Italy I Division

Serie A. Was it really the top championship of Europe? Hard to measure – on one hand, Italy was the reigning World Champion. The best players of the world were moving to play in Italy. At least two clubs were just wonderfully strong – Roma and especially Juventus. Traditionally, Serie A was one of the toughest league in the world. On the other hand – despite the foreign talent, there were outsiders, one particularly weak this season. A whole bunch of clubs were either shaky (Milan, Torino, Inter), or painfully trying to rebuild (Lazio), or just stuck and unable to improve (Fiorentina, Sampdoria). Only 2 teams competed for the title, leaving the rest of the league far behind. Scoring was still low and the tie still ruled – only 5 teams finished with less than 10 ties after 30 games played. Only the champions scored more than 50 goals – no other team reached the mark – and even they were unable to achieve an average of 2 goals per game. The only really positive thing was largely unnoticed: the improvement of Hellas Verona – or simply Verona at that time.

Catania was hopeless – they won one match during the whole season. They lost 14 out of 15 away games. They scored less than half-a-goal per game: 14 goals. Absolute outsiders, ending with 12 points.

Standing from left: Ranieri, Sorrentino, Fortunato, Mosti, Cantarutti, Pedrinho. First row: Giovannelli, Luvanor, Morra, Mastalli, Crialesi.

Pisa was 15th with 22 points. Not as weak as Catania, but still very weak.

Genoa ended 14th with 25 points.

Lazio managed to escape the relegation zone only on better goal-difference than Genoa’s – 25 points and 13th place. Perhaps that was enough for the moment – securing the next season. Things were shaky and controvercial at the club, which suffered tremedous decline and relegation to Serie B. Rebuilding? There were players suggesting a core at least: Giordano, Manfredonia, D’Amico and the bright very young Dane Michael Laudrup. Giorgio Chinaglia was back from New York and a president. There was light at the end of the tunel… on paper. Chinaglia’s reign was not exactly enjoyed by the fans.

Napoli finished 12th with 26 points. Classy foreigners were not enough to propel the club higher – looked like Napoli was going in the opposite direction: down. Barely escaping relegation, that was the reality.

Avellino – 11th with 26 points. Not a bad season for them – after all, Avellino traditionally aimed only to avoid relegation and succeeding in that equaled good season.

Ascoli – a club like Avellino, so 10th place with 29 points was fine.

Udinese – 9th with 31 points. Not bad. Also a point in case: Italian clubs ruled the world – a relatively lowly club like Udinese had Zico in the squad. True, even with him the best was mid-table position, but attracting players of such class and reputation? That was Italy at this time and no matter who grumbled about the travesty of wasted talent, great players had no second thought in chosing smaller Italian sides than big names paying pittance. Mind, it was not just Zico here – there was one more Brazilian national team star – Edinho, there was the aging Juventus’ star Causio, there was bright and talented De Agostini. Not a bad team, in fact – thus, giving weight to the argument that the top football was played in Italy: such a team managed only mid-table position, so imagine what kind of teams other clubs had! Imagination is one thing, reality – quite another: Italian clubs were spending money around, that was all.

Milan finished 8th with 32 points. Not a great season at all – rather shaky, in fact. But the club was trying to resurface from its own disasters, so this was a time for rebuilding and titles were not a goal. A major point was cleaning the club’s image and that was partly going against rebuilding: Eric Gerets was just bought and soon after that the Belgian bribing scandal hit the news. Gerets was involved… and Milan let him go. Not a great move in terms of rebuilding.

Front row from left: Piotti, Gerets, Baresi, Castagner – coach, Farina (?) – chairman, Galbiati – assistant coach, Battistini, Blissett, Nuciari.

Middle row: Ribolzi – masseur, Carotti, Tacconi, Mendo (?), Incocciati, Facchini – conditioning coahc, Evani, Icardi, Vallori (?), Damiani, Mariconti.

Top row: Verza, Russo, Paciocco, Galli, Tassotti, Spinosi, D’Este, Manzo, Di Marco (?), Mariani.

Sampdoria – 7th with 32 points. Should have been better, but was not. On the other hand – Sampdoria was not traditional powerhouse, so all looked like climbing up and establishing itself as a strong club. Take it as you like.

Verona was a bit neglected – they finished 6th, which was fantastic achievement for the club, but it was seen as one-time wonder. First, the final position was not particularly impressive in terms of numbers: Verona finished withj 32 points, like Milan and Sampdoria, and was above them only on better goal-difference. It was more a result of the weakness of others than anything. The foreign stars at the moment were great names – Joe Jordan and Wladislaw Zmuda – but they were aging dangerously and it was impossible to consider them as a big asset for the future. The rest of the players were not yet stars, not even very promissing. Verona was on the right track, though, and really improving.

Torino – 5th with 33 points. Torino was holding up, but decline was noticed already – the number of strong players was diminishing and the club was unable to get big talent. The golden period ended and it was highly unlikely to be repeated.

Inter – 4th with 35 points. New coach – Radice, new foreign star – the Belgian Ludo Coeck, not a bad squad at all, but somewhat still in a building process, still unfinished, looking more to the future than to the present (Bordon was aging, but Zenga was still too young). Hansi Muller, Baresi, Collovati, Altobelli, Oriali, Gori, Ferri, Bini, Serena, Marini, Bagni… if names tell enough, Inter should have been title contender. The fact that it was not suggests only one thing: unfinished product.

Front row from left: Raveggi – masseur, Bortolazzi, A. Bertoni, Carobbi, Passarella, Merendi (?), Cecarini (?), F. Rossi, Graniti – masseur.

Middle row: Massaro, Pecci, Ferroni, Onesti – assistant coach, De Sisti – coach, Secci (?) – assistant coach, Costagliola, Oriali, Sala.

Standing: Morichi – administrator, Landucci, Cuccureddu, D. Bertoni, Antognoni, Pin, Galli, Iachini, Miani, Pulici, Monelli, Alessandrelli, Baccani – doctor.

Fiorentina – 3rd with 36 points. Nice squad, perhaps at its peak, but also there was something else: a good squad Fiorentina was able to build a great one – no. Thus, bronze was the most this vintage could get – not a title contender, somewhat too limited for that.

Roma was at its best and run for the title from start to end of the season, but failed to win and make it two in a row. Perhaps trying to win three tournaments in one season took its tall, but still one cannot be critical of this team – they did their best, but faced very strong rival.

It was boring for many, but it was Juventus once again. Giovanni Trapattoni shaped its squad perfectly – Platini and Boniek adjusted to each other and their highly talented teammates, everything clicked right. As every great team in history, the key players were not many – practically 14 players were used in the championship, suggesting great form of the regulars and well oiled squad, delivering weak after weak. Veterans were effectively replaced by current talent – Furino appeared only once this season. Juventus proved its worth in a battle against equally strong Roma, having advantage for the future, for it was younger team. The team was ready, there was no need of new key players to fill any gaps. Juventus was also successful internationaly, so there was no doubt – this was a team to shape Europeam football in the following years. The strongest in Italy? For sure.

Italy II Division

Serie B. Italy was the place to play at this time and Itaian football came out of the 1970s darkness at last, but some things were permanent: defense was in the very center of the Italian game, so improvement did not mean open game at all – just tougher to win and more difficult to score. Second Division, even with the influx of foreign talent, was just as it was. Perugia ended the season with 20 ties! They also had 9 wins – all at home. And losses – 8 of them were away matches. It was the same as ever – try to win at home, try to tie away. No wonder few away games were won: the record this year was 4 matches and that was done only by the top 2 clubs in the league. Scoring was low as ever as well: the champions scored most goals, but 49 goals scored in 38 games was hardly something impressive. On the other hand even lowly clubs allowed less than a goal per game: the 19th placed allowed only 33 goals in 38 games. The championship, involving 20 teams was just a battlefield. There was no real outsider and no real favourite either. So, half of the league was generally concerned with avoiding relegation – 4 teams were going down – and the other half was trying to get promoted – the top 3 going up. But there was no clear divisive line – one match cloud change immediate goals and everything became settled near the end of the season.

Catanzaro finished last with 30 points.

Cavese – 19th with 33 points. They were the lowest scorers in the championship – only 25 goals.

Pistoiese – 18th with 34 points.

Palermo – 17th with 34 points. That was the relegated group and one can say that all have been a bit unlucky to lose vicious battle for survival by a small margin. Very small.

Empoli survived with 35 points – 16th place.

Monza – also 35 points and 15th.

Sambenedettese – 14th with 35 points.

Cesena – on top of the 35-points group: 13th.

Pescara – 12th with 36 points.

Cagliari – 11th with 36 points.

Varese – 10th with 37 points.

Triestina – 9th with 38 points.

Perugia – 8th with 38 points.

Campobasso – 7th with 40 points. Wonderful season for this club, for Serie B was largely made of former Serie A members.

Arezzo finished 6th with 40 points – ahead of Campobasso on slightly better goal-difference: 1 goal better.

Padova – 5th with 40 points too.

Lecce – 4th with 42 points. They were just a bit weaker to get promotion – perhaps shaky home games were the difference: they lost the great number of 3 home matches – only the last in the final table lost more at home – 4!

Cremonese was happy – they finished 3rd with 45 points and got promoted.

Como lost the battle for the first place by a point, but no problem – 48 points meant not just 2nd place: they were promoted, that was all they wanted anyway.

Atalanta clinched victory with 49 points. Champions of Second Division was good for the trophy room, but going back to Serie A was wonderful.


Italy III Division Group B

Serie C/1, Group B. Two outsiders and 4 teams competing for promotion.

Rende was last with 21 points. If they had much better goal-difference, they would have been 17th – no difference, really.

Foligno, also with 21 points, had a bit of comfort winning the battle with Rende for the next-to-last place. Some battle…

Siena – 16th with 28 points.

Civitanovese – 15th with 31 points. One point was the border between life and death – if Civitanovese had earned one more point, they would be safe. For a lowly team, they had great goal-difference: 25-25, but the immediate competition got 32 points and Civitanovese was relegated along with the three teams bellow them.

Ternana survived with 32 points – 14th place.

Campania – 13th with 32 points. Lucky guys.

Akragas – 12th with 33 points.

Messina – 11th with 33 points.

Foggia – 10th with 33 points. That was the simple fact: all teams bellow 9th place – half the league – have been concerned only with survival this season.

Barletta – 9th with 35 points.

Salernitana – 8th with 35 points.

Cosenza – 7th with 36 points.

Benevento – 6th with 36 points.

Casertana – 5th with 37 points.

The other 4 clubs fought for the 2 top promotional spots. It was a bit of unequal battle, given the history of the competitors and may be the final outcome had to do with that – traditionally lowly clubs lost.

Virtus Casarano – 4th with 41 points.

Francavilla – 3rd with 41 points.

Taranto managed to earn one point more than Francavilla and Virtus Casarano and got promoted – 2nd with 42 points.

Bari won the championship with 45 points. Three points ahead of Taranto, but it was not a piece of cake season.

Italy III Division Group A

Third Division – Serie C/1. Two groups of 18 teams each, the bottom 4 relegated, the top 2 – promoted. Group A – one definite outsider and three teams, way above the rest, competing for promotion.

Trento – last with 12 points. They won only 1 match and lost 23.

Fanfulla – 17th with 25 points.

Fano – 16th with 26 points.

Prato – 15th with 27 point. The top placed in the relegation zone and going down as well.

Sanremese – 14th with 29 points.

Legnano – 13th with 29 points.

Rimini – 12th with 30 points.

Treviso – 11th with 32 points.

Modena – 10th with 32 points.

Reggiana – 9th with 34 points.

Ancona – 8th with 37 points.

R. M. Firenze – 7th with 39 points.

SPAL – 6th with 39 points.

Brescia – 5th with 39 points.

Carrarese – 4th with 39 points.

L.R. Vicenza – 3rd with 47 points. A favourite, but lost the battle for promotion by a single point.

Bologna – 2nd with 48 points. One point placed them above Vicenza, worse goal-difference put them bellow the league champions. But it did not matter – climbing up to second level was most important and, luckily, done.

Parma won the championship, thanks to better goal-difference. May be for Bologna, used to play top league football, third division title hardly mattered, but not so for Parma – lowly club so far and thus any trophy was welcome. Going up was also great. Well, they and Bologna will play in the upper league next season.

Italy IV Division

Italy. The current kings of European football. How deep the country’s system goes? Too deep… Let’s go no deeper than 4th Division – Serie C/2. Four groups of 18 teams each, the bottom 3 relegated to Campeonato Interreggionale. The top two promoted to 3rd Division – Serie C/1.

Girone A. Sant’ Elena withdrew after 17 matches for financial reasons and was relegated to Third Category of the Amateur League. Casale, 17th, and Cerretese, 16th, were also relegated.

Just for as taste who played at this level:

Olbia – finished 11th.

Lucchese – 4th,

Allesandria – 3rd. The club which gave us Gianni Rivera dropped into complete obscurity. Once upon a time a first division team…

Asti T.S.C. Finished 2nd and earned promotion – perhaps a big success for this club.

Livorno won the championship without losing a match – 18 wins and 14 ties. They also had fantastic defensive record, allowing just 7 goals in 32 games (the 33rd match was against Sant’ Elena in the fall of 1983, but it did not count, for Sant’ Elena’s record was erased). Livorno obviously aimed to get out of the hell-hole they dropped into and surely were much stronger then the rest of the league – but then again, it was 4th Division, nothing really to brag about.

Girone B perhaps had the most familiar clubs –

Venezia played here – and finished 6th. Also Pro Patria – 9th, Novara – 5th, Mantova – 4th. Faded glory.

Biellese, 20th, Brembillese, 19th, and S. Angelo, 18th, were relegated.

Piacenza finished 2nd and was promoted.

Pavia won the championship and promotion. They prevailed by a point over Piacenza for the top position.

Girone C was made of largely unknown clubs.

Matera was good example – this was one of better clubs, for they occasionally played in the upper leagues.

Monopoli finished 2nd and even lesser name won the league:

Jesi – champions of this group. Their best season ever, surely.

Ravenna, Elpidiense, and Osimana were at the bottom and relegated.

Girone D. Also made of unknown clubs – Siracusa and

Sorrento were perhaps the most familiar names. Sorrento finished 9th, just bellow a club nobody heard of back then – Frosinone.

Marsala, last, Latina, and Grumese were relegated.

Nocerina easily finished 2nd and

Reggina even easier finished 1st. Champions of the group, going up.

The winners had every reason to be happy, the second placed too – good luck to them the next season in Third Division.



The UEFA Cup. The other two European tournaments proceeded with practically no upsets, but the UEFA Cup was full of surprises. Eliminated in the first round were: Atletico Madrid (FC Groningen won 1-2 and 3-0), Dinamo Kiev (beaten by Stade Lavallois 0-0 and 0-1), Real Madrid (Sparta Prague won 3-2 and 1-1), VfB Stuttgart (lost to Levski-Spartak 1-1 and 0-1), 1. FC Kaiserslautern ( lost to Watford 3-1 and 0-3), Sevilla (lost to Sporting Lisbon 1-1 and 2-3), Bordeaux (lost to 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig 2-3 and 0-4), and Crvena zvezda (lost to Hellas Verona 0-1 and 2-3).

More unlikely exits in the 1/16 finals: Werder Bremen (lost to 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig 0-1 and 1-1), Aston Villa (lost to Spartak Moscow 2-2 and 1-2), and Hellas Verona (lost to Sturm Graz on away goal rule – 2-2 and 0-0). Bayern barely survived, unable to best PAOK (Greece) – both legs ended 0-0 and Bayern had to fret at home terribly long penalty shoot-out until winning it 9-8.

Bayern expired in the third round, eliminated by Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 and 0-2. The other goners of high ranking: Inter Milano (lost to Austria Wien 1-2 and 1-1), 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig (lost to Sturm Graz 0-2 and 1-0). Like Bayern, Celtic drew strong opponent – Nottingham Forest – and although started well away in Nottingham – 0-0 – managedto lose at home 1-2.

No surprises in the ¼ finals – the expected teams reached the ½ finals, although Hajduk Split and Nottingham Forest needed extra time to eventually prevail over Sparta Prague and Sturm Graz.

The draw for the semi-finals suggested English final: Tottenham was paired with Hajduk Split and Nottingham Forest played against Anderlecht. And after the first leg the possibility looked like certainty: Nottingham had comfortable 2-0 lead, Tottenham lost by a single goal in Split – 1-2. Tottenham won the second leg 1-0 and reached the final, as expected. However, Nottingham was unable to preserve its lead – Anderlecht came strong at home turf and won 3-0.

The final opposed Tottenham Hotspur against Anderlecht: up and coming Tottenham, managing to build a strong team after years of decline and suffering vs steadily strong and leading European club since 1975. The first leg of the final was in Brussels – a bit of advantage for the Londoners, if they managed to keep the Belgians at bay.

Which they managed – Miller opened the score in the 57th minute.

Anderlecht only equalized in the 85th minute, thanks to Morten Olsen. Defenders scored both goals.


Final 1st Leg, Stade Constant Vanden Stock (Parc Astrid), Bruxelles, 9 May 1984, att 40000


RSC Anderlecht (0) 1 Tottenham Hotspur (0) 1

57′ 0-1 TH: Miller

85′ 1-1 A: Olsen


RSC Anderlecht

Munaron; Grun, De Greef, Olsen, De Groot; Hofkens, Vandereycken, Scifo, Brylle; Vandenbergh (Arnesen 82), Czerniatynski (Vercauteren 64)

Tottenham Hotspur

Parks; Thomas, Roberts, Hughton, Perryman; Miller, Stevens (Mabbutt 81), Hazard, Galvin; Archibald, Falco

Referee: Galler (Switzerland)

The second leg was all or nothing for each team, but Tottenham had the home advantage and thus higher chance to win.

It was a bit strange, but Anderlecht changed its captain for the second leg – now it was not Olsen, but Vercauteren. Tottenham kept its, of course, and there was a lot to thank him for later.

The match was not only tough and even, but in a way repeated the first leg. Almost to the minute.

Both teams were eager to win, no doubt, but contrary to the photo, Anderlecht scored first in the 60th minute. Czerniatynski was the hero. Note: Tottenham scored the first goal in Brussels in the 57th minute. And just like in Brussels, although more devastatingly this time, the home team was seeing the clock running and victory going to the opponent.

Ardiles was sent to the pitch in the 73rd minute and still nothing…

It was desperate rush, even captain Roberts went ahead, escaped the tackle of Olsen,

and finally drove the ball in the Belgian net. 1-1 in the 84th minute (Anderlecht equalized in the 85th minute in Brussels). In both legs the home team was losing and managed to equalized near the end of the game. All goals were scored almost in the same minutes, uncanny. And still no winner! It took penalty shoot-out to decide who gets the trophy – only now Anderlecht missed and the stadium erupted with joy.

Dramatic final and the winners may have been just lucky, but who can blame them?

It was so wonderful to walk around the stadium and cheer with exalted fans – what is better than home victory? Even when one is dressed in the colours of the foe and even when one played only a handful of minutes! For Ardiles it was perhaps most special moment: back with his beloved club, which he had to leave temporary because of the war between Great Britain and Argentina, not a regular at the moment, but given a chance to play a bit and thus to become European Cup winner. The love between Ardiles and the fans was mutual, so it was a moment of perfect happiness for both. Unforgettable moment at White Hart Lane.

Final 2nd Leg, White Hart Lane, London, 23 May 1984, att 46205


Tottenham Hotspur (0) 1 RSC Anderlecht (0) 1

60′ 0-1 A: Czerniatynski

84′ 1-1 TH: Roberts

Aggregate 2-2, Tottenham won 4-3 on penalties


Tottenham Hotspur

Parks; Thomas, Hughton, Roberts, Miller (Ardiles 73); Mabbutt (Dick 77), Hazard, Stevens, Galvin; Archibald, Falco

RSC Anderlecht

Munaron; Hofkens, Grun, De Greef, Olsen, De Groot; Arnesen (Gudjohnsen 77), Vercauteren, Scifo; Czerniatyniski (Brylle 103), Vandereycken

Referee: Volker Roth (West Germany)

Anderlecht lost, but it was unbeaten. Tough luck, but the club was running strong. Regretfully, Anderlecht was unable to win consecutive UEFA Cups, but what a record the Belgians had so far: this was their 6th European final and they won half of them (2 Cup Winners Cup – 1975-76 and 1977-78, and 1 UEFA Cup – 1982-83). They were running on top gear for almost 10 years, managing to replace one squad with another smoothly. All players used against Tottenham were national team players, representing Belgium, Denmark, and Iceland. Established European stars and bright up and coming talent made this team – it was not easy to beat them and it was a bit strange to see them empty-handed. Wonderful team, but the winner cam be only one. One thing Anderlecht benefited from was the lax Belgian rule on foreign players – everywhere else maximum 2 foreigners were allowed to play. In Belgium the limit, if there was any, was much higher. This was great, because small Belgium had tiny pool of strong players – so gaps were filled with foreigners (Olsen, Brylle, Arnesen, Gudjohnsen, at the finals).

The moment of pure joy with the UEFA Cup in the middle. Well, Tottenham may have been lucky and, compared to other formations, may be not especially outstanding squad, but in the same time their victory cannot be narrated just by ‘nobody judges victors’. One has to look back and to take into account the reality of English football at that time. In general, money were short and for most clubs it was very difficult to make and keep strong team. Tottenham had its share of difficulties, went into quite long decline, was even relegated to Second Division. Almost 10 years were dark and difficult. Rebuilding really started around 1980 and now the team was in great shape – may be not as great as the one of the late 60s-very early 70s, but one of the strongest and most promising English squads at this moment. Osvaldo Ardiles was more than lucky signing – he fit perfectly in the team, to a point, was the key player, the face, the representative of this squad. There was one player left from the earlier great team – Steve Perryman – the living link between past glory and new one. There was one more great star – the Scottish striker Archibald. It was lesser squad, compared to Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Nottingham Forest, but it was up and coming and still not at its own peak. It was felt that with little fine tuning, with another classy player or two, this vintage may challenge Liverpool. Winning the UEFA Cup was certainly a boost capable of propelling Tottenham to the very top not just of Englsih football. And there was more, usually missed: this was the 3rd European trophy for Tottenham Hotspur – 2 UEFA Cups: 1971-72 and 1983-84, and 1 Cup Winners Cup 1964-65. Internationally, they were the most successful London club – their rivals Arsenal, Chelsea, and West Ham United managed only one European trophy each and quite in the past too – the most recent was Chelsea’s Cup Winners Cup won in 1971. It was nice to rub the noses of the neighbours – internationally, London was Tottenham. Sky was the limit!

Cup Winners Cup

Cup Winners Cup. By its very nature, it was the most uneventful tournament for years – few strong clubs appeared and usually some of them were eliminated only because the draw paired them with another strong team. Otherwise, hardly ever surprise results and this issue was absolutely even. Manchester United had some fright in the first round, but still prevailed on away goals against Dukla (Prague). The whims of the draw victimized some stronger teams later: Paris SG was eliminated by Juventus in the second round. Glasgow Rangers lost to FC Porto also in second round. May be 1. FC Koln’s elimination by Ujpesti Dozsa was seen as a surprise, but not that big one. Lowly Valkeakosken Haka (Finland) reached the ¼ finals, a huge success for the Fins, but it was also not a great surprise – they played against Irish Sligo Rovers and Swedish Hammarby IF, weak enough opponents. The Finns met Juventus in the ¼ finals and that was the end for them, as expected. Barcelona was unlucky, meeting Manchester United and was also out at this stage. That was the only pair without clear favourite in the ¼ finals – all others had a favourite and the favourites prevailed: Aberdeen eliminated Ujpesti Dozsa and FC Porto – Shakhter (Donetsk).

The semi-finals also fulfilled expectations: Juventus overcome Manchester United 1-1 and 2-1, and FC Porto won both legs against up and coming, but not yet at its peak Alex Ferguson’s Aberden – 1-0 and 1-0.

Of course, the finaists may have been different, but given the results – not only expected finalists, but the best teams of this season: Juventus vs FC Porto. What was at stake? Quite a lot. Juventus was still well behind Milan and Inter in terms of international success and any cup was more than welcome. FC Porto already established itself as leading Portuguese club and its rapid climb since 1975 needed international recognition via trophies. However, Juventus, with its 5 World champions plus Platini and Boniek was obvious favourite – FC Porto had only one major international star: the goalscoring machine Gomes. The European championship was yet to take place, so the other Portuguese national team players were not in focus yet. Juventus were favourites at first glance, but there were things against them too – first of all, scoring. Italian teams were never big scorers and the usual defensive approach could misfire against relatively unknown teams having nothing to lose and possessing fantastic goal-getter.

The final was played in Basel and predictably was the least memorable final – quickly forgotten because of the exciting European Championship finals. What was largely forgotten was the improvement of FC Porto.

For some reason both teams played with their second kits – may be the only time neither finalist used its regular colours. Most likely it was a demand made by the television, for there was no colour-conflict between the regular kits of the opponents – but at that time black-and-white television was still common and striped kits with lots of white were indistinct.

Platini was much in focus, predictably so.

The final had its ‘moments’, although it was not a brutal fight.

Juventus opened early (Vignola, 12th minute), but FC Porto came retaliated in the 29th minute, thanks to Sousa.

Boniek restored the Italian lead in the 41st minute.

Nobody managed to score in the second half and the final ended 2-1 Juventus.

Time for celebration.

May be dressed in unfamiliar yellow and blue, but Juventus delighted with their second European trophy.


Final, St. Jakob, Basel, 16 May 1984, att 60000


Juventus (2) 2 FC Porto (1) 1

12′ 1-0 J: Vignola

29′ 1-1 P: Sousa

41′ 2-1 J: Boniek



Tacconi; Gentile, Brio, Scirea, Cabrini; Tardelli, Bonini, Vignola (Caricola 89), Platini; Rossi, Boniek

FC Porto

Zé Beto; João Pinto, Lima Pereira, Enrico, Eduardo Luís (Costa 82), Magalhaes (Walsh 64), Frasco, Pacheco, Sousa; Gomes, Vermelinho

Referee: Prokop (East Germany)

FC Porto came close to victory and lost minimally – hardly a consolation. To a point, it was fair they lost – the team emerged from obscurity less than 10 years ago. They were constantly getting better, but it was still a team in building, not a finished one at its peak. Given the limited resources – compared to other European countries – even a rich Portuguese club would not get big international stars. Simply, there was no chance for big reinforcement: Juventus easily had Platini and Boniek, Porto had Walsh. Different class right there and sheer enthusiasm would not compensate. And not only against Juventus – FC Porto twice qualified only because of away goal and never had a win with more than a goal difference during the campaign to the final. Only once they managed to score 3 goals in a game and then they received 2 (at the semi-final home leg against Shakhter). Good team, improving team, but not ready to conquer Europe yet.

Juventus got a second European trophy, adding the Cup Winners Cup to its UEFA Cup. Great, because they won, Great, because they were hungry for success. Great having won 2 outs of 3 European competitions. But still trailing behind Milan and Inter… so far, no European Champions Cup. Perhaps the happiest were Juve’s foreigners Platini and Boniek – in their previous clubs, they could not even dream for European clubs. Huge stars, but Juventus was the first club in their careers providing opportunity for winning international cups. Apart from that, Juventus was more than solid – 5 reigning World champions! And Platini and Boniek finally adjusted to the team and each other. This was a squad ready for big things, no doubt. Going up, still refining. Winning the Cup Winners Cup was perhaps the last necessary step to the very top – and it was taken and done.

Champions Cup

European Champions Cup. In a way, uneventful vintage: no surprises. There was only one major upset. Apart from it, only almost a surprise and half-surprise in the first round and that was all. CSKA (Sofia) barely escaped in Nicosia, losing 1-4. But the Bulgarian champions won the first leg 3-0 and the away goal was enough. That was the almost-surprise, amounting only to notice the improvement of Cypriot football. Olympiakos (Piraeaus) eliminated Ajax (Amsterdam), but such result would have been major news in the first half of the 1970s – now it was only half-surprise. Greek clubs were getting better, Ajax lost its power long ago. Up to the final it was predictable, the favourites getting the upper hand, depending on the draw. Athletic (Bilbao) was out in the 1/8 finals and Benfica in the ¼ finals, both both clubs were unlucky to play against Liverpool and thus underdogs. So, the only real upset happened in the 1/8 finals, where Dinamo (Bucharest) eliminated Hamburger SV after winning at home 3-0 and losing in Hamburg 2-3. Romanian football was rising, although not yet ready to really challenge the status quo. Dinamo went strait to the ½ finals, but Liverpool was too much for them and they lost both legs. Meantime, AC Roma had splendid campaign, was the favourite in the other ½ final and prevailed over Dundee United, overcoming 2-goal deficit in the second leg: 0-2 and 3-0.

Thus, the final opposed the best teams in the tournament. There was no favourite, though. Liverpool had fantastic campaign, obviously was in perfect form, and had experience and reputation in its favour. However, Roma not only represented climbing up Italian football and had wonderful team – as luck had it, the final was scheduled in Rome, so there was the huge advantage to play the final at home turf and in front of massive home support. The final opposed practically equal clubs and after lively and entertaining match, there was no winner – 1-1.

Roberto Pruzzo manages to head the ball before Liverpool’s defender reaches it – a rare air-win over British players.

Falcao confirmed his reputation, but luck was not on his side.

Grobbelaar robbed Falcao from a chance to score.

Both goas were scored in the first half – Liverpool went ahead in the 13th minute, thanks to Phil Neal.

Pruzzo equalized in the 42nd minute.

The Cup was decided by penalty shoot-out. Liverpool was lucky there and the Cup was theirs.

Everybody happy.

Final, Stadio Olimpico, Roma, 30 May 1984, att 69693


Liverpool (1) 1 Roma (1) 1 aet

13′ 1-0 L: Neal

42′ 1-1 R: Pruzzo

Liverpool won 4-2 on penalties

Liverpool (trainer Fagan)

Grobbelaar; Neal, Lawrenson, Hansen, A.Kennedy; Johnston (Nicol 72), Lee, Souness, Whelan; Dalglish (Robinson 94), Rush

Roma (trainer Liedholm)

Tancredi; Nappi, Bonetti, Righetti, Nela; Di Bartolomei, Falcao, Cerezo (Strukeli 115); Conti, Pruzzo (Chierico 64), Graziani

Referee: Frederiksson (Sweden)


Penalty shoot-out

Liverpool: Nicol (missed), Neal, Souness, Rush, Kennedy

Roma: Di Bartolomei, Conti (missed), Righetti, Graziani (missed)

AC Roma, standing from left: Toninho Cerezo, Falcao, Bonetti, Di Bartolomei, Graziani, Tancredi.

First row: Pruzzo, Conti, Nela, Righetti, Nappi.

What a disappointment – losing without losing. Roma played great final, but no matter – the Cup went to Liverpool and there was no consolation. Lovely squad too: the Brazilian wizards Falcao and Toninho Cerezo, great Italian players like Conti, Graziani, and Pruzzo. Almost a discovery, making one wonder why Roma’s captain was never called to play for Italy – Di Bartolomei was terrific playmaker. Not just Roma’s fans felt sorry for this team – the boys played well, but it was clear this was their one and only chance. The big Italian clubs were getting stronger and would not permit Roma to win the championship again. And the stars were getting quite old – it was the only chance for Di Bartolomei, Graziani, and Pruzzo to win a club trophy. So unfortunate, but the ending was fair in a way: unlike Liverpool, Roma assembled its great team from left-overs. Graziani was acquired at the end of his career and mostly because Torino was in decline. Di Bartolomeo and Pruzzo spent most of their careers with Roma, but it was mostly because none was deemed strong enough for bigger club. Conti too, to a point. Tancredi was unable to become regular in Juventus, for there was Zoff. Nice team, but already it was time to rebuild and it was not at all certain Roma could compete with Juventus, Milan, and Inter for top talent – foreigners were another matter, but only 2 were permitted, so there was really no way to reinforce the squad and repeat the success. Unfortunate.

New old European champions, standing from left: Bruce Grobbelaar, Kenny Dalglish, Steve Nicol, Alan Hansen, Michael Robinson, Gary Gillespie, Mark Lawrenson, Ronnie Moran – trainer, Ian Rush, Tom Sounders.

First row: Ronnie Whelan, Phil Neal, Sammy Lee, Graeme Souness, Craig Johnston, Alan Kennedy, David Hodgson.

Liverpool was lucky to win and it is debatable was this vintage equal to the teams of previous years, but there was no denying the uncanny ability of Liverpool to maintain top-line squads and coaches. People, especially in England, grumbled against Liverpool’s dominance, but the policy of the club was fantastic: the consecutive line of coached, grown in the club – Shankley was replaced by his second in command Paisley, he, in turn, by his assistant Joe Fagan, now at the helm. No team was permitted to grow old, aging stars were unloaded, no matter name and status, new wonderful players brought in. Transition so smooth, it was impossible to tell when one great vintage ends and another establish itself. A whole bunch of current players look weaker compared to those they replaced, but it was still a winning squad. Only Phil Neal and Phil Thompson remained from the team of 10 years ago, led by Kevin Keegan, and they were goners now. Souness also was going to be out of the team soon. But Ian Rush was already the great new wonder. Sammy Lee to a point was a copy of Fairclough, the ‘golden substitute’. Most of the team were national team players. The foreign quota was unusual – Grobbelaar from Zimbabwe and the Australian Johnston, but there was an advantage to that: both were natural English speakers, so there was no language barrier. Critics accused Liverpool for having no English players, counting only 3 Englishmen among the regulars, but let’s face it – non-English players had key roles well before this vintage; English football in general was full of Scots, Irish, and Welsh; the great Leeds United was just as Scottish as Liverpool, and so on. It was not Liverpool’s fault that English players were not as good as Dalglish, Souness, Rush, etc. It was not Liverpool’s fault that these boys won the 4th European Cup for club – and England! – and became the second most successful European club after Real Madrid. And by the look of their long and unending run, very likely able to come ahead of the Spaniards. May be Liverpool was lucky in the penalty shoot-out at the final, but what a dominant season they had! The total of the whole campaign was 6 wins and 3 ties. They received only 3 goals and no team scored more than 1 goal against Liverpool. Unbeatable from start to finish!

Intercontinental Cup

The Intercontinental Cup was played on December 9th in Tokyo, as it became fixed permanently. Liverpool vs Independiente – the strongest European club since 1975 against the most successful South American club since 1964. An interesting clash: practically, both clubs coincided in the same period of time, rising to fame about the same time and keeping strong so far. But this was more of a footnote, other things were really at stake: Liverpool, considered the consistently strongest club in the world at the time, so far did not win the Intercontinental Cup – they refused to play against Boca Juniors in 1978 and lost to Flamengo in 1981. Independiente played 5 finals and won once, but their victory was in the distant 1973, when they prevailed over Juventus (Ajax refused to play and was replaced). On top of it, no European club won the cup since 1976, when Bayern beat Cruzeiro. Most of it was lost to the polite and not yet very knowledgeable Japanese crowd, which filled the stadium and cheered both teams, as in the previous years. This itself was unique at times, when fans rivalries were became more tense and violent than the clash on the pitch. The players, however, enjoyed the Japanese, for there was no hostility but sincere cheer and support for every effort, no matter whose. But battle is battle, nobody wanted to lose, and the Intercontinental Cup was rarely displaying great football – most often, it was pure war. So, little there to praise, even if the match was not brutal. This final was not great and memorable benchmark of football either.

The usual arguing with the referee,

dangerous play,

hard tackles, all of that took place.

Bochini was the central figure of Independiente,

but he had no luck. Liverpool paid special attention to him.

To a point, the Argentines were seemingly more dangerous – Liverpool was tactically sound, but swarming the man with the ball did not work always.

Ian Rush was battled in any possible way and he was unable to score.

In fact, the game was decided early – in the 9th minute, when Percudani scored. Liverpool was unable to equalize and when the referee blew the whistle for the end of the game, Independiente was the winner.

For a second time they were champions of the World.

The lap of triumph was rightfully theirs.

Venue: Tokyo. Field: National Stadium.

December 9, 1984 Att: 62,000 Ref: Rumualdo (BRA)


Independiente (ARG) 1-0 (1-0) FC Liverpool (ENG)

1-0 6′ Percudani


Independiente: Carlos Mario Goyén – Néstor Rolando Clausen, Hugo Eduardo Villaverde (74′ Pedro Damián Monzón), Enzo Héctor Trossero, Carlos Alberto Enrique – Ricardo Omar Giusti, Claudio Oscar Marangoni, Ricardo Enrique Bochini, Jorge Luis Burruchaga – José Alberto Percudani, Alejandro Esteban Barberón.

Liverpool : Grobbelaar – Neal, Nicol, R. Kennedy, Hansen, Gillespie, Daglish, Mølby, Rush, Johnston, Wark (Whelan)

One can argue to the end of time which Liverpool’s vintage was the best, but this is futile talk – much more important was the devilish ability of Liverpool to maintain powerful teams year after year, avoiding the usual crisis following the exit of great players. By now, only Phil Neal remained of the great team of mid-70s and even he was – to a point – additional player, replacing aging star in his early days. This was Kenny Dalglish’s team, surely, but already with new teammates – practically, a different vintage. One can name better players for almost every post, but still it was a winning team full of current stars. Almost everybody was national team player as well. Yet, the Intercontinental Cup was not for them… Liverpool lost again.

‘Rey de Copas’ – the nickname was not just a pretense and a jest. Like Liverpool, this may not be the top squad Independiente ever had, but this team truly made the club kings of the world. 7 Libertadores Cups, 2 Intercontinental Cups. The European clubs were richer and more talked about, but when it came to intercontinental clash, the South Americans prevailed again and again.

South American Player Of The Year

South American Player of the Year. Strange voting, if one looks closer. Since it did not matter where the candidates played, it is interesting to see that no European-based player appeared among the top 10. The big names at the time are all absent. True, some were not at their best, or their clubs were not leaders, but others were playing great and still were not included. No Maradona, Socrates, Zico, Passarela, Falcao, Ardiles. Practically no Brazilians – only Eder (Atletico Mineiro) was among the top 10 – and 10th! The rest were only Argentines and Uruguayans – in equal numbers, 5 of each country. Usually players are awarded because the team were playing achieved some success, overshadowing everything else, even relatively mediocre year otherwise. But not this year – Independiente won both Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup, but had only two players voted among the top 10. One of the Argentine champions had a player among the best, the other – not. Brazil’s champion was not represented at all. On the other hand players from clubs having miserable year had players among the best – most notably Boca Juniors. The Uruguayans, strong players, no doubt, played – Fernando Morena excepted in part – for foreign clubs. Club-wise, 5 Brazilian clubs, 5 Argentine, and 1 Uruguayan had players voted in the top 10. Noticeably, the current golden generation of Brazil was absent – 4 of the 5 Brazilian clubs having a player in the top 10 featured foreigners. Even the player voted best had a checkered season at best and perhaps another one should have been awarded, but he finished only 3rd. And given the general South American preference or flamboyant strikers, it is curious to see 2 goalkeepers high on the list.

Eder (Bra) – Atletico Mineiro, and Fernando Morena (Uru) – Penarol, but playing part of the year in Argenitna, shared 10th place. Victor Diogo (Uru) – Palmeiras: 9th. Alberto Marcico (Arg) – Ferro carril Oeste: 8th. Jorge Burruchaga (Arg) – Independiente: 7th. Hugo de Leon (Uru) – Gremio, and Ricardo Gareca (Arg) – Boca Juniors: 5th. Rodolfo Rodriguez (Uru) – Santos: 4th. Ricardo Bochini (Arg) – Independiente: 3th. Ubaldo Fillol (Arg) – Flamengo: 2nd.


Enzo Francescoli was voted number 1. Given the distance of time and his reputation, nothing strange – one of the greatest players of the 1980s and some of 1990s. Since he coincided with giants like Maradona and Zico, to name only the cream of the crop, it is great to see him recognized. Then again, when one looks closer… Francescoli had a bit of checkered career so far, including this very year. Born in 1961, he debuted in 1980. A bit late, for he opted to play for his college team until finish schooling. His professional debut was not for Nacional or his early love, Penarol, but for modest Montevideo Wanderers. In fact, he left Penarol as a teenager, for he was kept generally on the bench. He also decided not to join River Plate at that time, after a try-out, and preferred to return to Montevideo and play for his school. He even postponed Montevideo Wanderers’ invitation until finishing school. Yet, he debuted young enough – 19 years old – was immediately noticed and debuted for the national team of Uruguay in 1982. In 1983 he signed lucrative for the time contract with River Plate and more or less moved permanently to the other coast of La Plata, where he lives now as well.

It is great to see him at the front age of El Grafico or captured in spectacular moments, or as a River Plate’s captain even in his first season with the club, but neither River Plate was all that great at the moment, nor Francescoli was sure starter. The inventive and elegant attacking midfielder was almost out of the team for a good part of 1983, sharing duties with another player and sitting often on the bench. He returned to steady regular place only in the late part of the season, when River Plate finally played well and eventually had a chance to win Campeonato Nacional. The dream ended in front of home crowd, where, to their shame, Ferrocarril Oeste destroyed River 3-0 and went to best them again across town 1-0. So, it was not a great season – rather, doubtful one for most of the year. Francescoli really established himself only late in the season, but it was strong end of the year for him and perhaps fresh impressions propelled him to the top in the eyes of voting journalists. It was hardly his best season. But it was hardly the best season for other stars too, so, to a point, he was lucky, for if others were in great from he was not going to be number one even if he had full excellent season. So, from time perspective, it was great to have him recognized. Still, Bochini should have been voted number one this year.