Iceland. Two teams dominated the season, engaged in tough battle to the very end, decided only on goal-difference. Another memorable moment happened in the Second Division. Iceland introduced the new point system: 3 points for a win and 1 for a tie.
The top 2 were promoted from Second Division as usual and if the second finisher was familiar name with top league experience, the winner was very different.
KA Akureyri got promoted, but was unable to win the second level championship.
Volsungur (Husavik) was Second Division champion with 38 points from 12 wins 2 ties, and 4 losses, 38-15 goal-difference. They were greatly outscored by KA Akureyri, but no problem in that – they clinched the title by a point.
This was not an ordinary victory, but historic event: Volsungur never won anything before, nor had played top league football. Now they won their first trophy and got promoted to the top league – that was to stay in memory.
Meantime the newly promoted teams in the First Division suffered and they were the outsiders in the top championship. IB Vestmannaeyjar finished last with 12 points and UB Breidablik Kopavogur – 9th with 16 points. Both newcomers were relegated right away.
The league, small as it was, was still divided between 4 distinct groups: the two outsiders, then 3 so-so teams, much weaker than the next group of 3 teams, which fought for the 3rd place, but had nothing to do with the race between 2 dominant leaders. It was Reykjavik rivals competing for the title and finishing with same records and points. Goal-difference decided the title: Valur had 31-11, +20, but their opponents finished with +26.
Thus Fram Reykjavik clinched the title after 11 wins, 5 ties, 2 losses, and 39-13. It was very sweet victory not only because it was won in so dramatic way and over local rivals, but because their 16th title came almost 15 years after they won the 15th. There was a long dry spell after 1972, finally over.
Fram went for a double, reaching the Cup final as well, but no luck. IA Akranes prevailed 2-1.
Akranes’ captain Sigurdur Larusson lifted the Cup.
IA Akranes was not a title contender this year, but still managed to stay on top and win a trophy. It was their 5th Cup and perhaps more enjoyable, because the champions of the country were beaten.


Malta. The greatest ever season of Rabat Ajax.
Tarxien Rainbows and
Floriana were on top of Second Division and earned promotions.
Mqabba, 8th with 6 points, and Birkirkara, also with 6 points, but with better goal-difference and 7th, were on the bottom pf the smallest European league and were relegated.
Valletta FC had poor season – 4th with 17 points.
Sliema Wanderers beat Valletta on goal-difference and got bronze medals, Hibernians ended 2nd with 18 points.
Rabat Ajax had fantastic season – they did not lose even one match, won 9, tied 5, scored 20 goals, allowing only 5 in their own net, and with 23 points won the title for a second year in a row. And that was not all: they reached the Cup final, where beat Zurrieq (5th in the championship) 2-0. A season to stay engraved in memory: 2nd title, first Cup, first double. Rabat Ajax were the new kings of Malta.


Cyprus. First and Second divisions were enlarging next season to 16 and 15 teams, so there were no relegations this season.
Ethnikos Achna won Second Division, followed by
Omonia Aradipou. Both teams were promoted.
Ermis Aradipou was the luckiest team – they were last in First Division without winning even one match during the season, but since there were no relegations… it was OK at the end. Aris Limassol was 13th with 19 points and under normal circumstances would go down to second level, but not this time.
Cypriot football was improving, no doubt, but given the results in the championship, the wisdom of enlarged league was questionable – pretty equal, but weak teams up to 5th place. Nea Salamina Famagusta took it with 25 points. Above them was better than mots team, but also much weaker than the top three – Anorthosis Famagusta, 4th with 32 points. Apollon Limassol was 3rd with 37 points.
Omonia Nicosia, in white in their home leg against Anderlecht in the European Champions Cup, ended 2nd with 40 points.
APOEL Nicosia dominated the championship and won it with 47 points. They had fantastic strong season – 22 wins, 3 ties, single loss, 61-12 goal-difference. The long dominance of Omonia was broken at last and in superior manner – what could be better?
APOEL had a good chance for a double, but Apollon Limassol won the Cup final 2-0.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland. Still closed league, Linfield dominated, nothing new. Carrick Rangers was the outsider this season – 14th with 10 points.
Ballymena United was 7th with 27 points.
Larne – 6th with 28 points.
Ards Newtownards – rather distant 3rd with 31 points.
Coleraine – comfortable 2nd with 35 points.
Linfield – dominant and collecting one more title after 20 wins, 3 ties, 3 losses, 59-16 goal-difference and 43 points. Fifth title in a row – it was great run already.
Glentoran and Coleraine met at the Cup final and Glentoran prevailed 2-1.
Coleraine ended second twice, thus without a trophy, but it was still nice season and going to play again in the UEFA Cup.
Glentoran (Belfast) finished the season well – they won their 11th Cup and it was also second consecutive victory.

Finland the Cup

The Cup final was played between unlikely candidates for glory: neither team ever won anything before and if RoPS had strong season, KePS only struggled to stay in the top league. Given that, experienced RoPS was the likeliest winner and they did not disappoint, winning 2-0.

KePS Kemi, although losers, could only be proud of themselves – to reach the Cup final was their greatest ever success, beating their recent best – getting promoted to the Premier Division. Another club may have been disappointed, but the tiny club could only be proud: escaping relegation and playing at the Cup final: success is relative.

RoPS Rovaniemi was also proud – after so many years with no trophy, they won their first at last. Strong overall season, topped by winning the Cup for the first time. Instant heroes, a season to remember, new Cup winner in Finland.


Finland. The best season for Kuusysi (Lahti) and first trophy for RoPS (Rovaniemi) sums the season. One team was directly relegated from First Division and the winner of Second Division directly promoted. The next to last in the top league and the 2nd-best in the second level met in promotion/relegation play-off.
Most teams in the second division – called Division One now – were practically unheard of teams, too weak to reach even the modest top league of Finland. Teams like

Huima Äänekoski,which finished 8th in the 12-team league with 20 points. Happy tp escape relegation to third level too.
Up the table, there was dramatic race for second place – TPV Tampere and KontU Helsinki ended with equal points, 28, and TPV had superior goal-difference, but head-to-head record counted in such occasions and KontU clinched 2nd place, thus having a chance to get promoted, if prevailing in the promotion/relegation play-off.
Reipas (Lahti) comfortably won the championship with 33 points from 17 wins, 7 ties, and 2 losses. 40-20 goal-difference. Happy return to top flight for Reipas and also total triumph for the city of Lahti, which clubs championed Finland this year.
OTP Oulu was hopeless outsider in the Premier Division – last with 11 points and relegated.
KePS Kemi had intriguing season – expectedly, they were no force in the top league, but in the same time the team excelled in the Cup tournament. To a point, this may have been the best season of the club ever and never mind they finished 11th with 15 points. However, they succeeded in the promotion/relegation play-off, winning both legs against KontU Helsinki by a goal: 4-3 and 3-2. Considering how tiny and modest was KePS even in Finnish contest, avoiding relegation was a great success by itself – at least, one more season in the top league.
Nothing spectacular up the table.

PPT Pori ended 8th with 18 points – one of four teams finishing with 18 points.

Another 2 teams ended with 22 points each and above them 4 teams fought for the title – kind of. Three of them battled mostly for second place, tied with 30 points each at the end.
HJK Helsinki took bronze medals. They scored most goals in the championship – 42 – goal-difference placed them 3rd. Above RoPS Rovaniemi and bellow TPS Turku. HJK lost the least games in the league – only 2 – but tied too many games and that was their undoing.
On the surface, Kuusysi (Lahti) had tough time, for they won the title by only 2 points, but that could be misleading. Remember, the league was small and only 22 championship games were played – not much room for building large advance. The table does not tell the story right – Kuusysi had their greatest season ever. They not only kept rivals at bay in the domestic championship, but reached the 1/4 finals in the European Champions Cup, where they met Steaua (Bucharest) at its highest stength.  Kuusysi extracted scoreless tie in Bucharest and lost by a single goal at home (actually played in Helsinki, for Kussysi’s stadium was too small) in the last minutes of the second leg. At the end of the year Kuusysi triumphed with their 3rd title after winning 13 games, tying 6, and losing just 3 games. 40-20 goal-difference and 32 points. Curiously, both league winners, both Lahti clubs, finished with exactly the same scoring records: 40-20.

Turkey the Cup

The Cup final opposed Bursaspor to Altay (Izmir). Reason tells Altay was going for relatively easy win – Bursaspor was plagued with troubles this season. But reason failed: Bursaspor won 2-0.
The moment of happy triumph – Bursaspor receives the Cup.

Altay was stronger on paper only – the club lost its shine quite many years ago and struggled ever since the beginning of the 1970s. Mediocrity settled down no matter what. Reaching the Cup final was rare chance for something better, but the team was similar to their opponent’s, both finalist existing in the lower half of First Division. Too bad, but Altay was not up to the task.
Bursaspor had so many troubles this year that winning the Cup was unlikely – they couldn’t find the right coach and rotated a few during the season, their form was terrible and the prime concern was escaping relegation. Something was fundamentally wrong, but in the same time they played well in the Cup tournament, reached the final and when it mattered most, they put themselves together and won.
Bursaspor had no chance of having top Turkish players, but they had decent foreign help – the Hungarian duo Attila Kerekes and Mihaly Tulipan, both experienced over-30 players. Tulipan was second-stringer playing just an odd match or two for Hungary, but central-defender Kerekes was long time member of the Hungarian national team and appeared at the 1978 World Cup finals. Good recruits for mid-table Turkish club, no doubt, but the team did not play well and at the end Tulipan became just one more trouble for the troubled club: he died in May 1986 in a sea accident. However, he immortalized himself a little earlier by scoring the first goal in the great Cup final. Thus, the season was very unusual for Bursaspor: on one hand, it was weak and tragic season. On the other hand – the best ever season the club had, for they never won any trophy before. This was their first Cup, a historic moment to be remembered and cherished forever. Turkey got new Cup winner and provincial club was added to the list of winners, which was still rare.

Turkey I Division

First Division. Terrific battle for the title, decided on goal-difference at the end. Three rather hopeless outsiders at the bottom.
Kayserispor was the worst team this season – last and out with 19 points.
Slightly better, but still too weak for top league football, Orduspor ended 18th with 22 points and was relegated.
Sakaryaspor was the third relegated team – 17th with 27 points.
Bursaspor had very strange season – plagued by various problems and coming close to relegation, but in the same time this was their best season in their history to date. A rollercoaster of a season – 16th with 31 points. Standing from left: Taygun Erdem, Yalçın Gündüz, Attila Kerekes, Eser Kardeşler, Gürsel Hattat, Sedat Özden. Crouching: Hamit Ayden, Mihaly Tulipan, Salih Salimoğlu, Beyhan Çalışkan, Erdinç Kayan.

Caykur Rizespor – rather typical season: 15th with 32 points. Standing from left: Haluk, Muharrem, Yusuf Ziya, İsmail, Mehmet Ali, Hüsnü.
First row: Turgut, Hakan, Mehmet, Metin, Harun.
Kocaelispor – 14th with 32 points.
Malatyaspor – 13th with 32 points.
Denizlispor – 12th with 32 points.
Zonguldakspor – 11th with 33 points.
Eskisehirspor – 10th with 33 points.
Genclerbirligi – 9th with 34 points.
Altay – 8th with 34 points.
Trabzonspor – 7th with 37 points.
MKE Ankaragucu – 6th with 41 points.

Fenerbahce – 5th with 42 points. Rather weak season.
Sariyer – 4th with 43 points.
Samsunspor – 3rd with 48 points. Excellent season for Samsunspor, but still way behind the leaders.
Which were the usual Istanbul rivals – Besiktas and Galatasaray, running shoulder to shoulder to the very end, finishing with equal points – 56. Galatasaray was so good this season, they did not lose even one match! Besiktas lost two games, but compensated with more wins than Galatasaray. The rules stipulated goal-difference decided in case of equal points and thus Besiktas prevailed by 7 goals.
Galatasaray, dressed here in unusually for the 1980s sloppy-made kit, perhaps suffered one of their greatest disappointments in history: they lost the title on worse goal-difference after fantastic season – rarely a team ends championship unbeaten. Galatasaray won 20 games and tied 16. They had the best defense in the league, conducted by the former Yugoslavian national team goalkeeper Zoran Simovic, considered by many one of the top 5 all-time best keepers in his native country. Another Yugoslavian star, Dzevad Prekazi, made the attacking line lethal. However, the goal-difference was 57-20 at the end and that was not enough… so unlucky.
Besiktas was coming after a bit of a dry spell – they did not win the championship for about 5 years and craved a title. Strong season, no doubt, but unable to win over Galatasaray in the direct clashes. They lost 2 games, but compensated by winning 2 more than their rivals did and at the end the points were equal. Besiktas won 22 games, tied 12, lost 2, and prevailed on better goal-difference: their defense was similarly strong as Galatasaray’s, but the attack scored more goals to the tune of 65-21. That clinched the title: Besiktas finished +44, Galatasaray +37.
This was Beskitas’ 7th title and may be one of their sweetest – not just because of the dramatic was they got it, but because they outrun an unbeaten team. There was a bit of luck, but not much – Besiktas had great squad, wonderful coach – the Yugoslav Branko Stankovic, and a leading striker, also a Yugoslav – Mirsad Kovacevic. Overall, perhaps not a better squad than Galatasaray’s, but no weaker either. Well deserved victory.

Turkey II Division

Turkey. New Cup winner, old champion.
Second Division. The usual 3-group league, groups B and C of 18 teamseach, and Group A of 17 teams. Last 4 teams relegated, the group winners promoted to top flight. A brief glimpse at the Turkish second level:
Group A.
Kahramanmarasspor – 8th with 32 points. Grass was scarce at this level.
Adana Demirspor – 2nd with 46 points. Bests strikers and defenders in the group, but lost the battle for promotion by a single point. Recent top league members had foreign players in the their squads – the Yugoslavian goalkeeper Arnautovic on this occasion.
Diyarbakirspor clinched 1st place and earned promotion: 19 wins, 9 ties, 4 losses, 47-21 goal-difference and 47 points.
Group B. Head-to-head results decided the group winner.
Izmirspor – 12th with 30 points.
Yeni Afyonspor had wonderful season – 3rd with 35 points.
Tarsus Idman Yurdu Erkutspor and just relegated from First Division Boluspor fought for the top position – they finished with equal points and head-to-head result benefited Boluspor. TIY Erkutspor won more games during the season and had superior goal-difference, but no luck.
Boluspor was lucky, no doubt, but quickly returned to top flight. 21 wins, 10 ties, 3 losses, 42-15 goal-difference and 51 points. They rather tiny stadium for top division club, but it was not all that important before 1990.
Group C. The only group without drama, won by comfortably dominating team.
Duzcespor – 11th with 32 points.
Edirnespor – 4th with 37 points.
Antalyaspor – just relegated, but too strong and ambitious to stay in the second level. They dominated the championship and won it with 52 points from 22 wins, 8 ties, 4 losses. 60-20 goal-difference. Adanaspor outscored them by 13 goals, but trailed 5 points behind, not a threat. Antalyaspor went back to the top league.


Norway. Dominating winners and new Cup winner. Which also barely survived relegation. Two teams directly relegated from First Division and the 10th going to promotion/relegation play-offs against the 2nd-placed teams in the 2 groups of Second Division. The Second Division groups winners – directly promoted.
Moss FK won Group A of Second Division with 35 points – 5 points ahead of the nearest rival.
Drøbak/Frogn clinched 2nd place on better goal-difference and got a chance to go up too, if winning the promotion/relegation play-offs.

Interestingly, Strømsgodset was very weak this year, finished 10th with 16 points and was relegated to Third Division – more often than not they used to play top level football. Third rrow from left: Olav Gjesteby, Bjørn Solum, Ulf Camitz, Ole Viggo Walseth, Tor Sara, Isak Ole Hætta.
Middle row: Erik Eriksen (trener), Joar Løhre, Roar Flaglien, Cato Leine, Torkel Knutsen, Arne Marcussen, Hans Roger Gjennestad, Ole Johnny Lofsberg, Terje Løver.
Sitting: Jan Wendelborg, Arne Gustavsen, Bjørn Heier, Ulrik Mathisen, Geir Bakke, Ole Garman Lorvik, Ole Isak Mienna.

Brann (Bergen) had no equal in Group B, winning it with 35 points. Top row from left: Per Hilmar Nybø, Trond Devik, Trond Nordeide, Sævar Jønsson, Bjarni Sigurdsson, Arne Møller, Fridtjof Wilborn, Ivar Morten Nordmark, Lars Moldestad, Rune Enehaug (fysioterapeut).
Middle row: Alf Dahl, Tore Hadler-Olsen, Halvor Storskogen, Tony Knapp (coach), Trygve Larsen (assistant coach), Dan Riisnes, Erik Solèr, Åge Eikrem, Lasse Urheim.
Front row: Ingvar Dalhaug, Ketil Brekke, Hans Brandtun, Terje Risa, Trond Totland, Ketil Hatland.
Quite unusually for second tier team Brann had first-rate players in the roster, like Erik Soler.
Vidar comfortably took 2nd place with 30 points and went to promotion/relegation play-offs.
Moss and Brann were promoted; Vidar,
Drøbak/Frogn and Tromsø – 19th in First Division – went to the promotion/relegation play-off to compete for 1 top-league spot. No luck for the second division teams here – Tromsø beat them both and escaped relegation.
Saved in the last minute: Tromsø.
Strømmen was the outsider in the First Division and finished last with 8 points. Viking (Stavanger), one of the best Norwegian teams in the 1970s, was lowly now – ended 11th with 17 points and was also relegated.
Tromsø escaped direct relegation, but finished 10th with 18 points and had to fight for survival against second division teams in the promotion/relegation play-offs. But they managed to come on top and keep top flight place.
Molde was lucky – 9th with 20 points.
Rosenborg was just 8th with 21 points – closer to relegation than success.
Start had so-so season – 4th with 24 points.
Kongsvinger was out of luck – they ended 3rd with 27 points, but worse goal-difference denied them 2nd place and representing Norway in the UEFA Cup.
Mjøndalen clinched 2nd place on better goal-difference and was going to play a bit of international football, which was great. But this was also their maximum – the title was beyond their reach.
Lillestrøm dominated this championship and easily won it 6 points ahead of the nearest pursuers. 16 wins, 1 tie, 5 losses, 40-17 goal-difference, 33 points, and 4th title. They had to wait almost 10 years for it, but the come back was very powerful. It was going to be a double…
Lillestrøm reached the Cup final and at least on the surface the victory was granted – Tromsø was the other finalist. A club not only never a winner, but having weak season as well, trying only to escape relegation. But predictions went to the dogs on the field – lowly Tromsø destroyed the favorites 4-1!
The unlikely heroes received the Cup and their joy was endless.

Norgesmesterskapet (NM) i fotball 1986. Tromsø – Lillestrøm 4-1. Lagbilde av norgesmesterene fra Tromsø. Foran: Trond Johansen, Tore Rismo, Truls Jensen, Lars Espejord og Bjarte Flem. Bakerst Per Høgmo, Sigmund Forfang, Tore Nilsen, Tor Pedersen, Trond Steinar Albertsen og Nils Solstad.

Not only Norway had a brand new Cup winner, but the outsiders triumphed spectacularly over the best squad in the country. Crouching from left: Trond Johansen, Tore Rismo, Truls Jensen, Lars Espejord, Bjarte Flem. Standing: Per Høgmo, Sigmund Forfang, Tore Nilsen, Tor Pedersen, Trond Steinar Albertsen, Nils Solstad.
Instant heroes, instant legends – this squad won the very first trophy in the history of the clubs. They did it in great manner, nothing chancy. Here they were, a team barely escaping relegation, but destroying the domineering champions 4-1! Lovely victory and great success.