Switzerland I Division

First Division. Nothing dramatic at the lower end: FC Chiasso was last with measly 10 points. Not much better, AC Bellinzona ended 15th with 12 points.

FC Luzern had terrible season, but at least they were never in danger of relegation – 14th with 22 points.

Vevey-Sports was understandably near he bottom – 13th with 24 points.

FC Zurich suffered big decline – 12th with 24 points.

Young Boys (Bern) – 11th with 25 points.

FC Aarau – 10th with 27 points.

FC Basel, evidently in bad shape, although not as disastrous as FC Zurich, finished 9th with 28 points.

FC Wettingen – not bad. For them, that is. 8th with 30 points.

FC La Chaux-de-Fonds – 7th with 33 points.

Lausanne-Sports – 6th with 34 points. So far, including Lausanne, the bulk of the league had nothing to do with the title, but the last 5 teams fought for it hard. 4 points was the final difference between them and 4 teams finished with equal points.

FC St. Gallen ended 5th – 40 points, but they lost 4th place on worse goal-difference.

Xamax (Neuchatel) enjoyed very strong period – 4th this year and only thanks to better goal-difference, but nothing to be ashamed of: they really run for the title.

FC Sion was the pleasant surprise: normally a mid-table team, they had wonderful season, coming close to winning the championship, but eventually settle for 3rd place with 43 points – two teams extracted one point more than them.

Servette (Geneve) finished with 44 points from 19 wins, 6 ties and 5 losses. Goal-difference: 67-31, the best in the league. But… it did not count, the rules proscribed a play-off in case of teams finishing with equal points. Servette was more than likely grumbling against this rule… Standing from left: Schnyder, Hasler, Henry, Castella, Mathez, Mattioli, Jaccard, Dutoit, Geiger

Crouching: Cacciapaglia, Brigger, Elia, Dechoudens, Burgener, Barberis, Renquin, Decastel.

Servette fans may have called Grasshopper lucky, but the team was hardly a simple lucky squad: technically, they finished the season 2nd , having worse goal-difference than Servette. In everything else they were absolutely equal – 19 wins, 6 ties, 5 losses. It was tough battle between 5 teams, so nobody can blame Grasshopper for not been ahead of Servette. At the decisive play-off they managed to prevail in overtime 1-0. Well, that was that – they scored and Servette did not. One more title for them – a third consecutive, making it 19 in total.

Switzerland II Division

Switzerland. An interesting season – 5 teams competed for the title and at the end a championship play-off had to break a tie. In the lower level 3 teams fought for the top two promotional spots. Of course, the Second Division was obscure and nothing to brag about, but it had its own drama. One was at the bottom.

SC Freiburg – or FC Fribourg, depending on language – finished 14th and had to play a relegation play-off against the 13th, FC Monthey. The match ended 1-1, but Freiburg lost the penalty shoot-out 3-4 and went down. Along with FC Nordstern (Basel), 15th, which just recently played first division football, and FC Red Star (Zurich), 16th.

At the top of the table there was another drama – 3 teams battled for 2 promotional spots. FC Lugano lost the race, finishing 3rd with 38 points. The other two teams ended with equal points – 41 each – and goal-difference decided the champion of the season.

FC Winterthur finished 2nd for they had amusingly weak goal-difference for a leading team: +13. But no matter – they still managed to return to top flight. Second row from left: Adi Noventa (Trainer), Dario Zuffi, Mauro Bunkofer, Daniel Haefeli, Urs Egli, Uwe Rapolder, Sepp Roth, Christian Schleiffer, André von Niederhäusern, André Keller, Paul Kilgus (Teambetreuer).

First row: Paul Hollenstein (Physiotherapeut), Reto Arrigoni, Christian Graf, Rafael Chèlos, Markus Bachmann, Walter Christinger, Rolf Schiltknecht, Kevin Streule, Franco Girola, Manuel Lopez, Ernst Rief (Pfleger).

Goal-difference of +31 made the new champion – a little known club, named SC Zug. It was glorious and exciting achievement, but one has to look back in time to find the winners: they do not exist today, eventually merging with their neighbours FC Zug. In real time, though, it was great victory.


Scotland the Cups

The Cups were played between the usual suspects. Aberdeen and Celtic competed for the Scottish FA Cup. Aberdeen prevailed in overtime 2-1.

Aberdeen with a double – their strongest season of this wonderful period. Third consecutive FA Cup. Champions in 1979-80. Cup Winners Cup in 1983. But champions and cup winners in the same season seemingly topped everything achieved so far.

The Scottish League Cup final opposed Glasgow Rangers to Celtic. The classic derby, needing no special motivation for either team. The final went into overtime as well and only then Rangers prevailed 3-2.

This was the first trophy Celtic lost this year, for League Cup final was played much earlier than everything else, in March. It was bitter loss, but still there were other chances yet. Only after the season finished the full bitterness was swallowed: Celtic finished 2nd in everything! Empty handed. Nothing. Zero. And they had – as individual names go – stronger players than both Aberdeen and Rangers. Terrible failure.

Given the circumstances, Rangers would have been relieved, if not satisfied: at least they finished with a trophy. And it is always sweet to beat Celtic. Rangers had quite a poor squad – Ally McCoist and the Swedish star Prytz were not enough to keep the team really competitive. And it was not sure at all Rangers could be able to keep them. This was not a squad able to win long grueling championship, so it became more of a cup specialist – really, the most such shaky selection could achieve. It was nothing to brag about, of course, but there was no trophy at all in the previous season. Now they at least came ahead of Celtic, leaving them without a trophy.

Scotland I Division

Scottish Premier. Remarkable season for one club and not so for the others.

Motherwell was dead last with 15 points. They lasted two season among the best and, inevitably one may say, dropped down.

St. Johnstone did not last even that long – they were promoted the previous year and now failed to survive among the best – 9th with 23 points.

Dundee – 8th with 27 points.

Hibernian – 7th with 31 points.

St. Mirren – 6th with 32 points.

Heart of Midlothian – 5th with 36 points.

Glasgow Rangers – no doubt about it: dark period. Not as bad as 1979-80, but they were 4th second season in a row and were not title contenders at all since 1978-79. 42 points in 36 games looked impressive only when compared to the record of Hearts.

Dundee United – 3rd with 47 points. Running strong, but let’s face it – they were not a great squad. One of the best Scottish teams at that time, but not supreme. Thus, not even running for the title one year after winning it.

Celtic – 2nd with 50 points. Still the leading scorers of the league, but unlike the previous season they were not equal to the leaders. Small consolation… better than Rangers and consistently so, but only second best in the country. Second best is not exactly satisfactory result.

Aberdeen dominated the season and won the title with 57 points from 25 wins and 7 ties. They lost only 4 matches. 78-21 goal-difference – the defensive record particularly impressive: Celtic had the same defensive record, but in the very-very distant 1921-22, when they received 21 goals in 38 matches. Less goals had been received only before 1922. This season was most likely the peak of the wonderful team Alex Ferguson built. And it was also the season signaling the end – Aberdeen had no means to compete with Celtic and Rangers, let alone English clubs. Key players were surely going out – Gordon Strachan without a doubt – and similar replacements were probably impossible to get. It was not yet Sir Alex, of course – it was still Alec – but Ferguson was already marked for different tasks. There was no question about it: it was just a matter of short time until Ferguson moves elsewhere, Aberdeen could not keep him. Inevitable losses would bring down the team, that was sure – especially when the peak was reached and everybody was paying close attention, marking players and coach.

Scotland II Division

Scotland. Two teams dominated Second Division, the rest finishing far behind.

Kilmarnock was 6th with 38 points.

Clydebank ended 4th with 45 points.

Partick Thistle finished best of the pack – 3rd with 46 points. Five points ahead of them was one of the favourites:

Dumbarton got 2nd place with 51 points. Promotion meant a lot to them: they played for the last time top league football in the last season of the old large First Division, 1974-75. Back then they finished 14th and were automatically relegated to the new second level. So, next season Dumbarton was going to taste the reformed small top league for the first time.

Greenock Morton won the Second Division – or Scottish Division 1 as the name officially stands – with 54 points. Unlike Dumbarton, they were familiar with the Premier League, just relegated from it in fact. They climbed back quickly, but winning the second level meant nothing in terms of survival among the best: most often those going up almost immediately went down. So, take it one season at a time: this one was great.

Austria the Cup

The Cup was just a continuation of the eternal rivalry between Rapid and Austria. Austria won the first leg 3-1, but Rapid recovered in the second leg and took not only revenge, but won the Cup – they won 2-0 and prevailed on away goal. As relative as this could be, for there was not a true ‘away’ match for either opponent.

Given the equal strength of both teams, it was only fair that Austria was unable to win a double. May be a bitter pill for Austria fans, but they were not the better team.

Rapid won the Cup and this was fine. What was not fine was inevitable exits: Panenka and Krankl were getting close to retirement and Keglevits was surely going to play abroad. Replacements were needed, but still Rapid was in better situation than their arch-rivals: they had younger squad and there was no urgent need to look for new players for key positions. At least in domestic terms, Rapid was going to be strong.


Austria I Division

First Division. Nothing special bellow the leading two teams, except the the little stir at the very bottom. SC Neusiedl finished last with record so pitiful, it deserves mentioning: 1 win, 2 ties, and 27 lost matches! 4 points. They scored 10 goals, but received 102.

15th was Union Wels with 14 points – it is unclear now when exactly they were disbanded – during or after the season – but their end probably is remembered and cursed in another town, for it dragged down their team.

Under normal circumstances SV Sankt Veit would have been safe: they finished 14th with 21 points. But now they were hurled into promotion/relegation play-off and lost it to Donwitzer SV Alpine. This play-off did not make any sense – two teams were coming up normally from second division, taking the empty places of the relegated and it did not matter at all that Union Wels was no longer alive for the completion of the top league. On top of it, the play-off did not do anything for improving the league: one very weak club was replaced by another. The only result was local: SV Sankt Veit lost their chance to play at least one more season top league football.

Favoritner AC ended 13th with 25 points.

SK VOEST (Linz) was 12th with 25 points and that was perhaps the clearest sample of Austrian troubles: 10 years ago VOEST were champions. After that decline started, bringing them deeper and deeper down. There was no way to even imagine recovery: money were getting shorter, thus every next years VOEST had weaker squad.

SC Eisenstadt – 11th with 25 points. From their standpoint, may be a good season. Staying in the top league practically spelled out ‘success’.

Austria (Salzburg) – 10th with 27 points. Their usual insignificant performance.

Wiener Sport-Club – 9th with 27 points. Another example of the Austrian problems: Vienna was not able to support so many clubs. Wiener Sport-Club was going down and survival was the first and may be only concern: they were losing support, which meant low gates revenue, thus weaker and weaker squads, resulting with lack of wealthy sponsors, the vicious road down.

Grazer AK – 8th with 32 points. Nothing new.

Austria (Klagenfurt) – 7th with 34 points. Considering their misfortunes in the 1970s, perhaps a rare strong season. Most likely just a single good season, not to be repeated.

FC Admira/Wacker – 6th with 36 points. Losing ground, but not as much as Wiener Sport-Club or First Vienna yet. On the slippery slop, though and no doubt about it.

Compared to the general state of affairs of the Austrian clubs, Sturm (Graz) was doing well, so it is good to take a closer look. They finished 5th with 37 points. With better goal-difference cloud have been 4th. However, unable to do better than that – and, mind, Sturm was solidly among the leaders since the early 70s. But not a title contender. And a look at the squad pretty much tells why: to stay solid and ahead of most Austrian teams, Sturm depended on handful of players, none of them really famous: true, Jurtin and Pichler used to play for the national team, but that was all domestic talent and it was difficult to keep them in Graz. The rest were second rank foreigners from Yugoslavia (Bakota, Vuksanovic) and Hungary (Szokolai). The whole solidity of Sturm really hand on the simple fact that nobody was interested in their top players, they were either too old or not all that great. If there was bright talent, it was not going to last. That was all a good Austrian club could hope for: to have 5-6 relatively sound players, who were not bright enough to attract the interest of richer clubs and to be relatively cheap because of that.

Wacker (Innsbruck) – 4th with 37 points. Did well, even it looked like they were coming back, but only the future would tell were truly returning to leading position of not.

Linzer ASK – 3rd with 42 points. Strong season for them, but LASK, like Sturm, depended on few better imported players and occasional domestic talent. A title was not even dreamed of, the real ‘success’ of the club was largely local – they were stronger than VOEST, which meant they had better financial options.

So, as it was more than predictable and expected, the Austrian championship was boiled down to the traditional battle between Rapid and Austria. Both teams were clearly different than the rest of the country’s clubs – they had more money and thus were able to gather practically all top Austrian players, a small number to begin with and even smaller when those going to play abroad were deduced. Bitter reality: even Austria and Rapid were not able to compete with relatively small Belgian clubs, not to mention richer foreigners. And that affected also imports: true, Rapid and Austria were able to get better foreign players than the other Austrian clubs, but… aging foreigners. Anyhow, the two clubs were in a category of their own and produced high drama to the very end of the season, when they still finished with equal points and goal-difference determined the winner.

Rapid ended 2nd – 19 wins, 9 ties, 2 losses, 47 points, 71-18 goal-difference. Very strong defensively, but may be not adventurous enough, despite the fact that scoring machine Hans Krankl was leading them. Or may be because of that, for Krankl was aging and beyond his peak.

Austria prevailed largely by scoring more goals – they won 21 games, tied 5, lost 4, but ended with 85-28 goal-difference, which gave them the title. Of course, it was great to come ahead of the arch-rivals, but Austria also had to think of the future: Herbert Prohaska, their motor, was clearly going to play abroad. The other key players were getting too old – their long-time captain Sara and the bunch of foreigners: Nyilasi and Magyar from Hungary and Mustedanagic from Yugoslavia. Concilia and Polster were not going to last either. Yes, Austria had more than that, but it needed key players urgently. More urgently than Rapid.

Austria II Division

Austria. Epic battle this season, but only between the two so familiar clubs. Behind them the picture was rather gloomy. The exodus of Austrian talent continued as ever and the clubs were able only partially to cover their losses by importing third rate Yugoslavian and West German players and, increasingly, aging East Europeans. No wonder only the leading clubs managed to maintain decent squads. Everybody else was more concerned with mere existence – money were short. One club expired and the disbandment of Union Wels affected immediately another two clubs: why this was done is hard to rationalize, but Union Wels, next to last in First Division, opened an ’empty place’ and play-off between the 14th team and the 3rd in Second Division was organized. A promotion/relegation play-off, for there was no empty place in the top league – there was empty space in Second Division, for Union Wels did not exist anymore. But never mind this whimsical technicality.

Second Division was nothing to be excited of – 4 teams fought for top positions, but as a whole the second tier was way weaker than First Division. At the end, Bregenz/Dornbirn finished 4th with 37 points and was unlucky to lose 3rd place on worse goal-difference.

Donawitzer SV Alpine clinched 3rd place and was lucky out of the blue, because of the disbandment of Union Wels: they went to the promotion/relegation play-off and prevailed over poor SV Sankt Weit 2-1 and 1-1. Next year Alpine was going to play first division football.

First Vienna FC was 2nd with 38 points and promoted normally.

SV Spittal/Drau played their best ever season – they won the Second Division championship with 41 points. Promoted as champions, which was their first time in both categories: never winning the Second Division before, never playing top league before. Splendid season.

Romania the Cup

The Cup. The same battle like in the championship – Dinamo vs Steaua, Dinamo prevailing 2-1.

Steaua lost twice this year, but look at this squad. Standing from left: Ducadam, Piturca, Marin, Tataran, Puskas, Pecu. First row: Stoica, Eduard, Anghelini, Laurentiu, Cimpeanu. Nobody was paying attention yet, but this is almost the squad becoming famous just a little bit ahead in time – the stars of the 70s were going away – Marin and Anghelini were almost all remains and going out – and some of the new blood – Belodedici, for instance – were already present, but not yet regulars. Steaua was gathering top talent as ever – Ducadam and Piturca already here, recruited from provincial clubs. Still in the shadow of Dinamo, though.

Splendid season – a double! Playing against Steaua was never easy, so Dinamo was not domineering, but they were clearly the best and seemingly unstoppable: champion three years in a row and two of these years they won a double. With Universitatea (Craiova) getting a bit old, Dinamo’s reign was going to be long – Steaua did not win a championship since 1978 and the Cup since 1979, so it was hard to imagine them bettering Dinamo any time soon. Well, current wisdom knows nothing of the future. As a trivia note: Dinamo had one of the best Romanian goalkeepers of this period, Moraru, a national team choice. But very young keeper was already in the squad and he will be better known abroad than Moraru – Florin Prunea. Just wait for the 1990s.

Romania I Division

First Division. One outsider and two and a half favourites. ‘And a half’, for the third strong team eventually dropped out of the championship race and more importantly, it looked like yesterday – the future belonged to the traditional powers from Bucharest Steaua and Dinamo, no doubt about it.

CS Targoviste (Targoviste) was the outsider, finishing last with 16 points. No surprise there.

Petrolul (Ploesti) – 17th with 25 points.

Dunarea CSU (Galati) was the 3rd relegated team – 16th with 28 points. Tough time for the city of Galati – their other and perhaps better known club, Otelul, had mediocre season and Second Division and Dunarea CSU was relegated from First Division.

FC Maramures (Baia-Mare) was lucky – 15th with 30 points.

ASA (Targu-Mures) – 14th with 30 points. They were much stronger in the 60s and the 70s, but no longer.

Rapid (Buchaest) – 13th with 31 points. The decline in the late 70s pretty much degraded them from 3rd to 4th club in Bucharest and presently they were simply trying to reestablish themselves in the top division, after coming back from second level. So, the lowly place was not so bad under the circumstances.

Corvinul (Hunedoara) – 12th with 32 points.

Jiul (Petrosani) – 11th with 33 points.

FC Olt (Scornicesti) – 10th with 33 points. Standing from left: F. Dumitrescu ( president ), V. Dinut ( assistant coach ), Eftimie, Chivescu, Boriceanu, Căţoi, Minea, Rotaru, Matei, Firănescu, Barbu, F. Halagian ( coach )

Sitting : Kallo, M.Leta, Ionaşcu, M. Popescu, Ariciu, Prepeliţă, State, Bumbescu, Ciurea, Despa.

Chimia (Ramnicu Vilcea) – 9th with 34 points.

Politehnica (Iasi) – 8th with 34 points. Perhaps one their strongest seasons ever.

FC Bihor (Oradea) – 7th with 34 points.

SC Bacau (Bacau) – 6th with 35 points.

FC Arges (Pitesti) – 5th with 38 points. That was the club going down – already lost the leading position they enjoyed in the 70s, although still much batter then most.

Sportul Studentesc (Bucharest) – 4th with 38 points. Standing from left: Iorgulescu, Cazan, Coraș, Terheș, C. Pană I, M. Sandu.

First row: Hagi, Munteanu II, Speriatu, M. Mihail, Șerbanică.

Very strong period for the club. Not able to run for the title, but at least they and not Rapid were the 3rd club of Bucharest. Good team, but their strongest player was very young, very talented, and still unknown: one Gheorghe Hagi. Very likely the success of the ‘students’ club was almost entirely thanks to his talent. And something very important: this is probably the first team using sponsor adds on their jerseys in Romania. Most likely only when playing in the European tournaments and surely with direct state involvement with the deal – in typical Communist manner: elements of professional football were tested with low-profile clubs first.

Universitatea (Craiova) – 3rd with 43 points. Still strong, still one of the leading Romanian clubs, but already a team of yesterday: a bit older than Dinamo and Steaua, where the next talented generation was largely playing. However, this could be taken only from today’s perspective – the bitter battle between the Army (Steaua) and the (Secret) Police (Dinamo), with direct involvement of Nicolae Ceausescu’s family was just beginning. At least 1/3 of the Romanian national team was playing for Universitatea, so, at a glance, it did not look like this squad was going down – it will be, though, thanks to above mentioned battle between state powers, meddling behind the soccer field.

Steaua ended 2nd, 2 points behind the champions. They won the most matches this season – 21, but also lost quite a lot – 8, and that came with a cost. If it was only that… for there surely was some help for their rivals from the ‘backside’ of football.

Dinamo (Bucharest) was one again the champion – a 3rd consecutive title! 19 wins, 11 ties, 4 losses, 69-36 goal-difference, 49 points. They prevailed over Steaua by 2 points, but were unquestionably the best Romanian team at the moment. Playing well in Europe too, so it was not just domestic success.