Uruguay Second Division

The 1980 Uruguayan season ended positively: it looked like the national football was improving and restoring its faded glory. It was good year, indeed – but not for all. The championship was orderly as ever – compared to other South American countries. Club Social y Deportivo Villa Espanola won the Third Division and was promoted to the Second. The Second Division had more familiar champion, but the promoted clubs were two – First Division was expanding again from 14 to 15 teams.

Liverpool won the second promotional spot. The club experienced ups and downs frequently, like most smaller clubs, but its more natural place was first division, so fans were more than glad to see their team going up.

But Liverpool did not win the Second Division – Rampla Juniors did.

Posing in grand style, but one can understand it: Nacional and Penarol ruled Uruguayan football, leaving nothing for the other clubs. Any trophy was cherished, therefore – and Rampla Juniors were fresh champions, if only of the Second Division.

Happy winners, but, understandably, having no familiar names in their squad.



Argentina. Nacional

Why not, indeed? River Plate, the supreme champions of Metropolitano, must have been the big favourite for winning Nacional as well. However, running simultaneiusly two championshps was a challenge. Campeonato Nacional General Don Jose de San Martin had different formula – a cup format really, but with direct elimination only in the last stages. To a point, it was a dilemma – concentrating for Metropolitano or for Nacional? Metropolitano had higher value, at least for the clubs from Buenos Aires. Nacional went through provincial stages and eventually reached the 1/8 finals stage – 4 groups of 7 teams each, which played twice against each other, and the top 2 teams quilifying for the ¼ finals. Here some teams not playing in the Metropolitano league tried their best. So did some teams underperforming in Metropolitano and trying to compensate. At the end, mostly familiar names qualified, but also two surprise names: Rosario Central and Atletico Racing (Cordoba) from Group A. Estudiantes (La Plata) unfortunately finished 3rd. Atletico Racing not only did not play in First Division, but had no chance of even dreaming of first division football – Campeonato Nacional was their chance to prove their worth. They did – Estudiantes, Velez Sarsfield, and Racing finished behind them. Argentinos Juniors and Union (Santa Fe) qualified from Group B – both teams obviously in good form and repeating their strong performance from Campeonato Metropolitano. Talleres (Cordoba) was unlucky 3rd. Newell’s Old Boys and Independiente topped Group C – both teams determined to compensate for weak Metropolitano season, and taking advantage of relatively weak opponents. Group 4 finished with a surprise – Insituto (Cordoba), not playing in the first division, finished first. River Plate, the strongest team in Argentina, clinched second place only because of better goal-difference – Platense (Florida) was the unlucky loser.

It may have been just a little slip of River Plate, not paying enough attention at first, and wanting only to qualify as easy as possible. But it was not so… in the ¼ finals mighty River Plate was eliminated by Newell’s Old Boys.

Newell’s Old Boys forgetting how mighty River Plate was and eliminating them: standing from left: Gallego, Simón, Demagistris, Daniel Killer, Piazza , Civarelli.

Front row: Víctor R. Ramos, Juan A. Acosta, Yazalde, Santamaría, Talavera.

Independiente certainly tried to save the season and having relatively easy opponent – Instituto (Cordoba) – qualified for the ½ finals. Atletico Racing continued to play well and eliminated non other but Argentinos Juniors. Maradona’s team was unable even to beat the lowly opponent – one tie and one loss. Rosario Central eliminated Union.

There was no Buenos Aires representative at the semi-finals: one pair was Rosario derby in which Rosario Central eliminated Newell’s Old Boys. In the other semi-final the ambitions of Independiente were cut short by Atletico Racing.

Provincial final – Rosario vs Cordoba. First division vs non-leaguer. Rosario Central vs Atletico Racing. Each team won their home leg and goal-difference decided the winner: Rosario Central.

Atletico Racing (Cordoba) – what fantastic run they had! It is not a club heard of often – even at home they are dwarfed by Instituto and Talleres. Too bad they lost at the end – would have been wonderful victory of the underdog – but enthusiasm eventually bowed down to class and experience. Atletico Racing was unable to top Rosario Central in the 1/8 final Group A and the final was no different – second twice. But never mind – it was excellent season and fantastic achievement. Higher than Maradona!

Rosario Central on top again! Well done! If nothing else, the club continued its strong presence in Argentinian football. To the world, it was best known for Mario Kempes – it was his performance at the 1974 World Cup making the club a familiar name outside Argentina.

There was no young exciting player among the champions – there were two fading veterans instead: standing from left: Bauza, Sperandío, Santecchia, Marchetti, Craiyacich, Carnevali,Chazarreta. Crouching: Jorge A. García, Orte, Gaitán, Ghielmetti, Trama, Bacas, Giuliano, Teglia, Palma, Espinoza.

Carnevali and Chazarreta – stars at the beginning of the 1970s, unfortunately, tainted by the weak Argentine performance at the 1974 World Cup. Forgotten names by now… so it was great they won a title. Rosario Central got the second Argentine spot for the 1981 Copa Libertadores. The other spot went to River Plate as Metropolitano champions.

The last note on Campeonato Nacional is about the second promotion to First Division – it was a curious one, escaping logic. Since most teams were first division members anyway, it looked like the best non-league club should have been promoted. That was the losing finalist Atletico Racing (Cordoba). Cordoba got promotion allright – but it was another club.

Instituto (Cordoba) got the second promotion to First Division. Why? Guessing does not help. Certainly Instituto ranked higher than Atletico Racing – historically. It may have been more successful this year provincially. But Instituto was eliminated at the ¼ finals – Atletico Racing reached the final of Campeonato Nacional. If this championship counted for promotion, the only possible reason could be the 1/8 groups: Instituto won theirs and Atletico Racing finished second. Guessing or no guessing, Instituto moved up to play Metropolitano First Division the next season.


Argentina. Metropolitano

The problems of Argentine football were chronic and there is no point repeating them year after year. Perhaps one result from them was the increase of ties – 1980 was a season of ties for sure. Only one team – Union (Santa Fe) – finished with less then 10 ties. Even with Maradona Argentinos Juniors tied 16 games, winning only 13. The record belonged to Quilmes and Racing – both finished with 18 ties, exactly half of the total matches of the season. Racing had almost ‘perfect’ final record: 9 wins, 18 ties, 9 losses, 35-34 goal-difference. Almost a goal-per-match scored and received. Quilmes outscored Racing by 2 goals – like almost everybody else in the league (only three teams scored same or less goals then Racing. However, defensively Racing finished second – only River Plate received less goals). Just one club scored more then 60 goals this season – River Plate (64). Some clubs failed, particularly Independiente (14th) and Estudiantes (12th). At the end of the table were clubs from Greater Buenos Aires – the last three were relegated.

Tigre (Victoria) ended dead last after terrible season – they finished with 21 points.

All Boys (Buenos Aires) was 18th with 23 points. Like Tigre, they were clear outsiders, well weaker than the rest of the league. All Boys distinguished themselves with the worst strikers this year (29 goals) and won the least number of matches – only 3.

Quilmes finished 17th – the memories of their great victory were still very fresh, yet, the club plummeted so quickly to relegation.

Standing from left: Fanesi, Palacios, Milozzi, Moralejo, Zárate, Bourgeois.

First row: Godoy, Bianchini, Andreuchi, Gáspari, Salguero.

Unlike All Boys and Tigre, Quilmes fought and had a chance to survive, but eventually was outpaced by San Lorenzo de Almagro, which finished 3 points ahead of poor Quilmes.

San Lorenzo survived, but hey had very poor season indeed – to see them that low in the table was unusual. But this was nothing compared to the disastrous season the most successful Argentinian club of the 1970s had:

With 35 points, Independiente came close to the unthinkable – relegation. True, they were more successful internationally than domestically, but to see them finishing 14th… a crisis was looming at last. Few other traditionally strong clubs had weak season as well: Velez Sarsfield finished 15th, Estudiantes (La Plata) – 12th, and Boca Juniors – 7th. Mighty Boca even ended with negative goal-difference: 43-47.

On the positive side were few provincial clubs, which may not had been stronger than the big clubs, but at least took advantage of the weak performance of the biggies. Union (Santa Fe) was 5th, the only club with less than 10 ties this season, and a team obviously dedicated to attacking football – they finished with 16 wins, the second highest number in the league. Unfortunately, they lost too many matches – 13. Two points better than Union were Platense (Florida, Greater Buenos Aires) and Talleres (Cordoba). Not bad for both teams, but with 41 points they really fought only for the silver medals and lost.

Thanks to better goal-difference, Talleres clinched the bronze medals. Well done, overall – those were good years for Talleres, having a strong by their standards.

Argentinos Juniors finished 2nd with 42 points – one better than Talleres. Excellent season, one might say. Captained by Diego Maradona, already a superstar, the team soared. Unfortunately, Argentinos Juniors were essentially one-man team – surely Maradona was magical, but still one man was unable to win the championship. Maradona was the top scorer of the season – with 25 goals, he practically had no rival (Dante Sanabria of Huracan was second with 22 goals), but his goals were only good enough for second place. Defensively, the team was a disaster – 12 teams had better defensive record than them, including the relegated Quilmes. Finishing second was great, no doubt, but Argentinos Juniors was not even for a moment competing for the title. And Maradona was leaving… so the future was shaky already.

There was no competition for the top place in the league – River Plate comfortably won one more title 9 points ahead of Argentinos Juniors.

‘One great team’, they were called – and what else, after so confident victory – but there is a ‘but’. Passarella, Fillol, Luque, Alonso, Tarantini, just coming back from England: half team current World champions. Add Lopez, Commisso, Pavoni… and keep in mind Saporiti and Gonzalez. Strong, but just a bit short from excellent. However, much better composed team than any other and clearly superior squad, compared to the rest of the league. One more title, why not two titles?

Argentina. Second Division

Argentina – the usual 2 championships, of which Metropolitano was getting the upper hand in people’s minds, for it was what amounted to top division. It had the familiar around the world structure of leagues, relegations and promotions, and had the typical formula – every team played against all ohers twice. The name was somewhat pompous this year: “Cuarto Centenario de la Segunda Fundación de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires” (Fourth Centenary of the Second Foundation of Buenos Aires city), giving it a flavour of a special cup tournament, but apart from the name everything was as it was ever before. The league was going through reduction of size – it had 19 teams this season. The bottom three were relegated and two teams were promoted, to make 18-team league the next year. Relegation was clear, but promotion – not so. One promotional spot was seemingly reserved for the winner of the Second Division. Promotion was part of the problem Metropolitano was facing for some time – originally, it was the Buenos Aires championship and the league structure evolved in accord. That is, the lower divisions were entirely Buenos Aires leagues. But Metropolitano already was the national league and there had to be a way the rest of the country to play for promotion in the top division. So, the second promoted team came not from the usual league structure of Metropolitano, but the second Argentinian championship, Nacional. It was not a perfect solution, since most participants in it were the same as in Metropolitano and usually they were going to the final stages of the other championship. Promotion was reserved for the highest placed provincial non-Metropolitano team playing in Nacional – something like that. Hardly the optimal solution of the problem, for the top provincial club could be some weakling, eliminated early from the Nacional. Confusing matter too: only one promoted club will appear here, the ‘normally’ promoted one. The second team will be introduced in the review of the Nacional.

Club Atletico Sarmiento (Junin) won the Second Division and was promoted. A little known club, usually called just Sarmiento, it was found in 1911 and never played top level football. Winning the Second Division was their biggest success so far.

New champions: standing from left: Glaría, Peremateu, Hernandorena, Romero, Polo, Espósito.

First row: Iglesias, Lorant, Fischer, Ortega, Peracca.

Unknown players of unknown team. Not a Greater Buenos Aires club either – their home city, Junin, belongs to the Province Buenos Aires. Thus, for a change, no team from the dominant megapolis moved up – the second division winners were provincial, but in the same time not fully provincial, for Second Division did not include clubs from the whole country, but from Greater Buenos Aires, Province Buenos Aires, La Plata, and may be one more province. It was refreshing to see newcomers to top league too. And this photo of Sarmiento also is a testament of the times – field players dressed with Puma kit, but the goalkeeper wears Adidas. It was common ‘blunder’ back then – the clubs had their last word, not the kit makers. It was not the biggest blunder either:

This very season Platense managed to dress its players with unmatching jerseys for a championship game. But let stay with Sarmiento: no famous players here and perhaps little chances for survival among the best, but it was wonderful season for the boys and their fans. May be even for the whole town, for Junin had no first division team at the moment.

Atlanta finished 2nd in Primera B, and Nueva Chicago – 3rd. At the other side of the table Chacarita Juniors ended last and was relegated.


Brazil. Copa Brazil

The VI Copa Brasil was easier to comprehend because the size was cut in half and the formula somewhat simplified. In the First Phase 40 teams were divided into 4 groups, where one-leg round robin was played. The first 7 teams of each group qualified to the Second Phase. No surprises here – it could be said that the current formula favoured the big clubs: after 9 matches against mostly weaker clubs, early elimination of a big club was almost impossible.

The Second Phase divided the qualified teams into 8 groups of 4 teams each. Which makes 32 and only 28 qualified. Four teams from the Second Level were included at this stage of the championship – America FC (Sao Joao do Rio Preto), Americano FC (Campos), Bangu (Rio de Janeiro), and Sport (Recife). Unless these clubs qualified to move from Level 2 to Level 1 the previous year, there was no particular reason for their inclusion. As it turned out, their presence was just making the numbers right. Sport (Recife) finished best of the newcomers – 3rd, but not really close to qualifying 2nd place. Every group played 2-legged round robin tournament, the top two teams qualifying for the Third Phase. No surprises at this stage either – in most groups the big clubs left their modest opponents far behind. The only problem was Group I, where two teams finished with identical records: 2 2 2 5-6 6 points each. Guarani (Campinas) and America (Rio de Janeiro) had to play a tiebreaker for the 2nd place – Guarani prevailed 3-2 and qualified for the next stage.

The Third Phase had 16 teams, divided into 4 groups, where one-legged round robin was played and the group winner moved to the semi-finals. Only one unknown club reached this stage of the championship:

Associação DESPORTIVA Ferroviária (Cariacica). Their run ended at this stage – they finished 3rd in their group.

Goal difference decided the winners of two groups: Atletico Mineiro had better one than Vasco da Gama in Group M. One goal better. Group P ended curiously – Coritiba and Gremio were on top with 4 points each, but Gremio had negative goal-difference: 2-5. Cortiba was easily first with their minimal, yet positive record 2-1. The highest scorers – Corinthians with Socrates – had excellent goal-difference – 6-2 – but only 3 points and ended 3rd.

Gremio – to say they were unlucky would be too much: they received much more goals than they scored. Quite surprising underperformance from a team made of Leao, nelinho, Dirceu, Paulo Isidoro, and Baltazar.

Inter (Porto Alegre) was the strongest at this stage – they were the only team winning all their matches. There was little to complain at this point: since only 4 teams were going ahead, it was normal that most big clubs would be eliminated by their peers. Coritiba was the only ‘lesser’ club reaching the semi-finals.

Coritiba lost both legs against Flamengo – 0-2 at home and 3-4 in Rio. Zico scored both goals in the first match and Nunes, the other current star of Flamengo, scored 2 goals in the second leg.

Coritiba – the weakest ½ finalist. Otherwise great run this season.

The other semifinal was more dramatic – after the first leg Inter was the likelier winner: they managed 1-1 tie away. But Atletico Mineiro came strong in Porto Alegre and destroyed Inter in front of its home crowd 3-0. Reinaldo and Eder scored all goals for Atletico – Reinaldo scored a goal in both matches, Eder scored twice in Porto Alegre. Cleo scored the single goal for Inter.

One version of 1980 Inter – Cleo is missing here. A team just a bit short of winners – semifinalists in the Brazilian championship and losing finalist in Copa Libertadores.

And the big final was between Atletico Mineiro and Flamengo. The first official champion of Brazil vs the most popular, but empty-handed on national scale, club. A battle between Reinaldo and Zico. Perhaps the final was more important for the White Pele, who was playing since 1970 – the beginning of the national Brazilian championship – but never winning the title. Reinaldo was newer and lesser star than Zico, but he was the current leader of Atletico Mineiro and was worth his status: he scored in the opening leg the single, but winning, goal for his team. Atletico Mineiro went to Rio with small advantage, but advantage – goals counted less in South America than in Europe. As it turned out, they counted for almost nothing. Reinaldo scored 2 more goals in the second match, but Nunes also scored twice and Zico delivered a third goal for the home team. 3-2. By the away goals rule Atletico should have been champion. By the usual South American rules, counting only victories, a third match should have been staged. But there was a champion declared right away and it Flamengo. Why? Because they had better semi-final record… So, Coritiba made Flamengo champions… one could wonder what would have been, if Atletico Mineiro also won twice in the semis.

One of the worthless – as it turned out – goal Reinaldo scored.

Nunes scores.

One more for Flamengo – devastated vertical stripes and triumphal horizontal stripes.

Great joy – a goal that counts. Flamengo won a difficult victory and the championship along with it.

Champions at last! First title for Flamengo, received in front of their delirious supporters. Hardly fair victory, but let Atletico Mineiro sulk – it was Flamengo’s night.

Ten years earlier, Atletico Mineiro was new and surprising name to the Europeans – in 1980 it was familiar, although still a bit mysterious. Those, who followed the development of the team since 1970 knew that Atletico Mineiro always managed to keep strong team with few stars for good measure. In 1980 the big name was Reinaldo – so big, observers still call the match Flamengo vs Reinaldo. But he was not alone: there were Joao Leite, Vantuir, and Valdemir, the second layer of Brazilian stars, who hardly ever made the national team because of fierce competition, but had great reputations nevertheless. Palhinha (not on the photo) was also there, plus Paulo Isidoro. And two bright youngsters, rapidly climbing up the football ladder – Toninho Cerezo and Eder (not on the photo). Both will be known around the world very soon and will be two of the most influential players of the 1980s. Judging by the names, Atletico Mineiro perhaps had stronger squad than Flamengo. But they lost. It was unjust decision, but rules are rules… the fact remains: Atletico Mineiro lost the title because of stronger semi-final opponent.

Champions at last: standing from left: Andrade, Marinho, Raul, Rondinelli, Carlos Alberto, Junior.

Crouching: Tita, Adilio, Nunes, Zico, Julio Cesar.

Coached by Coutinho, Flamengo had strong season indeed and perhaps deserved to win its first title. But their triumph was a bit tainted by the rule applied – to a point, the title was given ,not actually earned. And perhaps their squad was a bit weaker than Atletico Mineiro’s – good players, no doubt, but the real strength of the team was its attacking line – Zico, Nunes, and Tita. A good keeper by Brazilian standards – Raul. A bright young star, pushing his way up and up – Junior. Hardly a great squad, but that was the reality of Brazilian football – even the biggest clubs were unable to afford 11-12 great players on their payroll. Yet, Flamengo had a player making a difference, no matter the shortcomings of his teammates: Zico. He was no longer a promising youngster, but a true superstar at his prime. The victory of Flamengo was great mostly because of him – the greatest current Brazilian player had to wait almost 10 years until winning the title. To a point, it was the final recognition of his greatness: after all, a true star wins and so far he did not. Zico won at last, helped by a forward, who looked like the next big thing in Brazilian football – Nunes. His goals at the final were instrumental for the title and he was nicknamed ‘Artilheiro das Decisoes’. The Brazilian title rarely came to Rio de Janeiro so far, but victory of Flamengo hardly made the whole city proud. However, it made Flamengo’s long suffering fans proud at last – and they are the biggest number of fans in Brazil. Fair, unfair, at the end, it was victory for Zico and Brazil – can’t beat that.

The aftermath of the championship was the final table – unlike any other in the world, of course. Teams played different number of games, so naturally those with more matches earned more points and ended up higher. But four teams played fewer matches than anybody else and earned the least points – yet, they were ranked higher than 12 other clubs. Those were the newcomers from Level 2, which started – and finished – at the Second Phase of the championship. Because they started at higher phase, they were ranked higher than those eliminated in the First Phase, although they earned fewer points and played only 6 games. At he bottom finished Maranhao.

Not a club worth mentioning, really. They won zero matches, tied 4, and lost 5 in the First Phase. Their worse goal-difference placed them last – Flamengo PI had the same points, but slightly better goal-difference. At the top of the table were the finalists – nothing surprising: they went to the end, played the most games, earned the most points. The semifinalists all were placed at the top 4 places – thanks to their progression, because when it came to points Coritiba had a point less than Corinthians (5th). Corinthians had the same points as Internacional – 27 – and better goal-difference too, but Inter and Coritiba stepped down at the semifinals, reaching higher stage than Corinthians, thus, ended placed above. As a whole, it was a championship suspiciously designed for the big clubs – they all finished high in the final table. Which meant guaranteed participation in the next championship. But what meant to be at the bottom? Level 2 played for two promotional spots – yet, the promoted from the previous season were not originally included in the Level 1 participants: they still played Level 2. However, they were included in the Second Phase of Level 1 championship as well – thus, playing in two different championships in the same year. What about the next season, then? Were the bottom placed teams relegated? Level 1 formula and number of participating teams changed every year. Most likley the final table meant absolutely nothing, except providing some statistical order of the seasonal performance of Level 1 clubs. It was even a bit of a joke: if Flamengo’s title gave a bitter taste to many, look again at the so-called final table – in it Atletico Mineiro finishes with better record than Flamengo. Both teams had equal points, but Atletico Mineiro had more wins and better goal-difference. And as a final weirdness, one match was not even included in the final record – the tiebreaker between Guarani and America (Rio de Janeiro) was excluded. In reality it did not matter either… since it ended in a tie, goal-difference was the tiebreaker after all. Only in Brazil… try telling that to the happy fans of Flamengo.

Brazil. Taca de Prata etc

The 1980 championship of Brazil was still the biggest mess in the world, although there was an effort to put some order in it. It was still named Copa Brasil, the 6th issue of the tournament – this was the top level, Level 1. Level 2 was named Taca de Prata, and Level 3 – Taca de Bronze. The three levels theoretically corresponded to three normal divisions in other countries. In reality it was the usual gigantic meandering Brazilian championship, slowly going from one stage to another, somewhat making it sure that no big club will be eliminated early, let alone going down to lower level. 44 clubs participated in Copa Brasil, 64 in Taca de Prata,and 24 in Taca de Bronze. It was not very clear what role the third level played in the general scheme and why the participants were much fewer than in the higher levels – normal logic told the opposite, but in Brazil everything was different. The role of the second level was more understandable – the 2 finalists of the championship were promoted to Level 1. As for Level 1, the numbers were reduced for the first time and, on a glance, drastically: 94 teams played in the V Copa Brasil – only 44 in VI Copa Brasil. 50% less – in another country is should have been a huge news. In Brazil, it was the usual back-room compromise between the clout big clubs had, the interests of sober members in the Federation, and the push of all members of the states making Brazil. So the names of the teams were still curious – some fairly known clubs were now in Level 2, but many little known clubs in Level 1. Perhaps no fairly known club was left outside the three top levels, but how exactly the lower two levels were made is a mystery. The top level was clear: teams were selected based on previous state championship, but depending on the lots every individual state was given. Sao Paulo had 7 berths, Rio de Janeiro – 5, Rio Grande do Sol – 3, Bahia, Ceara, Goias, Minas Gerais, Parana, and Pernambuco -2, and the rest – 1. Sounds simple, but it was not really – Brazil produced a general final table of the top level, but it was also arbitrary, for the lowest clubs played much fewer matches than those above. If all states had to be represented, relegation was a puzzle – the so-called final table would not do. And if not, what could be the criteria then? At the end, it was not even important for every year the format was different. Of course, the individual state championships remained with their better organized leagues and the competition between local championships and the national one remained as well. Financially, the clubs were chronically in a bad shape, which also increased tensions: on one hand, the clubs needed more games to get money. On the other, playing around the vast country meant losing money. The big clubs still preferred to play between themselves and in the local state league. The smaller states and their clubs argued that the national championship was the most important, partly in the hope that visiting big name would attract interest of paying public. Between the rock and the hard place the championship started and eventually finished. Level 3 was apparently of no interest. The clubs were never heard of outside Brazil – may be some of them were unheard of in Brazil too. The best known names were second raters from Rio de Janeiro – Madureira and Olaria. Those, who followed closely Brazilian football found Dom Bosco, which had great run a few years back in the top level, in Level 3. Sao Paulo had no representative.

Level 2 had some better known clubs playing in it – those, who for one or another reason were unable to make the quota of their states for Level 1. Vitoria (Vitoria), Sport (Recife), Paysandu (Belem), Goias (Goiania), Fortaleza (Fortaleza), Juventude (Caxias), Criciuma (Criciuma), Atletico Paranaense (Curitiba), Bonsucesso (Rio de Janiero), Bangu (Rio de Janeiro), Americano (Campos), America (Belo Horizonte), ABC (Natal) – in another country this group would be sufficient for a thorough second division, but in Brazil this group was just a small part of the huge Level 2 and hardly favourites.

Sport (Recife) – if they were not from the state of Pernambuco, they would have been in Level 1.

Campinense – champions of Paraiba two years in a row, but playing in Level 2 nationally.

Of course, not all states were equal in terms of football – River were champions of Piaui, but the state was nothing in football terms and the champions were only Level 2 nationally.

Stage by stage, the tournament distilled 4 teams reaching the semi-finals: Botafogo (Ribeirao Preto), CSA (Maceio), Londrina (Londrina), and Ferroviaria (Araraquara). Londrina eliminated Botafogo after winning both legs – 2-1 and 1-0, and CSA was the other finalist, also beating Ferroviaria twice – 1-0 both legs. The winners were promoted to Level 1 and had to play only for the Level 2 title – the final was also two legged, matches played in May. Londrina kept CSA at 1-1 tie in Maceio and then destroyed them at home 4-0. Londrina Esporte Clube were the 1980 champions of Taca de Prata.

CSA – Centro Sportivo Alagoano – were traditionally one the strongest clubs in the state of Alagoa. Nationally, they never ranked very high, but the boys from Maceio were still better then most and won promotion to Level 1. They were unable to win Taca do Prata, though, and had to be satisfied only with winning their state championship one more time. Yet, CSA was perhaps one of the closest approximation of what in most countries is a typical second division club – good enough to reach promotion now and then, unable to stay for long among the best, but sturdy enough not to sink bellow second level.

Londrina Esporte Clube – champions of Level 2 and promoted to Level 1. Great season overall and arguably one of the best in the club’s history.

Copa Libertadores

Copa Libertadores. It was part of the problems with the Intercontinental Cup. The tournament finished in August, a few months after the Europeans wrapped their old and just before they were starting a new one. But South American football had its own problems with schedules, weather, and sheer geography to be able to accommodate the Europeans. Anyhow, before Copa Libertadores ended the focus was on it and the Europeans – out of mind. As ever, 5 groups of 4 teams each consisted the first round. The current holders qualified directly to the second stage of the tournament. Only the group winners went ahead. Each group was made of the participants of two countries – 2 of each.

Group A opposed Argentines to Peruvians. The Peruvian clubs were not a problem at all, but first place was: Velez Sarsfield and River Plate finished with almost identical records – 2 wins and 2 ties. Velez had 10-2 goal-difference and River Plate – 10-3. A play-off was staged to determine the group winner – it ended 1-1 and at the end goal-difference placed Velez Sarsfield on the first place. The play-off was a curiousity: the same problem occurred in another group and there the goal-difference rule was applied right away.

1. Velez Sarsfield (Buenos Aires)4 2 0 10-2 8

2. River Plate (Buenos Aires) 4 2 0 10-3 8

3. Sporting Cristal (Lima) 1 1 4 5-8 3

4. Atletico Chalaco (Callao) 0 1 5 2-14 1


Group 2. Bolivia and Uruguay. No contest really. The Strongest (La Paz) tried to put a fight and won their home match against Nacional 3-0, but the Uruguayans won all other fixtures.

1. Nacional (Montevideo) 5 0 1 14-3 10

2. The Strongest (La Paz) 3 1 2 9-6 7

3. Defensor (Montevideo) 1 2 3 3-8 4

4. Oriente Petrolero (Santa Cruz) 1 1 4 5-13 3


Group 3. Brazil and Venezuela – no need to guess. Tachira not only did not get a point, but did not score even a goal.

1. Internacional (Porto Alegre) 4 1 1 10-3 9

2. Vasco da Gama (Rio de Janeiro) 3 2 1 7-2 8

3. Deportivo Galicia (Caracas) 3 1 2 4-7 7

4. Tachira (San Cristobal) 0 0 6 0-9 0



Group 4. Colombia and Ecuador – the Colombians had the edge, particularly America.

1. America (Cali) 4 1 1 11-7 9

2. Universidad Catolica (Quito) 3 0 3 10-5 6

3. Independiente Santa Fe (Bogota) 2 1 3 5-5 5

4. Emelec (Guayaquil) 2 0 4 5-14 4


Group 5. Chile and Paraguay. Heavily contested clash without a favourite – all teams finished with 6 points and goal-difference decided the winner. Unlike Group 1, no play-offs here.

1. O’Higgins (Rancagua) 2 2 2 8-6 6

2. Cerro Porteno (Asuncion) 2 2 2 8-7 6

3. Colo Colo (Santiago) 2 2 2 11-11 6

4. Sol de America (Asuncion) 2 2 2 6-9 6


Olimpia (Asuncion) qualified directly to the second stage in which the 6 teams were divided into 2 semi-final groups of 3 teams each. At the stage finally an outsider really emerged, but the most curious was the campaign of the Colombian America – they were unbeaten and did not allow even a goal in their net. They also did not win any match and failed to score even once. Thus, they stepped down unbeaten.

Group 1.

1. Internacional 2 2 0 4-1 6

2. America 0 4 0 0-0 4

3. Velez Sarsfield 0 2 2 1-4 2


Group 2. The Chileans were clearly below the other teams, so the contest was only between Nacional and Olimpia. It was decided in Asuncion, where Nacional clinched vital 1-0 away victory. In the next leg they preserved a 1-1 tie at home and Olimpia was practically out before the last round was played.

1. Nacional 3 1 0 5-1 7

2. Olimpia 2 1 1 4-2 5

3. O’Higgins 0 0 4 0-6 0


And at the end it was Internacional (Porto Alegre), one of the strongest Brazilian clubs in the 1970s, and Nacional (Montevideo), a famous club, but having difficult decade. Nacional won Libertadores once and lost another final – Internacional never reached the final. South American finals were traditionally grittier than the European once, and often a third match had to be scheduled to decide the winner. Scoring had been low almost the whole 1970s. And this final was no different, although it did not go a third match.

Final (Jul 30 & Aug 6)

Internacional Bra Nacional Uru 0-0 0-1 0-1


1st leg. Estadio Beira Rio, Porto Alegre, 30- 7-1980


Internacional – Nacional 0-0


Internacional: Gasperin, Toninho, Mauro Pastor, Mauro Galvão, André, Falcão, Batista, Tonho,

Jair, Chico Spina (Adavílson), Mario Sergio.

Nacional: R. Rodríguez, Blanco, De León, Moreira, Espárrago, W. González, Bica,

De La Peña, Victorino, Luzardo, D. Pérez.


Referee: Romero (Argentina)

Attendance: 70,000


2nd leg. Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, 6- 8-1980


Nacional – Internacional 1-0

35′ Victorino 1-0


Nacional: R. Rodríguez, Blanco, De León, Moreira, Espárrago, W. González, Bica,

De La Peña, Victorino, Luzardo, Morales.

Internacional: Gasperin, Mauro Pastor, Mauro Galvão, Toninho, Falcão, Claudio Mineiro,

Chico Spina, Batista, Adílson, Jair (Berreta), Mario Sergio.


Referee: Pérez (Peru)

Attendance: 65,000

Final (Jul 30 & Aug 6)

Internacional Bra Nacional Uru 0-0 0-1 0-1


1st leg. Estadio Beira Rio, Porto Alegre, 30- 7-1980


Internacional – Nacional 0-0


Internacional: Gasperin, Toninho, Mauro Pastor, Mauro Galvão, André, Falcão, Batista, Tonho,Jair, Chico Spina (Adavílson), Mario Sergio.

Nacional: R. Rodríguez, Blanco, De León, Moreira, Espárrago, W. González, Bica,

De La Peña, Victorino, Luzardo, D. Pérez.


Referee: Romero (Argentina)

Attendance: 70,000


2nd leg. Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, 6- 8-1980


Nacional – Internacional 1-0

35′ Victorino 1-0


Nacional: R. Rodríguez, Blanco, De León, Moreira, Espárrago, W. González, Bica,

De La Peña, Victorino, Luzardo, Morales.

Internacional: Gasperin, Mauro Pastor, Mauro Galvão, Toninho, Falcão, Claudio Mineiro,Chico Spina, Batista, Adílson, Jair (Berreta), Mario Sergio.


Referee: Pérez (Peru)

Attendance: 65,000

The single, but golden goal was scored by Waldemar Victorino in front of excited home crowd. Inter lost its first bid for winning Libertadores.

Nacional won their 2nd Libertadors Cup. Montevideo was frantic.

Nacional delighted and triumphal, showing the cup to the fans. Bearded and shirtless Hugo de Leon keeps the cup in the air, but beating Brazilians opened his way to… Brazil. Shortly after winning Libertadores with Nacional, he joined Gremio (Porto Alegre), the rival of Internacional.

Inter lost by a single goal… too bad. On the surface, they were the strongest team, having up and coming players like Falcao, Mario Sergio, and others. Yet, there was a sense that an earlier version of the team was stronger. No matter what, they lost.

Coming back after almost 10 years of frustration – Nacional won their 2nd Libertadores Cup. One goal was very little to consider this team truly great, but they not only won Libertadores – the Intercontinental Cup became theirs a few months later. Waldemar Victorino was certainly the hero, thanks to his goal, but he was not alone: the squad was good. Perhaps not great, but strong and well composed. Half of the players were current national players of Uruguay and their first victory was more than just a club victory – they brought hope to the whole country that better days are coming after very dark decade. Rodolfo Rodriguez, Waldemar Victorino, Julio Cesar Morales, Arsenio Luzardo were the new hope, but most of all Hugo de Leon – already an excellent and fearsome defender. For Victor Esparago, who suffered much humiliation during the 1970s, winning Libertadores was the end of frustration. And perhaps the happiest of them all was Juan Carlos Blanco – the only remaining player of the team who won Libertadores in 1971. The veteran full-back was also called to play for Uruguay again. Nacional was back.

It only took a second – until Victorino hit the ball to the net and the stadium erupted in the 35th minute.


Intercontinental Cup

The Supercup was barely alive, but the Intercontinetal Cup was dead. In the coffin. Until the Japanese stepped in, bringing it back to life. The new project was renamed the Toyota Cup, although nobody really used the new name. The intercontinental challenge was to be played in Tokyo and international football bodies helped by making participation mandatory – whoever declined was facing harsh legal consequences. The new format was approached cautiously – the new format was financially stable, thanks to Toyota’s money, but it was far away from home. For his part, the Japanese clearly wanted to popularize the sport at home and what could be better than a match between the top clubs of the top continents? The Europeans liked that the match was going to be on neutral ground. The main problem currently was the timing – the first Toyota Cup was played on February 11th, 1981. It was the 1980 issue of the tournament, though – the discrepancy had to be worked out and also the form of the opponents was to be a problem, for Europeans were just at the end of their winter break and the South Americans – between seasons yet. But there was no other convenient window in the year. Playing football in February was hardly the best idea, but 62 000 attended the match between Nottingham Forest and Nacional (Montevideo).

The greatest part of the crowd was Japanese, which created strange atmosphere: both teams were equally cheered by benevolent, yet, largely ignorant of football crowd. Winter football was generally benefiting the English, who played without winter break anyway. The South Americans saw themselves in disadvantage, but on the other hand the pitch was not exactly up to European standards and more familiar to the Uruguayans. May be so… both goalkeepers played with long trousers, instead of shorts,which was very unusual. The match itself was not so great – at first Nacional attacked and scored in the 10th minute.

Waldemar Victorino scores an early goal. Looks like a header – something rare against English defense, if it was indeed a header.

Nottingham Forest got control after the goal and attacked to the end of the final. Fruitlessly…

Seemingly the better team, Nottingham Forest lost 0-1.


Tokyo. Field: National Stadium.

February 11, 1981. Att: 62,000.


Nacional (Uruguay) 1-0 Nottingham Forest (England)


1-0 10′ Waldemar Victorino.


Nacional:Rodolfo Rodríguez – Blanco, Hermes Moreira, Enríquez,González, Milar, Espárrago, Luzardo, Alberto Bica,Waldemar Victorino, Morales.

Coach: Juan Mugica.


Nottingham Forest: Peter Shilton – Anderson, Lloyd, Burns, F. Gray, O’Neill, Ponte, S. Gray, Robertson, Trevor Francis, Wallace.

Coach: Brian Clough.

After losing the Supercup, Nottingham Forest lost a second international trophy. Not by much, but they lost. Standing from left: Viv Anderson, Martin O’Neill, Larry Lloyd, Kenny Burns, Peter Shilton, Trevor Francis.

First row: John Robertson, Ian Wallace, Frank Gray, Stuart Gray, Raimondo Ponte.

The development of the team was going at the wrong direction somewhat – the grizzled veterans were better than the younger players. Nottingham was already going downhill and the excuse that they won everything already and became disinterested, for there was nothing really exciting to win anymore rings hollow: the team was just not great.

Nacional won the first Toyota Cup, which was great for moral – the 1970s were dreadful for Uruguayan football, but the horror decade seemingly ended and the 1980s started successfully. Also, once again the South Americans bested the Europeans and this time there was no excuse that the losers were actually the second-best European team, as it was for the most of the 1970s. This Nacional vintage was strong indeed, but hardly great squad. There were some old, almost forgotten stars by 1981, associated with the dreadful decade: Esparrago (now 37 years old!), and Milar (29 years old), both part of the last team Uruguay had at World Cup finals. For both players 1980-81 was great restoration of pride after losing face at the 1974 World Cup. The same goes for another player, who did not play at the 1974 World Cup, but still was one of the strong players from the ‘lost’ decade: Juan Carlos Blanco (35 years old). For him, it was second Intercontinental Cup – the first he won in 1972, with Nacional, but against the losing European finalist Panathinaikos (Athens). A few others were new, rapidly rising stars – the future of Uruguayan football: Rodolfo Rodriguez and Waldemar Victorino. Hugo De Leon missed the final, unfortunately. Nacional was on the top of the world almost ten years after they were at the same place.

Nacional proudly displays  the Toyota Cup in Tokyo.

Apart the winners, the greatest thing about the 1980 Intercontinental Cup was its revival. Thanks, Japan!

The Supercup

The Supercup never endeared neither the football fans,nor the clubs. It was played almost half an year after the participants won their trophies – it was already the middle of the next season and everything was different: squads, form, priorities. The continental clubs were just coming to the winter break and looking for some rest. In England, December is traditionally the busiest and possibly the most important month of the season. In the winter fans were not eager to go to the stadiums. But the Supercup was played anyway. Nottingham Forest vs Valencia.

On November 25th, the first leg was played at City Ground. The hosts won 2-1 after little known Argentine, Dario Felman, opened for Valenica in the 47th minute. Ian Bowyer equalized 10 minutes later and scored the winning goal just before the final whistle – in the 89th minute. 2-1 Nottingham. Not much of an advantage, but the minimalistic approach of Brian Clough did not require big margin.

Peter Ward runs away from Spanish defenders. Alas, he was replaced. Also replaced was Dario Felman.

November 25th, City Ground.

0-1 Dario Felman 47th

1-1 Ian Bowyer 57th

2-1 Ian Bowyer 89th

Nottingham Forest: Shilton, Anderson, Gray, McGovern, Lloyd, Burns, Bowyer, Ward (Ponte), Mills, Wallace, Robertson.

Valencia: Pereira, Arias, Castellanos, Solsona, Subirats, Morena, Carrete, Botubot, Cervero, Saura, Felman (Jimenez).


The second leg had Valencia more active and eventually the great Uruguayan scorer Fernando Morena hit the net in the 51st minute. Nothing else happened to the end.

December 17th, Estadio Luis Casanova

1-0 Fernando Morena 51st

Valencia: Sempere, Arias, Tendillo, Castellanos, Solsona, Subirats, Kempes, Morena, Botubot, Cervero, Saura.

Nottingham Forest: Shilton, Anderson, Gunn, McGovern, Lloyd, Burns, O’Neill, Ponte, Francis, Wallace, Walsh.

That was that: Valencia won, thanks to away goals rule – the only time in the history of the tournament it was won that way. There was little else to tell: for one or another reason, the greatest stars of both teams did not play both matches: Kempes, Tendillo, Francis. Nottingham was half made of Scots – 6 of them participated: Gray, McGovern, Burns, Wallace, Robertson, and Walsh). There was also the odd sensation – the English were reluctant to buy foreigners and were biased against them, but as if to make a point, Brian Clough got a Swiss in the summer – Raimondo Ponte. Since Swiss players were not hot property at that time, the transfer was and remains strange. Valencia, not to be outdone, fielded 4 foreigners – two Argentines (Kempes and Felman), one Uruguayan (Morena), and one Paraguayan (Jimenez). Who was ‘true’ import and who was ‘oriundo’ was the usual Spanish mystery. That is about everything about the final.

Losers this time – clearly Nottingham Forest were not building a dynasty.

Happy winners. Like Nottingham, Valencia did not appear to improve and build on their success: it was a team with some unaddressed deficiencies. Troubles with Mario Kempes were starting. Fernando Morena made his mark by scoring the so important winning goal, but as whole his European career was unmemorable.

European Champions Cup

The European Champions Cup was similar to the other continental tournaments this season – there were no hard draws and therefore few upsets. Perhaps the only real surprise happened in the first round, when Liverpool was eliminated by Dinamo (Tbilisi). Liverpool won at home 2-1, which looked like temporary carelessness, but in Tbilisi practically destroyed arguably the best team at the time – 3-0. The outcome appeared strange, but let’s face it: Dinamo (Tbilisi) had great team at its peak. The other surprise was FC Porto – they eliminated AC Milan in the first round after 0-0 in Porto and away victory 1-0 in Milano. 1979-80 international season was perhaps the lowest point Italian football reached in the 1970s: only Juventus managed to reach the semi-finals and even they were shaky on the way. On the other hand, FC Porto was beginning its own ascent, eventually becoming one of the leading European clubs by mid-80s. The last note on the start of the tournament was political: the second leg of the preliminary draw between Dundalk (Republic of Ireland) and Linfield (Northern Ireland) was played in Haarlem (Holland). Because of the struggle between IRA and British armed forces, Northern Ireland was banned from hosting international marches – terrorism was the reason.

Nothing unusual happened in the second round: Dinamo (Tbilisi) lost to Hamburger SV both legs – 1-3 and 2-3. FC Porto lost to Real Madrid because of away goal – 1-0 and 1-2. At the ¼ finals there was no way preventing bigger clashes, but there was only one – Celtic vs Real Madrid. Celtic won at home 2-0, then lost in Madrid 0-3 and Real went ahead. Hard to be sorry for the Scots: objectively, Real were the stronger team at the moment. Thus, no surprises once again – Hajduk (Split) tried hard, but at the end lost to Hamburger SV, however, minimally: the Germans won 1-0 at home and lost 2-3 in Split, but qualified thanks to their away goals.

The draw for the ½ benefited Nottingham Forest. Real Madrid and Hamburger SV were paired together and Ajax was left for Nottingham. On the surface, it was not an easy confrontation: it looked like Ajax was coming back. They were the highest scoring team so far – all together, they put the ball in the net 30 times, winning 8-1 twice, 10-0 once, and 4-0 once. Wishful thinking… so far, Ajax had the easiest possible opponents: HJK Helsinki in the first round, then Omonia (Cyprus) in the second round, and RC Strasbourg in the third round. No wonder the Dutch scored so many goals and sailed easily ahead. So easily, they practically did not play the second leg against Omonia – after winning 10-0 at home, the away match was not important at all and Ajax lost it 0-4. It was telling loss – the great Ajax of the early 70s did not allow such losses: even when they played leisurely, they were still far stronger than the opposition, especially such weak one as Omonia. Yet, even if the new Ajax was not equal to the old one, ambition was driving motivator and they tried to reach the final. Nottingham got 2-0 advantage at home, Ajax pushed at the second leg, but Nottingham’s defense allowed only one goal. Close, but Nottingham were the final winners.

Moments from the opening match in Nottingham: Ajax in unusual colours, looking rather ordinary. In the great years, it was the opposition looking helpless and left left behind. Now it was Ajax.

Ajax fought, yet… what a difference: Ruud Krol, the last of the great flying Dutchmen still playing for Ajax, just struggles at the far left. In the memorable past he was soaring high, dominating the game. Times changed.

The other semi-final repeated the first leg of Nottingham-Ajax: at home, Real Madrid won 2-0. Looked like strong advantage and since the final was to be played at Bernabeu Stadium, Real was seen not only as finalist, but as Cup winner. The Germans had different idea and they mercilessly destroyed Real in Hamburg 5-1. Desire, ambition, tradition, grit – nothing helped and Real bowed down to reality: German football ruled.

Nottingham Forest vs Hamburger SV. Exciting final – current Cup holders vs bright ambitious team. West Germans vs English – the leading forces in club football. A plethora of top international players, with Kevin Keegan on top of the list. The Englsih best player against… well, a bunch of Scots and Irish? Something like that, but incredibly intriguing. Trevor Francis missed the final. Horst Hrubesch was on the bench.


Final, Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid, 28 May 1980, att 50000


Nottingham Forest (1) 1 Hamburger SV (0) 0

21′ 1-0 N: Robertson


Nottingham Forest (trainer Clough)

Shilton; Anderson, Gray (Gunn), Lloyd, Burns, Clark; O’Neill, McGovern, Bowyer, Mills (O’Hare), Robertson; Birtles

Hamburger SV (trainer Zebec)

Kargus; Kaltz, Nogly, Buljan, Jakobs; Hieronymus (Hrubesch), Magath, Memering; Keegan, Reimann, Milewski

Referee: Da Silva Garrido (Portugal)

The final was mor exciting on paper than of the pitch – the battle was hard fought, but it was mostly a battle. The Germans never shied away from a clash, and Nottingham was different from was expected from English team: Brian Clough, well aware of the limitations of his squad, preferred tied, defensive tactics. Without Trevor Francis, his attacking options were fewer anyway and the tactical difference was clear: Branko Zebec used the typical scheme of the time – 4-3-3. Clough used seemingly outdated Italian scheme – 5-4-1. Gary Birtles was the lone striker – facing defensive line, lead by Kaltz and Buljan. Rapidly rising to international fame Magath lead the German midfield, which looked superior to Nottingham’s, and finally the German strikers, lead by Keegan, seemed much better than the Nottingham’s defenders. At a glance, Nottingham had only stronger goalkeeper. On the pitch, nobody really prevailed – the final was very exciting to watch, but Clough’s players delivered what they were asked to do and eventually scored a goal in the 21st minute. The only goal of the match.

Ivan Buljan unquestionably dominates Gary Birtles.

Kevin Keegan effortlessly wins the battle with bigger English defender. The pictures tells about German superiority… But Nottingham scored and Hamburger SV did not and Nottingham Forest won their second Champions Cup in a row.

Happy winners indeed. Standing from left: Martin O’Neill, Ian Bowyer, Viv Anderson, John Robertson, Gary Mills, Kenny Burns.

Crouching: Frank Gray, Peter Shilton, John McGovern, Garry Birtles, Larry Lloyd, Brinley Gunn.

John O’Hare is missing. And Brian Clough.

Hamburger SV at the beginning of the final: form left – Keegan, Milewski, Memering, Reimann, Hieronymus, Nogly, Buljan, Jakobs, Kaltz, Kargus, Magath. Almost there, close to the top, but unable to conquer it yet. Still a little bit missing to become truly great team. It was a shame Hamburger SV was unable to shine with Kevin Keegan – but may be that was the reason: so far the make-up of HSV was forced: a cluster of veterans, who achieved almost nothing in their best years (Memering, Reimann, Nogly), one German superstar (Kaltz), two imported players, perhaps slightly beyond their peak (Keegan and Buljan), a strong, but hardly the best German keeper of the time (Kargus), rapidly becoming the top German midfielder of the period (Magath), and few up and coming players, who were primarily supporting players (Jakobs, Hieronymus, Milewski). Horst Hrubesch on the bench. Hrubesch and Magath truly established themselves a bit later, after the final – at the European championship. So far, the idea was seemingly to built a strong squad, bringing stars from abroad – it worked to a point: Hamburger SV was strong, but not peaking yet. It still needed a few adjustments to become a great squad. It was not here time yet – and lost the final.

Nottingham Forest, arguably, at its best. Twice European champions already, winners of every trophy in the last two years. A legendary club already? Nottingham is perhaps the strangest winner – nobody denies the genius of Brian Clough. Nobody can say anything against players like Francis, Shilton, Anderson, Birtles. Yet, Nottingham remains a mythical club largely because they were the underdogs and not a great team. Certainly not great to watch – the least exciting of all English teams playing European finals. Even un-English, with its defensive tactics and generally boring kind of playing. And again – the make-up: Clough favoured second-raters and as great as it was to see ‘discarded’ players conquering Europe (O’Hare, Lloyd, Robertson, Burns), it was unconvincing squad, for it was impossible to see it getting better – rather, it was an accidentally winning team. True, Clough tried hard to elevate the quality, by signing classy stars like Shilton and Francis, but in the same time he was signing questionable for one or another reason players like Stan Bowles and Charlie George. He easily sold Tony Woodcock – but this was understandable, since the strikers at hand were quite similar. One thing was painfully clear already – Nottingham Forest was not going to become a dynasty. It looked largely a group of individual names, but not a real great team: motivation was going to work for a little while perhaps, but Clough’s unorthodox concepts prevented building of long-lasting and memorable team. The great days were rapidly coming to end… untypical team ended untypically: as Clough said later, the boys were no longer motivated after winning everything. There was nothing more to win, nothing more to prove… and started to lose. Boredom. Disinterest. Sounds intriguing – and nothing else. A great short run of ugly ducks. The only endearing thing about Nottingham is perhaps one more look at the names – practically everybody won their international trophies during this two years. Players, beyond their peak (O’Hare, Lloyd), middle of the road players (Robertson, Burns), mercurial talents, who failed to reach true success (Bowles, George, Bowyer), great stars, who just played most of the time for clubs in rougher shape and thus unable to win trophies (Francis, Shilton, Birtles, Anderson, Woodcock). It was good to see them win – especially those, who would never win again… the trophy-less superstars. Nottingham Forest – the strangest European conquerors of them all. Back in 1980 it was very possible they were going to win more cups: so unlikely winners they were that everything was possible. They were not fun to watch, though… welcome to the 1980s.