Scotland II Division

Scotland, ranked 14th by the UEFA’s table. Stirling Albion and Berwick Rangers finished at the bottom of Division 1, the second-level Scottish division, and relegated. They were to be replaced by Queen’s Park and Queen of the South the next season. Nothing much until 5th place.

Ayr United was 6th with 45 points – a stand alone team, 8 points ahead of the 7th placed Hamilton Academical, but 4 points behind the 5th placed team.

Five teams were way stronger than the rest of the league, competing for 2 promotional spots.

Motherwell ended 5th with 49 points, paying heavy price for its leaky defense. They finished with 3 points less than the 2nd placed – the battle was intense. Raith Rovers was 4th with 50 points, St. Johnstone – 3rd with 51 and finally the lucky boys clinched silver and promotion with 52 points.

Dundee was relegated the previous season, which was blamed largely on inconsistency: they Division 1 in 1978-79, then were immediately relegated, and now were going up again, but the start of the season was shaky. It was felt, by observers, that the team was not bad, but had great difficulty maintaining level form. Promotion was achieved, but with difficulty.

Hibernian were confident champions with 57 points, not really letting anybody challenging them. 24 wins, 9 ties, 6 losses, and 67-24 goal-difference. They were relegated from the Premier league the previous season, along with Dundee, and were eager to return to top flight. Their ‘pedigree’ required it, their tarnished reputation had to be polished, so observers said. Fine words, but Hibernian was not the same team they were years ago, reduced to minor role in Scottish football. Second division was the lowest point, of course, but the quick return to the top division did not mean the club was really improving.

Hungary the Cup






The Cup final was a double of the previous year final: Vasas (Budapest) vs Diósgyõri VTK (Miskolc). Same finalists, but the result was reversed – this time Vasas prevailed 1-0.

Diosgyor struggled to keep its place in the top league, but otherwise it was still strong period for the club, reaching the Cup final two years in a row. They did not repeat their success of the previous year and given the limitations of the squad, it was acceptable loss: a provincial club like Diosgyor had no way to compete for long with big Budapest clubs. It was admirable achievement nevertheless.

Vasas won this time, which was great for a club always in the shadows of Ferencvaros, Honved, and Ujpesti Dosza. Third cup for Vasas and it looked like after quite good 1970s the 1980s were starting well. It was largely an illusion, especially after looking at the winning team: Meszaros, Zombori, and Kiss were the remaining stars and they were more than likely to go to play abroad. It was sweet victory, however.

Hungary I Division

The Hungarian First Division was divided into 3 distinct section, with one club apart as an outsider. Five leading clubs, four in mid-table, clearly above the lower group, but also weaker than the best, and 8 teams at the bottom, mostly trying to avoid relegation. Dunajvaros was below everybody, finishing last with 19 points. Just above them was unlikely club – MTK (Budapest). One of the Hungarian clubs with greatest history was ailing during the 1970s and eventually the lowest point was reached this season – who would believe it, but MTK finished with measly 22 points, 17th in the league, and plummeting down to second division. Kaposvari took the 16th place with 24 points – one point less than Diosgyor meant relegation, but they were possible candidates for exiting the league anyway. Doisgyor barely survived, which was a bit of a surprise, for they had strong period at this time. Another surprise was the low finish of Raba ETO (Gyor) – they were 11th, but may be it was just a temporary slip.

ZTE (Zalaegerszeg) finished 13th, may be bit lower than usual, but not surprisingly low.

Csepel (Budapest) struggling to keep pace with so many rivals in Budapest, was 12th. Hard to predict club, but tendency of fading was detectable.

Pecsi MSC (Pecs) topped the lowest group – 10th this year. They knew better time in the past, but settled for lower-mid-table role during the 1970s and there was no change.

The solid mid-table teams were a mixed bag – Ujpesti Dosza (Budapest) was unexpectedly low: 8th. But the team aged, there were warning signs in the last few years, so the slump was not so strange.

Bekescsaba – 9th, and

Debrecen – 6th, were more or less usual mid-table clubs. Nothing special, nothing new.

Nyiregyhaza was another story – they finished solid 7th, losing 6th place on worse goal-difference. They were never a strong club, usually playing second division, but this season was great – may be their best ever. However, it remained to be seen was it just an accidental season, or were they going to have a real strong period.

The top five were familiar suspects, except one team.

Honved finished 5th with 42 points – the weakest among the best and not a title contender for a minute. Honved managed to return to leading position after 1975, so it was rather unfortunate year than anything else. They were good, but never as good as the great team of the 1950s.

Videoton ended 4th, maintaining the strong position they established in the recent years, but their peak was still ahead.

Vasas finished with bronze medals, 2 points ahead of Videoton. One more good year, but the signs of decline were also written on the wall: presently, Vasas was running on inertia.

Tatabanyai Banyasz was surprising silver medalists. Normally one of the so-so clubs, often struggling just to keep a first division place and even sinking often down to second level football, Tatabanya suddenly had fantastic season. The lost only 5 games this year and had the best defensive record in the league. At the end, they finished with 48 points – 2 points ahead of Vasas. A good team, no doubt, lead by one of the best Hungarian players in the 1980s, Jozsef Kiprich, they soared high – but it was still relatively limited squad, the title was not up to them, and possibly it was only a lucky season.

With most of the big names down, the champions do not have even to be named… who else is left, but Ferencvaros.

One more title, nothing new. May be not overwhelming champions, but still easily ahead of all the rivals – 21 wins, 9 ties, 4 losses, 75-33 goal-difference, 51 points. Three points more than Tatabanya and 9 more than Honved. Attack was the obvious philosophy of the champions – outscoring the opponents was the key for success. Hardly a surprising approach, since Ferencvaros was lead by Tibor Nyilasi, already the best Hungarian player of the time and arguably the only Hungarian recognized as one of the top European stars. Of course, he had worthy helpers: Rab, Mucha, Ebedli, Szokolai. What else matters, but the title – and Ferencvaros got it.

Hungary II Division

Hungary – 13th in the 5-year UEFA club table. Not bad, not great. The winners of the three Second Division groups going up, naturally.

Ozdi Kohasz SE – huge success for them. The club never played first division football, so promotion was their highest achievement.

SZEOL (Szeged) – up and down club, going up again.

Haladas VSE (Szombathely) – like SZEOL, in-between club. Going up one more time.

Wonderful season for the winners, but the real test would be the next one – Haladas had the best prospects, SZEOL – slightly less, and Ozdi Kohasz… good luck to them, but survival was least likely. For the moment, though – happy end of a strong season for the winners.

Switzerland the Cup

FC Zurich aimed for a double, reaching the Swiss Cup final as well. Their opponent was middle of the road Lausanne-Sport, a team bursting occasionally, but no more. But the opportunity for winning a trophy is a high motivator and no matter what the regular season was, a cup final was something else. Their was no winner at the end of regular time and only in the overtime the new Cup winner emerged. It was not FC Zurich, though – Lausanne-Sport scored the winning goal, making the result 4-3. The final was highly entertaining.

FC Zurich from left: Grob, Lüdi, Zappa, Elsener, Schönenberger, Moser, Landolt, Peterhans, Zwicker, Jerkovic, Iselin. It should have been satisfying to play at the final and lose it 3-4, but if it was another club. FC Zurich was disappointed for not been able to round up a double.

Lausanne-Sport were the underdog and may be a surprise winners, but they won and that is all the matter. Admirable performance, especially for a team not exactly full of stars. 7th Cup for them, but it was the first trophy the club won after 1965, when they were champions. A relief, if not real comeback.

Switzerland I Division

With the enlarging First Division, the Swiss to league had only one relegated team this season. The battle for avoiding the last place in the table was between 4 clubs – Nordstern, Bellinzona, Chiasso, and Chenois. CS Chenois was the weakest, eventually settling last with 15 points. FC Chiasso finished 13th with 3 points more. Among the outsiders perhaps FC Nordstern (Basel) was the luckiest.

19 points and 11th place – small Nordstern had a wonderful season, considering their tradition: not only escaped relegation and having to play at least one more season in the top league, but leaving 3 teams behind. Measure of success really depends on the club.

Luzern finished 9th, which is more or less in accord with their tradition – mid-table.

Servette, however, dropped down – 7th at the end. This season suggested the end of their strong recent years. Perhaps.

Basel had a weak season too – 6th.

However, they won the Alps Cup – not much, but still winning something.

Three teams competed for second-best: Young Boys (Bern) finished 4th with 33 points – not a bad season for them. Neuchatel Xamax bested Young Boys by a point, but took bronze medals on worse goal-difference. Climbing up and most likely going to stay among the best for awhile.

Grasshopper managed silver medals. Standing, from left: Berbig, Lauper, Egli, Pfister, Herbet Hermann, Sulser.

First row: In-Albon, Zanetti, Koller, Heinz Hermann, Wehrli.

Good team,surely, but it was not their year and Grasshopper was not a contender – they barely finished second instead with 34 points, perhaps paying heavy price for cautious defensive tactics: they finished with the best defensive record and lost the fewest matches in the league, only 3, but they also held the record of ties – 12, which was almost half of the total seasonal games.

With their local rivals Grasshopper out of the way, FC Zurich sailed easily to one more title. 18 wins, 4 ties, 4 losses and 6 points ahead of Grasshopper at the end. Arguably, FC Zurich was the strongest Swiss club since 1975 and continued to be so – strong squad by Swiss standards, enforced by the long time Yugoslavian national team player Jerkovic, who had been essential part of the wonderful Hajduk (Split) of the 1970s. No longer young, but his class still helped a lot.

Switzerland II Division

Switzerland maintained good position on international club level – 12th after 1981. Maybe because of the top league was changed again – it was increased back to the common 16-team format for 1981-82 season. Meaning, 3 teams were promoted from Second Division. Five clubs fought for the coveted spots, although one can take FC Frauenfeld, 5th, and FC Wettingen, 4th, with a grain of salt – neither was particularly strong to actually go up. Of course, Second Division did not have particularly strong teams, but maybe the decline of Winterthur should be mentioned.

Third row: Paul Kilgus (Teambetreuer), Urs Egli, Rafael Chèlos – Walter Christinger, Christian Häni, Armin Döbeli, Paul Hollenstein (Physiotherapeut).

Middle row: Adi Noventa (Trainer), Daniel Häfeli, André Hagenbuch, Reto Vergani, Ota Danek, Adriano Venica, Mirko Scapin, Ernst Rief (Masseur).

Sitting: Rolf Dünner, Roland Wanner, Luigi Stomeo, Hanjo Weller, Oscar Bouli, Roland Käser, Erwin Schweizer.

The decline started a few years back and there was no reverse – by now, Winterthur was just a mid-table second level club. They finished 8th in the 14-team league.

FC Bulle was lucky 3rd – one point ahead of Wettingen and promoted.

With 35 points – one more than FC Bulle – FC Aarau took the 2nd place. Just enough for promotion and although the season was not great, Aarau not only returned to the finest, but was the only promoted team with a good chance to establish itself in the to top league.

Vevey-Sports won the Second Division – a big success for the small club. It was not an overwhelming victory – they clinched the title by a single point – but nevertheless it was great for a club not known for winning. And better days loomed ahead, at least temporary – going to first division was division was wonderful, surviving there was a problem.

Yugoslavia the Cup

The Cup final was something else – it opposed Velez (Mostar) to Zeljeznicar (Sarajevo). Neither had a great season, but they reached the final, a note of intentions anyway. Velez obviously wanted to maintain its good position in Yugoslav football, suggesting that the lukewarm championship season was just accidental. Zeljeznicar was trying to restore their former strong place after big decline – the season was not very good, but the team had both potential and ambition. On the other hand, a different comment could be made: presently, the Yugoslav clubs were not really great, even the strongest were not head and shoulders above the rest, a matter of concern. But the only thing the finalists were concerned with was winning the Cup. In a heavily contested and entertaining final Zeljeznicar opened the score, thanks to penalty in the 36th minute, which Bazdarevic did not fail. In the second half Halilhodzic equalized in the 55th minute and three minutes later scored again to give the lead to Velez. One more penalty and Bazadarevic equalized in the 62nd minute. Ten minutes before the final whistle Okuka scored a third goal for Velez and that was that – Veleaz won 3-2.

The boys from Mostar were all smiles, naturally.

This was historic moment, worth a thousand pictures: Velez won its very first trophy!

Zeljeznicar was worthy finalist, but no luck. Objectively, perhaps it was fair ending – the team was still in the process of building and shaping, not a finished product at its prime. The players were not bad, but the only real star was Bazdarevic and enthusiasm was unable to compensate the lack of big class. But playing at the final at least confirmed that Zeljeznicar was coming back and may be in the next few years would be trully dangerous again.

Squads, winning a trophy for the first time, usually become legendary – this was not exactly the case. Other teams come to mind instead of this one – Velez from the mid-1970s and from the mid-1980s. This one is somewhat in between, perhaps unjustly, because this is the only winning team in the history of the club. But what can you say? People remember Bajevic, Vladic, Hadziabdic. The strong generation of the mid-80s was not present yet. Ironically, the arguably best ever Velez squad did not a trophy, so it was great for the oldtimers here – Maric and Vukoje (who came on field only as a substitute) – to win at last. One can be happy for Enver Maric, who returned for his spell in West Germany as aging, nearing the end of his career goalkeeper, no longer number one. As for current stars – Blaz Sliskovic was the big name. However, he had better co-players than Bazdarevic in Zeljeznicar – Maric, Halilhodzic, Vukoje, Ledic, Okuka. Well, a trophy at last. Well done.

Yugoslavia I Division

The Yugoslavian First Division was a mirror of the second level – to a point. Three teams competed for the title, the other 15 clubs were more or less equal. Seven points divided the 4th from the 17th, but even the very last was not really hopeless – Napredak (Krusevac) finished with 26 points, 3 less than the team just above them.

In a fairly equal league small differences decide and Napredak was last just because it was a smaller than most, having slightly weaker players. Not really a surprise their relegation.

The second unfortunate was Borac (Banja Luka) – 17th with 29 points and going down. One point more and they would have been safe, but they did not get it.

NK Zagreb breathed with relief: they survived by a point. One more first division ahead of them, more or less, the best the club eternally in the shadow of Dinamo (Zagreb) can dream of.

Two clubs were in decline – Vojvodina (Novi Sad) and OFK Beograd (Belgrade).

Gradually, during the 1970s Vojvodina lost its leading position in Yugoslav football. The slump was more pronounced after 1975 and there was no stop – this year they finished 10th. However, they were never in really bad situation – which was not the case of OFK Beograd. They lost their strong position after 1973 and really badly at that – sinking lower and lower, barely surviving this season. They were 15th with 30 points and the way they going made them prime candidates for relegation.

The clubs from Sarajevo did not fair well either, but for different reasons.

FK Sarajevo finished 13th, but they generally unpredictable up and down club. Zeljeznicar was just behind them – 14th with 32 points, the same as Sarajevo, but with worse goal-difference. However, Zeljeznicar already reached its lowest point, dropping to second division, and now was slowly moving up. So, not bad for the moment – remaining in the top league was the prime goal and it was achieved.

Slightly losing ground was Velez (Mostar) – they were 9th, largely because it was difficult for them to maintain really strong squad, but the club was by no means approaching crisis: they were only slightly weaker compared to the team of the mid-1970s.

Partizan (Belgrade) had a disastrous season – 8th and only 2 teams won fewer matches than them. The problem, however, was long term – after the end of the 1960s Partizan really lost its leading position. Yes, the aura of the grand derby with Crvena zvezda kept them always under the spotlights, but they were shaky. Compared to arch-rivals, Partizan did not have a great squad for years – they were successful, but only occasionally. And also occasionally they slipped down the table. Decline of some, inconsistency of others others – and good fortune for a third kind of clubs: never really strong, never extraordinary, second- or even third-rate traditionally, now they had a chance to shine partly because of the weakness of usual favourites.

NK Rijeka was 7th, continuing their best period in history. Not an exceptional team, but one the very best they ever had, for the joy of local fans.

Sloboda (Tuzla) was 4th – traditionally, they were stronger than Rijeka, but hardly the club to be found so high in the table.

With a point less than Sloboda, but also with a point more than Buducnost (Titograd), Dinamo (Zagreb) took the 5th place. Not a factor this season, although they had the players for more: Kranjcar, Mlinaric, Ivkovic, to name just a few. Not really at its prime, this squad – or may be they were following the example of Partizan: good teams, but not great and not consistent because of that.

With that, the bulk of the league ends: Sloboda finished best among similar teams with 36 points. The team above them had 41!

The battle for the title went between three clubs, two of them ‘the usual suspects’ and the third surprise intruder, enjoying the best time in its history. Three points separated the favourites at the end. The intruders, may be predictably, finished with fewest points.

To the delight of their fans, Radnicki (Nis), usually a lowly club, suddenly soared to a title contender. Radnicki finished 3rd the previous year, which was seen as an accident by skeptics, but this time they aimed at the title – and nothing terrible they lost it by 3 points. The team had excellent season in the UEFA Cup at the same time – they eliminated Napoli, Grasshopper, Dundee, reaching the semi-finals, where finally were eliminated by Hamburger SV. Instantly this squad became a legend, although the truth was slightly different: a good team, surely, but not exceptional and perhaps carried on mor on enthusiasm than true class. The only real star was their captain Dragan Pantelic, arguably, the last great Yugoslavian goalkeeper. Already 30 years old and 10 years playing for Radnicki, Pantelic was also a national team regular since 1979 – his best years coincided with those of the club and he added not only strong leadership, but also quite an entertainment, for his the regular penalty-taker and scored 23 goals. Not exactly a news – goalkeepers, including Yugoslav ones, shoot penalty kicks before, but rather accidentally. Coaches were quite afraid to designate goalkeepers as regular penalty kickers – Pantelic was one of the first to be standard penalty-kicker. Which delighted the fans. Unfortunately, Radnicki had to enjoy the moment, for they knew all too well their predicament: a small provincial club was never able to keep, let alone add strong players, what they had. The first to go was Pantelic – after the end of the season he went to play in France for Bordeaux.

One more look at the boys from Nis.

Hajduk (Split) finished one point better than Radnicki – what is there to say? Running strong, constantly developing new talent, maintaining strong team – and constantly selling stars abroad. Hajduk had an excellent team, with eager young reserves ready to make their names as soon as possible. Second place was perhaps a bit of disappointment, but it was just not their year.

If not Hajduk, then Crvena zvezda… 15 wins, 14 ties, 5 losses, the best attack – 62 goals scored, the second-best defense, and 16th title. Two points ahead of Hajduk at the end.

Sitting, from left: M. Durovski, M. Sestic, Vl. Petrovic, B. Stankovic – coach, R. Janjanin, S. Stamenkovic, C. Blagojevic, dr. B. Babic – team doctor.

Middle row: D. Simeunovic, Z. Borovnica, I. Jurisic, B. Durovski, S. Repcic, M. Jovin, Z. Krmpotic, N. Milosavljevic, G. Zivanovic, Kostic – assistant coach.

Third row: Kotlajic – physio, Z. Ljukovcan, Bingulac (?), D. Miletovic, M. Rajkovic, Z. Jelikic, Lj. Stojanovic, M. Jankovic.

A few minor changes occurred during the season, but the the starting eleven was quite impressive:

Standing: Dragan Miletovic,Dragan Simeunovic,Ivan Jurisic,Slavoljub Muslin,Zlatko Krmpotic,Milan Jovin.

First row:Vladimir Petrovic,Milos Sestic,Radomir Savic,Rajko Janjanin,Srebrenko Repcic.

Full of national team players – and also future once, like Dragan Simeunovic – and a squad wit hreal depth – Simeunovic was not real regular, but shared with equally talented Ljukovcan, for instance. However, this was not as famous team as the one of the early 1970s, which gave half of the Yugoslavian squad at the 1974 World Cup. The big star was Vladimir Petrovic, the only remaining link with the old great team, led by Dragan Dzajic. May be the difference made this title rather routine in the eyes of fans and observers, but it counts and it was not an easy one.

Yugoslavia II Division West

The Western Second Division was very similar to the Eastern one, with only two exceptions: a few stronger former first division clubs – Celik (Zenica), Spartak (Subotica), Proleter (Zrenjanin), which were may be temporary weak – and one team dominating the championship from start to finish. As for the rest – one absolute outsider, one relative outsider, and 13 fairly equal teams. The last two were directly relegated – Bosna (Visoko), dead last with 15 points, and Vrbas (Vrbas), 15th with 20 points. Above them 8 points separated the 2rd from the 14th. GOSK Jug (Dubrovnik) was lucky 14th with 28 points – lucky, because they should have been relegated, but were not, thanks to Maribor (Maribor), 9th in the final table. Most likely Maribor was found guilty of fixing matches and expelled.

Svoboda (Ljubljana) finished 8th. Standing from left: Magič, Milojević, Dimitrijević, Omanović, Huselj, Klemenc, Poljanšek, Bušić, Zupančič, Šišić.

First row: Kolarič, Petrik, Protić, Busuldžić, Kadivnik, Zajnilović, Kerković.

It is not that Svoboda did anything interesting, but their photo serves rather as a taste what the second division was made of. Svoboda not even dreamed of playing top level and most of the other clubs.

With 33 points Proleter (Zrenjanin) finished 4th. Top row, from left: Vučetić, Tošić, Dubljević, Pleše, Šarenac, Savković, Karanović, Glišin, Ezveđ.

Middle row: Vidović, Gaćinović, Škorić, Zorić, Radosavljević, Geca, Stanić, Ilijašević, Ivančević, Sitting: Lukač, Radulović, Milivojević, Mišić, Soldo, Mićanović, Jonjev, Đorđević, Bursać.

Proleter should have been one of the favourites for promotion, but obviously were at a low point and not a factor. Dinamo (Vinkovci) bested them by a point for the third place and Iskra (Bugojno) finished 2nd with 36 points. All this is just for the record – the championship was dominated by NK Osijek (Osijek), which finished without trouble on top with 42 points from 17 wins, 8 ties, and 5 losses. The winners shared the best scoring record with delinquent Maribor – 50 goals each, bested by Dinamo (Vinkovci) – 51 goals. But Osijek’s defense was impeccable: they received only 16 goals.

Confident winners and much stronger squad than Teteks’ – Meter, Ostojic, and Hukic may not have been leading players and a bit over the hill, but had solid reputations. Osijek was no stranger to first division and although never very strong, they had good chances to last longer than a single season among the best. Well, judging by this strong season, Osijek was ready and eager for one more return to the top league.