Northern Ireland


Northern Ireland. Hardly anything unusual or spectacular here. High goal-scoring – the championship per game average was 3.265. FC Bangor was last this season with 9 points, but that hardly meant a thing – apart from very weak season for the club – for the there was no relegation. Closed league – same teams played year after year between themselves.

Ballymena United was 7th with 20 points.

FC Coleraine got bronze medals with 31 points.

Glentoran was unable to win consecutive title, finishing 2nd with 33 points.

And Linfield came on top, as many times before and hardly challenged, with 37 points. 17 wins, 3 ties, and just 2 lost games. 59-19 was their scoring record. Linfield also reached the Cup final and their prevailed over FC Coleraine 2-1.

A well deserved double this year.



Cyprus – its football jumped up in the 1980s. It was not a sudden and impressive jump, but improvement eventually was noticed around mid-80s. However, the development did not manifest in any changes in the clubs status – the strong remained strong, the outsiders remained outsiders.

Alki (Larnaca) and Aris (Limassol) topped the Second Division and earned promotion.

The First Division was divided into four groups – three outsiders, 7 lower-positioned teams, 3 clearly stronger teams, but not as strong as to be able to challenge the sole leader, and one singular dominant favourite. In the final table everything was very familiar. Evagoras (Paphos) was hopelessly last with 13 points, nothing surprising. Keravnos (Strovolos) and APOP (Paphos) fought head to head for survival – both finished with 19 points and APOP clinched the safe 12th position on better goal-difference. So, Evagoras and Keravnos were relegated as expected to be.

The next group, the mid-table teams, were pretty much equal.

Paralimni was typical example – 8th with 23 points. Once the danger of relegation was out of the picture, there not a care in the world. At the top of this group finished AEL (Limassol) – 5th with 28 points.

Apolon (Limassol), APOEL (Nicosia), and Pezoporikos (Larnaca) fought not for the title, but for silver and bronze, all ending with 34 points. Goal-difference decided final positions – Apollon was 4th and Pezoporikos, perhaps the pleasant surprise of the season – second.

And at the top, without any competition, was the usual suspect – Omonia (Nicosia).

20 wins, 4 ties, only 2 matches lost, 61-9 scoring record, and 44 points – Pezoporikos was 10 points behind. Omonia was absolutely and completely dominant – they also reached the Cup final. Apollon (Limassol) was the other finalist and put mighty fight – the match ended 2-2 and replay was scheduled. And that was all… Apollon managed one match, but the replay was too much for them – Omonia destroyed them 4-1. A double and no need to even count… winning was routine.

One may argue that the improvement of Cypriot football was largely done by Bulgarian imports – coaches in the 1970s and now players too. Cyprus was prime destination for Bulgarian export – it may not have been wise to sell cheaply by the bulk, but since the players were all veterans it was the easiest, if not very lucrative or reputation-building market. Old stars, at the end of their playing days, were still good enough to make a difference in Cyprus. Even a joke was made – if Atanas Mikhaylov managed to drop a few kilos and slim himself to, say, 120 kilos weight, his second division club may escape relegation. It was a joke and it was not – those in better shape helped their new teams to stronger performance, absolutely true for Omonia. The club employed Bulgarian coaches since the early 1970s and Vassil Spassov was currently in charge. The aging midfielder star Bozhil Kolev was added as a player and Omonia remained dominant, even more so. And other Bulgarian players were employed during the 1980s.


Ireland. Two changes – one before and one after the season. Ireland decided to experiment with the point system this year, addressing, like England, the stagnation of the game. Away win was awarded with 4 points, a home win with 3 points, away tie – 2 points, home tie – 1 point. The experiment was almost meaningless because of the predicament of Irish football: whatever talent emerged continued to move to England as soon as possible as ever before. There was no way to make strong championship no matter what changes were introduced. The second change was reduction of the league after the end the season – Cork United went into bankruptcy and Thurles Town was not re-elected to play in the league. There was still no second division and direct promotion, so the league was reduced from 16 to 14 teams – no new teams were elected. Irish league was practically closed league, so nobody feared relegation and, apart from pride, final positions really mattered only at the top. Thurles Town was last this year, a hopeless outsider with 18 points – the 15th placed Galway Rovers finished with 29. Cork United ended 10th with 42 points.

The only interesting battle was at the top of the league, where the leading teams of recent years battled for the title.

Sligo Rovers was 5th with 62 points.

Athlone Town – 4th with 67 points.

Bohemians – 3rd with 72 points.

Shamrock Rovers – 2nd with 76 points, and

Dundalk won the championship with 80 points. The new champions did not excel in any department: Shamrock Rovers won most matches, Bohemians lost as few as Dundalk, Athlone Town had stronger strikers and Bohemians and Shamprock Rovers – better defense. Yet, Dundalk would have been number 1 even in the old point system – only the margin would have been a single point, not 4. So it was fair victory – and their 6th title altogether.

The League Cup final opposed Athlone Town to Shamrock Rovers and Athlone Town won 1-0. Outside Ireland this tournament was hardly noticed – it was purely domestic affair.

The Irish Cup final was another matter, since the winner represented the country in the Cup Winners Cup. Limerick United met Bohemians at the final was won 1-0.

A wonderful victory for… Kentucky Fried Chicken? Ireland just introduced shirt adds and the US fast food giant stepped in – a rather curious deal, since such huge company chose to put money in generally lowly Irish club. Well, perhaps one should look at entirely different sources of information to figure out why – KFC had some presence on the British Isles, but continental Europe was out of reach. Whatever it was, it had very little to do with football – what had to do with football was Limerick United’s victory. It was great and and it was their 2nd Cup, the first was won in 1971.


Wales. Strong period for the professional clubs, but hardly visible from aside, for they played in the English leagues. But strength surfaced in the Cup tournament. Swansea City and Cardiff City reached the final – the current strongest team vs the traditionally strongest and most famous one. The first match ended 0-0. In the second the Swans prevailed 2-1.

It was just – Swansea was the strongest Welsh team at the moment. Not an easy victory, but they won the trophy for second consecutive year. 7th Cup in total. The good work of John Toshack brought fruits.

Turkey the Cup

Interesting Cup final – Galatasaray vs Ankaragucu. Galatasaray had a chance – and the ambition – to save the season. Ankaragucu was also aiming to restore its respectful position in Turkish football after the years of decline. Objectively, Galatasaray was the stronger team and they took full advantage of their home leg, winning 3-0. In Ankara the hosts pushed forward and won, but only 2-1. Galatasaray received the Turkish Cup.

Strong season for Ankaragucu and too bad they were unable to win the Cup, but realistically it was not up to them – the team run mostly on the adrenalin and excitement of returning to the top league. More or less, they overperformed this year. Facing a win or lose situation, they bowed down to more experienced opponent.

A certain irony in the otherwise well deserved victory – with it, Galatasaray still finished ahead of their arch-rivals Fenerbahce, which ended empty-handed. Yes, it was terrible season, but Galtasaray did not miss its chance to still win a trophy. Wounded pride was perhaps the driving force – and experienced leading Turkish players certainly found enough strength against lesser opponent like Ankaragucu. So, awful season, but with a cup in their hands. Their 7th and first since 1976. Funny game, football – the highest and lowest at the same time.

Turkey I Division

Unusual season in Turkey – it was pretty much the same as ever at the bottom, 2 hopeless outsiders, and the battle at the top, 3 teams above the rest of the league, entangled in fierce battle for the title. But Galatasaray was not among them. Not only it was out of the championship race, but had one of its weakest season ever, finishing 11th with 32 points – only 3 points ahead of relegation.

Diyarbakirspor, one of the newcomers this season, was last with measly 11 points. No surprise, really – it was not a club expected to be strong.

Goztepe (Izmir), another of the freshly promoted clubs, finished 16th with 16 points. Unlike Diyarbakirspor, Goztepe had glorious past, but went into decline during the 1970s – and still was unable to recover. Back to second division after very weak season.

Eskisehirspor was 15th and the last relegated team. Unlike their companions at the bottom of the table, these boys fought. They finished with 29 points – the 6th placed team this year had 33! Yet, Eskisehirspor was short at least of a point to survive – and may be their strikers were to blame: they scored only 16 goals, the lowest record, shared with Diyarbakirspor.

Gaziantepspor were lucky – they finished with 30 points, thus, getting the safe 14th place.

Bursaspor – 13th with 31 points.

Boluspor – 12th with 31 points.

Galatasaray – 11th with 32 points. A shameful, season, as far as the fans were concerned.

Kocaelispor (Izmit) – 10th with 32 points. Now, this club probably was proud of its performance – not that it was great, but finishing above mighty Galatasaray was something to brag about.

Altay (Izmir) – 9th with 32 points. Nothing much, but their local and more famous enemies Goztepe were packing to play in the second division.

Adanaspor – 8th with 33 points. Behind their city rivals, unfortunately on goal-difference.

Ankaragucu – 7th with 33 points. Satisfactory season, considering that they just came back from second division.

Adana Demirspor – 6th with 33 points. Ahead of their local rivals, quite high in the final table, but… they, as everybody bellow them, was mostly concerned with mere survival. 33 points was only 4 points more the relegated Eskisehirspor had.

Relegation was not on the mind of Sakariyaspor (Adapazari) – the 4th newcomer this season played very strong football and finished accordingly high: 5th with 36 points. This was wonderful achievement and the only thing to wish for was to keep the good form and enthusiasm.

The other success story was Zonguldakspor – they were 4th with 37 points. Arguably, their best season ever and a big surprise too, for they were normally considered a candidate for relegation.

And the title race at last – 4 teams participated in it in the recent years, now it was back to three: Fenerbahce, Besiktas, and Trabzonspor. Istanbul vs Trabzon. There was no mercy: Fenerbahce won most matches – 15. Besiktas and Trabzonspor were almost unbeatable – Trabzonspor lost 3 games, Besiktas – 2. Three points divided them when the dust settled.

Fenerbahce, more hazardous than the others, lost at the end – they were 3rd with 41 points. 15 wins, 11 ties, 6 losses, 48-26. They scored most goals in the championship, but apparently they risked more than the competition – they scored more, but also received more goals and lost more matches.

With 42 points, Trabzonspor finished 2nd. Standing from left: Sinan, Bahattin, K. Şenol, Şenol, Turgay, Ahmet.

First row: İsmail, Yaşar, İskender, Cemil, Osman.

The best defense in the league – allowing only 11 goals in 32 games. But overcautionous approach came with a cost – they lost the title. Their strikers were pathetic, scoring only 26 goals – less than a goal-per-game average! Nine teams outscored them, including 14th placed Gazientepspor (30 goals).

Perhaps Fenerbahce was too attacking and Trabzonspor too preoccupied with defense, somewhat both teams going to extremes – one had to do it just right and that was the new champion.

Besiktas won 14 matches, tied 16, lost 2. They scored 38 goals, received 17. Second best defense, second best strikers, plenty of ties – also second best, Altay ended with one more, 17 – second best number of wins. Well, excelling in nothing… except in one thing: they lost the least number of matches this season. And more or less balanced between attacking and defensive minded football, careful to be at least equal at the pitch, getting at least a point from almost every match, they ended with one point more than Trabzonspor and the title was theirs.

Not the most impressive victory, but who would blame them? Certainly not Galatasaray. Kara Kartallar (the Black Eagles) won their first title since 1966-67. Their 6th professional title (they also have amateur titles from earlier years). They were back on top!

Turkey II Division

Turkey. One change – the First Division was increasing to 18 teams the next year, so 3 teams were relegated and 4 promoted. The change did not affect Second Division – there were still 4 groups, the winners of each going up. A total of 60 clubs played second division football – 15 in each group. Some faded powers of the past, some fairly well known clubs, but most were unknown to the outside world. As for competition, it depended on current form. Not very strong in Group A, where second-tier Istanbul clubs played.

Sariyer won with 4 points margin – 17 wins, 9, ties, 2 losses, 40-14, and 43 points.

Goal-difference decided the winner of Group B – two teams, well above the rest, went shoulder to shoulder, finishing with 43 points each. Karsiyaka was unlucky at the end by 4 goals.

Antaliaspor was the winner with 17 wins, 9 ties, 2 losses, 45-11, and 43 points.

Group C was also a race between two teams to the end. They also left the rest of the league far behind, although this was perhaps the group with most former top league clubs.

Ceyhanspor (in green-white stripes, pictured with Besiktas) was 10th with 26 points. Your typical second-division club. Konyaspor was 4th with 31 points, Genclerbirligi – 3rd with 33 points. Unlike Ceyhanspor, these clubs knew better seasons, but returning to the top league was not up to them this year. The battle was between another two former first division members and 2 points was the final difference between them.

Kayserispor ended 2nd with 45 points. They scored the most goals in the group, 60, and finished with fantastic goal-difference, +43, but were unable to win.

Mersin Idman Yurdu was the champion with 47 points from 21 wins, 5 ties, and 2 losses. 46-11 was their scoring record.

Group D was the most competitive – 3 teams fought for the top spot.

Orduspor was out of the promotional race – they were 5th with 32 points.

Erzerumspor lost the battle by 2 points – they finished 3rd, but with pitiful scoring record: +12. Orduspor had better on: +16, not to mention the two top teams.

Rizespor was second with 37 points. Standing from left: Refah, Hasan Fehmi, Nejat, İsmail, İbrahim, Hüsnü.

Crouching: Yaşar, Osman, Erol, Hüseyin, Muharrem.

Samsunspor clinched the first place with 38 points. 15 wins, 8 ties, 5 losses, 48-17. Not very impressive statistics, but they were going back to the top league and that was the only important thing.

Denmark the Cup

The Cup final opposed very different teams – at least to the eye. Weak B 93 vs strong B 1903. The final had to be replayed, for after overtime it was a 3-3 tie. In the replay B 93 prevailed 1-0.

B 1903 had a good year, overall, but… yes, they finished with bronze medals. But they were not a title contender. Reached the Cup final, gave their best, but lost – minimally, but lost.

As for the winners – it was great and historic victory. B 93 is an abbreviation – the full name is Boldklubben of 1893, hailing from Copenhagen. One of the many clubs in the capital, one of the oldest in the country, as the name plainly tells – it is named after the year they were formed. And the club has been successful – but in the first half of the 20th century. After 1945 – nothing. And not only that: they won championships in the past, but never the Cup. It was there first. At last.

The squad was nothing to brag about, unless you are a fan of the club. It is not individual players, but the whole teams which stands out in history: the team winning the first trophy after World War Two and the Cup for the first time in the whole existence of the club.



BK Frem won the Second Division championship. The other two promoted teams were

Brønshøj Boldklub and

Herning Fremad.

First Division. Two outsiders and two leaders.

B 1909 finished last with 18 points.

KB – 15th with 18 points. Rather strange, for this team had some good players, including national team members like goalkeeper Ole Quist.

B 1901 – 14th with 23 points and completing the group of relegated teams.

Ikast fS – 13th with 25 points.

B 93 – 12th with 27 points. Weak season, but a historic one in the same time.

Esbjerg fB – 11th with 28 points.

Køge Boldklub – 10th with 29 points.

Kolding IF – 9th with 30 points. Jan Molby in this squad, still unknown player.

Næstved IF – 8th with 32 points.

Vejle B – 7th with 33 points.

Hvidovre IF – 6th with 33 points.

Lyngby BK – 5th with 34 points.

Brøndby IF – 4th with 34 points. Young and yet unknown Michael Laudrup in the squad. The only team playing with more than sponsor’s name on their shirts – there were no more teams with pretty much every player playing with different add.

B 1903 – 3rd with 35 points. Not in the title race, though.

AGF – 2nd with 40 points. A fovourite this year, but lost the title by a single point. However, they were the highest scoring team in the league – 61 goals. As for players – the veteran star striker of the 1970s, Henning Jensen, and one of newer national team goalkeepers, Troels Rasmussen.

And the new champions – OB Odense. Minimal victory, just by a point, but they clinched the title. 18 wins, 5 ties, 7 matches lost, 51-28 goal-difference, and 41 points. Since OB Odense was one of the better known abroad Danish clubs back then, it was a bit curious that this their only 2nd title – the first came in 1977. As for the team – hardly any recognizable names, but such was Danish football traditionally, so no surprise. Even professionalism did not produce concentration of strong players in one or two clubs – good players continued to be spread thinly, the best aiming to move abroad as soon as possible. Thus OB Odense was nothing special by international measures, but good enough collective to win the championship.

Poland the Cup

The Cup final opposed Lech (Poznan) and Pogon (Szczecin). Neither team had a strong season, but no matter – a final is a final. Lech managed to win minimally – 1-0.

This may be not a photo of the 1982 Cup winners, but even if it is from a later year, it may work: the rise of Lech started with this victory and the core players remained. Whether the final was exciting game or not became irrelevant right away: Lech just won its 1st ever trophy. A historic moment, indeed. So, who cares were the players great… and most of them were not, but the victory perhaps spurred their ambitions. The strongest period in the history of Lech just started.