The Cups. The Football League Cup was contested by Arsenal and Liverpool. Arsenal was 8 years without a trophy already, so they very much wanted to stop the dry run. And they managed to do so, thanks to Charlie Nickolas. He scored twice and Ian Rush scored for Liverpool, but only one goal. So, another ‘first’: this was the first match Liverpool lost after Rush had scored. 2-1 Arsenal.
A rare season for Liverpool – finished without a trophy. Blame it on ‘transition’… yet, Kenny Dalglish was going to stay at the helm. Ian Rush was not going to stay, though, so the first order of business was to find a replacement. But that was for the summer. No trophies, but Liverpool was still mighty and no signs of decline.
Arsenal was more than happy, of course, but winning the League Cup was very important for moral too – it was affirmation of both manager and players that they were on the right road and talent was matching success. Charlie Nicholas was the great hope for the future – which did not materialize, but that was later. George Graham practically established himself as great coach with this victory.
Ending the 8-year drought – winners again!
The FA Cup opposed Tottenham Hotspur to Coventry City. By current strength, the Spurs looked like favourites. Coventry never won anything so far. Then again… it was English final, so predictions were not worth a penny. At the end of regular time the result was 2-2 and in the overtime Coventry scored – and Tottenham did not. Blame it on Gary Mabbutt… he scored twice: once for Tottenham and once for Coventry. His own goal gave the victory to the enemy – 3-2.
May be unfortunate in losing the final, but there was also sense that the Spurs were at the end of a good spell and had to think of rebuilding. Ardiles was getting old and so was Ray Clemence. Chris Waddle was most likely going to play abroad. The Belgian striker Nico Claesen was good, but hardly huge star. Yet, he and the prolific scorer Clive Allen were the future, possibly the starting point of rebuilding.
What a day! Coventry City won its very first major trophy!
Of course, this squad became instant legends in the home city, but otherwise it was modest team – practically only Cyrille Regis and Steve Ogrizovic were well known names if not first-rate stars. Modesty has its own charm – it was a victory of humble underdog, no argument. They fought bravely and won the trophy. Unfortunately, they could not test themselves against Europeans because of the ban on English clubs.