Czechoslovakia I Division

First Division. Two teams competed for the title, with Bohemians (Prague) still going strong, although on inertia. Two clubs were weaker than the general level of the league, but, in general, the whole league was rather equal, there were not great divides.

Plastika (Nitra) ended last with 19 points.

SKLO Union (Teplice) was the second relegated team – 15th with 20 points. Just returned from second division exile and going back there immediately.

Tatran (Presov) survived – 14th with 23 points.

ZVL (Zilina) – 13th with 25 points.

Slavia (Prague) – 12th with 26 points.

Ruda Hvezda (Cheb) – 11th with 26 points.

TJ Vitkovice – a club of the confusing kind of Petrzalka and Viktoria Zizkov: usually staying on its own, is if representing different town than the one it belongs to. In this case, Ostrava. 10th with 27 points.

Slovan (Bratislava) – 9th with 27 points.

Lokomotiva (Kosice) – 8th with 27 points.

Spartak (Trnava) – 7th with 29 points.

Inter (Bratislava) – 6th with 29 points.

Banik (Ostrava) – 5th with 35 points. Here was the only big divide in the league – the top 5 and all the rest. 6 points difference between the 5th and the 6th, but this did not mean that the top 5 were all that heavily fighting between themselves: Banik was not competing for the title, for instance. Just keeping solid performance.

Dukla (Banska Bystrica) was the pleasant surprise this season – newcomers, finishing 4th with 37 points. But this has to be taken with a grain of salt, for Dukla was hardly newcomer – they played often top league football and as an army team, their fate depended on current recruits. No big talent here, but good enough for at least one strong season.

Bohemians (Prague) – 3rd with 40 points. Bronze was good enough for them. It was clear that another title is impossible: they did their best with recruiting and the team was not bad at all, but no matter what, they were never able to compete with their bigger neighbours for first rate talent. So, it was running on inertia already and that could not last long.

But this was fun club and nobody could match their retro style.

The championship boiled down to Prague rivalry, Dukla vs Sparta. Dukla got the short end twice – they lost the final for the Czech Cup 0-3 and 0-3, and they lost the championship.

Dukla (Prague) – 2nd with 44 points. All depends on standpoint: at least in Prague, to see unpopular ‘government’ club losing was more than fine. Especially if one supports the ‘old clubs’. On the other hand – Dukla was pretty much the strongest squad at the period, so their loss posed a question about the real strength of the current generation. Well, it was not a huge drop of form – on the contrary. Dukla lost the title by 2 points, but prevailed in the direct clash with their opponent, getting 4 points – a win and a tie.


Sparta won its 14th title with 20 wins, 6 ties, 4 losses, 58-24 goal-difference, and 46 points. It was not an easy victory, but this was less important than the restoration of the leading role of Sparta: the last championship they won before this season was in 1967. The 1970s were terrible period for Sparta and they were even relegated to second division. And on top of everything Dukla recovered lost ground after 1975. But Sparta, perhaps to the envy of their traditional arch-rivals Slavia, managed to come back – and were still the leading club of the country: Dukla had 11 titles, Sparta – 14.

Czechoslovakia II Division

Czechoslovakia. This year marked the beginning of new dominance, which carried on after the fall of Communism. Of course, this is visible only from the distance of time, but started with a bang. Apart from that – nothing new, Czech football ruled and continued to rule.

Second Division continued in the established format of two leagues, Czech and Slovak and their winners were promoted to the top combined league.

Česká národní fotbalová liga. 16 teams, 8 of which used to play top league football at one or another point. The most famous club was TJ Zbrojovka (Brno), now down on their luck and seemingly unable to restore its position. Most of the league members, including some former top league teams, were little known, so their names sound exotic. Clubs like TJ Zelezarny (Prostejov), TJ Motorlet (Prague), TJ VOKD (Poruba). In such company, Zbrojovka could not do bad.

Zbrojovka finished 2nd with 35 points. Not good at all… Zbrojovka did not lose a race for the first place – it was not a runner at all.

TJ Sigma ZTS (Olomouc) dominated the championship, finishing with 23 wins, 4 ties, 3 losses, 74-18 goal-difference and 50 points. The gap between them and Zbrojovka was massive: 15 points. Sigma went up after incredibly strong season.

1. slovenská národní fotbalová liga, also with 16 teams, had slightly more drama than their Czech equals: 2 teams competed for the top place. But here was different: practically, only one former First Division member played here – ZTS Kosice. Previoulsy known as VSS Kosice. They were pretty much the same as Zbrojovka at the moment – unable to run for promotion, although finishing well: 3rd in their case, with 31 points.

Newcomer Tesla (Stropkov) ended last with 21 points.

Another newcomer Gumarne (Puchov) did better – 9th with 28 points. The full name is Gumarne 1. maya, in fact, and provides the important information about most of the club names not just in second division: they were not exactly club names, but the names of various industrial plants the teams were attached to. What exactly this industrial plant was is hard to say without research, but before mentioned Tesal made home electronic devices. What was the nature of Zbrojovka was hardly a secret: the firm is famous for its rifles and guns. And so on… what was behind Vagonka (Poprad), for instance? The name tells it: railroad cars. Yet, some names remain a mystery:

DAC Pol’nohospodar (Dunajska Streda). The name means something like ‘full owner’. There was another club with this kind of name in the league: Slavoj Pol’nohospodar (Trebisov). A co-op of a kind? May be agricultural, something rural? Does not matter all that much, for the club will be known mostly as DAC – it was ascending club, one to be more than just heard of in the next years. They were building strenght already and run for the first place. Finished 2nd with 45 points – 4 points behind the winners.

As for the winners – they were doing well by their own standards. ZTS Petrzalka was aiming at one more try playing top league football. The third club of Bratislava -that is, suburban Bratislava – succeeded: 24 wins, 3 ties, 3 losses, 80-19 goal-difference, 49 points. Perhaps having 2 former Czechoslovakian big stars helped: Dusan Gallis and Marian Masny played their last years for Petrzalka. Both played their bit for the greatest Czechoslovakian success: the 1976 European championship. Gallis had modest role, Masny was key player of the team winning the title. But that was in the past – now the players were old, yet, still capable of making the difference between winners and losers.

Portugal the Cup

The Cup. How good was FC Porto and how limited yet… Reaching the Portuguese Cup final was effectively stretching the season tremendously – championship, European cup, domestic cup. Legendary squads were not able to win it all and FC Porto had no legendary squad. But their opponent was Rio Ave… and as ambitious as mid-table team could be, it was rather impossible for such a team to win in a country like Portugal, where the real difference between a leading and a mid-table club was like day and night. It was not that Rio Ave did not try and it a sorry day for people like me, always preferring the underdog. FC Porto was clearly too strong. They won 4-1. .

This is the Rio Ave’s team at the Cup final. No names here… and no matter: no famous players. What is there to say… money. Lack of them. A great effort, a day to be remembered, but no trophy.

FC Porto won one of three trophies they battled for. Not bad by any account. The team was getting better and stronger. It was not at its peak yet – as a finished, successful, team – and as a club, FC Porto was not ready yet for doubles and triples, but very likely this was the year FC Porto completely converted from good club into leading club both at domestic and international level. Too bad people did not pay enough attention outside Portugal: this club was rapidly ascending. And not going to be one-time-wonder at all. Oh, well, it is easy to say that now, when 1984 is deep past.

Portugal I Division

First Division. 6 teams were in danger and fought for survival, three teams way ahead of the rest of the league, but only two of them battled for the title. Not an extraordinary championship at all.

SC Espinho finished last with 17 points.

RD Agueda – 15th with 19 points.

GD Estoril-Praia – 14th with 21 points. Really unlucky, for there were 4 teams with 21 points and if goal-difference was the breaker, they would have been… not safe, but with a good chance to remain in the league. But goal-difference was not the decisive factor and Estoril-Praia went down along with Agueda and Espinho.

FC Penafiel – lucky 13th, for they had worse goal-difference than Estoril-Praia. But they were not safe yet, going to promotion/relegation tournament. This they won against the second-placed teams in the 3 second division zones and were good for at least one more season with the best.

SC Farense – 12th with 21 points. A bit of an anomaly: at least this season the Portuguese league was all or nothing and ties were few – Farense, however, depended on ties – 11 matches, 1/3 of their total were tied.

SC Salgueiros -11th with 21 points. Well… well done, for survival pretty much equals success for this club.

Portimonense SC – 10th with 26 points. Nothing much, but never in danger. Top row from left: Freitas, José Armando, Pedroto, Niromar, Fernando Martins, Barão I, Coelho, Gaspar, Luís Saura.

Middle row: Dr. Malha Gregório (médico), José Manuel Proença (massagista), Dérinho, Fernando, Valdemar Custódio (treinador adjunto), Manuel José (treinador pricipal), João Gouveia, Cabral, Simões, Coelho (dirigente) e Chico (roupeiro)

Sitting: Norton de Matos, Lúcio, Vítor Oliveira, Cadorin, Tavares, Damas, Barão II, Balacó, Luciano, Nelsinho, Rui Águas.

Rio Ave FC – 9th with 29 points.

Varzim SC – 8th with 29 points. By their standards, wonderful season.

Boavista – 7th with 31 points. That was the Portuguese predicament – Lisbon was unable to support 3 bog clubs, so how other cities could do better? Boavista was doing well in the general scheme of things, but next to FC Porto… had no chance at all.

Vitoria (Guimaraes) – 6th with 31 points. Solid, no more.

Vitoria (Setubal) – 5th with 34 points. As ever, among the top teams and, as ever, not a title contender. Standing from left: Freire, Jorge Martins, Formosinho, Nascimento, Artur, Vitinha.

Crouching: Roçadas, Mota, Sobrinho, Francisco Silva, Nunes.

Sporting (Braga) – 4th with 37 points. Nothing new as well – stronger than most,weaker than the big clubs. Standing from left: Artur, Nelito, Walter, Dito, Guedes, João Cardoso.

First row: Serrinha, Malheiro, Vitor Santos, Zinho, Wando.

Sporting (Lisbon) – 3rd with 42 points. 5 points ahead of Braga, showing the true divide in Portuguese football. But there was more to it, unfortunately – Sporting, although having a strong period, was no longer the second biggest club in the country – the rivalry shifted already from Lisbon derby to Lisbon-Porto rivalry and Sporting was not the representative of the capital: they were the third ranking club now and the final table showed it amply.

FC Porto – 2nd with 49 points. 7 points ahead of Sporting, which was really showing the difference between the 2 big clubs of the country and all others. And now FC Porto was the second big club of Portugal, not Sporting (Lisbon) – a permanent change. There was more to it: FC Porto ended the season with fantastic record – they allowed only 9 goals in their net! 4 at home and 5 away. In Porto, they were just perfect: 10 home games, 15 wins, scoring 54 goals. But FC Porto was still new great power, not exactly dominating yet: their away record was not bad at all, but Benfica was winning much more away matches and, tellingly, FC Porto scored only 11 goals in 15 away games. Benfica scored 37! So, FC Porto lost the title, but they must be excused: too many fronts. The team above is actually the squad playing the European Champions Cup final. FC Porto was still elbowing its way among the leaders of Portugal and the best in Europe – not quite established at the top presently, but very, very close.

By now, the champion is not even a slight mystery to anybody: Benfica. They finished with 3 points more than FC Porto. 24 wins, 4 ties, 2 lost games. That was the big difference between old power and newcomer: Benfica won 11 games on the road – FC Porto and Sporting Lisbon, the second best, only 7 gales each. Benfica scored 86 goals and if FC Porto had the best home record, this did not matter much – real class was presented away from home: there Benfica scored 37 goals, FC Porto – 11. Best defensive record… big deal, FC Porto allowed only 5 goals away from home, but Benfica got 24 points away – FC Porto 19. Oh, FC Porto won all their home games – but they did not have a bitter rival like Sporting next door. Benfica was so old fox, nothing was to be taken for granted against them, even if they were not in good shape. But they were in good shape! The only reason for one more picture of champions so boringly familiar.

Two slightly different formations of the winning team: most of the Portuguese national team was playing for Benfica, it was always a deep squad. And having strong period currently! One does not have to count much – yes, there were veterans and already former national team players. Nene, Pietra, Sheu, Humberto Coelho. Add Bento and you will have a bunch with impressive domestic record. Add Filipovic, who did not play much for Yugoslavia, but won titles with Crvena Zvezda and blended perfectly with this Benfica’s vintage – may be because Benfica and Crvena Zvezda were similar clubs, champion clubs. And than add the current start, like Chalana, Veloso, and brightly ascending coach Eriksson. This squad was no joke – no matter which version of the above, it would be matching at least FC Porto’s best. For FC Porto still had shorter and not that experienced team. Cannot blame Benfica for winning.

Portugal II Division

Portugal. A championship which never changed… three teams way above the rest of the league: the usual clubs everybody knows. In the lower level – some drama only in Zona Sul. The winners of the three zones were promoted, of course, but they played a mini-tournament to determine the champion of Second Division after the end of the season. There was also promotion/relegation tournament between the second-placed teams in the second division zones and the 13th placed team in First Division.

Zona Norte.

CAF Viseu, not long ago playing top league football, was now down and out – 15th and relegated.


Chaves ended 2nd with 39 points.

Vizela was comfortable winner with 42 points – 3 more than the next finisher – and promoted.

Zona Centro.

Academica (Coimbra) excelled this season, finishing 5 points ahead of Peniche. Standing from left: Alexandre, Reis, Ângelo, Parente, Vítor Nóvoa.

First row: Aquiles, Coimbra, Isalmar, Tomás, Camegim, Ribeiro.

Zona Sul.

Esperanca (Lagos) finished last. Standing from left: Hélder, Simões, Romeu, Carlos Alberto, Covelo, Edmundo.

Crouching: Vitor, Diamantino, Amenga, Zequinha, Luis Manuel.

Cova de Piedade was lucky 12th.

Amora – 9th.

But there was big battle for the top place in this zone – between Belenenses (Lisbon) and Maritimo (Funchal). At the end Maritimo lost the race by one point.

Belenenses won the zonal championship with 44 points. Standing from left: Miguel Quaresma, Jorge Silva, Jaime das Mercês, José António, Joaquim Pereirinha, Justino, Rúben Cunha.

First row: Joel Almeida, Djão, Dudu, Sambinha.

The dark years were not ending at all, but at least Belenenses managed to return to the top league. And in good style: they won the Second Division title, after winning the mini-tournament with Vizela and Academica (Coimbra). Not the trophy which the club truly cherished, but… at least a title.

The second-placed teams had no luck – Peniche, Maritimo, and Chaves were not strong enough to prevail over Penafiel and everybody remained in the same league they were in the freshly finished season.

Belgium the Cup

The Cup final opposed KAA Gent to Standard and under normal circumstances, it would not have been any mystery: Standard was too strong. But Standard was paying the price for its stupid bribing deals in the previous season and was not in perfect shape. Of course, having a chance to win a trophy fueled ambitions in the underdog camp and when the referee blew the final whistle, it was KAA Gent 2 – Standard 0.

Look it as you like: stupid decision to win the championship a bit easier the previous season led to disaster this season and arguably the best Belgian squad at the moment finished with nothing. Or, good as they were, Standard lost a single match to more motivated team.

Proud Cup winners, standing from left: Tony Rombouts, Luc Criel, Soren Busk, Willy Quipor, Guy Hanssens, Andre Laureyssen

Bottom, left to right: Johann Van Looy, Kiyika Tokodi, Rene Mucher, Michel DeWolf, Cees Schapendonk .

Compared to Standard, this squad was… nothing. Even Soren Busk was unfamiliar name yet. Therefore, it was great and lovely victory of the small guys. This was only the second trophy KAA Gent won – previously, they won the Cup in 1964. And, interestingly enough, they had perfect record – KAA Gent may have reached the Cup final only twice, but both times they won the trophy. Every final they played, they won.

Belgium I Division

First Division. The usual suspects was among the leaders, but it was not their season. At the opposite end of the table was a club not long ago among the best, but unfortunately unable to sustain even relatively strong position at the present.

R. Beringen FC – last with 23 points and relegated.

RWD Molenbeek (Bruxelles) – 17th with 25 points and also relegated. What a long and painful agony – amalgamations were not able to keep this club afloat and it was going down. The struggle will continue for years and to bitter end.

Beerschot VAV – 16th with 26 points.

KAA Gent – 15th with 28 points. Yet, this was great season for them.

K.Lierse SK – 14th with 29 points.

RFC Liégeois (Liege) – 13th with 29 points.

KV Kortrijk – 12th with 29 points.

KSV Cercle Brugge – 11th with 31 points.

KSC Lokeren – 10th with 31 points.

K.Waterschei SV Thor Genk – 9th with 33 points.

R. Antwerp FC – 8th with 35 points.

KSV Waregem – 7th with 35 points.

KV Mechelen – 6th with 38 points. Top row from left: Raymond Jaspers, Mark Talbut, Bert Cluytens, Geert Deferm, Karel Kesselaers.

Middle row: Leo Canjels, Marc Huysmans, Joachim Benfeld, Filip Benoot, Theo Custers, Mathy Billen, Piet den Boer, Wilfried Dommicent, Herman Fransen.

Sitting: Jan De Cleyn, Yvan Hoste, Willi Reisinger, Benny Asselberghs, Johan Van Arwegen, Jos Volders, Fi Van Hoof .

RFC Sérésien – 5th with 38 points. Good season for a modest club, often known as Seraing.

Standard (Liege) – 4th with 40 points. Had to pay the price for the follies in the previous season. Standing from left: Bourguignont(soigneur), Goethals – coach, Grundel, Delangre,Vandersmissen, Hrubesch, Daerden, Aussens, Wintacq, Meeuws, Plessers, Semmeling.

Sitting: Poel, Tahamata, Hellers, Preud’homme, Bodart, Delbroeck, Bosmans, Jelikic.

Club Brugge KV – or FC Brugge – 3rd with 44 points. Third row from left: Koen Sanders, Willy Carbo, Antoni Szymanowski, Willy Wellens, Luc Beyens, Luc Vanwalleghem, Hugo Broos, Alex Querter.

Middle row: Georg Kessler (coach), Raymond Mertens (assistent-coach), Peter Nilsson, René Verheyen, Johan Renier, Ronald Spelbos, Jan Ceulemans, Eddy Warrinnier (kine), Gilbert Van Binst (assistant-coach).

Front tow: Birger Jensen, Chris Verhulst, Yves Carette, Marc Degryse, Luc Hinderyckx, Guy Dardenne, Philippe Vande Walle.

Anderlecht – or RSC Anderlechtois – 2nd with 47 points. May be paying the price for playing on too many fronts and having too many too many international players. The regular team was made of 10 internationals, playing for Belgium, Denmark, and Yugoslavia. Some of them were getting old – not too old to play great football, but may be age was affecting consistency, for they played on different fronts and traveled quite a lot.

SK Beveren won its 2nd title with 51 points from 22 wins, 7 ties, losing just 5 matches. 59-33 goal-difference was nothing to brag about – Anderelcht scored 80 goals – but modest Beveren depended on its tied defense. Compared to Anderlecht, Standard, and FC Brugge, the squad was insignificant, but this was the strongest period in the history of the club and the team was already very experienced. Of course, Beveren had no money to buy great players, but still managed to reinforce the squad – Marek Kusto, a member of the great 1974 Polish team, was here. Filip de Wilde, unheard of this time, was promising replacement of Jean-Marie Pfaff. May be the bribing scandal helped them a bit, by rattling Standard, may be FC Brugge was not yet fully rebuild, may be Anderlecht was distracted by international football, but Beveren was sturdy and spirited team – their victory was well deserved and enjoyed, for the underdog was not giving up.

Belgium II Division

Belgium. Rattled by the bribing scandal in the previous season, but it affected mostly Standard (Liege). On the other hand, the current talented generation kept at least the top of the first league interesting.

Second Division. The champion was directly promoted and the next 4 teams in the final table went to play-off for the second promotional spot. In effect, only 2 teams fought for the top place and the rest of the league was much weaker.

RAA Louvièroise was last with 17 points. Wuustwezel FC – 15th with 20 points. VV Overpelt Fabriek -14th with 23 points. K.Boom FC – 13th with 23 points. KRC Harelbeke – 12th with 24 points. KSC Eendracht Aalst – 11th with 27 points. KFC Diest – 10th with 29 points.

R. Charleroi SC – 9th with 30 points.

KFC Winterslag – 8th with 31 points.

KSK Tongeren – 7th with 32 points. K.St.-Truidense VV – 6th with 34 points.

K.Berchem Sport – 5th with 34 points.

KRC Mechelen – 4th with 35 points. RC Jet de Bruxelles – 3rd with 35 points. KSC Hasselt – 2nd with 41 points.

K.St.-Niklase SK won the championship with 45 points from 17 wins and 11 ties, losing only 2 games. 63-27 goal-difference.

The next 4 teams went to play-off tournament, which

Racing Jet (Bruxelles) won and got promoted as well.

Holland the Cup

The Cup. Fortuna (Sittard) reached the final and had to clash with Feyenoord. Perhaps even the club was not expecting anything, considering the form Feyenoord had this year. However, the final was a tough battle, won by a single goal – unfortunately, Fortuna did not score it.

Fortuna (Sittard) was a modest club, so reaching the Cup final was great achievement. As for winning the trophy… it depended who they faced at the final, and unfortunately it was Feyenoord. No shame losing to them, but no sensation either. Third row from left: Chris Dekker, Mario Eleveld, Tiny Ruys, Jaap v.d. Berg, JO Bux.

Middle row: Jos Wesolek (fysiotherapeut), Dr. Jessen, clubarts, Theo v. Well, Arthur Hoyer, Nico Hanssen, Chris Korver, Wim Koevermans, Anne Evers, Peter Bruls (verzorger).

Sitting: Huub Smeets, Wilbert Suvrijn, Willy Boessen, Frans Korver (trainer), Joop Castenmiller (manager), Dick Voorn (ass.trainer), Rene Maessen, Gerrie Schrijnemakers, Matj Toonen.

May be not an easy win, but Feyenoord made a double. A historic moment – this was their only 3rd double and the previous one came in 1969. Feyenoord was not champion since 1974 and not a Cup winner since 1980. Back in mid-70 Feyenoord made the mistake of procrastination and rebuilding was started too late and, unfortunately, at a time when Holland had no great young generation of players. Thus, no significant team was built and by 1984 it was again in troublesome situation: the key players were not old enough for replacement, but also they were not great. Success, naturally, escaped them. Until Cruijff arrived and instantly Feyenoord won a double. But the feelings were mixed. At the end of the previous season Cruijff and Ajax locked horns over new contract – typically, Cruijff wanted more money plus something else. Ajax brass did not think a 36-years old player should get more money plus something else. ‘Something else’ must have been coaching position for which Cruijff was not formally qualified. Both sides stood their ground stubbornly and Cruijff was free – Ajax ‘reasonably’ thought that player at his age would not be either great asset, nor great danger if playing elsewhere, they had a team bursting with young talent. Cruijjf immediately took the offer of Feyenoord – this did not endear him to Ajax fans and even less so when Feyenoord was instantly transformed and started winning. But Feyenoord fans did not his arrival either, Cruijff was met with hostility and banners saying ‘Cruijff is not Feyenoord’ were regularly displayed at the stands. Opposite feelings collided – Cruijff was the arch-enemy and playing a bit with Feyenoord jersey was almost and insult. But with him the team started playing intelligent football, not just pleasant to watch, but bringing victories. Of course, not everybody was unhappy – Ruud Gullit was thrilled to play along with the great master and benefit from his passes and vision. Bulgarian Andrey Zheliakov was also in seventh heaven: having an impossible dream come true. Cruijjf was his hero, but there was no chance for Zheliazkov not only to play with him, but even against him. Zheliazkov played for Slavia (Sofia) before Feyenoord, a team having no chance of meeting neither Ajax, nor Barcelona in the European tournaments. In 1974 he was too young and not in the national team, so the game Holland – Bulgaria at the World Cup he saw only on TV. Now the impossible was a reality: playing together with his hero. Other players were most likely also pleased to play along with one of the best ever players, who was still wonderful on the pitch. Feyenoord won a double, a great achievement, and a season to be celebrated and remembered. But the mixed feelings somewhat depreciated the success, especially because of the next bitter pill Cruijff delivered. He played his last match for Feyenoord, which was great for rubbing salt into Ajax wounds, but right after that Cruijff left Feyenoord to coach Ajax. Perhaps neither club was fully satisfied with the great man in 1983-84 – he was controversial as ever. But a winner. And his retirement immediately opened the old problems of Feyenoord: the team was not that great. Without Cruijff and also soon to be wihtout Zheliazkov, who was approaching retirement himself, there was not a big enough core to start a new team – Ruud Gullit was not enough. Money were getting short and Feyenoord did not have too many players attracting foreign buyers. The double was not a start of great era, just the opposite – a very dark, perhaps the darkest period in Feyenoord history started exactly after this great season: not only almost 10 years long, but nearly fatal, for Feyenoord eventually arrived at the brink of bankruptcy. If people knew what the future was bringing, may be the double would have been cherished more, much more. But Cruijff’s shadow tainted the season – it was vicious situation: he brought the great success, may be impossible without his help, but he was and remained the arch-enemy. He came and immediately won a rare double for ‘us’, only to leave ‘us’ right after, join the arch-enemy, made them great and ‘we’… we left to suffer as never before. Weird season, weird sentiments, weird decisions, weird controversies, and fantastic season as well. As a novelty, Cruijff retired playing with number 10 – not his famous number, not even 9, with which he played longer than with 14 – but 10 was not exactly new number. Apparently, he played with it around 1969 for a while.

Holland I Division

First Division. The big three were way above the rest of the league, nothing new about it, but the race was not between them: Feyenoord was much better and became solitary leader. Life at the bottom was not dramatic at all – three teams were hopeless outsiders and everybody else was just comfortably safe.

DS’79 (Dordrecht) was last with 15 points. No surprise… they struggled for mere existence, they went into some kind of amalgamation or reform, or who knows what in 1979 when the old FC Dordrecht was revamped as DS’79 – and that only if the new club had real connection with the previous one. What all that tells? One thing only: no money. Hence, down to second division.

Willem II (Tilburg) 17th with 16 points. Standing from left: Jan Notermans (hfdtrainer), Sjef van Weert (materiaal), Wim Van Steen (masseur), Johan Huybregts, Ton Soffers, Jan Formannoy, Cres Krijgh, Theo Wagener, Clemens, Bastiaansen, John Feskens, en ass trainer Cor Stolzenback.

Sitting: Bert Gozems, Toon Nelemans, Patric Cohen, Ton vd Ven, Bram Braam, John Lamners, Wanny Van Gils.

Better say nothing.

Helmond Sport – 16th with 16 points. Going down, where the club was seemingly more comfortable in recent years.

Volendam – 15th with 26 points. A giant, compared to those bellow… Top row from left: Theo Mooyer, Ton Blanker, John Holshuijsen, Wim Tol, Kees de Koning.

Middle row: Jan Molenaar, Dick de Boer, Kees Guyt, Dick Helling, Jan Klouwer, Frank Kramer, Nico Zwarthoed, Wim Kwakman, Cor v.d. Hart (trainer)

Front row: Leo Tholens (Fysiotherapeut), Klaas Tuyp, Jaap Jonk, Frans Hoek, Jan Schoker, Johan Steur.

PEC Zwolle – 14th with 29 points.

Excelsior (Rotterdam) – 13th with 31 points.

Fortuna (Sittard) – 12th with 31 points.

Go Ahead Eagles – 11th with 32 points.

FC Den Bosch – 10th with 33 points.

Roda JC – 9th with 35 points. Third row from left: Milo Muytjens, Harry Klein, Joop Dacier, Jos Smits, John Eriksen, Leo Degens.

Middle row: G.Gerards (ass.), Hans Eijkenbroek (trainer), Chris Guthrie, René Hofman, Martin van Geel, Eugène Hanssen, Norbert Keulen (verzorger).

Sitting: Leo Ehlen, Eugène Marijnissen, Peter van de Ven, Hans Cremer, Hans Zuidersma, Jimmy Calderwood, Jeffrey Rosenau.

FC Utrecht – 8th with 36 points. Dick Advocaat still playing and Jan Wouters not going to play for long for Utrecht.

FC Groningen – 7th with 37 points. Top row from left: Adri van Tiggelen – Jan de Jonge – Harry Schellekens – Pieter Beuzenberg – Rob McDonald – Bert Wiebing

Middle row: Paul Zweverink (assistent) – Karel Hiddink – Walter Waalderbos – Erwin Koeman – Bud Brocken – Ron Jans – Henk de Haan – Han Berger (trainer)

Sitting: Jan van Dijk – Fandi Ahmad – Theo Keukens – John Visser (verzorger) – Jos Roossien – Anne Mulder – Ronald Steenge. Erwin Koeman was still unknown.

Sparta (Rotterdam) 6th with 37 points.

AZ’67 (Alkmaar) – 5th with 37 points. Still stronger than most, but the risky approach – hiring veterans – was drying out and it was clear that AZ’67 was already going downhill.

Haarlem – 4th with 41 points. Excellent period, which started in 1980, but now Ruud Gullit was gone and it was only inertia.

Ajax – 3rd with 51 points. They scored amazing 100 goals this year and were bursting with young talent, but… not title contenders and even lost the battle for silver. May have been sorry as well for the mistake the club made: they let Cruijff go to arch-rivals Feyenoord. Most likely lost the championship because of that.

PSV Eindhoven – 2nd with 52 points. Not their year? Rightly so – PSV started rebuilding a bit late, but now they almost had the new team. Almost. Going up, but on yet on their peak and in need of final polishing. Soon Gerets and van Breukelen will come and their new great team will be completed, but soon is not now – now, it was still the unfinished product, good enough to edge Ajax, but not to win the title.

Feyenoord won the title after 25 wins, 7 ties, and only 2 losses. 96-31 goal-difference and 57 points. Comfortable victory, but that is what statistics tell. It was not exactly ‘a routine’ victory, nor was a beginning of great period. It was victory leaving mixed feelings. It was due to Johann Cruijff, who joined Feyenoord for his last season.

He played his last game on May 13, 1984, ending his illustrious career as champion. But he ended his career with Feyenoord… and he was not Feyenoord… and he was not even going to stay with Feyenoord… more a bit later.