of Khapsalis, for he was the most dangerous striker of their team at the moment (Blokhin just came back from injury and not at his best yet), but a quick look at the other side tells different story: the referee was blind only to Soviet brutality and provocations – he showed 3 yellow cards to Bulgarian players (Arsov, Dimitrov, and Vassilev) and expelled Dimitrov for second offense. He and Stoykov were the central defenders of Lokomotiv and both were send off, thus opening a big gap. Khapsalis was expelled only because of the fight between him and Stoykov – there was no option, but to expel both. Not a single Soviet player was carded for his own offenses, some of which were gruesome. Yet, Lokomotiv fought bravely and in the 70th minute Nachko Mikhailov had the ball. He saw the opportunity, quickly made a long pass to the only Bulgarian in Dinamo’s half of the field, Nako Doychev, who replaced the right full-back Zhelev in the 31st minute. The young striker made a mighty kick from a great distance and scored. 2-1. To the end of the match Dynamo attacked fruitlessly. Lokomotiv won, thanks to their away goal. It was unbelievable, but true.

Lokomotiv had little chances for the ¼ finals – 5 West German teams, Saint Etienne, and Zbrojovka (Brno). Only the Czechoslovaks were beatable opponent, but Lady Luck was not on Bulgarian side – the draw paired them with Stuttgart. In the euphoria, following the great victory over Dinamo (Kiev), Stuttgart was perceived as a beatable opponent. Bulgarian observers were quite wrong in their estimation: Stuttgart was not strong during the 1970s, but at the moment was up and coming team. The fairy-tale ended – the Germans were superior and easily eliminated Lokomotiv 3-0 and 1-0. Unfortunately, Lokomotiv had limited squad and there were no replacements of the key players suspended after the match in Kiev. No matter – it was fantastic run, still remembered and praised. Remembered not only for what happened on the pitch, but also for what happened in the aftermath of the epic battle with Dynamo (Kiev).

Nachko Mikhailov at his best. Lokomotiv was the underdog against Dinamo, but… Nachko is surrounded by Bessonov, Kolotov, Konkov, Romensky, Buryak, Veremeev, and Berezhnoy, and they are unable to stop him. Bessonov, personal marker of Mikhailov, is left behind. No wonder the Soviet stars were increasingly frustrated. As for Nachko – perhaps this was his greatest season: 5 goals in the net of Monaco; a winning goal in the home leg against Dinamo, and the great pass to Doychev, who scored in Kiev. As for Bessonov… well, he left his mark on the legs of Nachko, who was unable to walk after the second match.

Lokomotiv (Sofia) 1979-80. Third row from left: A. Elenkov, G. Stankov, R. Goranov, Y. Stoykov, N. Donev, N. Zhelev, G. Bonev.

Middle row: V. Metodiev – coach, T. Sokolov, K. Petkov, B. Velichkov, A. Kolev, N. Spassov, N. Doychev, D. Donkov – assistant coach.

Crouching: A. Mikhailov, I. Vassilev, B. Dimitrov, V. Arssov, I. Dangov, G. Stefanov.

A nice, but limited squad, immediately presenting the predicament of small clubs: A. Mikhailov, R. Goranov, T. Sokolov, G. Bonev, Y. Stoykov, A. Kolev, B. Dimitrov, and V. Arssov were well known Bulgarian players of whom only V. Arssov did not play for the national team. But they were regulars since 1971 and 30 years old at the end of the decade. Behind them only two players were becoming stars – B. Velichkov and N. Donev. Young talent was also scarce – N. Zhelev and N. Doychev. Experienced, but getting too old first team and no strong reserves. Actually, no back-ups at some posts at all – no other central defenders than Stoykov and B. Dimitrov, for instance. But Lokomotiv had great coach – perhaps the best ever Bulgarian coach – Vassil Metodiev. He utilized his limited resources in full and was excellent tactician and motivator. He made Lokomotiv champions in 1978 and was the instrumental for their great run in the UEFA Cup. Yet, this was the swan song of the aging squad – Metodiev achieved more than ever dreamed, for on top of having short and limited team, he had to improvise constantly: for instance, Sokolov was suspended and unable to play against Dinamo. The full back Stefanov took his place in midfield. After the second leg with Dinamo Dimitrov and Stoykov were suspended too and against Stuttgart Lokomotiv had no central defenders at all. But this was nothing compared to other punishments and misfortunes following the elimination of Dinamo (Kiev). Beating a Soviet team was not taken lightly – the Communist Party (not the club!) sacked Vassil Metodiev immediately. He was blacklisted for years and few years later, when coaching Levsky-Spartak and eliminated same Dinamo (Kiev) again, troubles and punishments followed again. Nothing was said at the time, but the speedy winger Ivan Dangov was more than injured by Dynamo players: everybody saw the viscious tackle after which Dangov had to be replaced in the second leg, but nobody saw what happened next: Dangov’s testicles were sliced and had to be removed. After facing Lobanovsky’s stars, Dangov ended an eunuch… The player was unable to come in terms with losing his manhood and committed suicide. Somehow, the great success of Lokomotiv doomed the heroes: Boko Dimitrov died stone-deaf and in extreme poverty. Nachko Mikhailov’s fate was not nice either. Almost all players were quickly forgotten after their retirement from the game. Such were the times… the ruling Communists considered football part of politics and elimination of Soviet team was practically equal to anti-Communist statement, a political crime almost.

At the ¼ finals the first West German casualty came at last: 1. FC Kaiserslautern was beaten by Bayern 1-0 and 1-4. Well, one had to be eliminated here. The rest of the West German teams had no problems – Stuttgart won both legs against Lokomotiv (Sofia) and so did Borussia (Moenchengladbach) against Saint Etienne. Only Zbrojovka (Brno) managed to win against Germans, but it was too late – after losing 1-4 in Frankfurt, the Czechs won 3-2 at home for consolation. Historic semi-finals followed: all participants from one country. The opponents knew each other more than well, had no inhibitions, but great ambitions, and played the same kind of football. A lot was at stake, for the opponents had long history behind them to spur desires, to settle scores, to take revenge, and simply to win. Everything was decided on home turf and the second leg was actually decisive: hosts won the first leg – Stuttgart – Borussia 2-1, and Bayern – Eintracht 2-0. The second leg the losers just put aside caution and rushed ahead. Borussia’s win – 2-0 – was more or less expected. Eintracht’s, however, was less so and if it was, not by such result: they destroyed Bayern 5-1. True, it was not an easy victory, but took extra time after the regular match finished 2-0. Eintracht and Borussia reached the final.

Borussia went to its 4th UEFA Cup final – so far, they won the Cup twice, the second time in the previous year. One of the best clubs of the 1970s, Borussia had the experience and also the desire to add one more trophy to its collection. Eintracht never won European trophy and played a final only once – in 1960, when they lost to Real (Madrid) 3-7 the final for the European Champions Cup. History is history, but German teams have enough motivation anyway and a battle between two German teams is extremely competitive. Perhaps Borussia was a bit in disadvantage – hard to say why today, but they hosted Eintracht at their own stadium,which is small. Normally, Borussia plays important matches at bigger stadiums in nearby cities to provide room for more supporters. Important or not, the difference is great: Borussia played in front of 25 000 at home and in front of 59 000 in Frankfurt. The ’12th player’ was numerous and very loud in the second leg, but was not supporter of Borussia. On the pitch, it was German business as usual – fast, attacking, uncompromising, physical football.

Who will win? The 1974 World champion or the guy who never played for West Germany? The world champion never won a German title or an international club trophy. The second-rater had a few German titles and two UEFA cups already.

Final 1st Leg, Bökelberg, Moenchengladbach, 7 May 1980, att 25000


Borussia M’gladbach (1) 3 Eintracht Frankfurt (1) 2

37′ 0-1 E: Karger

44′ 1-1 B: Kulik

71′ 1-2 E: Hoelzenbein

76′ 2-2 B: Matthaeus

88′ 3-2 B: Kulik


Borussia M’gladbach

Kneib; Hannes, Schäfer, Schäffer, Ringels; Matthäus, Kulik, Nielsen(Thychosen); Del’Haye (Boedeker), H.Nickel, Lienen

Eintracht Frankfurt

Pahl; Pezzey, Neuberger, Körbel, Ehrmanntraut; Lorant, Hölzenbein(Nachtweih), Borgers, B.Nickel; Cha, Karger (Trapp)



Final 2nd Leg, Mainstadion, Frankfurt, 21 May 1980, att 59000


Eintracht Frankfurt (0) 1 Borussia M’gladbach (0) 0

81′ 1-0 E: Schaub


Eintracht Frankfurt

Pahl; Pezzey, Neuberger, Körbel, Ehrmanntraut; Lorant, Hölzenbein, Borgers, B.Nickel; Cha, Nachtweih (Schaub)

Borussia M’gladbach

Kneib; Boedeker, Hannes, Schäfer, Ringels; Matthäus (Thychosen),Fleer, Kulik, Nielsen (Del’Haye); H.Nickel, Lienen

Borussia won the home leg with difficulty – 3-2, after Eintracht had twice the advantage. Interestingly, Borussia scored two goals at the very end of the playing time – equalizer in the 44th minute of the first half, and the winning goal in the 88th minute. Kulik scored both goals – no wonder he was captaining Borussia. The second leg was similarly equal, but Eintracht was tiny bit more dangerous in attack. The only goal came late – the substitute Schaub scored in 81st minute. A goal is a goal, but one could blame Borussia’s defense, which was often shaky anyway. Kneib was not quick enough to react – unfortunate, but typical problem of very tall goalkeepers, when the ball is low and goes to the corner of the net. Anyway, Eintracht scored the winning goal and the Cup was theirs after a tough final.

A great picture of the new winners – Bum Kun Cha triumphal with the UEFA Cup, but this is a strange photo: shirt advertisement was still banned in the international tournaments and the finalists played with plain shirts. Yet, the winners appear with their usual domestic kit:

Great moment indeed – Eintracht with well deserved first European trophy. First and… so far last. In the real time, it was wonderful to see a new winner. In retrospect, it was the end of an era – both finalists were already in decline. Neither will be ever the same, both stepping down from leading positions. The 1980 final was a victory of the old guard – the new Bayern and the up and coming Stuttgart were not fully ready to rule and were eliminated in the ½ finals by teams already going down, but still strong enough. The sad truth was that neither UEFA Cup finalist represented something fresh.

Borussia, although a worthy finalist, failed to win a third UEFA Cup. Perhaps rightly so – it was no longer the exciting team of the early 1970s. Inevitably, the great stars stepped down and now former reserves and mere supporting players lead the team: Kulik, Nickel, Danner, Hannes, Klinkhammer. The current star was Del’Haye – a player, who never came even close to his predecessor Heynckes. The sad truth was that Borussia was lead by second-raters, easily confirmed – the current leaders were not national team players. They were determined, fit, eager, but lacked finesse and imagination. The finals showed the players’ limitations: Del’Haye disappointed in the first leg, was replaced, and did not start the second leg (but came out nevertheless, replacing Nielsen). Lothar Matthaus, the brightest new German hope, had to be substituted by Tychosen (himself still not good enough for regular place in the team). The defense was shaky and there was no player even approximately similar to Vogts. Kulik was the best player, at least in the final, but he was not Wimmer, and there was no point even mentioning Netzer. Lienen, the best and most dangerous striker in the second leg of the final, was more determined and willing left-winger than really dangerous. Heynckes scored plenty of goals – Lienen did not and it was even difficult to imagine him scoring. It was team going down, not up… Matthaus was soon to leave and there was nobody else. Even Heynckes was not impressive – the young coach did not show anything inspiring yet: his team was quite predictable in tactics and style. The era of Borussia was closing, that was sure. And Borussia somewhat never fulfilled the expectations – they were one of the top teams in the 1970s, but never reached the top, never dominated the European scene.

The brand new UEFA Cup winners: third row, from left: Hübler – trainer, Grabowski, Nickel, Lorant, Borchers, Karger, Schaub, Nachtweih, Hölzenbein, Schmidt-Rönnau – masseur.

Middle row: Rausch – coach, Von Thümen – Président, Schulte – assistant coach, Lottermann, Körbel, Gruber, Pezzey, Trapp, Cha Bum, Ehrmantraut, Arda – condition trainer, Klug -Manager.

Sitting: Neuberger, Funk, Pahl, Müller.

Well deserving winners, no doubt – Eintracht was the slightly better team at the finals. More balanced and more dangerous. But… they were also a team of the past. Grabowski was no longer playing. Holzenbein was getting old. Gone were the times when Eintracht was expected to become the third great West German team, equal to Bayern and Borussia. A few spectacular international failures happened – Eintracht did not live up to expectations and, with time, it became clear that they will not have great selection. By the end of the 1980s Eintracht, like Borussia, run on inertia. Korbel was rapidly becoming the symbol of the club – sturdy, reliable, fit, yet, never a true star. His few appearances for the national team were already in a distant past. For Nickel, Lorant, Borchers one thing was sure – they were not going to be at the level of Grabowski and Holzenbein. More like Korbel – dependable second-raters. And the East German refugees Pahl and Nachtweih were not to be superstars either. Yet, Eintracht had two great players – the Austrian libero Pezzey, one of the best in the world at the time, dubbed ‘the new Beckenbauer’, and the exciting South Korean striker Bum Kun Cha. Cha was especially dangerous in the second leg against Borussia, clearly making the difference between winners and losers. The Korean was seen more as a novelty at that time – the first South Korean player to play in West Germany and Europe, and the second Asian to shine in the Bundesliga, after the Japanese striker Okudera won the Bundesliga with Koln in 1978. Bum Kun Cha arrived in 1978 and joined Darmstadt 98 – he played a single match for them, not a great beginning. However, Eintracht saw his potential and sighed him in 1979 – Cha delivered, quickly becoming a key player of the team and a Bundesliga star. Having two great players was not enough, unfortunately – Eintracht was slowly going downhill. Winning the UEFA Cup was great, but in a way, a victory coming too late. It was a closing of an era, closing of the 1970s football. Yet, winners are winners and in the final Eintracht was the more convincing team. Too bad Grabowski was not playing…

Fred Schaub, the little known young substitute, scores the winning goal for Eintracht.

Happy Eintracht after the goal. Observe their shirts – no adds, as regulated by UEFA.

Big change is coming! No, no the way the game is played, but how it is represented. Bruno Pezzey is still dressed in his plain playing shirt. His teammate holds the UEFA Cup in new shirt, displaying the name of the sponsor – Minolta. Erosion of the rules… yes, they have to play in plain shirts, but after the match? When shirts are exchanged with the other team or thrown to the delighted crowd, or are just too wet to wear? Rules say nothing about the time after the match – and Eintracht posed in their usual shirts with the name of their sponsor. And soon UEFA will give up. The 1980s started.

West Germany the Cup

The German Cup final opposed clubs different from Bayern and Hamburger SV – both finalists reached their peak a bit back and one thing was painfully clear about them: neither was going to be stronger. Decline was not pronounce yet, but it was mostly inertia keeping them going. 1. FC Koln and Fortuna Dusseldorf. Of course, the final was competitive and neither team gave up. 2-1 was the result at the end – Fortuna won. Interesting: the finalists were the Cup winners of the last three years – Koln won the Cup in 1977 and 1978. Fortuna – in 1979 and now for a second year in a row. In 1978 Koln won over Fortuna – now it was the other way around.

Happy winners, of course.

1. FC Koln lost by a single goal – may be unlucky. Seemingly, the team had the players for success – Bernd Cullmann, Dieter Muller, Tony Schumacher, Harald Konopka. Bernd Schuster burst out this season, instantly seen as the great German player for the coming decade. And in his steps followed Pierre Littbarski. Yet, in the same time it was clear that 1. FC Koln will not build a dynasty similar to Bayern and Borussia, dominating the 1970s. The lost final kind of confirmed the suspicions: Koln enjoyed its best years in a short period – 1977 and 1978 – and although keeping strong, was not going to be a big winner. Successful occasionally, but nothing more than that.

Fortuna was peculiar. Strong for may be 5 years already, but made mostly of solid second-raters. It was hoped that they could be the next big German club in the past, but not anymore. It was even felt that Fortuna already passed its peak and was getting down – slowly, but down. Ironically, it was that time they achieved their big triumphs, winning the Cup twice in a row. The team was always made of players like Baltes – never prime stars. Zewe and Seel were getting too old. The future of the team consisted of 2 players – the brothers Klaus and Thomas Allofs. Hardly enough and it was not all that certain Fortuna could keep the brothers. In the championship the team was already slipping down. But they won the Cup again, running against logic: Fortuna’s most successful years were precisely when decline was detected.


West Germany I Division

The Bundesliga was the place to be, but this season the top European championship was a carbon copy of the German second division. Much stronger, of course, yet, clearly divided into 3 parts – 2 hopeless outsiders at the bottom, fairly equal main bulk, and 2 favourites way above the rest of the league.

Eintracht (Braunschweig) was dead last with 20 points – hardly a surprise. They were the only team winning less than matches in this championship. They were also the only team scoring less than 1 goal per game average: 32 goals in 34 matches. The next weak scorers were Schalke 04 with 40 goals. Nothing really strange… Eintracht were never strong and their main aim was survival. Perhaps their squad explains the disastrous season: their best players were veterans, who reached their peak in the first half of the 1970s – Franke, the Yugoslavian Popivoda, and Worm. Players of the past.

The other outsider was also expected failure, although such a collapse was perhaps unexpected. Werder (Bremenn) had weak 1970s, staying in the lower part of the table year after year. This year they were not even able to fight for survival – 25 points was 5 points better than Braunschweig, but also 4 points less than the 16th placed. Werder scored lots of goals – 52 – but received much more. Actually, they ended with the worst defensive record – 93 goals. The next leaky defense belonged to Fortuna (Dusseldorf) – 72 goals. Werder allowed in their net nearly 3 goals per game average!

The squad was nothing much, of course, but still one can feel sorry for a newcomer – the English national team central-defender Dave Watson came to play in Germany, following Keegan and Woodcock. And immediately faced relegation… Well, Watson was hardly a stranger to second division football, but what a disappointment. With the relegation of Werder the number of the original members of the Bundesliga was further reduced – only a handful of the initial Bundesliga remained constant members.

Nine clubs – half the league – were concerned with escaping relegation. The unlucky one was decided by goal-difference: MSV Duisburg, Bayer Uerdingen, and Hertha West Berlin finished with 29 points. Hertha had the worst goal-difference and ended 16th.

Somewhat strangely Hertha was unable to build strong team – it was notoriously up and down club, more often down. Money was a problem and may be because of that Hertha’s squads were always strange: oldish stars were frequently hired for a season or two, but serious team-building was never done. This year Kleff, one of the best goalkeepers of the 1970s, was at hand – and ones again, it was a player already beyond his peak. Of course, Kleff was not alone – there were few more good players and one of the top German coaches at the time, but chemistry was wrong. Hertha was relegated.

Up the table was the large group of fairly equal teams – stretched from 16th to 5th place. In the middle of the table were those already declining – Borussia Moenchengladbach (7th), Schalke 04 (8th) – those not improving for some time – Fortuna Dusseldorf (11th), Eintracht Frankfurt (9th), and 1. FC Koln (5th), and those, who were pretty much the same all the time – clubs like MSV Duisburg, VfL Bochum. Only one club was seemingly rising: Borussia Dortmund.

6th this season with 36 points. Not really strong, but a promising team – Burgsmuller, Votava, Geyer, Freund, Immel. Coached by Udo Lattek. Not first rate yet, but the crisis of the early 1970s was over and Borussia was seemingly on the right track. How far they would go remained to be seen.

The ‘bulk’ was topped by slightly stronger then most teams, which competed for third place – but nothing more than that. 1.FC Kaiserslautern and VfB Stuttgart. Up and coming Stuttgart, not ready for competing for the title yet, and notoriously fluctuating Kaiserslautern, having a good season. Shoulder to shoulder to the end – the opponents finished not only with equal points – 41 – but also with exactly the same goal-difference – 75-53. Perhaps head-to-head record determined the final positions – Kaiserslautern was placed 4th.

Unpredictable team, but having young promising coach – Feldkamp, and depending on strong group of players: some familiar for years – Hellstrom, Gaye, Bongartz, Wendt – and some bright young players of the next generation, rapidly becoming famous – Topmoller, Briegel, Groh. Good year, but one was reluctant to bet on the Lauters.

Stuttgart was lucky to get bronze medals, but they were noticed earlier as the rapidly climbing up team.

Still not the polished product – a bunch of highly promising young players: Karl-Heinz and Bernd Forster, Ohlicher, Roleder; some veterans – Volkert and the Yugoslav Holcer; and some reliable, but not great professionals like Hadewicz and the Austrian Hattenberger. And the big current star in the middle of it: Hansi Muller. Stuttgart needed a little bit further shaping, a bit of minor changes to be ready to conquer the Bundesliga. They were not yet close to best.

Above the league were revived Bayern and Hamburger SV – the best teams this season. They fought to the end for the title. Hamburger SV outscored Bayern by 2 goals – 86 to 84, but Bayern won 2 more matches and Hamburger SV finished 2nd with 48 points. 7 points ahead of Stuttgart – the top clubs were never concerned of any other club, but only of each other.

HSV perhaps lacked a bit of character, for there was no other reason for losing the title: they had the best squad at the moment. Buljan, Hrubesch, Jacobs, Memering, Hieronymus, Reimann, Hartwig, Nogly, Hidien, Kargus – a great mix of experienced veterans and talented youngsters. And three superstars – Kaltz, Magath, and Keegan. One in every line, conducting the team. Magath was perhaps the relative newcomer to stardom, but in this season he was recognized as the rival of Hansi Muller. The coach Branco Zebec needs no introduction too. Wonderful team, but they lost the title, however minimally. Character… well, everything was going to be strengthened soon – with a new coach, a master of character building and motivation.

Bayern was overwhelming champion – 22 wins, 6 ties, and 6 losses. They scored slightly less goals than HSV and had slightly better defensive record. The rivals lost exactly the same number of fixtures – 6 each – so the title was determined by another factor: HSV ended with 8 ties and 20 wins; Bayern – 6 ties and 22 wins. Thus, 2 points of difference were built. Character won – Bayern always excelled in that. It was great moment – Bayern ended its slump, had a new team at last, andwon their first title since 1974. Their 5th title, which equaled them with Borussia Moenchengladbach, but the Bavarians were still trailing their arch-rivals by Bundesliga titles. No matter – they came back, were on winning track again, and started the new decade on top – meantime, Borussia was declining.

Pal Csernai was instrumental, although not a coach as great as Lattek or Cajkovski. But he broke at last the stigma of the great team of the first half of the 1970s and used whatever players he had at hand well. It was different generation and Csernai utilized its strength,which was not refine andht skilful mastership of great players, but physical, determined, and disciplined approach, compensating the lack of great skills. The return of Paul Breitner was instrumental – he obviously understood well that his team-mates were not at all Beckenbauers and Mullers and proclaimed that football is a war. A war should be fought with only one objective: winning it, no matter how. Breitner took the reigns of the team, spurring it by foul language whenever he felt motivation was lacking. To a point, the new Bayern did not deserve so skilful player, but Breitner did not mind much and adapted – it was enough to have one player with skill and imagination, if the rest run like hell and keep discipline. Rummennige, the other superstar in the squad, more than welcomed Breitner – at last there was somebody to organize the flow and give great passes. The rest were largely helpers… and the whole make of the team was quite ordinary. Maier and Schwarzenbeck were out – both played symbolic role this season, no longer key players. The second raters of the old Bayern were at hand: Durnberger, Gruber, Kraus, Horsmann. Precisely the backbone of the new Bayern – they were with the team for years, always dependable and reliable, but with limited abilities. None ever became a star – they were just support players in great physical shape. And to this group were added more similar to the reliable bunch – Augenthaler, Dremler, Dieter Hoeness, Niedermayer, and Junghans. Junghans was the least satisfying – true, it was almost impossible for anyone to shine after the era of Sepp Maier, but Bayern needed better goalkeeper than only a reliable one. Junghans had a good season, but he was not a permanent solution and goalkeeping remained a problem for some time. Perhaps because the new Bayern was too mechanical and ordinary they needed great keeper – defensive mistakes happened and they were costly. As a whole, this Bayern was not exciting team to watch – they were workers, mechanical, methodical, good warriors, never giving up, but hardly pleasant to watch. The new German football was shaping – it was based not on excellence, but on determination and will. Breitner realized it and accepted the reality, but it was still too bad that he – an excellent player – had to articulate the football model of the 1980s. Run, fight, prevail, and to hell with beauty. Well, it worked… Bayern won and the more exciting team, Hamburger SV, finished below. Who can argue with winners?


West Germany II Division South

The Southern group was similar to the Northern. Three outsiders, two of which way bellow the rest of the league. Relatively equal bulk up to 4th place. Separate team, stronger than the main clubs, but weaker than the favourites, at 3rd place, and something like like a duel between 2 teams for the top spot. This season the Southern group had 21 members.

With 21 points FV Wurzburg was dead last. The only team with less than 10 wins in the league.

Rochling (Volklingen) was a place above with 22 points. Anything memorable about them? They allowed 101 goals in their net, if this could be a distinction.

MTV Ingolstadt was much stronger than two teams at the very bottom – they finished with 29 points. But they were not really close to the next team – FV Frankfurt, the last of the main bulk of teams, ended with 32 points in safety.

Above the three relegated clubs, nothing much interesting.

Kickers (Offenbach) had good years in the first half of the 70s, but now were middle-of-the-road second division club – they finished 8th with 43 points, better than Freiburger FC only on goal-difference. The top of the bulk was not far ahead:

1. FC Saarbrucken was 5th with 47 points. SV Darmstadt 98 was 4th with 48 points. The Bundesliga was not a concern for most of the league – nor was relegation.

Stuttgarter Kickers was on its own – stronger than the typical league, but nothing to do with promotion.

Third with 52 points – 4 points clear from Darmstadt, but 7 points behind the 2nd placed team.

At least the Southern group was not dominated by one club – Karlsruher SC and 1. FC Nurnberg competed almost to the end the season. Karlsruher scored the most goals in the league – 104 – but lost the battle at the end by 2-point difference.

26 wins, 9 ties, 5 losses, 88-38 goal-difference, and 62 points – enough for finishing first. Here are the champions in their most important match of the season – against Karlsruher SC in the 40th round:

From left: Norbert Eder, Bernhard Hartmann, Horst Weyerich, Peter Stocker, Siegfried Susser, Herbert Heidenreich, Jan Majkowski, Bertram Beierlorzer, Jürgen Täuber, Detlef Szymanek, Reinhold Hintermaier.

Once again 1. FC Nurnberg was returning to top flight, and once again had not a team for anything significant there – apart from Norbert Eder, no really strong players. But great for the moment – champions of the Southern Second Division, directly promoted.

The runners-up of the two groups had one more chance for promotion: the play-off between Karlsruher SC and Rot-Weiss Essen took place in June. Karlsruher SC hosted the first leg and they took full advantage of home turf, destroying Rot-Weiss 6-1. A week later it was just a protocol match: Rot-Weiss tried to break the odds, but it was impossible. They won 3-1, which was at least a good effort. However, not enough for promotion – Karlsruher won 6-4 on aggregate and were promoted to first division.

Rot-Weiss (Essen) – the losers of the play-off and rightly so. They finished 2nd in the North, but were not even close to the champion Arminia.

Karlruher SC lost direct promotion at the very end of the season, but not their second chance. Well done at the end.

So, the three promoted clubs were Arminia Bielefeld, 1. FC Nurnberg, and Karlsruher SC. All had played Bundesliga football before. Neither appeared to be up and coming team. It was familiar picture by now: former members of the Bundesliga were the winners of the Second Division, quite easily. Most of the second level clubs were not even close to the few favourites, which in their turn were nothing special and after going up were soon relegated again.


West Germany II Division North

West Germany was recognized as having the best league football already and the turning the new decade was met optimistically. After the end of the season optimism would be cemented with European title, won by exciting national team. Yet, not everything worked as well as desired. The professional second division was problematic – it was clear by now that most participants were really small ones, not able to compete for promotion. The second division became somewhat predictable – former members of the Bundesliga were stronger than the rest, but they were not getting stronger. So far, only one promoted from second division club disrupted the status quo – Wuppertaler SV. It was a meteoric rise, followed immediately by a fall: Wuppertaler SV was relegated right after winning medals and by the end of the 1970s they were among the outsiders of the second level. Few cities were represented by more than one club – Hannover had 3: Hannover 96, OSV Hannover, and Arminia Hannover; Koln -2: Viktoria and Fortuna; Freiburg – 2: SC Freiburg and Freiburger FC; and Ingolstadt – 2: ESV and MTV – but instead of the lure of a derby, those teams only showed characteristic weakness of West German football. Peculiarly, West Germany was unable to produce 2 strong clubs in one town. The closest to that happened in the mid-60s, when TSV 1860 and Bayern were equally good, but TSV 1860 quickly faded after that. At best, a city was able to support one strong clubs and one in second division, way weaker than the first. The teams mentioned above suggested only one thing: cities unable to keep even one decent club and perhaps dispersing their resources too much to have descent football at all. A great division was already formed: about 20 strong and well organized professional clubs and huge number of small, insignificant clubs, better suited for semi-professional existence. The Germans were thinking of reforming the second division – and did that shortly after the end of this season. This year the original format only confirmed the problems: only 2 clubs competed for promotion in the Southern group and the Northern group was one-team show, without any rival.

Same with the outsiders at the bottom of the tables: Wuppertaler SV was last with 16 points in the Northern group.

Wuppertaler SV. From playing the UEFA Cup in the early 70s to starting the 80s in third division.

Arminia (Hannover) was next to last with 17 points. One last look at a club practically unknown today.

OSC Bremerhaven – 18th with 27 points. Far stronger than the last two, yet, way weaker than the rest of the league – the 17th, SC Herford finished with 31 points. Then money… the last three were relegated, as the rules stipulated, but they were joined by the 11th placed DSC Wanne-Eickel, which lost its professional license, because it was unable to meet financial requirements.

Brave season for the small club, but there was no future – not among the professionals anyway. One of the reasons in favour of reducing and reorganizing the second division: most clubs were too small to be financially stable. Playing in professional league often meant playing hide and seek with bankruptcy.

The league was gradually spread up to 4th place – Viktoria (Koln) topped the bulk of fairly equal teams, divided by a point or two. They finished with 46 points, same as SG Wattenscheid 09, but for better goal-difference. Nothing special – 3rd place was never an option this season.

Hannover 96 finished 3rd with 52 points. Obviously, way stronger than the league. But never coming aiming at first place either – Hannover 96 competed with Rot-Weiss (Essen) for second place, and lost it by 2 points.

Like Hannover 96, Rot-Weiss was a former Bundesliga member, thus, much stronger than purely second division clubs, but also not strong enough for winning the championship. Second, with 54 points, still gave them a chance: they were going to the play-off between the second division silver medalists for the third promotional spot.

Arminia (Bielefeld) dominated the championship from beginning to end. Outstanding season, really – they lost only matches, tied 6, and won 30, scoring 120 goals in the process. Amazing scoring achievement, but defense was not neglected either – Arminia allowed 31 goals, which is less than 1 goal per match.

Judging by the numbers, Arminia was seemingly experiencing a revival – the last time they were heard of was as a prime culprit in the infamous bribing scandal of the early 70s. Arminia was badly wounded by it, even looked like crushed forever. Now they were coming back, but their rise was viewed skeptically: Arminia were smallish club and their fantastic season was not that much because of great new squad, but because of generally weak league. Promotion was fine, but Arminia was expected only to battle for mere survival the next year.


England the Cups

Liverpool had a chance for a triple this season. It was a big possibility until the semi-finals of the cups. Both times Liverpool drew the strongest opponent, which in a way was even better – overcoming the real opposition early meant almost sure cup. Both times Liverpool was visiting at the first leg and both times the results heavily favoured the Reds: in the Football League Cup, they lost 0-1 in Nottingham. In the FA Cup, they drew 0-0 tie in London against Arsenal. Unfortunately, the home games did not go well – Nottingham managed to keep the result at a 1-1 tie. Liverpool was eliminated. Then an epic followed: Arsenal also managed to a 1-1 tie. A third match was scheduled and it ended again 1-1. A forth match. And here Arsenal prevailed 1-0. No cups for Liverpool, then. But what a drama and what a historic event: 4 matches were played to decide the finalist – never before and never again. The longest semi-final of all time.

Meantime the other semi-finals went on quieter note. Wolverhampton lost the first leg to 3rd Division Swindon Town 1-2, but won 3-1 at home and moved to the League Cup final. West Ham United tied their home match against Everton 1-1 and looked like the 2nd division team was a goner. But surprisingly they won in Liverpool 2-1 and reached the FA Cup final. As usual, the Football League Cup final was played first. Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Nottingham Forest. The Wolves enjoyed a strong season and Nottingham not so great, but still odds were in favour of Bryan Clough’s squad. The final was fairly equal, but eventually the Wolves scored a goal, courtesy of Gray. Nottingham failed to score and lost.

Nottingham finished empty-handed this season – but empty-handed in England. They still got a trophy, though. This was their 3rd consecutive League Cup final – and the first they lost. This was also the last domestic success for a long time – their next chance for winning a trophy will come in 1989.

Wonderful season for Wolverhampton Wanderers – it looked like the decline was over and new bright period was starting. Perhaps the happiest was Emelyn Hughes: a winner with Liverpool, the great defender was winner again. This was second Football League Cup for the Wolves, but also their last big success.

A London FA Cup final for the first time since 1975. Back than it was a battle between 1st and 2nd division clubs. Now it was the same. West Ham United appeared in both finals, but this time they were the underdog representing Second Division. Arsenal seemed too strong to be beaten by a team having so-so season in the lower division. In 1975 the 2nd division team fought bravely, but lost. But it was different this time: in another pretty much equal game a single goal was scored – like in the League Cup final. And like the other final, the unanswered goal was scored by the underdog. Trevor Brooking was the hero. West Ham United won.

Bad luck for the Gunners. Unfortunately, not a great team… coming close to winning, but only that.

Happy winners, including the teddy bear. The Hammers won their 3rd – and so far last – FA Cup. It was great not only because Hammers proved stronger than Gunners: it was a victory bringing hope to down and out club, which was quite demoralized. They had a team which should have been in first division, but suffered in the second. Winning the Cup was perhaps very important moral boost. Not to mention that they beat city rivals in good shape. Trevor Brooking proved to be still the great player,, collecting trophies. West Ham was not going to be a great club, but tough they were and winning was not to end. Yet.


England I Division


The English clubs dominated Europe and the premier league was still attractive, but there was something new: it was becoming similar to the continental leagues. There were outsiders. And there was a dominant club. The big question was who would challenge Liverpool. However, there was no match so far – one or another club had a strong season, but the next year it was someone else. The English did not particularly like that – it was boring and similar to the Continental championships, which were always looked down. To become like them meant only one thing: degrading. But concerns had little to do with battles on the pitch.

Since 1976-77 every season had outsiders and this one only continued the trend.

Bolton Wanderers were last with 25 points. Like Chelsea the previous season and Leicester City in 1977-78, the last team in the league won only 5 matches.

Derby County finished 21st with 30 points. Hardly a surprise – Derby County was sinking since 1975.

With 31 points Bristol City settled at the 20th place. It was quite clear that neither Bristol City, nor Bolton Wanderers were going to play first division football any time soon – if at all. Derby County was not expected to come back quickly either. The last 3 teams in the league were obviously weaker than the rest: Everton, 19th this season, finished 4 points ahead of Bristol. There was a gap between the outsiders and the better clubs consistently after 1976-77.

The group of declining clubs was also familiar by now: Manchester City – 17th and Leeds United – 11th, but Woolverhamton Wanderers had a strong year. Stoke City, coming back from relegation, was also in this group – by now, they were only fighting to stay in the league. Tottenham Hotspur was still shaky, but trying to build a new team and promising one too. However, so far a team good only for mid-table position. No new promising team emerged in 1979-80 – rather, the teams noticed in the previous years as going up continued their climb, with the caveat that none was going to match Liverpool. To a point, the group of West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa, and Ipswich Town reached its peak: all to be second-best. Nottingham Forest apparently reached its peak too and it was not particularly high: occasional success, but not building a dynasty. Manchester United was hoped to deliver more than they actually did. Arsenal was perhaps the best example of strong English clubs at that time: they consistently maintained a place among the best in the league. This year – 4th. But they were unable to compete for the title. Looking ahead, only two clubs seemed promising:

Tottenham Hotspur – 14th this year, but there was strong skeleton already formed: Osvaldo Ardiles, Glenn Hoddle, Mark Falco, Ricardo Villa. With some additional good players, Tottenham had a future.

Southampton took different road. They finished 8th and looked ambitious.

Unlike Tottenham, Southampton did not appear making a strong team from scratch. They preferred to hire famous veterans. The old players got a spark in a new club – at least for a season or two. Then new veterans replaced them. Mike Channon was pretty much the only true member of Southampton – he was playing for them for years. Alan Ball and Charlie George were the old stars of this year, but they were not going to last. Ivan Golac, one of the first successful foreigners in England, and Phil Boyer were seemingly going to stay longer. So far, so good – it all depended on new recruits for the next season. Seemingly, Southampton was making a team for one season at the time. How long they would be able to gamble successfully was anybody’s guess, but so far the approach worked.

From this perspective, the top of the league appeared a bit suspect.

Nottingham Forest finished 5th with 48 points. They clinched the top place of a group of rather similarly strong clubs – that is, not very strong. Far behind the really strong. Apparently, Nottingham was not to be a great club and already were falling down to the bulk of competitive upper-mid-table teams. Tony Woodcock went to play in West Germany. It was not sure that Trevor Francis, Garry Birtles, and Viv Anderson will stay with Nottingham for a long time. Brian Clough was brilliant, but his approach was peculiar – depending largely on well-known oldish players, no longer needed by their former clubs. But those were players getting older and no better – no wonder the team was already slipping down the table. The great season of 1977-78 was more and more looking like one-time wonder. The gap was opening – Arsenal finished 4 points ahead of them.

Arsenal fought with Ipswich for the bronze and lost the race by a point. Strong team, but not a title contender. May be the attempt to keep a balanced squad was the reason why – too many old players. Brady, Stapleton and O’Leary were running the show, but it was not exactly a team built around them: with the exception of Pat Jennings, Arsenal had a bunch of likely counter-productive veterans – Sammy Nelson, Malcolm Macdonald, Pat Rice, and John Hollins. They were no winners, unfortunately. Not hungry anymore.

Perhaps the reason why Ipswich Town bested Arsenal, if only by a point.

Younger and hungrier team. It was not Mick Mills and Kevin Beattie running the team, but Mariner, Brazil, Osman, Butcher, Burley, Wark. The foreign recruits were well chosen – Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen were not only solid professionals, but players eager to prove themselves after years of playing second-fiddle in their native Holland. They blended perfectly. Of course, Bobby Robson was the coach and he wanted success too. So far, bronze medals was the best his team was able of.

And good as they were, Ipswich were entirely outside the race for the title. With 53 points they finished 5 points behind the silver medalists. The battle for the title was between two teams – Liverpool and Manchester United. The opponents run together to the end, but the Red Devils lost the title by 2 points. Liverpool won one more game and that was that.

Back row: K Moran, J Nicholl, G McQueen, P Roche, G Bailey, S Paterson, A Grimes, J Jordan;

Middle row: L Brown (Physio), S McIlroy, A Ritchie, M Duxbury, T Connell, J Greenhoff, S Houston, T Cavanagh (Asst. Manager), D Sexton (Manager);

Front row: M Thomas, T Sloan, L Macari, M Buchan, R Wilkins, S Coppell and A Albiston

It looked like Manchester United were finally restoring their leadership and once again were ready to win and even dominate. A bit familiar, though… United had a squad, which judged by names should have been champion, like most of the 1970s. At a glance, 14 former, current, and future national team players. Great veterans – Macari, McIllroy, Buchan, current major stars – Jordan, McQueen, Wilkins, Coppel. Players, expected to be big stars very soon – Bailey, Nicholl. Typical Manchester United, but now the key players were clearly from newer generation, not stigmatized by the unfortunate first half of the 1970s. If anybody was going to challenge the dominance of Liverpool, it was this squad – or so it looked. They came close, they appeared ready – the next year, surely.

Liverpool were used to it by now – there was a challenger every year, but every year it was a different one too. None lasted longer – seemingly, confident Liverpool was able to destroy every opponent. One run was deadly enough – the challenger was gone, licking wounds after that. Liverpool did not dominate the league entirely, matched by Manchester United, but the two leaders left the rest far behind. At the end, Liverpool won by a small margin. Small, but it was there. 25 wins, 10 ties, 7 losses, 81-30 goal-difference. The scoring record reveals Liverpool’s supremacy: they outscored the rest of the league by far – the next best strikers, Ipswich, managed only 58 goals; and had the best defense also by far – Manchester United, with the next best defense, allowed 35 goals. Liverpool had everything – class, experience, confidence.

It was useless to count Liverpool’s titles by now. It was pointless to list the stars – the squad was world famous. The magic was working – and it was in fantastic ability of the club and its managers to recruit new players. Nothing major, hardly ever a famous player – just two or three, largely unknown guys, every year. And similar number of great aging stars were released. Liverpool sold Keegan without a second thought. Emelyn Hughes was also gone – other club perhaps would linger and keep a legendary player, but Liverpool was braver: it was time, there were new movers and shakers in the team, development required those belonging to the past to be out. And they were replaced by ‘suspect’ youngsters – a strange import from Israel – Avi Cohen (Since when Israel has football players?), Frank McGarvey (Who?), Sammy Lee (Huh?). Well, they blended well – not starters, of course, but promising support. It was familiar by now – Fairclough, Alan Hansen, Allan Kennedy, most recently – David Johnson. Every one of them was unknown at first. Liverpool managers never made a mistake, thus ensuring great future without sacrificing the great present. Perfect squad. True champions. And to the disgust of the rest of England, Liverpool established itself as a Continental great club: head and shoulders above the other English clubs in every respect, dominating the league and certainly going to dominate it. Leaders even in new trends – perhaps they were the club least needing cash, but they signed with Hitachi and presented the sponsor’s add on their shirts.

Liverpool collected one more title. Meantime observers cried out that English transfers went insane…

Lots of money spent… and Liverpool was unbeatable.

England II Division


Second Division – as ever, the only Second Division in the world attracting international interest. So many well known clubs, some of them quite recently successful and even playing international football. Not just weel respected players were found in second league, but even famous names – Trevor Brooking was playing there.

Charlton Athletic finished last with 22 points – a miserable season, in which the team was the league’s outsider. They finished 5 points behind the next to last.

Burnley settled at the 21st place with 27 points. Once upon a time, Burnley was to feared – now, they were going to taste 3rd Division football.

With 29 points, Fulham ended 20th – the third relegated team. It was not that long ago they almost won the FA Cup – in 1975. Now not only going down, but were among the pariahs of the league – the three clubs at the bottom of the table were well bellow anybody else: Bristol Rovers, 19th, finished with 36 points – 7 more than Fulham.

Four clubs should be mentioned for one reason only: it was surprising to see them in this league. Less so Newcastle United, for they had not been impressive for many years.

9th this season. Seemingly, Newcastle was going to stay in Second Division for awhile.

QPR was 5th, but not really in the race for promotion. It was only a few years ago when they were arguably the most exciting and promising English team. They lost the 1975-76 championship by a single point… and now: second division members.

Chelsea ended 4th , 4 points ahead of QPR, and losing promotion on worse goal-difference.

Going down lately… relegated in 1974-75, promoted in 1976-77, relegated again in 1978-79, and missing promotion in 1979-80. Chelsea had financial troubles and they were escalating.

West Ham United finished 7th their second season in Second Division. Not much… nothing, really.

Just imagine – Trevor Brooking, one of the top English and European players, struggling in Second Division. With seemingly not bad team-mates: Billy Bonds, Frank Lampard, Phil Parkes, Paul Allen, David Cross, Jimmy Neighbour… Perhaps rebuilding started too late, but the reason was most likely different: the late 1970s were tough times for the London clubs. QPR, Chelsea, Fulham, Charlton… Three clubs were in First Division, but Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace played in the second level a year or two ago. London was down. However, West Ham United still had teeth. A teeth seen only in England.

The battle for the top spots was fierce – 4 clubs competed for 3 promotional spots. Chelsea lost on goal-difference. Birmingham City elbowed Chelsea and took the 3rd place – and the last promotion.

Birmingham was just relegated and going back to First Division was great. However, Birmingham had modest decade in top flight, mostly trying to survive and this vintage was no more promising. Don Givens and Archie Gemill were the stars, but both already reached their peak a few years back. Pat van den Haowe was Dutch import, alas, one of the unknown Dutch players. Birmingham City was more lucky than strong. With 53 points, they ended 2 points behind the champions – it could have been them on top, but reality was still different: not an up and coming team.

Sunderland finished with 54 points and second. Sunderland spent most of the 1970s in Second Division – they were promoted in 1975-76, only to be relegated the next season. Now – going up again.

Like Birmingham, nothing much. Sturdy team, no big stars. Going up meant largely trying to stay there and no more.

Leicester City won the championship with 55 points. Relegated in 1977-78, they were eager to play first division football again. Difficult victory, but there was England – no big favourites, tough chase instead. Trophies count, so Leicester was a second division champion, but champion.

Leicester City was much stronger during the 70-s than its companions Sunderland and Birmingham City, but not anymore. Compared to the wonderful team of the first half of the 70-s, this vintage was rather weak. Similar to the other two promoted clubs and therefore not expected to play big role in the highest league. But there was one young player, who very soon will be a big world-famous star: Garry Lineker. So far unknown, but going up anyway – or so it looked like at the end of 1979-80 season.


England III Division

Third Division. Wimbledon finished last with 34 points. Mansfield Town was 23rd with 36 points, Southend United – 22nd with 38, and Bury – 21st with 39 points. Those four were relegated. Up the table, in safety and nothing more, were the smallish English clubs of no interest. Except one:

Sheffield United, down on its luck, was 12th.

Better fate for their city rivals – they finished 3rd with 58 points.

Sheffield Wednesday ended with just a point more than Chesterfield, but it was enough – they clinched the last promotional spot. Jack Charlton was no loser as a player, and no loser as a manager. Going up, always going up. Sheffield Wednesday did not play in Second Division since 1974-75 and saying good-buy to Third Division perhaps was not spectacularly, but the feeling was great nevertheless.

Blackburn Rovers finished 2nd with 59 points and the Third Division champions were Grimsby Town with 62 points. The top three were promoted, of course. Sheffield Wednesday was seemingly the most promising of the trio – not because of their name, but because they lost the least number of matches this season – 9, and scored the most goals in the league – 81.

England IV Division

England. Dominating European football on club level, but financially, the English clubs were running debts, some in dire straits already. It was this season sponsors names appeared on team shirts. There was resistance to the idea and at the beginning only a handful of clubs used adds – Liverpool, Everton, Leeds United. The number of foreign players was steadily increasing and some got approval by fans and press. The rest was business as usual – English football was still attractive show.

Huddersfield Town won the IV Division with 66 points.

(Back) Robson (coach), Hanvey, Topping, Fletcher, Sutton, Taylor, Starling, Brown, Lillis, Mellor, Gartland, Haselden (physio/coach).

(Middle) Hart, Branagan, Holmes, Sandercock, Laverick, Robins, Robinson, Gibson, Bielby.

(Front) Smith, Cowling, Buxton (manager), Brook, Armstrong.

The champions distinguished themselves with scoring record: there is nothing unusual in that most goal were scored in the lowest professional league, but 101 goals is remarcable achievement. Over 100 goals were not scored in England since 1975-76, when Lincoln Town scored 111.

Three more teams were promoted along Huddersfield Town: Walsall, 2nd with 64 points, Newport County, 3rd with 61 points, and Portsmouth.

Portsmouth was lucky to clinch the last promotional spot – they ended 4th thanks to better goal-difference. Bradford City also finished with 60 points, but had to stay in the IV Division for the next season.