Belgium the Cup

The Cup final opposed the disappointed – Anderlecht vs Standard.
The best know abroad Belgian clubs had to save this season with a trophy, but Standard was less classier this time and lost, somewhat expected, 0-2.
This is not picture from the final, but at least gives some idea what Standard had this season and perhaps why they lost. Standing from left: Gilbert Bodart, Guy Vandersmissen, Alex Czerniatinski, Guy Hellers, Alfonso Fernandez, Zoran Bojovic
Front row: Srebrenko Repcic, Freddy Luyckx, Thierry Rouyr, Dimitri Mbuyu, Michel Renquin.
Well-known names, but somewhat aging and becoming second-raters – or second-raters anyway (the Yugoslavs Repcic and Bojovic and the unfulfilled promise Czerniatinsky). Their goalkeeper Bodart was perhaps the best player the had for the future and so far he was in shadow of Pfaff and former teammate Preud’homme. And so far in the shadow of weaker than the former greats Anderlecht keeper Munaron.
Anderlecht saved the season by winning the Cup and had to make the best of it. Which was not all that little after all – the last time they won the Cup was in distant 1975-76. More than 10 years later the won their 6th Cup. Long wait ended finally and although it was a title, still it was great to break the bad spell. Still, Anderelcht had the top squad in Belgium and more money than anybody else, so the relatively weak season could only fuel their ambitions.
As a final note to this championship: the well known and never ending financial troubles of Belgian football brought 2 changes for the next season: Racing Jet moved from Brussels to Wavre, becoming Racing Jet Wavre and FC Winterslag and K. Waterschei SV Thor merged, forming KRC Genk.

Belgium I Division

First Division. Three teams fought for the title and somewhat curiously Anderlecht and Standard were not among them.
Racing Jet (Brussels) – too weak for top league footballs: last with 21 points and relegated.
KAA Gent – 17th with 25 points and relegated. One point short of safety.
KSC Lokeren Oost-Vlaandern – 16th with 26 points. Lucky escape.
KFC Winterslag – 15th with 26 points. Escaped relegation, but they ended with the worst goal-difference in the league: -42!
KSK Beveren – good years were over and now they fought to escape relegation. Ended well enough: 14th with 27 points.
K. Beerschot VAC (Antwerp) – 13th with 27 points.
RWD Molenbeek (Brussels) – 12th with 28 points.
St. Truiden – or Sint-Truidense VV – 11th with 29 points.
Standard (Liege) – 10th with 30 points. Very weak season.
KV Kortrijk – 9th with 31 points.
R. Charleroi SC – 8th with 32 points.

Cercle Brugge KSV (Brugge) – 7th with 33 points.
KSV Waregem – 6th with 39 points. Got UEFA Cup spot thanks to KV Mechelen’s European success. If you want, count the beer producers sponsoring Belgian clubs – Waregem was only one of many.
RFC Liege – or RFC Liegeois – 5th with 44 points. Rarely they came above city rivals Standard, so this was great season. With UEFA Cup spot as well – and Standard only had to watch international football.
As usual, few Belgians played regulars and the squad was the most impressive in the country, but weak and disappointing season for Anderlecht: 4th with 45 points.
Royal Antwerp FC – 3rd with 49 points. They were – untypically – a title contender, but eventually lost the race. Settled for bronze either on worse head-to-head record or less wins.
KV Mechelen – their best season to date and perhaps ever. 2nd with 49 points. Lost the battle for the Belgian title, but nothing to worry about – they conquered Europe in the same time. Finished with worse goal-difference than Royal Antwerp, but rules favoured them and they took the silver medals.
Top row from left: Jaspers, Ohana, Den Boer, Rutjes, De Greef, Verstraeten, Benfeld.
Middle row: x, Deferm, Sanders, Koeman, Hofkens, Wijns, Theunis, Metman, x.
Sitting: Drouguet, Denil, De Wilde, Kesselaers, De Mos, Preud’homme, Clijsters, Emmers, De Mesmaeker, Dommicent, Van Hoof.

Great or not, FC Brugge – Club Brugge KV – won the championship. 23 wins, 5 ties, 6 losses, 74-34, 51 points. 2 points ahead of KV Mechelen and Royal Antwerp. Royal Antwerp scored most goals in the championship – 75, and KV Mechelen had the best defensive record, allowing only 24 goals, but the champions had the best goal-difference: +40.
Top row from left: Kurt Hinderyckx, Jan Goyvaerts, Alex Querter, Henk Houwaart (coach), Dennis van Wijk, Ronnie Rosenthal, Peter Creve.
Middle row: Eddy Warrinnier (kine), Luc Beyens, Franky Van der Elst, Hugo Broos, Jan Ceulemans, Tew Mamadou, Kenneth Brylle, Henk Houwaart jr, Raymond Mertens (assistent-coach).
Front row: Yves Audoor, Stefan Vereycken, Birger Jensen, Serge Kimoni, Philippe Vande Walle, Marc Degryse, Luc Devroe, Leo Van der Elst, Dwight Decerf.
Not a bad team at all, yet, not great. Their Danish goalkeeper Birger Jensen was seemingly eternal and a staple of their long successful years, going back to mid-1970s. Another Dane – Kenneth Brylle – plus Belgian veterans Franky van der Elst and Hugo Broos knew European success with Anderlecht. Jan Ceulemans knew it largely with FC Brugge and the Belgian national team. The Israeli Ronnie Rosenthal played in England before and not just for any club. Impressive enough squad for 7th title.

Belgium II Division

Belgium. Ranked 7th. Five teams much stronger then the rest, but only 3 of them really fighting for the title. One hopeless outsider, 6 teams trying to avoid relegation.
Second Division. 16-team league, the champion directly promoted and the next four going to promotion play-off for one spot.
Beringen FC – absolute outsider: last with 15 points.
K. Waterschei Thor SV (Genk) – 15th with 26 points.
FC Assent – 14th with 27 points.
K. Boom FC – 13th with 27 points.
FC Seraing – or RFC Seresien – 12th with 27 points.
KFC Lommel – or KFC Lommelse – 11th with 27 points.
KSC Hasselt – or Sporting Hasselt – 10th with 28 points.

FC Verbroedering Geel – 9th with 28 points.
K. Berchem Sport – 8th with 31 points.
FC Eeklo – 7th with 31 points.
KSK Tongeren – 6th with 33 points. Missed promotion play-off on worse goal-difference.
K. Lierse SK – 5th with 33 points. Going to promotion play-off on better goal-difference.
RC Harelbeke – 4th with 34 points and going to promotion play-offs.
K. Patro Eisden – 3rd with 34 points and going to promotion play-offs.
KSK Eendracht Aalst – 2nd with 38 points and going to promotion play-offs.
KRC Mechelen – or Racing Mechelen – was champion of II Division: 17 wins, 6 ties, 7 losses, 67-37 and 41 points. That was truly Mechelen’s season – the better known club conquering Europe and their local rivals winning Second Division and promoted up. Mechelen was going to have First Division derby next season.
Promotion play-offs: 4 teams fighting for one place. After playing twice against each other, everything was settled at last.

RC Harelbeke – last with 2 points.
K. Patro Eisden – 3rd with 4 points.

KSC Eendracht Aalst – 2nd with 9 points. They did not a single goal in their net, but at the end goal-difference kept them in Second Division: they finished 3-0.
K. Lierse SV – or K. Lierse SK – also finished with 9 points. Compared to Eendracht’s, their defense was leaky – 4 goals – but the compensation was their attack: they scored 14 goals and that was far, far better than the record of the competition. Lierse SK won the promotion tournament and joined KRC Mechelen in the top league. That was also a great fit of the underdog – or smart planning: in the regular season they ended 5th, the lowest place team going to promotion play-offs and that only thanks to better goal-difference. Which was after all the reason for their final success too.

Portugal the Cup

The Cup – FC Porto and Vitoria Guimaraes reached the final. Looked like David and Goliath, but David was… David. Vitoria tried its best, hold its ground, but FC Porto was too much for them and the inevitable happened in the 82nd minute – Magalhaes scored and FC Porto won 1-0.
Admirable brave effort by Vitoria Guimaraes, but class prevailed. Too bad the underdog did not win, but that was the reality: after all, Vitoria desperately tried to escape relegation and barely succeeded in that, when FC Porto dominated not just the Portuguese championship, but was one of the best European teams at the time. True, Vitoria had good coach – Jose Alberto Torres – and plenty of Brazilian and African players, but they were not first-rate stars. Lost the final minimally, but were going to play in the Cup Winners Cup, so there was some reward for their efforts.
This is not the Cup-winning team – just a photo of FC Porto with their reserve kit for variety sake. Standing from left: Jozef Mlynarczyk, Geraldao, Celso, Fernando Bandeirinha,  Jorge Placido, Augusto Inacio.
Bottom: Jaime Maghalaes, Rabah Madjer, Jaime Pacheco, Rui Barros, Antonio Sousa.
Cup winners and champions of Portugal – a double, leaving no doubt who was best in Portugal. Futre was sold to Atletico Madrid and eventually Rabah Majer too, but it was still a formidable team, coached by one of the best at that time – the Yugoslav Tomislav Ivic. FC Porto firmly aimed to be not only the best in Portugal, but one of the best in the world and it was. At home at least this was their finest season so far – they won their 10th title and their 6th Cup. A double is always great, but this was only the second double for FC Porto and the first time was long, long ago.
One more time – the double heroes.

Portugal I Division

First Division. One team dominated the championship, so it was more interesting on the bottom – 6 teams were relegated from the recently enlarged to 20 teams league. 2 outsiders settled at the very bottom, but there were 4 more dreaded positions and 8 teams fought to escape them. Thus, half the league was concerned only with survival and goal-difference decided the fate of some.
Sporting Covilha was the season’s outsider – last with 21 points.
Salgueiros was quite stronger than Covilha, but still an outsider – 19th with 25 points.
Rio Ave – at the bottom of those pretty much equal teams fighting desperately to avoid relegation. Rio Ave was among the losers of the race: 18th with 28 points.
Varzim also lost – 17th with 30 points.
Academica Coimbra – 16th with 33 points. Three teams ended with 33 points and Academica had the worst goal-difference among them.
Elvas – or O Elvas – was the last unfortunate: 15th with 33 points. Goal-difference sealed their sorry fate: a matter of 2 goals. That was the group of relegated teams – the biggest number of teams relegated from European top league.
Vitoria Guimaraes had a weird season – both weak and successful, both lucky and unlucky. They barely escaped relegation this season – 14th with 33 points and only goal-difference saved the: they finished with -2, compared to Elvas -5 and Academica Coimbra -10. What a relieve at the end.
Portimonense also managed to escape relegation, but by a point – 13th with 34 points.
Farense was lucky too: 12th with 34 points.
Sporting Braga – 11th at the end, but they finished also with 34 points and only better goal-difference placed them at the top of those fighting only for survival this season. Standing from left: Vitor Duarte,Vinicius,Gersinho,Hélder,Toni.Moroni
Crouching: Vitor Santos,Laureta,Kiki,João Mário,Valtinho.
Penafiel – 10th with 38 points.
Maritimo Funchal – 9th with 39 points.
Vitoria Setubal – 8th with 40 points. Note the fashion borrowed from baseball: black grease lines under the eyes – to make opponents see true intentions. Was anybody fooled?
GD Chaves – 7th with 40 points. Perhaps the strongest period of the modest club, made possible by the Bulgarian invasion in Portuguese football – Portugal imported many Bulgarians at that time, which were cheap enough and affordable even to clubs with modest means. Chaves had 2 Bulgarian stars – Radoslav Zdravkov and Georgi Slavkov, both former CSKA Sofia and Bulgarian national team players. Slavkov also won the Golden Shoe, but he failed to satisfy French St. Etienne and moved to Chaves. Helped as much as he could, but it was Zdravkov who contributed most – including scoring a lot, which was not his forte. Yet, the real reason for success was the coaching stuff – learned academicians, a bit of a rarity in the European football world.
Sitting from left: Ferreira da Costa, Diamantino, Gilberto, Julio Sergio, Radoslav Zdravkov, Luis Saura, Abel, Vermelinho, Sera, Vivas.
Middle row: Adelino, Almeida, Georgi Slavkov, Cesar, Professor Simoes de Oliveira, Doctor Mario Montes, Emilio Macedo, Raul Aguas, Garrido, Jorge Silvestre, Magalaes, Melo.
Top row: Vicente, Padrao, Rogerio, Edgar, Joao Fonseca, David, Jorginho, Ramadas, Serqueira.
Espinho – 6th with 40 points. Bested Chaves on better goal-difference.
Boavista – 5th with 46 points. No matter how good were the smaller clubs, the best 5 were too strong to permit closing the gap – Boavista finished 6 points clear of Espinho and Chaves.
Sporting Lisbon – 4th with 47 points. Fought for medals and lost.
Belenenses – 3rd with 48 points. Were they coming back? At least the fans hoped so.
Benfica – 2nd with 51 points. Not a title contender at all and only succeeding to come ahead of Belenenses, Sporting and Boavista. Perhaps they concentrated only on the European Champions Cup -where came second too, so overall a disappointing season. Standing from left: Carlos Pereira, Carlos Mozer, Dito, Mats Magnusson, Silvino, Alvaro.
Bottom: Chiquinho, Rui Aguas, Elzo, Diamantino, Antonio Pacheco.
FC Porto ruled unrivaled – they were so strong this season, it was practically impossible to beat them. Only 1 match they lost! 29 wins and 8 ties, 88-15 goal-difference. 66 points. Best in everything: 10 wins more than Benfica’s. Best scorers by far – the 2nd best, Sporting Lisbon, scored only 62 goals. Best defensive record also by far: Benfica and Boavista allowed 25 goals in their nets. 15 points ahead of Benfica – fantastic lead, considering that Benfica came close to winning the European Champions Cup! FC Porto was splendid this season.

Portugal II Division

Portugal. Ranked 6th and no surprise – strong generation of player, successful Benfica and especially FC Porto. Which were the main protagonists of this season, as expected and as it was for a long time now. Benfica played second fiddle, though.
Second Division – three groups of 20 teams each, the top 2 teams from every group promoted top First Division and the last 6 teams relegated to third level.
Braganca – 10th with 39 points.
Three teams fought for the two top position, but the outcome and
Famalicao ended 1st with 53 points, but winning on better goal-difference. It was short-lived victory – the club was found guilty of corruption and expelled to Third Division. Still, they remained group champions of this season.

Leixoes finished 2nd with 53 points and was promoted to top flight.
Fafe lost the championship battle – 3rd with 53 points. But the expulsion of Famalicao made them happy – they were promoted to First Division instead of Famalicao.
UR Mirense was one of the unfortunate – 17th with 32 points and relegated.
But it was more interesting at the top – 4 teams competed for the 2 best positions and eventually 2 teams opened a slight gap between themselves and the other pursuers.
Beira Mar finished 2nd with 53 points and promoted.
Academico Viseu won the group with 55 points and also promoted.
Santa Clara – last with 23 points and out.
Samora Correia – 18th with 27 points and relegated.

No luck for Lusitania – 16th with 31 points and relegated.
Silves – 10th with 38 points.
Uniao Madeira – 6th with 42 points.
Barreirense – 5th with 44 points.
Estoril ended 4th with 47 points.
Only two teams competed for top positions.
Nacional Madeira lost the championship by a single point, but they were solid 2nd with 55 points and were promoted.
Estrela Amadora prevailed with 56 points, won the group championship and was promoted to First Division.
So, Estrela Amadora, Nacional, Beira Mar, Academico Viseu, Fafe and Leixoes were going up the play top league football in the next season.

Scotland the Cups

The Cups. Celtic and Dundee United met at the final of the FA Cup and in front of 74 000 Celtic prevailed 2-1 – McAvennie scored twice to Celtic and Gallacher responded for Dundee.
Dundee United was unable to spoil Celtic’s party. From 1980 on Dundee United reached cup finals 8 times and lost 7 times…
Celtic really celebrated their centenary season – with a double! Can’t beat that.
The League Cup final opposed Rangers to Aberdeen. Both teams tried to compensate for a relatively weak season and produced exciting final, which was 3-3 after overtime and had to be decided by penalty shoot-out. Only at this stage Rangers prevailed 5-3.
Unlucky Aberdeen. They were keeping their ground even without Ferguson, but winning was out of reach. At least for the moment.
Glasgow Rangers won the League Cup – now called Skol Cup after the sponsor – and ended the season with a trophy, but… this expensive squad should have been much more successful. Just a League Cup was not enough.

Scotland I Division

Scottish Premier – First Division. A weird trend started with the British: the weaker the clubs, leading to reductions of top leagues, the more pompous the new name. Anyhow, two teams clearly had strength to play among the best and one team was still a bit weaker than most, so the relegation zone was clear early. And so was the top… Celtic had no rival.
Greenock Morton – last with last with 16 points. Newcomers – absolute outsiders. Won only 3 games out of 44. Permitted a round 100 goals in their net.
Dunfermline Athletic – 11th with 26 points. Like Greenock Morton, just came up and was immediately relegated.
Falkirk – 10th with 31 points. Not enough bite too and relegated.
St. Mirren – 9th with 35 points.
Motherwell – 8th with 36 points.
Dundee – 7th with 41 points.
Hibernian – 6th with 43 points.
Dundee United – 5th with 47 points.
Aberdeen – 4th with 59 points.
Glasgow Rangers – only 3rd with 60 points.
Heart of Midlothian – 2nd with 62 points.
Celtic really celebrated their 100th birthday – with title won after superior season: 31 wins, 10 ties, only 3 lost games, 79-23 and 72 points. Rangers outscored them by 6 goals, but nobody came close to their incredible defensive record: almost half-a-goal-per-game average! The squad led by Roy Aitken was not as famous as the the team of their arch-enemies Rangers and that made the victory sweeter. Billy McNeill did excellent job at the helm.

Scotland II & III Divisions

Scotland. Ranked 5th – a bit of a surprise and not realistic, but Scottish clubs played well in Europe in the recent years. 3 points for a win – still one of the first countries to use the invention conceived to encourage attacking football. Yet, things were not great at home and the top league was going to be reduced again to 10 teams – to achieve that only 1 team was promoted from second level this season and the last 3 in the top division were relegated: going to 10 teams in I Division, 14 in II Division, and 14 in III Division. The championship was dominated by Celtic – a bit surprising, because of the money Rangers poured into building formidable squad. Which finished 3rd, a distant 3rd…
Third Division – officially Scottish Division 2.
Stranraer – a hopeless outsider even at this lowly level: last with 16 points. Berwick Rangers kept them company at the bottom, but ended above them on better goal-difference.
If both teams’ records were combined, they would have been a point ahead of the 12th , Albion Rovers, which finished with 31 points.
But what mattered was the top of the table – not much of a fight. Two teams were well above the rest and battled between themselves for the league title. Promotion was secured early for both.
St. Johnstone finished 2nd with 59 points.
Ayr United won the league with 61 points from 27 wins, 7 ties and 5 losses. 95-31 – they scored most goals in all leagues this season.
Second Division – Scottish Division 1. Only the champion was promoted and the last 2 were relegated as usual. Three teams were entangled in a battle for survival – Kilmarnock won it, finishing 10th with 37 points. East Fife was 11th with 36 points and Dumbarton last also with 36 points – these two were relegated.
At the top was more intriguing, for good number of teams were quite similar in strength and the 3-point system was giving somewhat distorted impression of reality.
Partick Thistle perhaps disappointed: they finished 8th with 41 points. Back Row: John MItchell, Hugh Lyden, Archie McLean, Colin McAdam, John Brough, Tommy Elliot, Ian Spittal.
Middle Row: Jackie Husband (Physio), Eddie Gallagher, Budgie McGhee, Willie Cairns, Kenny Watson, John Workman, Alan Dinnie, Alan Pirie, Billy Simpson (Coach)
Front Row: Billy McLaren (Coach), Alan Logan, Ian McDonald, Bobby Law, Billy Lamont (Manager), Willie McGuire, Pat Kelly, Glenn Graham, Donnie McKinnon (Physio).
Meadowbank Thistle had strong season and under other circumstances would have been promoted, but since this season the second best was not going up… still, great: 2nd with 52 points.
Hamilton Academicals, freshly relegated from top flight, was determined to return to the best and succeeded: 22 wins, 11 ties, 10 losses, 67-39, 56 points. They managed to built a good 4-point advantage at the end, thus confirming reality, guiding the Scottish Federation to reducing the top league again – too many clubs too weak. Hamilton had hard times staying in the top division, yet, it was too strong for second level. But good luck to them in the next season.

Spain the Cup

Copa del Rey. Mighty Real was not up for a double – bitter rivals contested the trophy: Barcelona and Real Sociedad. Both with big ambition, especially after seeing that the championship was lost. A British coaching derby too: Toshack vs Venables. Toshack really flourished in San Sebastian, Venables suffered in Barcelona, but he had classier team and Barcelona prevailed in the final 1-0. Alexanko scored the winning goal in the 61st minute.
Happy winners – the season was somewhat saved!

One can be sorry for Real Sociedad – largely because they had few trophies and would have been great to add one more. The squad was still good, Toshack was doing wonderful job with the team – but no luck. To a point, it was a matter of limited resources – compared to those of Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid. Real Sociedad depended largely on home grown talent and it was not endless well – frankly, Real Sociedad was unable to recruit more great players and pretty much depended on the same team for years now. And predatory big clubs were eyeing some of the stars.
Barcelona saved the season with a trophy and they the Kings of Cups – this was their 21st. But Cups were no championship titles… The project led by Venables was ambitious – perhaps over ambitious, because there were too many foreigners: Schuster, Lineker, Archibald, Hughes, Nayim – more than foreigners employed by Real Madird! But the rules prohibited playing all of them in the same match, so why having that many? No wonder there were tensions and underperformance. Cup or no Cup, the coach was to be blamed and fired. Who else? Not president Nunez…