Poland II Division

Poland. Ranked 21st. The season in a nutshell: the dominance of Gornik (Zabrze) continued, seemingly unstoppable. Well, future had a surprise, but that was naturally unknown. Three well-known and respected clubs came back to First Division, along with a club, which never played top-league football so far. The rules for relegation and promotion were changed: 4 teams were relegated from the top league now and 4 promoted from the Second Division, which still had 2 groups. The last 2 in First Division were relegated directly and the winners of each Second Division group directly promoted. The other 2 relegated teams from the top league were decided in relegation play-offs between the teams finishing 11th to 14th. Similarly, the 2nd and 3rd in each Second Division group played between themselves promotion play-offs. The same rule for relegation was applied to those in the Second Division as well, but the only interesting thing there was that Gwardia (Warszawa), long in decline, managed to avoid relegation, unlike another club known for playing top league football – Odra (Opole) went down to Third Division. Lastly, the curious anomaly of teams of the same city playing in geographically different championship continued – the clubs from the city of Radom Radomiak and Bron did not play in the same Second Division group, unlike teams from other cities (Stal and Resovia from the city of Rzeszow played both in Group 2 of Second Division). Why Radom could not have a local derby? Unknown…
Second Division Group 1: unlikely teams finished 2nd and 3rd – Piast (Nowa Ruda) and GKS Jastrzebie. They played promotion play-off and GKS Jastrzebie prevailed by a single goal: 0-0 and 1-0.
Unlucky Piast (Nowa Ruda) – so close to promotion and a debut in the First Division, but had to stay in the second level.
Great success for this club – they were going to debut in the First Division. Although unable to challenge the group leaders, GKS Jastrzebie had strong season and finished 2nd . It was only right they earned promotion.
Ruch (Chorzow), one of the leading Polish clubs for a long time, was surprisingly down on their luck, but they were not going to accept that and won the Second Division Group 1 with mighty performance: with 52 points – 2nd placed GKS Jastrzebie had only 42! Rules were a bit unclear this season: seemingly, tied matches went to overtime and it was a tie only if nobody won after 120 minutes of play. At least that could be guessed by the final records, where some wins were in brackets. Ruch had 3 such wins plus regular 21, but the mystery remains, for the season should have been of 30 games and so much were shown in the final table. However, 21/3 wins, 7 ties, and 2 losses makes either 33 games or 29 games. Because of that better leave the confusing records aside. The point is Ruch was returning to First Division and the rest does not matter much.
Group 2. Gornik (Knurow) finished 3rd and went to the promotion play-off, where they met Wisla (Krakow). Gornik tried hard and won the first leg at home 1-0. However, their efforts were not enough – they lost 2-4 in Krakow and the hopes for debuting among the best ended.
Wisla (Krakow) suffered decline in the 1980s and were even unable to win Second Division championship for some time. This season was no different – they finished distant 2nd, but did their best to win at least the promotion play-off and succeeded. Recovery at last? Hard to tell yet, but they were returning to top flight.
Stal (Mielec), which like Ruch and Wisla was now playing second level football, did not like it and similar to Ruch were determined to climb back – and like Ruch, they dominated the championship of Group 2, finishing with 48 points – 8 points ahead of Wisla. Again, like Ruch, Stal permitted to be beaten only twice this season. Quick return to First Division, but were they going to be a leading team again? Let’s wait the next season.

Switzerland the Cup

The Swiss Cup opposed a bit unusual, but hardly rare for the 1980s opponents: Grasshopper to lowly Second Division Schaffhausen. Schaffhausen missed a chance to win promotion to top league and Grasshopper dropped out from the championship final after having very strong and promising first stage. The Cup was – naturally – a big goal for both finalists, but top-league class won the day – 2-0 Grasshopper.
The disappointment of FC Schaffhausen is easy to get: they were close to success twice this season and both times failed. Objectively speaking, they had no chance against one of the most powerful Swiss clubs, but still it would have been great if the underdog won. Alas, no miracle…
Grasshopper saved the season by winning the Cup. All is well when ends well, the cliché amounting to 15th Cup in their trophy room.

Switzerland I Division

First Division – final stage. Since the teams carried only half of their first-stage points to the final stage, theoretically ever team had equal chance to win the title, no matter how they played in the first phase. Then again, such 2-staged championships rarely produced sensations: a good number of teams made the effort to reach safety in the first phase and then did not care much, especially when having poor squads. Thus, most often the final stage produced mixed results: some initially strong teams continued to be strong, some lower teams geared up only for the second stage and some exhausted themselves early and dropped from the championship race. Anyhow, the season ended like this:
BSC Young Boys (Bern, 3rd in the first stage) – last with 22 points (13 of them carried over). A prime example of those spending themselves early and perhaps just going through the motions at the final stage.
Lausanne Sports (Lausanne, 8th in the opening stage) – 7th with 23 points (12 carried over). That was a team just putting effort to avoid the risk of relegation and once achieving its goal only waiting for the next season.
FC 1879 St. Gallen (St. Gallen, 5th in the first stage) – 6th with 23 points (12 carried over). Similar to Lausanne Sports.
FC Luzern (Luzern, 6th in the first stage) – 5th with 27 points (12 carried over). Saved strength for the final stage, but not exactly a title contender.
Grasshopper Club (Zurich, 2nd in the first stage) – 4th with 30 points (15 carried over). Apparently, spent themselves in the first stage and dropped down when the title was at stake.
FC Aarau (Aarau, 4th in the first stage) – 3rd with 30 points (13 carried over). Very strong at the final stage, but handicapped by lukewarm first stage.
Servette FC (Geneve, 7th in the first stage) – 2nd with 30 points (12 carried over). The prime axample of the kind saving their strength in the first stage, juts playing enough to qualify to the final, where they unleashed their best. But… unable to win the title because of weak first stage. Top row from left: Colletti, Cacciapalia, Hasler, Morisod, Niaba, Eriksen, Palombo
Middle row: ?, Bamert, Egli, Decastel, Favre, Grossenbacher, Schällibaum, Burri
Sitting.: Kok, Kressibucher, Marguerat, De Choudens (coach), Mutter, Sinval, Besnard.

Xamax (Neuchatel, winner of the first stage) – 1st with 32 points (16 carried over). Well, if you really want to win steady performance during the whole season is the key. Most often. Xamax was not superior at any point of the championship, but was steadily strong. Two teams got more points than them at the final stage – Servette and FC Aarau – but Xamax came to the final with more points than them and prevailed. Steady, that was the secret.
Thus, Xamax won second consecutive title and rightly so – they had great period. Their first and so far the last… Two titles in a row – but also that were the only titles Xamax ever won. By frugal Swiss standards – strong and well made squad, a good mix of domestic stars (Sutter at the first place) and imports (Uli Stielike the most famous). As a traditional underdog – lovely success. It was the last season of Uli Stielike and the famed veteran retired in stile – as a champion.

Switzerland II Division

Switzerland – ranked 20th. This country settled for the unusual in Europe two-phased championship and this season brought a surprise: two traditionally strong leading clubs were relegated from the top league. Meantime one of the traditionally unsuccessful clubs enjoyed its best period and won a second consecutive title.
36 teams played in the 2 top leagues – 12 in First Division and the rest divided into 2 groups of Second Division. The first phase, a standard league championship, only determined where every team will continue in the final stage. The top 8 teams of the First Division continued to play for the title. The bottom 4 plus the top 6 teams of each Second Division group went to promotion/relegation tournament, played also in two groups. The top 2 teams each group were to start in the first stage of First Division, either remaining or promoted. The rest were to start in the Second Division. The last 4 teams in the first stage of Second Division played relegation stage – again divided into groups in which the best 4 teams from Third Division. Since the second championship phase started with clean sheets, little matters how the first stage ended, except for final positions: FC Sion, FC Bellinzona, FC Basel, and FC Zurich were the last 4 in the top league and went to the relegation/promotion group. The rest were going to play for the title. Second Division teams in the promotion/relegation groups will be noted as we go.
The Second Division teams unable to reach the promotion/relegation stage and having to play for survival against Third Division clubs almost nothing deserves further talk.

Winterthur was perhaps the best known club there – they finished 8th in the first stage of the Second Division East Group and later took 2nd place in promotion/relegation Group B, thus preserving Second Division spot. Top row from left: Sepp Roth, Rolf Müller, Norbert Schneider, Hans Franz, André von Niederhäusern, Jürg Hofmann.
Middle row: Ernst Rutschmann (Trainer), René Rüegg, Vladimir Jakovljev, Levent Kusogullari, Daniel Hermann, Paul Hollenstein (Masseur), Ernst Rief (Pfleger).
Front row: Beat Meier, Rafael Chèlos, Marcel Rapp, Giuseppe Assirati, Roland Käser, Urs Isler.
Enough said.
Promotion/relegation stage. Group A – two teams proved much weaker than the rest and one – much stronger. So, 5 teams fought of one First Division spot. BSC Old Boys (Basel, 6th in the first stage of Second Division East Group) ended last with 6 points. Etoile-Carouge FC (1st in the first stage of Second Division West Group) finished 7th with 9 points. FC Bulle (3rd in the first stage of Second Division West Group) ended 6th with 14 points.
What a surprise… FC Basel ( 11th the first stage of First Division) took 5th place with 15 points and was… relegated! FC Basel? One of the leading clubs?
ES Malley (5th in the first stage of Second Division West Group) clinched 4th position with 15 points, but better goal-difference than FC Basel – and remained in Second Division. FC Schaffhaused (4th in the first stage of Second Division East Group) ended 3rd also with 15 points – it was one of their better seasons, but also a season of dying hopes.

AC Bellinzona (10th in the first stage of First Division) clinched 2nd place with 17 points and remained in First Division for the next season.
FC Wettingen (2nd in the first stage of Second Division East Group) was splendid in the most important second stage: they won 11 games and lost 3, scored 32 goals, received 16, and finished with 22 points – 5 ahead of Bellinzona. Thus, they were promoted to the top league.
Group B. FC Locarno (3rd in the first stage of Second Division East Group) was last with 6 points. FC Martigny-Sports (6th in the first stage of Second Division West Group) was 7th with 8th points.
And the second bomb of the season: FC Zurich (last in the first stage of First Division) was outsider even at this stage: 6th with 9 points and relegated. Who would believe it 10 years earlier?
FC Chiasso (5th in the first stage of Second Division East Group) ended 5th with 11 points. CS Chenois (4th in the first stage of Second Division West Group) was 4th with 14 points. FC Grenchen (2nd in the first stage of Second Division West Group) finished 3rd with 15 points.
FC Sion (9th in the first stage of First Division) pulled itself together and left no doubt of their determination to keep top league place: 2nd with 23 points. They scored 49 goals in 14 games and allowed only 14 – the best record at this stage.
AC Lugano (1st in the first stage of Second Division East Group) bested FC Sion with remarcable performance: 13 wins and 1 loss. 47-15 and 26 points. Promotion was on their minds and they achieved it.
So, AC Lugano, FC Sion, FC Wettingen, and AC Bellinzona were going to at least start in the First Division next season – all of them had played top league football often, but presently 2 teams kept their top league place and 2 were promoted.

Hungary the Cup

The Cup provided opportunity for Honved to make a double. Seemingly, a sure thing – their opponent was lowly Bekescsaba, struggling to avoid relegation, what contest? But it was and Honved was for nasty surprise: the candidates for Second Division beat them 3-2.

Unlikely winners, so the happier – no wonder Bekescsaba lost their shirts.
May be too arrogant, may be not so good as they thought they were… no matter, Honved lost the Cup and consequently lost a double.
Fantastic success for Bekescsaba 1912 Elore – or Bekescsabai Elore Spartacus – or just plain Bekescsaba. Interesting kit, some relatively good players, no great stars, difficult season at the bottom of the league… the perfect underdog. Which succeeded and turned unfortunate season into triumphal one – in fact, their best season, for they never any trophy before… and after. So, this was their greatest season in the long history of the club.

Hungary

Hungary. Ranked 19th. What a time the second half of the 1980s was… scandal after scandal. The Hungarian championship ended, but there was no champion. The Federation put the championship on hold until investigation of wide-spread bribing was completed. Alleged bribing, of course. The Federation did not find anything wrong, but there was much in the press, so the case was given to a state government commission. Like in Greece, football was getting larger than itself, involving the government in Hungary. From another angle, the Federation was in tight situation, for it had to send to UEFA the teams for the European tournaments – so, the investigation was to be completed until June 20, 1988 and if the accusations are confirmed the Federation will not submit any Hungarian teams to play in Europe.
If one looks at the numbers, there was plenty to be suspicious: take the Second Division. In a low-scoring championship, where the best average was 1.6 per game (Dunaujvaros), many games ended with odd results – Volan, for example, won two games 7-0 and 7-2. There were many similar results, seemingly coming out of the blue in games of lowly teams. The league winners, for instnace, never scored more than 3 goals this season and the second-placed scored 4 goals only once – against the league’s outsider. But accusations need prove and in the football world prove is usually available. So let keep just the final standings.
Second Division. Promotion is what that matters.

The already mentioned Dunaujvaros finished 2nd with 48 points and was promoted.

Veszprem won the championship with 49 points: 21 wins, 7 ties, 10 losses, 49-28. Promoted, of course.
Let’s wish good look to the teams going up.
First Division. Fairly balanced season, with one team somewhat the outsider and one somewhat dominant. One big drop – Videoton struggled and managed to escape relegation with difficulty. No surprise… with every player looking for a foreign contract, there was little left in the country and naturally provincial clubs lost their talent to big clubs of Budapest. Videoton’s European success had a heavy price… they lost their leading players. The Disztl brothers, for instance, played for Honved now. Videoton lost its edge. On the other hand, Tatabanya was having great time at the moment.
Kaposvar ended last – hardly a surprise – with 17 points. The other relegated was Debreceni VSC – 15th with 23 points.
Up the table – not much to brag about.
Bekescsabai Elore Spartacus finished 13th with 27 points. Avoided relegation, which was pretty much the most expected from them, but they had great success this year as well.
Vodeoton eventually climbed up to 11th place with 27 points too.
Vaci Izzo – 10th with 28 points. Not bad…

Vasas SC – 9th with 29 points.
Szombathelyi Haladas – 7th with 31 points.
MTK Hungaria FC – 6th with 32 points. The picture is actually from the previous season – the team which won the title. But the 1987-88 the champions were a pale shadow of themselves and left little evidence of their presence.
Ferencvaros – not a memorable season. 5th with 33 points.
Gyori ETO – 4th with 35 points, Ujpesti Dosza – or was Ujpest FC already? – 3rd with 37 points. Lost silver on worse goal-difference.
Tatabanya – 2nd with 37 points. They were pleasant surprise and although prevailed over Ujpesti Dosza only on goal-difference, this was splendid season. If not their best ever, then one of the stronger and memorable performances. They scored most goals too: 58.
Honved (Budapest) had no rival and that was no surprise – they had the best squad by far in the country. Looking at the players… well, some of the best made their names in the provincial clubs. Honved more or less scooped whatever talent remained in Hungary and there was no one now to challenge them. 17 wins, 7 ties, 6 losses, 48-23, 41 points, and one more title to their name. Hardly a great team, but that was the best Hungary had at this lean times.

Greece the Cup

The Cup finals opposed the archenemies, both eager to salvage the season and win a trophy. Panathinaikos vs Olympiakos – always promising high drama. It was not not equal to the epic events in the championship, but it was dramatic final. Panathinaikos took the lead from a penalty in the first half, but early in the second half Olympiakos equalized also from a penalty. There was no winner at the end of regular time. In the extra-time the roles reversed – now Olympiakos came ahead, scoring yet another penalty, but Panathinaikos equalized – the only goal scored from actual playing situation in this final. No winner at the end of extra-time and penalty shoot-out was inevitable. Olympiakos missed 2 penalties and Panathinaikos won 4-3.
Complete humiliation of Olympiakos – miserable season and at the end losing the Cup to the archenemy. Chancy loss, but still a loss… Frankly, not a great squad of Olympiakos this year.
Lucky Panathinaikos, but they won the Cup and thus somewhat remedied otherwise poor season. No matter how, it was always great to beat Olympiakos, but the Cup victory would not really mask underperforming – this was arguably the strongest squad in Greece, full of national team players among which Saravakos was the current biggest star. Add the strong and stable Yugoslavian Zajec and well-established in Greece for years Rocha – even with the imports Panathinaikos had the edge over all other teams. All that and only a Cup won with difficulty and good luck…

Greece I Division

First Division. Well, in few words: 6 teams fought for survival at the bottom. At the top there was no Panathinaikos and Olympiakos – the only season both teams dropped bellow 4th position. One team had slight advantage over two rivals and eventually won the championship, but not without a great Greek drama. It started on March 16, 1988 and lasted five days before the government intervened. Consequently, Greece ended with new champion, which made history and still remains unique. The drama started when a player of AEL Larissa was tested positive for doping and sports court ruled a penalty for the club of 4 points. That infuriated the whole city of Larissa, people not just went out on the streets to protest, but blocked the intercity highways and erected barricades and mock border check-points on them. Why doping test provoked such wild response? The guilty player – the rarely used Bulgarian striker Georgi Tzingov – first of all was a reserve,who did not play in the match for which he was tested. Second, the prohibited substance was Codeine, a drug widely used in flu medicines and not at all increasing the performance of football players, rather, the opposite. Tzingov claimed he had a flu and took the pills for that, not knowing they were made with some Codeine. Many supporters of AEL believed that the whole thing was rigged by powerful opposition, because they had a chance to win the title. And blocked the highways, and, somewhat ironically, placed banners at the barricades that all incoming traffic if about to enter Bulgaria and needs a visa. Thus, the whole scandal became a national crisis, for the country was effectively cut in two and commercial traffic was blocked. The stand off with rebelius city ended only when the Minister of sports voided the court decision and changed the rule for doping. From March 28 on, clubs were no longer responsible for doped players. The deducted points were restored, but the scandal boosted local support for AEL and on the wings of enthusiasm and fanatical support the team kept top position to the end and won the title. When the dust settled, this was the final picture:
Panachaiki – last with 20 points and relegated. They had 1 point deducted for some crime committed, but even if this point was restored they were going to be last.
Panserraikos – 15th with 21 points and relegated.
Veria – 14th with 23 points. Worse goal-difference relegated them.
Levadiakos – 13th with 23 points. Survived on better goal-difference.
Diagoras (Rodos) – 12th with 23 points and lucky to survive on goal-difference.
May be a picture of this season of Apollon Kalamarias (Thessaloniki) – they left little certain pictorial evidence this time, but luckily escaped relegation: 11th with 24 points.
Panionios – 10th with 26 points.
Aris (Thessaloniki) – 9th with 27 points.
Olympiakos (Piraeus) – 8th with 31 points. Terrible season for them, even ending with negative goal-difference of -2.
Ethnikos (Piraeus) – 7th with 32 points. Ahead of their mighty neighbours was a triumph. Standing from left: Vassilis Xanthi, Michael Gerothodoros, ?, Daniel Batista, D. Doxakis, Takis Kampolis.
First row: Dimitris Chortsas, Panagiotis Kotidis, Yiannis Antonopoulos, Claus Papachristou, ? – Sofianos maybe.
Iraklis (Thessaloniki) – 6th with 34 points.
Panathinaikos – 5th with 36 points. Poor season, which is surprising, for PAO seemingly had the best squad in the country.
OFI (Crete, Iraklion) – 4th with 37 points.

OFI deserves a second look not only because of their great ascent and good performance in Europe, but also for a counterpoint to the big clubs: having largely domestic second stringers, OFI managed very well, even playing better than the big clubs, which had squads studded with national team players and foreigners.
PAOK (Thessaloniki) – 3rd with 39 points. Strong season, a title contenders – at least to some late point of championship. They scored most goals in the league – 60 – and finished with the best goal-difference of +33.
AEK (Athens) – 2nd with 40 points. The best playing team from Athens, but it is hard to judge them – perhaps, major disappointment and frustration, for Larissa’s punishment put them on top. But the ruling was voided and they finished second. Then again… the drama happened well before the last rounds of the championship and after it Larissa played with even bigger enthusiasm. Purely on records, AEK ended 3 points behind the champions – hard to make a case of victimization.

AEL (Larissa), most often written just Larissa, made history. They were champions with 43 points from18 wins, 7 ties, 5 losses, and 51-22 goal-difference.
The title was massively celebrated and there was too many reasons for wild joy – not just the drama and the revolt of the city. Not just that Larissa won its first – and only – title. It was great victory of David vs Goliath: for the first time provincial club broke the monopoly of Athens-Piraeus-Thessaloniki. It is also the only time small provincials won the Greek championship. It was more than football victory – it was a victory of provincials against mighty big cities, and end of yoke and dominance, a matter of social justice, a triumph of the underprivileged, a people’s power and revolt. More than just football. Yet, it was football. And still against the odds in sporting terms.
Such rare winners really deserve more than one picture. The new champions standing from left: Christos Mikhail, Kostas Kolomitrousis, Jiannis Gkalitsios, Ioannis Alexoulis, Michalis Ziogas, Jiorgos Mitsibonas.
Crouching: Lazaros Kyrilidis, Thodoros Voutiritsas, Vassilis Karapialis, Jiannis Valaoras, Sakis Tsiolis.
Looking at the regulars… rather modest squad, even by Greek measures. True, AEL was doing very well recently, even winning the Cup, but at the beginning of the season only lunatic dreamers would see them as champions – the team lost more than gained: their Polish imports of the previous seasons were already gone. One of their best players in the previous seasons – Plitsis – was snatched by Olympiakos. Two other regulars did not sign new contracts. Their replacements were rather inferior: The Bulgarian winger Georgi Tzingov was not a big name in his home country and, worse, did not adjust to the team and played rarely. Not a starter at all, only becoming known because of the doping scandal. The other new import – the Zairian midfielder Caniemba – was even more anonymous and also not a starter. The Greek new recruits came from smallish clubs and were only reserves – it suffice to say that of all newcomers ill-famed Tzingov played most games: 11 in which scored 4 goals. AEL depended on the team established in the previous years and the great coach they had – the Polish well known Jacek Gmoch. He replaced another Polish coach before this season and continued the good job started by his predecessor. Doing more with less – a testimony of great coaching. If anything, the team was stable and already experienced, even tasting success by winning the Greek Cup. True, the big clubs were in shaky situation, but that was not AEL’s fault and they took full advantage of weakened opposition. Moral was further boosted by the city’s revolt in their support – the boys would not fail a city standing up for them to the effect of creating a national crisis.
To a point AEL (Larissa) overperformed and surely had not the making of a team to establish a dynasty, but they won the title and firmly placed themselves in history as the first and so far the only regional club to win the Greek title.

Greece II Division

Greece. Ranked 18th. Greek football was surely going up and this was one of the most memorable – and also curious – seasons. Oh, not because some great football was played. It was the first season Panathinaikos and Olympiakos finished bellow top 4 – never before both mighty clubs were so low. Take it as you wish – as a general improvement of football, canceling the dominance of the most powerful and popular, or as weakening of same clubs, thus leveling the league somewhat, but only by lowering class. Yet, this was minor point – not only the champion was a big surprise, but it was one more example of backroom decisions. Just recently the Yugoslavian championship was decided in court – the Greeks topped that: the championship was decided by a city revolt, blocking traffic by erecting barricades on highways, even building temporary ‘border crossing’. The government, via the Minister of sports, had to step in and provide solution. The remedy in a way was more dangerous than the original problem – since the trouble started with doping case, the new rule hastily established made clubs not responsible for doping cases from now on. Given various scheming, bribing, backroom deals and heavy use of influence and clout in Greek football, such ruling could only increase off-field meddling and tampering with impunity. In case such a statement is objected, let’s point out that this season 2 clubs were found guilty of infringements and punished with deduction of points. The third club had its punishment revoked after the revolt. There were hardly any innocents and that for many years and it is really difficult to either blame or excuse anybody – Greek football had deeply embedded corruption. But the game went on.
Second Division. 18 teams, the top 3 promoted, the last 4 relegated. PAS Giannina had 5 points deducted for their wrongdoings. However, they still had enough points for 12th place. On the top head-to-head records decided those taking 2-4 places – promotions were at stake and one team was unfortunate. By the numbers: A.S. Chalkida (18th), A.O. Trikala (17th), Acharnaikos Menidi (Athens,16th), and Edessaikos A.O. (Edessa, 15th) were relegated.

G.S. Kallithea (Athens) survived by a point – 14th.
P.A.S. Giannina ended 12th. Point deduction placed near relegation, but they survived. After the deduction they were left with 32 points – one more than Edessaikos and Acharnaikos Menidi.
Overall, little excitement up the table.
May be a photo of this season of Pierikos (Katerini) – they were 8th with 34 points.
Athinaikos Vironas (Athens) finished 7th with 35 points. Somewhat difficult to judge – Athinaikos was slowly improving and recently was one of the better teams in the Second Division. Yet, they finished with only 4 points more than relegated Edessaikos and Acharnaikos Menidi.
Charavgiakos (Athens) was perhaps the pleasant surprise this season – they finished 5th with 38 points. Missing promotion up by very little. One of the many clubs in the Greek capital, but practically unheard of – they hardly played any Second Division previously and suddenly performed very well. Only the future could tell would they go up or down.
A.O. Kastoria lost its attempt to get promoted on head-to-head records. They took 4th place with 39 points.
Apollonas Smyrni – better known abroad as Apollon (Athens) – clinched 3rd place with 39 points, but better head-to-head record than Kastoria. Promotion was a huge relief: this was club accustomed to play top league football and not just making the numbers there.
Olympiakos (Volos) took 2nd place – they had the best head-to-head record among the teams with 39 points. Happily promoted up.
A possible picture of the Second Division champions – at least it is from that period, if not from this season. Like Apollon (Athens), A.S. Doxa (Drama) was used to play First Division football. No wonder they were eager to return to it and achieved it quite comfortably: 20 wins, 4 ties, 10 losses, 68-36, and 44 points. Five point ahead of the nearest pursuers.

Wales

Wales. Ranked 17th. Weird rating and also not mattering at all – it was based solely on Cup Winners Cup performance, the only European tournament Wales participated in. Since the UEFA ranking existed largely for the UEFA Cup allotments, how high or low Wales would be made no difference to anybody. Whatever championship Wales organized was strictly local affair – only the Cup mattered as the real Welsh competition, as strange as it was with all kinds of English clubs playing in it. Which was often a problem when English club won the Cup and could not represent Wales in the Cup Winners Cup, but not this season: both finalists were properly Welsh and also two of the better known professional clubs, playing in the English leagues – Cardiff City vs Wrexham. Cardiff City won the final 2-0.
Presently, both finalists were down on their luck, playing in the English Forth Division and thus wanting badly some victory, some trophy, to boost moral. As the saying goes, the better team won.
Cardiff City ended a good season – they earned promotion to Third Division and won their 20th Welsh Cup. Going to play in Europe in the fall – there was no country where 4th level team could reach participation in European tournament, but here it was, the sheer oddity. More important is the great round record of Cardiff City – how many clubs could say they won the national cup that many times? Great round number, which can only get higher.