England the Cups

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.

England I Division

First Division. What a great championship is the one where European cup winners could be relegated. One point of view. What a terrible state of affairs when European cup winners cannot keep strong sides. Another point of view and perhaps more in line with tough financial reality. By now top British players were quite eager to go abroad – something entirely new. Of course, English football was competitive, but right now the drama was set mostly at the bottom of the table. At the top – one team dominated.
Aston Villa – last with 36 points and relegated.
Manchester City – 21st with 39 points and relegated.
Leicester City – 20th with 42 points and relegated.

Charlton Athletic – 19th with 44 points. Under normal circumstances they would have been safe, but because of the reduction of the league and the new rules, they went to promotion/relegation play-offs. Luckily, they won the play-offs and kept place in the top division.
Oxford United – 18th with 46 points.
Newcastle United – 17th with 47 points.

Queen’s Park Rangers – 16th with 50 points.
West Ham United – 15th with 52 points.
Chelsea – 14th with 52 points.
Sheffield Wednesday – 13th with 52 points.
Southampton – 12th with 52 points.

Manchester United – 11th with 56 points. This photo is from the crucial November 1986: Manchester United was next to last, rapidly going to be relegated. Ron Atkinson was fired and Alex Ferguson was hired. A great era just started – well, not so great yet. Ferguson was not exactly to everybody’s taste – Gordon Strachan was not happy, for he had experienced Fergie already in both Aberdeen and the Scottish national team. However, the new manager delivered right away – the team climbed to 11th place. Higher was not possible after so weak a start and Ferguson started to build hos own team, which of course needed time. And money.
Coventry City – 10th with 63 points.
Watford – 9th with 63 points.
Nottingham Forest – 8th with 65 points. Brian Clough was genius, right? Well, if he was, then this squad should have been a title contender. Certainly had the players… but not the delivery.
Luton Town – 7th with 66 points.
Wimbledon – 6th with 66 points. Great!
Norwich City – 5th with 68 points. If English clubs were not banned by UEFA, Norwich would have played in the UEFA Cup. Tough luck… but also it was quite telling that modest clubs like Norwich, Wimbledon, Luton were at the top part of the final table and famous clubs were relegated and playing in the lower divisions: money was at the bottom of it – those of modest, but balanced budgets were seemingly doing better than big clubs running enormous debts and on the brink of bankruptcy.
Arsenal – 4th with 70 points. The good work of George Graham was felt and because his squad was young – great things were expected from the future. Near future.
Tottenham Hotspur – 3rd with 71 points. The Spurs were still running their good spell, but it was clear way before the start of this season that they reached their peak and could do no better. The title was not for them, they were not real contenders.

Liverpool – 2nd with 77 points. Not really competing with their city rivals for the title, but new hurdle was successfully overcome: the beginning of manager’s career for Kenny Dalglish – playing manager this season – and inevitable transfer pf Ian Rush to Italy. Let say second place was just the minor tremor felt from the transition.
Everton run supreme: 26 wins, 8 ties, 8 losses, 76-31 goal-difference and 86 points. Arch-enemy Liverpool was left 9 points behind.
Wonderful victory of wonderful team, whose members felt that if there was ban on English clubs to play in Europe, thanks to the villains from across town – Liverpool, Everton would have conquered the world in no time and build a true dynasty. Because of Liverpool, they were left relatively anonymous and even their development was cut short from the lack of European exposure. But they won the title.

England II Division

Second Division. Going to be of 23 teams next season, because of the reduction of First Division. The top two – automatically promoted, the next 3 teams plus the 19th in First Division going to promotion/relegation play-offs. The bottom 2 automatically relegated and the 20th going to promotion/relegation play-offs against 3 Third Division teams. One dominant leader, one hopeless outsider this season.
Brighton & Hove Albion – the outsiders this season. Last and out with 39 points.
Financially troubled Grimsby Town ended 21st with 44 points and was relegated.
Sunderland was 20th with 48 points and went to promotion/relegation play-offs, which they lost and plunged to Third Division for the first time in their history. Some called them victims of the new rule, but victims they were not – under the traditional rules, they would have been directly relegated. Now they just blew a chance for last minute escape.
Birmingham City – 19th with 50 points. Barely survived.
Shrewsbury Town – 18th with 51 points. Good for another season.
Huddersfield Town – 17th with 51 points. (Back) Smith (coach), Trevitt, Cork, Mitchell, Jones, Cox, Webster, Brown, Winter, Shearer, Robson (coach)
(Front) Thackeray, Wilson (Phil), Cowling, Burke, Doyle, Buxton (manager), Bray, Cooper, Raynor, Wilson (Paul), Worthington.
Millwall – 16th with 51 points.
West Bromwich Albion – 15th with 51 points.
Hull City – 14th with 53 points.

Reading – 13th with 53 points.
Blackburn Rovers – 12th with 55 points.
Barnsley – 11th with 55 points.
Bradford City – 10th with 55 points.
Sheffield United – 9th with 58 points.
Stoke City – 8th with 58 points.
Plymouth Argyle – 7th with 61 points. One of their best ever seasons. Coming close to promotion/relegation play-offs, but even failing to reach this stage was wonderful.
Crystal Palace – 6th with 62 points.
Ipswich Town -5th with 64 points. Going to promotion/relegation play-offs.
Leeds United – 4th with 68 points. Going to promotion/relegation play-offs.
Oldham Athletic – 3rd with 75 points. Going to promotion/relegation play-offs. The new rule was hardly to their liking: they were confident third-placed, leading Leeds by 7 points. Under the classic rule – directly promoted and rightly so. Now… promotion was not certain and a team significantly bellow them during the long tough season could get promotion instead of them.
Portsmouth – 2nd with 78 points and directly promoted. Well deserved success and also return to top flight after very long absence.
Derby County – winners of the championship with 84 points. 25 wins, 9 ties, 8 losses, 64-38 goal-difference. Now, Derby County was playing Third Division football in 1984-85… their free fall was finally halted back then and they were coming back fast: promoted for a second consecutive season.
The promotion/relegation play-offs ended the hopes of former greats Leeds United and Ipswich Town, but probably Oldham Athletic had to suffer most – First Division Charlton Athletic won and kept its place in the top division. Under the old rule they were going down without any fuss and Oldham Athletic – up.

England III Division

Third Division. Two teams directly promoted to Second Division, the next three teams going to promotion/relegation play-offs; the bottom 3 teams – directly relegated, and the 21st going to promotion/relegation play-offs against three Forth Division teams. Both top and bottom were decided early, so real battle occurred only for the remaining places giving a chance for going or down.
Newport County – last with 37 points. Last on worse goal-difference, but no matter – relegation was sure thing for a long time.
Darlington – 23rd with 37 points and out.
Carlisle United – 22nd with 38 points and relegated. Played top league football once upon a time? Hard to imagine.
Bolton Wanderers – nothing to laugh about… 21st with 45 points and going to promotion/relegation play-offs. Which they lost and were relegated.
York City survived – 20th with 49 points.
Bristol Rovers – 19th with 51 points.
Fulham – 18th with 53 points. The club knew better days, but now it was bad time. The season had just started when Fulham was defeated 0-10 by Liverpool in second round of the League Cup.
Chesterfield – 17th with 54 points.
Bury – 16th with 55 points.
Chester City – 15th with 56 points.
Rotherham United – 14th with 57 points.
Doncaster Rovers – 13th with 57 points.
Port Vale – 12th with 57 points.
Brentford – 11th with 60 points.
Mansfield Town – 10th with 61 points.
Blackpool – 9th with 64 points.

Walsall – 8th with 75 points.
Notts County – 7th with 76 points. Back row: Davis, Benjamin, Leonard, Hunt, Barnes
Middle: Jones(Physio), Sims, Waitt, Yates, Bate(Coach)
Front: Smalley, Clarke, Edge, Sirrel(Manager), Kevan, Harbottle, McParland
Bristol City – 6th with 77 points. Missed promotion/relegation play-oofs by a point.
Gillingham – 5th with 78 points. Going to promotion/relegation play-offs.
Wigan Athletic – 4th with 85 points. Going to promotion/relegation play-offs.
Swindon Town – 3rd with 87 points. Going to promotion/relegation play-offs.
Middlesbrough – 2nd with 94 points and directly promoted. In July 1986 they were in court because of debts in excess 1 million pounds. Bankruptcy and expulsion from professional football was coming… but they were eventually saved and finished successfully.
Bournemouth won the championship with 97 points: 29 wins, 10 ties, 7 losses, 76-40 goal-difference.
This was fantastic success: Bournemouth never played Second Division football before – this was their biggest achievement so far. A former West Ham United player, one Harry Redknapp, was coaching them. What a thrill.
In the promotion/relegation play-offs Swindon Town, Wigan Athletic and Gillingham were joined by Sunderland, 20th in Second Division. If Bournemouth never played in the Second Division, Sunderland never played in the Third Division… so, another ‘first’ was going to happen, because they lost the play-offs and were relegated.
Swindon Town won the play-offs and with that – a promotion to Second Division.
Another great success, worth wild celebration: it was second consecutive promotion for Swindon Town and in two years they climbed from Forth to Second Division.
Thus, promoted to Second Division were: Bournemouth, Middlesbrough, and Swindon Town. Cinderella story…

England IV Division

Forth Division. The last in the table was going to be relegated directly – so far, changes were rare and managed by election. A team going out of professional league system was most likely in severe financial dire straits and correspondingly replacement club was elected at least partially on financial grounds. Now it was going to be direct and straight-forward relegation and promotion of sporting merit. The top three teams were promoted to Third Division and the the three teams right bellow the top three went to promotion/relegation play-offs with the 21st in the Third Division final table.
Lincoln City had the dubious honour to be the first team relegated from the professional league – last with 48 points. The finish was dramatic: Burnley and Torquay United were also in danger of the relegation and everything was decided at the very last day of the championship: Torquay United managed to get a life-saving tie, equalizing only in injury time and paying strange price for that – their right-back Jim McNichol was bitten by a police dog. Burnley won its last match. Thus, Lincoln City ended last, going down on worse goal-difference. Now, if they had won their last match… but they failed to do so.
Torquay United survived thanks to this last point and better goal-difference – they took 23rd place with 48 points and -16 goal-difference, when Lincoln ended with -20. As for Jim McNichol – well, it was worthy to be bitten by Police dog: his team avoided relegation.
Burnley – 22nd with 49 points. Last minute survivors – if they did not win their last match, it was relegation: any other outcome of the last game was placing them last. Vicious to say, but it would have been at least interesting if Burnley finished last and was the first team relegated from professional football: because they were a club winning the English titles. Would have been interesting historically to see one of the oldest members going out in the first season when going out was introduced. But they were lucky to escape the shame.

Rochdale – 21st with 50 points.
Tranmere Rovers – 20th with 50 points.
Stockport County – 19th with 51 points.
Hartlepool United – 18th with 51 points.
Crewe Alexandra – 17th with 53 points.
Hereford United – 16th with 53 points.

Halifax Town – 15th with 55 points.
Exeter City – 14th with 56 points.
Cardiff City – 13th with 61 points.
Swansea City – 12th with 62 points. What fantastic development in few years time – going from nowhere to First Division and equally quickly sinking down to Forth Division.
Cambridge United – 11th with 62 points.
Peterborough United – 10th with 65 points.
Wrexham – 9th with 65 points.

Scunthorpe United – 8th with 66 points.
Orient – 7th with 69 points. Missing play-off chance by a point and few goals.
Aldershot – 6th with 70 points. Going to promotion/relegation play-offs.
Colchester United – 5th with 70 points. Going to promotion/relegation play-offs.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – 4th with 79 points. Going to promotion/relegation play-offs.
Southend United – 3rd with 80 points and directly promoted to Third Diviaion. Great!
Preston North End – 2nd with 90 points. Not exactly up to competing for the first place, but way stronger than the rest of the league. Directly promoted. A great turnaround too, for Preston had to apply to stay in the league just the season before.
Northampton Town – very confident winner: 30 wins, 9 ties, 7 losses, 103-53 goal-difference and 99 points! Excellent season, ending with a title – 4th level title, but a title. And going up to Third Division, of course.
The promotion/relegation play-offs brought rather unexpected result: Bolton Wanderers, coming from Third Division, was eliminated along with Colchester United and in the final game Wolverhampton Wanderers lost to unfancied Aldershot.
What a great turn of fortune: Aldershot, 6th in the Forth Division, was the promoted up at the expense of illustrious Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bolton Wanderers.
Once again: promoted to Third Division this year – Northampton Town, Preston North End, Southend United, and Aldershot.

England 5th Level

England – ranked 6th. With English clubs banned from European tournaments, going down the table was natural, but since Englsih football was so successful for so long, slipping down was slow. Domestically, there were some happy people, who mainatined that Englsih football is best and because of that there was no need to waste time with ‘continentals’, but many were not happy at all – just ask the Everton players of that time. There was bigger glory to be achieved abroad and now it was impossible, which clipped the wings of great teams – Everton, in particular, but also Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur. Tem years ago may be the clubs would have been more on favour of playing only domestic football, but now the view was different – the current generation of players knew very well that the true measure of greatness came with international success and the leading clubs also had the same view. There was a sense English football as a whole was the loser – not playing international football was only going to leave English football behind the new trends, to weaken it. But there was only domestic football to play now. There was little drama this season – solitary leaders dominated every league.
Not much drama may be, but many new and first things. First Division was going to be decreased to20 teams, but gradually, so more teams were relegataed than promoted – 3 directly going down and two up, to make it 21-team league for the next season. Second Division was going to be enlarged to 23 teams. But promotion/relegation play-offs were introduced for the first time in English football – one team in the danger zone of upper division and 3 teams directly bellow the automatically promoted went to the play-offs and the winner was going to play in the higher league. For the first time in English football history there was direct relegation from Forth Division and corresponding direct promotion: the last in the table was going out to play in Conference, which champion in turn was promoted to Forth Division. That was the big news on structural level. The rest were histoiric news: quite many ‘firsts’: some teams went up to play in a league they never played before, some went down to a level they never played before. A plethora of young managers emerged – George Graham most noticeably. Alex Ferguson debuted at the helm of Manchester United and not exactly in the regular way, but almost at half-season, when Manchester United was next to last in the table and Ron Atkinson was sacked. Bankruptcy was looming large for many clubs and city councils interfered to save Wolverhampton Wanderers, Middlesbrough, Halifax Town. A plan for merger between Fulham and Queens Park Rangers was scrapped after the Football League vetoed it. Hooliganism continued in full force meantime and the English Police organized its biggest operation against violent fans this season.

Scarborough became the first ever team promoted from Conference to the League – at last such move was regulated, although fans and clubs from Conference grumbled that the League made ridiculous requirements, especially about venues. Thus, Conference effectively became 5th level which champion was promoted to Forth Division.

Scotland the Cups

The cup finals. The League Cup final was the classic derby: Celtic vs Rangers. Rangers clinched the victory 2-1.
No luck for Celtic this season – twice behind the arch-enemy and no trophies.
Glasgow Rangers with a double. Coming ahead of Celtic twice was great, but more important was the future: Graeme Souness made successful debut in coaching – he acted as playing-coach and contributed both ways, but with him came new philosophy. Rangers invested huge money and the only way to justify the spending spree was success – the gamble worked, there was strong team and new big names were going to be signed as soon as possible. The future finally was looking bright, but also the approach demanded constant success in hope to balance the books at least. It was suicidal race, but thus started long dominant period in Rangers’ history.
The FA Cup final opposed St. Mirren to Dundee United. No brainer… on paper: St. Mirren was too weak. But they heroically kept Dundee United away from scoring and regular time ended 0-0. In the extra-time Ferguson scored for the underdog and there was no end to St. Mirren’s joy at the final whistle: 1-0.
That final probably spelled out the inevitable: the good period of Dundee United came to an end. Not that they were going to plunge down dramatically and perish in the lower league, but they were no longer equal to Celtic and Rangers. Unfortunately, money was the ever present problem: modern football asked for more and more and Dundee did not have enough to maintain great squad.
Fantastic day for St. Mirren – they won the Cup for a third time, but the last time they got it was in the long gone 1959. ‘The Buddies’ hailed from the city of Paisley, which was probably more of a curse than a blessing – 6 km away from Glasgow, more of a suburb than independent town and thus constantly in the shadow of Glasgow’s giants. Not distant enough for independent visability, like the clubs from Dundee and Aberdeen. Modest, but old club – founded in 1877. Very rarely they managed to win anything – the Scottish FA Cups were their only major achievement and they came very rarely. And in the reality of the 1980s, it was almost impossible to expect victory from clubs like St. Mirren – that was winning entirely against the odds and more precious. Going to play a bit of European football was also great and even a new experience for St. Mirren and their fans. Great triumph of the underdog!


Scotland – ranked 7th. At the top – a huge return of Glasgow Rangers, which will become something entirely new and unprecedented in the history of Scottish football. At the bottom – the already establsihed dark reality: whoever climbed up almost immediately went back to second level. 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie.
Second Division – Scottish Division 1.
Dunfermline Athletic finished 2nd with 56 points. Quite successful run up for them: in the previous season they won promotion from 3rd level and now – returning to top flight for the first time since the reorganization before 1982-83 season.
Greenock Morton won the second level championship with 57 points: 24 wins, 9 ties, 11 losses, 88-56. One more attempt to find place among the best… winning and promoted from second level in 1983-84, they were relegated back to it the next season.
First Division – Scottish Premier. The last 2 relegated, as usual. And it was just usual the newly promoted to find top flight hostile environment…
Hamilton Academicals finished last with 21 points. They won Second Division in the previous season, but were going back to it immediately.

Clydebank – 11th with 24 points and relegated. Promoted in 1984-85, last in 1985-86 and staying in the league only because the enlargement of it to 12 teams… now: out.
Falkirk – 10th with 26 points. Just promoted and nothing much – one of the three outsiders this season, but the lucky one.
Hibernian – 9th with 33 points. Belonging to a group of 3 teams much stronger than the outsiders, but also significantly weaker than the best 6 teams.
Motherwell – 8th with 34 points.
St. Mirren – 7th with 36 points. Weak, but this season was also one of their best achievements.
Dundee – 6th with 48 points. Perfect mid-table team… nothing to do with the strongest, but nothing to do with the weak either.

Heart of Midlothian – 5th with 56 points. That was the reality: more than half of already small league was way too weak – the Hearts lost the battle for medals, but they were head and shoulders above the those behind them.

Aberdeen – 4th with 58 points. Strong, but… the good years were over. And Alex Ferguson was not with them anymore.
Dundee United – 3rd with 60 points. Running strong, but like Aberdeen, a title was somewhat unthinkable.
Celtic – 2nd with 63 points. Retrospectively, one can say Celtic missed the boat this season: Rangers changed the whole approach and Celtic was going to play second fiddle for quite a long time. And second fiddle is not what they want.
Glasgow Rangers came back with a vengeance: 31 wins, 7 ties, 6 losses, 85-23 and 69 points – 6 points ahead of Celtic. Almost 10 terrible years ended and Rangers was champion again! But there was more to it: traditionally, Scottish clubs were exporters, not importers – their best talent went to England. Coming back was the occasional veteran, going home to play his last days. Prime English talent going to play in Scotland? Unthinkable. But that was exactly what Rangers did, wisely deciding that the time demanded new approach – it was no longer enough to depend on home-grown Scots. If a club wanted to be really strong in the 1980s, it had to spend a lot and bring top stars. Rangers decided to spend a fortune and really gamble with its money: spend a lot and may be there will be returns making the books. So, Graeme Souness, Terry Butcher, and Chris Woods arrived. Souness – well, tradition, one may still say – a great Scot, coming back to help in his last playing days. But English stars Butcher and Woods were entrirely new thing: not some tired old men, but stars at their prime, Butcher fresh from the 1986 World Cup finals… No wander Rangers won the cchampionship with confidence.

Yugoslavia the Cup

The Cup. A Croatian final – Hajduk vs Rijeka. No controversy and high drama. 1-1 after overtime. Aljosa Asanovic, not yet the famous star, gave the lead to Hajduk in the 43rd minute. From a penalty. Rijeka equalized in the 85th minute. Radmanovic scored for them. Penalties ruled the game at the end – the outcome had to be decided by penalty shoot-out, which was tough and went for quite a time until Hajduk extracted victory 9-8. All together 23 penalties – 1 in regular time and 22 in the shoot-out. Quite amazing.
Hajduk triumphed at the end and got the Cup.
Rijeka was particularly unfortunate to lose the final entirely on penalties, but that was their tough bad luck. Since they rarely won trophies, too bad they missed this one. The team was good… but nothing.
Dramatic and chancy victory for Hajduk, perhaps making the trophy even more enjoyable. Lucky, but fair win – so unlike the events in the championship.
Perhaps not very strong vintage, but Hajduk was never short on good players. Yet, this squad was not the one playing at the final – Gudelj, Vulic, Miljus, and Gracan were not among the winners. By the end of the 1986-87 Hajduk had new leaders – Asanovic, Robert Jarni. Gracan too. Josip Skoblar was coaching them, which was interesting too – the success of Rijeka in the previous years was closely related to his coaching the team. Now he was beating his former club, however minimally.

Yugoslavia I Division

First Division. Because of the complications of the season, ending with 2 final tables, here only one will be given: the one at the actual end of the season, according to the Federation and its point-deductions. In brackets the later places will be given, according to the court decision in favour of the clubs and restoration of deducted points.
Spartak (Subotica) – very weak newcomers: last and relegated with 19 points. The court decision gave them 1 point more, but so what?

FK Sarajevo – 17th with 27 points. 6 points deducted. According to this table, they were relegated. After the court abolished the 6-point penalty, they climbed to safety – 13th in the table, according to the court decision.
Celik (Zenica) – 16th with 27 points, thanks to better goal-differnce than FK Sarajevo. After 6 points were restored to their record, they climbed to 12th position.
Dinamo (Vinkovci) – 15th with 28 points. Poor guys… they had 2 points added after the court decision and… sunk down to 17th place and relegated on worse goal-difference. Was it fair? Standing from left: Tanjga, Budincevic, Jerkan, Borovnica, Rucevic, Bogdan. Crouching: Zahirovic, Biogradlija, Cop, Bogdanovic, S. Lusic.
Radnicki (Nis) – 14th with 28 points. Also a team not penalized, but they were safe at the end: ended 14th with 30 points after the court ruling. And awarded with Kent cigarettes for that… From left to right:Vojinović, Gavrilović,Nikolić, Kitanoski, Mitrović, Ivanović, Vasilijević, Aleksić, Punišić, Gajić, Milošević.
Sloboda (Tuzla) – 13th with 28 points. After the court ruling: 15th with 30 points.
Sutjeska (Niksic) – 12th with 28 points. After the court decision: 10th with 34 points.
Zeljeznicar (Sarajevo) – 11th with 28 points. After the court decision: 9th with 34 points.

Pristina – 10th with 29 points. After the court decision: 14th with 30 points.
Buducnost (Titograd) – 9th with 31 points. After the court decision: 7th with 37 points.
Dinamo (Zagreb) – 8th with 31 points. After the court decision: 6th with 37 points.
NK Rijeka – 7th with 32 points. After the court decision: 4th with 38 points.
NK Osijek – 6th with 32 points. After the court decision: 11th with 34 points.
Crvena zvezda – 5th with 35 points. After the court decision – 3rd with 41 points.
Hajduk (Split) – 4th with 36 points. After the court decision: 8th with 36 points. Evidently, stupid to play by the Federation rules…
Velez (Mostar) – 3rd with 36 points. After the court decision – 2nd with 42 points. Going to play in the UEFA Cup, though – in their case, no matter by which final table. Top row from left: Sedin Tanovic, Josko Popovic, Zdenko Jedvaj, Vladimir Gudelj, Dzevad Rastoder, Zijad Repak, Vela Pudar.
Middle row: Avdo Kalajdzic, Mili-Toza Hadziabdic, Drazenko Prskalo, Vukasin Petranovic, Ivica Barbaric, Adnan Medjedovic.
Sitting: pok. Senad Glavovic, Anel Karabeg, Veselin Djurasovic, Vladimir Skocajic, Predrag Juric, Goran Juric, Sead Kajtaz, Semir Tuce.
Velez recovered from their relatively weak years, although this squad was never considered equal to the great team of the 1970s.
Partizan (Belgrade) – 2nd with 37 points. They were the prime movers and shakers of the court case and after the rulling they were proclaimed champions with full record of 43 points. How good or bad this team was is immaterial – the court made them champions. Their position according to the Federation gave them only UEFA Cup spot.
Vardar (Skopje) – 1st with 38 points. 15 wins, 8 ties, 11 losses, 40-39 goal-difference. Weak record, true, but according to the Federation they were champions. The photo was taken after the end of the fall half of the season, when they were first in the table. So far… fine. But the court ruling moved them down to 5th position, for they had no deducted points. Proclaimed champions, then the title was taken away and given to Partizan. Which was the strongest team, if there were no penalties…
Terrible… here it is, just after the end of the season – champions! And then they were not… but going to play in the European Champions Cup. For many – even today – they were the rightful champions. For many – even today – the real final table is the one the season ended with. It was good squad, having a big world-class star – Darko Pancev. It was one of the best ever selections the club had and this was its biggest success. But for a short time… Frankly, too bad they were stripped from the title.
And at the end… the country ended with 2 champions – Vardar and Partizan, neither truly convincing.