Sweden I Division

First Division. The formula remained the same – a regular season, after which the top 4 continued with championship playoffs. The last 2 went down.
Hammarby IF – last with 13 points and relegated.

Osters IF – 11th with 17 points. Relegated.
AIK – 10th with 18 points.

Vastra Frolunda IF – 9th with 18 points.

GAIS – 8th with 20 points.

IK Brage – 7th with 21 points.

IFK Norrkoping – possibly not a team photo of the same year – 6th with 21 points.

GIF Sundsvall – 5th with 23 points.
Orgryte IS – 4th with 23 points. Qualified to the playoffs on better goal-difference.
Djurgardens IF – 3rd with 27 points. Qualified to the playoffs.
IFK Goteborg – 2nd with 31 points. Qualified to the playoffs.
Malmo FF – 1st with 32 points. Won the regular stage and qualified to the playoffs.
Orgryte IS was eliminated by Malmo FF 0-1 and 1-2
IFK Goteborg lost to Djurgardens IF 0-2 and 1-0.
The final opposed Djurgardens IF to Malmo FF. And was not much of a contest… Malmo FF kept the hosts at bay in the first match in Stockholm: 0-0. Then destroyed them in front of their own crowd 7-3.
Overall, good season for Djurgardens IF. Unable to win the title, though. Silver was fine.
Malmo FF collected one more title – their 16th – and in good style too. Interesting squad – Malmo FF was only Swedish club to stay consistently strong and able to change generations painlessly. Jan Moller represented the old, Jonas Thern – the new.

Sweden II Division Sodra

Sodra – South group. A drama here: goal-difference decided the champion.
IFK Hassleholm – last with 11 points and relegated.

Myresjo IF – 13th with 19 points and relegated.
Falkenbergs FF – 12th with 20 points.

Ifo/Bromolla IF – 11th with 20 points.
IF Elfsborg – 10th with 23 points.
Trelleborgs FF – 9th with 24 points.

Makaryds IF – 8th with 25 points.
Karlskrona AIF – 7th with 27 points.
Landskrona BoIS – 6th with 28 points.

BK Hacken – 5th with 28 points.
IK Oddevold – 4th with 28 points.
Kalmar AIK – 3rd with 35 points.

Mjallby AIF – 2nd with 38 points. Lost promotion om worse goal-difference, how unfortunate.
Halmstads BK – won the championship on better goal-difference and with that – a return to First Division. 16 wins, 6 ties, 4 losses – Mjallby AIF had the same record, but then Halmstads BK had 50-20 vs 39-21 Mjallby had, so it was considerable difference: +30 vs +18. That made them champions.

Sweden II Division Norra

Sweden. Ranked 11th. Two teams promoted from Second Division: the winners of the 2 groups the division is divided into.
Norra – Northern group. More or less, one team dominated the championship.

IFK Morra – last with 13 points and relegated to Third Division.
Skelleftea AIK – 13th with 16 points and relegated.
Vasby IK – 12th with 19 points.
Karlstad BK – 11th with 20 points.

Lulea FF/IFK Lulea – 10th with 22 points.
BK Forward – 9th with 22 points.
IFK Holmsund – 8th with 27 points.

Vasteras SK – 7th with 27 points.
IF Brommapojkarna – 6th with 28 points.
Atvidabergs FF – 5th with 29 points.

Gefle IF – 4th with 33 points.
Vasalunds IF – 3rd with 34 points.

IFK Estilstuna – 2nd with 34 points.
Orebro SK – 1st with 39 points. 15 wins, 9 ties, 2 losses, 37-9 goal-difference. Group champions and promoted to top league. Which was their usual place anyway.

Yugoslavia the Cup

The Cup. A memorable final, which also may serve as a test for true greatness: Crvena zvezda vs Borac (Banja Luka). The best team in the country, not to mention the heavy wait of the name Crvena zvezda, vs a team trying to keep place in Second Division. No contest… no need to play, the winner was known in advance. Zvezda was so strong… and the only goal in the final was scored by Lupic. Not a recognizable name and not a Zvezda player… the boys barely escaping relegation in Second Division won!
There is some confusion with this picture – records show the winning goal was scored in the 60th minute of regular time and here looks like Borac players are waiting for the start of penalty shoot-out.
But the Cup was theirs, even if there is another confusion: the kit is wrong. At least sponsor adds were not permitted at the final. Or the boys changed shirts before the next photo.
The losers: standing from left: Stojković, Stojanović, Radovanović, Marović, Krivokapić, Prosinečki.
First row: Cvetković, Đurović, Binić, Jurić, Milojević. Shall we count the national team players here? And no double… and Second Division team in risk of relegation further down beating them… May be not so great squad after all?
The winners. Borac was quite well known club with some strong seasons in the top league, but now they were down on their luck, so it was fascinating victory of the underdog. No famous stars here, but the Cup was in their hands. A fantastic triumph – their very first trophy! Fantastic, because the same team was in very real danger to be relegated to Third Division – not strong enough to play significant role even in Second Division and yet beating mighty Zvezda, practically the Yugoslav national team, the magic Stojkovic and up and coming Prosinecki. Historic success, turning the troublesome season into their best ever.
No wonder the winners were heroes in Banja Luka, made many photos and even dressed in some shiny official suits for official and semi-official celebrations. Cherished moment of triumph, for everybody knew it was a rarity and most likely was not going to be repeated.
Let’s have one more look at them – a regular photo of the team, which here does look really modest – there are not enough shirts with sponsor’s add for all… who would believe they could won the Cup?

Yugoslavia I Division

First Division. Everybody bellow 6th place was practically concerned only with survival – 5 points was the difference between the last and the 7th at the end. The top 4 battled for the title, eventually the race was reduced to the familiar Belgrade rivalry between Crvena zvezda and Partizan. Perhaps not one of the memorable Yugoslav seasons, but there was young generation making its way up – a generation too young yet, but becoming very famous in the 1990s.
Pristina finished last with 27 points and was relegated. Standing from left: Abdul Belopoja, Zoran Lemajić, Muhamed Koljenović, Slavenko Kuzeljević, Gani Lapaštica, Isa Sadriju,
First row: Mensur Meqshipi, Sahit Keljmendi, Vladislav Đukić, Fadil Murići, Kujtim Šalja.
Sutjeska (Niksic) – 17th with 29 points and relegated. More or less, expected, like the relegation of Pristina – after all, it depends on players and both relegated had no way to employ best talent. Standing from left: Rakojević, Đukanović, Marušić, Šabotić, Kuzeljević, Radinović, Giljen.
Crouching: Medin, Dukić, Zirojević, Durgutović, Gospić.
Celik (Zenica) survived – 16th with 29 points. Just one goal better goal-difference than Sutjeska, but in their favour. Standing from left: Miodrag Đurđević, Milorad Ratković, Slavko Radović, Esad Kuhinja, Saša Štrbac, Emir Džinović.
Front: Ibrahim Zukanović, Rade Vešović, Darko Nestorović, Ivan Fileš, Mirza Golubica.
Rad (Belgrade) – 15th with 30 points. All relative… for a club only recently debuting in the top league the season was wonderful: they survived, they were going to play at least one more season in the First Division, and who knows – they may even get stronger. There was even a reward: they were going to represent Yugoslavia in the Intertoto Cup – at least some international football was coming their way.
FK Sarajevo – in the frost: 14th with 30 points. At least not relegated.
The troubles of Sarajevo were nothing compared to downfall of Hajduk (Split) – 13th with 30 points. Trying to escape relegation instead of trying to win the title? Unheard of… Then again this squad is very poor at least by Hajduk’s standards.
Very weak season for Sarajevo – not only FK Sarajevo, but Zeljeznicar too: 12th with 30 points. Standing from left: Jurišić, Baljić, Simić, Štilić, Komšić, Škrba.
Crouching: Pavlović, Gavrilović, Berjan, Baždarević, Slišković.
Osijek – 11th with 31 points. As usual, just happy to avoid relegation. Young and unknown yet Davor Suker here.
Vojvodina – nothing to brag about: 10th with 32 points. No relegation – that was all. Nothing to hint of what was coming very soon.
Buducnost (Titograd) – 9th with 32 points. No relegation and that was just fine.
Rijeka – 8th with 32 points. Not bad at all as far as final standing goes – if anything, Rijeka was keeping its place in the league quite well.
Radnicki (Nis) – 7th with 32 points. Their best days were gone. Yes, good final position, but only 3 more than relegated Sutjeska (Niksic).
Vardar (Skopje) – 6th with 37 points. Nothing to do with relegation, but perhaps the weird recent events – champions, not champions – took a tall on them.
Sloboda (Tuzla) – up, down, now up again: 5th with 38 points. Not quite a title contender, but solid and enjoying wonderful season. Top row form left: Nedžad Verlašević, Tomo Mrkić, Asmir Mehanović, Goran Miljanović, Ademović, Mile Stegnjajić, Samid Sabitović (masseur).
Middle row: assistant coach Mesud Nalić, Davor Mladina, Midhat Memisević, Cvijan Milosević, Mirza Hadzić, Mirko Mihić, Rade Tošić, Dr. Jovan Jelić.
Sitting: Nail Beširević, Muhamed Tahirović, Zoran Milosević, coach Đorđe Gerum, Munever Krajišnik, Senad Ibrić, Mitar Lukić, Dragoslav Kostić.
Dinamo (Zagreb) – 4th with 42 points. There is slight feeling that this squad was capable of more. True, they were competing for the title, but… could have been better, given the squads of those above them – far from perfect, may be even with less talent than the Dinamo boys.
Velez (Mostar) – recovered its leading position, back among the very best. 3rd with 42 points – ahead of Dinamo on better goal-difference. May be not as impressive as the their great team in the 1970s, but more than adequate for the current time.
Partizan (Belgrade) – 2nd with 44 points. Lost the title by a single point. Third row from left: Pantić, Belojević, Bogdanović, Vermezović, Đukanović, Katanec, ?;
Middle row: Đorđević, Radanović, Đurovski, Vučićević, Batrović, Smajić, V. Đukić,
Front row: Župić, Klinčarski, Stevanović, Šćepović, Bajović, Sredojević.
Good squad, strong squad, but perhaps having only one really great star – Katanec – was not enough for a title. Somehow, there was always little something missing.
Crvena zvezda (Belgrade) won… again. One point ahead of Partizan: 17 wins, 11 ties, 6 losses, 66-39 goal-difference, 45 points. Well, quite dramatic victory, prevailing over the arch-enemy. Great!
Top row from left: Radovanović, Milojević, Krdžević, Musemić, J. Nikolić, Joksimović, Krivokapić, Binić.
Middle row: Stojanović, Marović, Prosinečki, Punišić, Davidović, Lukić, Komadina, Simeunović
Sitting: Šabanadžović, Jurić, Đurović, Pavlović, Stojković, Mrkela, S. Janković, B.Cvetković.
What ends well… for years Crvena zvezda managed to recruit better players than Partizan and to make a well-rounded team and thus won more frequently than their rivals. Stojkovic was the top star of Yugoslav football at the time and Prosinecki was making great impressions. Yet, Crvena zvezda had much more famous teams in the past. For the record – 16th title.

Yugoslavia II Division

Second Division. Survival is the usual concern of most clubs involved in a season of announced big reduction and that was the Yugoslavian case as well. Half of the teams going to relegation was no joke and the battle for survival was fierce. Mostly little know clubs fell victims, but one well known long-time member of the top league was unable to escape – Olimpija (Ljubljana) – and one other long-lasting top league member barely survived – Borac (Banja Luka). The group winners were promoted to First Division as ever and both winners were slightly stronger than the rest, but not by much and endured competition almost to the end.
West Group. 9th place was the most coveted position, for it was the last place securing life in the new Second Division. Take it as you will – Olimpija (Ljubljana) fell badly: 12th with 32 points and going down. The rest were small little known clubs.
Like Mladost (Petrinja) – 13th with 30 points. Standing from left: Marijan Mrmić, Mladen Romić, Đemil Đedović, Idriz Seferović, Miljenko Tuta, Savo Obradović. Crouching: Dejan Andrejić, Slobodan Petrović, Radimir Bobinac, Nikica Valent, Marijan Sigur.
Sparta (Beli Manastir) ended 11th with 34 points and was relegated, but they took some pride from their season – playing Second Division football was their highest success ever, so overall they were satisfied.
Jedinstvo (Brcko), one of usual second league members, was 17th with 26 points. Only Borac (Travnik) was behind them. Second row from left: Mandic – coach, Agic, Kasic, Kevric, Sulovic, Grujic, Preljevic, Pejic, Stevic, Catovic – assistant coach.
First row: Smudja, Jovanovic, Jahic, Nedic, Petkovic, Durakovic, Besic, Malisevic.
The rest of the lowest: Kabel (Novi Sad, 16th with 26 points), Famos (Hrasnica, 15th with 26 points), Novi Sad (14th with 27 points).
Rudar (Ljubija), quite used to playing in the second tier, was not happy at all – 10th with 35 points and relegated. If they got 1 point more… no such luck.
Iskra (Bugojno), ‘only yesterday’ playing in the top league, managed to survive – 9th with 36 points.
Borac (Banja Luka), also with 36 points, finished 8th Standing from left: Špica, Karalić, Lipivac,Pobor, Lupić, Beširović. First row: Kovačević, Matejić, Durgutović, Bilbija, Malbašić, Jakovljević.
What incredible season Borac had – on one hand, not only playing second level football and desperately trying to remain there, but on the other hand – this was their best season ever! Such a weird case… they barely escaped relegation and would have been really interesting if they did not in the light of their great success – it is not everyday Third Division teams play in the European tournaments and it was very close to happening.
Up the table were the rest of those going to play in the new Second Division: Leotar (7th with 37 points), Proleter Zrenjanin (6th with 37 points), Sibenik (5th with 38 points), Kikinda (4th with 40 points),
Dinamo (Vinkovci) – 3rd with 43 points. They had a chance to get promoted, but eventually lost it.
GOSK Jug (Dubrovnik) finished 2nd with 44 points, also losing steam at one point.
Spartak (Subotica) won the championship with 48 points from 21 wins, 6 ties, 7 losses. 56-23 goal-difference. Not truly domineering, but still stronger and more ambitious than anybody else. Earning promotion was great.
East Group. Similar story.
Long-time second division member Majdanpek finished last with 24 points. Standing from left: coach Radović, Minčić, Živković, Tuzlić, Erić, Dragović, Golubović, coach Mihajlović. First row: Mitrović, Kostić, Filipović, Jovanović, Brankovan, Matić.
Vlaznimi (Dakovica) was next to last with 27 points.
Then OFK Titograd (16th with 28 points), Crvena zvezda (Gnjilane, 15th with 28 points),
Metalurg (Skopje, 14th with 28 points), Ivangrad (13th with 30 points), Radnicki (Pirot, 12th with 32 points),

Teteks (Tetovo, 11th with 32 points),
Pobeda (Prilep) – 10th with 36 points. As in the West Group, life and death was a matter of 1 point – Pobeda lost and was relegated.
Borac (Cacak) was lucky – 9th with 37 points.
So was Sloboda (Titovo Uzice) – 8th with 37 points.
Macva (Sabac) also got 37 points and finished 7th. Novi Pazar – 6th with 38 points. Liria – 5th with 38 points. Radnicki (Kragujevac) – 4th with 38 points. Pelister (Bitola) – 3rd with 39 points. OFK Beograd (Belgrade) – 2nd with 40 points.
Looked like the whole league was mainly concerned with survival – the difference between relegation and 2nd place was only 4 points – but still there was a slightly stronger club looking up: Napredak (Krusevac) won 15 games, tied 13, lost 6, scored 47 goals and received 22. With a total of 43 points they won the championship, 3 points ahead of OFK Beograd. Well done and return to top flight.


Yugoslavia. Ranked 10th. No scandals this season and everything back to normal and familiar – Crvena zvezda and Partizan fighting for the title, closely pursued by Velez (Mostar) and Dinamo (Zagreb). The championship was of fairly equal teams: the top 6 teams were somewhat visibly stronger than the rest, but the difference at the end between the 7th and the last was only 5 points, so more or less anybody could have been near the top or relegated. There was one huge surprise this season and also a big change: Second Division was going to be reorganized and next year instead of 2 groups of 18 teams was going to be only one league of 22 teams. This meant that half of the teams in each current Second Division group were going to be relegated. More or less escaping relegation was the only concern of almost all teams in the lower level. Meantime only 2 teams were going to be promoted from the Third level.
Of course, the lower levels of Yugoslavian football were hidden, so just a glimpse of some teams, playing somewhere there:
Radnik (Velika Gorica)
NK Samobor
NK Belisce
Koper (Beltinci)
Jedinstvo (Bihac)
GIK Ramiz Sadiku
FK Vrbas
FK Becej
FAP Priboj
Drina (Zvornik)
BSK Slavonski Brod
Cukaricki (Belgrade)
Akademac (Sremska Mitrovica)
Buducnost (Banovici)
Balkan (Skopje)
RNK Split – in red, before a friendly against their famous neighbours Hajduk.
Timok (Zajecar)
Hajduk (Sijekovac)
The list is endless, of course – some of the above sample will popup after the fall of Yugoslavia in the top leagues of the new independent states, others will remain obscure, but from the vast lower realm of Yugoslav football what matters is who was going up – 2 teams earned promotion to Second Division:
One was Belasica (Strumica), a Macedonian club, and the other
Serbian team Backa (Backa Palanka) – pictured here in a friendly against Partizan (Belgrade) in light blue.
Well, good luck to the promoted to the new, supposedly stronger, Second Division.

England the Cups

The Cups. This was the season of surprises – and sure predictions going to the dust. Both finals looked easy to predict, because the opponents were surely unequal. No matter how good Luton Town was at the moment, Arsenal was much stronger and also rising team. No matter how tough and eager was Wimbledon, Liverpool was entirely different class. But in the League Cup final Luton scored 3 goals and Arsenal only 2…
Arsenal lost – and that after destroying Everton in the ½ finals! May be a note on the picture spells out why they did not lift the cup – Charlie Nicholas disappointed and the club get rid of him. Somehow, Arsenal was unable to make the right choice in recruiting and the result was a good, but not excellent team. Always something lacking, always something needed.

Hats down to Luton Town – they won the League Cup, a wonderful success for a club never winning anything.
Hats down to a modest club, having no star in the team, not even fairly recognizable player, but prevailing over strong Arsenal. That was the best ever season for Luton Town, a historic, a legendary season, and they should have been remembered better, but unfortunately there was another sensation, which overshadowed their success.
In the FA Cup final Liverpool met Wimbledon. Here the victory of dominant Liverpool was absolutely certain. Like the other cup, the finalists came with different stories: Liverpool eliminated Nottingham Forest in the ½ finals, much stronger opponent than Wimbledon’s – the Dons met Luton Town, a battle of team in good shape, fairly equal, but hardly strong as Nottingham. Liverpool was surely to win a double this year. But the only goal of the final was scored by someone named Sanchez and he was not a Liverpool player – and the winner was Wimbledon. A sensation bigger than the outcome of the League Cup final.
No double for Liverpool – perhaps a warning that one cannot win everything with players like John Aldridge. With all respect to Liverpool’s fans, it was nice to see the mighty team lose – even nicer to almost anonymous opponent.
Sensational winners and instant legends! Standing from left: Alan Cork, Andy Thorn, Alan Gillette – assistant coach, John Scales, Vince Jones, John Fashanu, Wally Downes.
First row, some standing: Dennis Wise, Dave Beasant, Terry Fhelan, Laurie Cunningham, Terry Gibson, Eric Young, Clive Goodyear.
This was fantastic victory of the underdog, instantly legendary, perhaps of Liverpool – people not only in England were getting tired of Liverpool’s dominance and were happy to see them lose. Which enlarged the status of the victors – even Wimbledon’s rugged and somewhat primitive style was liked. Even their brutality, even Vinnie Jones’ antics, which were not at all funny. Because of the instantly made legend today the squad does not look as anonymous as it was back then: what, anonymous? But they had Jones, Dennis Wise, Fashanu, Beasant! Laurie Cunnigham played for Real Madrid, for God’s sake! Well, he made only 6 appearances through the season and although he played at the historic final, it was only in the second half as a substitute. The others nobody knew at the time – they became well known because of this victory – and their anonymity is even better point: it was these unknowns beating Liverpool! And let not forget – Wimbledon was playing 4th Division football in 1982-83 and First Division was not even a dream. It was fantastic climb, very fast, but Wimbledon debuted in the top league in 1986-87 – a year later they were beating Liverpool and win the FA Cup! That was not a joke and a loud and clear testimony of the work of manager Bobby Gould. Don Howe was helping, an important help. The only question was how long such a team would last… for there were examples of such meteoric climbs ending quickly: Swansea City, Oxford United, Watford. But let leave the unknown future aside – Wimbledon produced a miracle to stay in memory.

England I Division

I Division. The last three teams were doomed early, but there was a race between 5 teams for escape from the last relegation spot. At the top – the familiar dominance of Liverpool keeping the rest of the league far away, followed by rapidly improving Manchester United, also separated from the rest by a vast distance. Perhaps it is worth noting the success of players-managers: nothing new about it, particularly in England, but usually they were not that many and not leading winning teams – now Kenny Dalglish put a new twist to Liverpool’s tradition to replace one home-grown manager with his former helper and another former Liverpool’s star was successful player-manager of Glasgow Rangers – Graham Souness. Scots were the current best managers – Souness, Dalglish, and Ferguson and the helm of Manchester United.
Oxford United – last with 31 points and saying goodbye to top league football.
Watford – its great story ended: 20th with 32 points. Looks like the club followed the career of Elton John… the rock-star was no longer hot ticket and his club also declined.
Portsmouth – 19th with 35 points. Lasted a single season in the top league and was relegated.
No end to the suffering of Chelsea – 18th with 42 points and relegated again. It was not that didn’t try, but hardly bad luck (the larger relegation group because of the reduction of the league plus ending in that group only on goal-difference) – the squad was poor quality and there was hardly any other way because of still shaky financial situation.
Charlton Athletic survived: 17th with 42 points. Thanks to 4 goals better goal-difference than Chelsea.
West Ham United also survived on goal-difference: 16th with 42 points.
Derby County ended 15th with 43 points. Escaped relegation and may be Peter Shilton was the happiest of the bunch: still the number 1 goalkeeper of England.
Norwich City – 14th with 45 points.
Tottenham Hotspur – 13th with 47 points. Just a few years ago there were great hopes of Spurs going to the very top and rivaling Liverpool. Now the direction was the opposite. Ray Clemence and Ossie Ardiles, and Johhny Metgod were approaching retirement fast, their best years already in the past. To a point, Nico Claesen’s best years were in the past too. Chris Waddle’s… Terry Venables? Better look at Barcelona’s photo of this season, not at the above picture.
Southampton – 12th with 50 points. Their strong period ended and no surprise: the risky approach to recruit aging stars eventually run dry.
Sheffield Wednesday – doing well: 11th with 53 points, but seemingly on ascent.
Coventry City – 10th with 53 points.
Luton Town – 9th with 53 points and such position itself was achievement for them, but there was more to the team seemingly at its peak – arguably, they had their best season ever.
Newcastle United – 8th with 56 points. Optimistic season and fortune tellers were predicting great future. Paul Gascoigne was the trump card.
Wimbledon – 7th with 57 points. They finished a place higher in the previous season, but still this season was sensational and perhaps their best. The true Cinderella story… leaving Luton Town in the dust.
Arsenal – 6th with 66 points. Good work of George Graham, but not the finish product yet – if one can speak of Arsenal’s finished product.
Queen’s Park Rangers – 5th with 67 points. Strong season, bringing back memories of mid-70s, and good team in which Terry Fenwick was the current big star, but QPR usually did not last long among the best.

Everton – 4th with 70 points. Yes, they were still strong, but already the myth, based on ‘if’, was taking roots: if English clubs were banned from playing in the European tournaments, courtesy of hated Liverpool, Everton would have conquered the world already and sky was the limit from there. True, they left Liverpool 9 points behind in the victorious previous season, but now were 20 points behind Liverpool and 11 points behind Manchester City. Hardly a prove of greatness. And the squad was not all that impressive… even the English national team players in it were not leaders – the big stars of the moment played for other teams.
Nottingham Forest – 3rd with 73 points. Brian Clough still managed to keep the team high in the league, but it was already clear for some time that success was impossible. Not a title contender this squad, not even second-best.
Manchester United with reserve team, youth and all – 2nd with 81 points. Alex Ferguson was doing a good job, building and improving, and it showed – the rest of the league was left far behind. Yet, it was still a building process and the team was not ready even to challenge Liverpool.
Liverpool quickly recovered by the humiliating previous season, when they were left in the dust by city rivals Everton and came back thunderously: they lost only 2 games, won 26, tied 12, scored 87 goals, permitting only 24 in their net, and finished with 90 points. Nobody was even close to them – in anything! Manchester United was left 9 points behind and never mind the rest of the league. Liverpool outscored Manchester United by 16 goals and never mind the rest. Everton was bested defensively by 3 goals, but allowing only 24 goals in their net was astonishing achievement in the tough and attacking English football. Of course, the team was wonderful and full of well known stars and Kenny Dalglish was simply proving that Liverpool was grooming excellent managers one after another. Yet, Liverpool’s dominance was tiring and even alarming – after all, Liverpool sold during the season Lawrenson, Wark, and Walsh and still was head and shoulders above the whole league with second-rater like John Aldridge and risky goalkeeper Bruce Grobelaar. Was Englsih football becoming so bland that it was enough to have Aldridge to keep winning? No need for the likes of Rush, Keegan, Toshack… no need to hunt Gascoigne – Aldridge was enough… Then again, it was Liverpool – let not pile on Aldridge, because they already had youngsters going to be big – Peter Beardsley and Steve McMahon.
Just one more title for Liverpool… so routine.

England II Division

II Division. No other country in the world had continental cup winners and finalists playing Second Division football – so great is English football, right? Well, there is another side – financial troubles and sometimes stubborn mismanagement was perhaps the real reason. One thing was certain, always certain: British teams fought hard no matter what. 3 teams were going up and 4 going down from the league, which made quite an exciting battle at any level of the table. One outsider and one team slightly above the rest, but 6 teams battled for promotion and 6 teams made everything possible to escape relegation. 23 teams in the league, because of the reduction of First Division. At the end – that:
Huddersfield Town was out of place this season – last with 28 points and 100 goals in their net.
Reading – 22rd with 42 points and out.

No steel enough in Sheffield United – 21nd with 46 points and relegated. Their neighbours were doing quite well in the top league and they were going down to third tier.

West Bromwich Albion could not stop its downfall, which started a few years back: 20st with 47 points and relegated.
Birmingham City survived – 19th with 48 points.
Shrewsbury Town – 18th with 49 points.
Bournemouth – 17th with 49 points.
Plymouth Argyle – 16th with 56 points.
Hull City – 15th with 57 points.
Barnsley – 14th with 57 points.
Leicester City – 13th with 59 points.
Swindon Town – 12th with 59 points.
Stoke City – 11th with 62 points.
Oldham Athletic – 10th with 65 points.
Manchester City – 9th with 65 points.
Ipswich Town – 8th with 66 points.
Leeds United – 7th with 69 points. Not a sign of recovery – looked like Leeds settled for mid-table existence in Second Division.
Crystal Palace – unlucky: 3 points short of promotion. 6th with 75 points.
Blackburn Rovers – looked like after so many years outside top league they had the appetite to climb back again. But failed – 5th with 77 points.
Bradford City – great season for them, even surprising one: they uncharacteristically fought for promotion and were unlucky to miss if by a single point. 4th with 77 points.
Middlesbrough succeeded to clinch promotion: 3rd with 78 points. Keep in mind – they were just promoted from Third Division!
Aston Villa – if not return to glory, at least return to top flight: 2nd with 78 points. Managed to come ahead of ambitious rivals at the end.
What a pleasant surprise – Millwall won the championship. Not quite a solitary favourite, but still finished 4 ahead of the tight pack of pursuers. Won 25 games, tied 7, lost 12, scored 72 goals, received 52. 82 points.
Perhaps not very impressive winners, but who would say anything against them? Just look at Leeds United, Mancester City, Ipswich Town, even Aston Villa. Millwall never played top league football, so they were going to debut next season and achieved their first ever promotion in the best way: as league champions. The team was relatively modest – which makes the victory even greater: Tony Cascarino was practically the only familiar name and he was hardly a first-rate star. But look there – young Teddy Sheringham was pushing his way up along with the team. For such a team one can only wish the best of luck. And some worthy reinforcements.