Tuesday, 3 March 2015

1983-84 FA Cup: Sixth round

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the first, second, third, fourth and fifth rounds of the 1983/84 FA Cup, which you can view here, here, here, here and here.

"The FA Cup that has overflowed with surprises is almost empty of quality. Among the unlikely sixth round survivors are a third division club that was 10 minutes away from extinction two years ago, a second division club facing a winding-up petition on Monday, and the poorest supported first division club that is expected to be relegated in May". The Times' preview of the 1984 FA Cup quarter finals was hardly endorsing. But if you looked closely enough you could make a defence for the competition and the surviving clubs.

Everton were at the start of a run that would take them to a League title just over a year later; Southampton were enjoying a season to remember, many of their players hovering around in Bobby Robson's England thoughts; Watford were continuing their rise under Graham Taylor, with a prolific strike partnership and one of the most exciting talents in the domestic game; and who could fail to be warmed by the tale of John Hore's Plymouth as their FA Cup adventure showed no signs of abating? Maybe the 1984 FA Cup was not quite as mediocre as some would have us believe.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

1980s League Cup finals

This week I am taking a look back on the League Cup finals of the 1980s. A decade which saw the final shown live for the first time, the competition sponsored by two different companies, Liverpool end their league Cup drought (and some), as heroes and villains aplenty were made during a time when the competition thrived.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

1987 Cricket World Cup: Best performances

Following on from my recent piece on the top performances at the 1983 World Cup, this week I am looking back at the 1987 tournament. Featuring a typical one day innings from Allan Lamb, a superb knock in a losing cause by Dave Houghton, some explosive hitting from Viv Richards, top semi-final displays from Craig McDermott and Graham Gooch, and a contribution in the final that perhaps should get a bit more credit than it deserves.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

1983-84 FA Cup: Fifth round

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the first, second, third and fourth rounds of the 1983/84 FA Cup, which you can view here, here, here and here.

With most of the main leads out of the 1984 FA Cup already, it was time for the supporting cast to take centre stage as Fifth Round weekend approached. Two First Division clubs would fluff their lines, bundled out by lower league opponents during a round that was blighted by the continuing issue of hooliganism, as clubs and the police struggled to control the angry young men gathered in and around the grounds (as Andy Townsend might say).

Some may have been sneering at the apparent lack of quality left in the FA Cup (a slightly snobby attitude), but the competition somehow managed to limp on regardless.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

1983 Cricket World Cup: Best performances

There were a number of memorable displays at the 1983 World Cup, during a tournament in England and Wales that saw the West Indian champions finally toppled. This week I am looking back at some of the key performances during the tournament, covering the story of an inspired Zimbabwean, an unlikely West Indian hero, struggles for Sri Lanka, an inspired Indian skipper breathing life into his team, and the subsequent successes of India's seamers who took their team all the way to the ultimate prize.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

1983: Wales v England (Rugby Union)

England had not won in Cardiff since 1963, but they came desperately close in 1983, even during a Five Nations campaign that turned out to be a nightmare.

It can quite a nice feeling when on the odd occasion the bookmakers get things spectacularly wrong, but if you were an England rugby union fan in 1983 then you probably would not quite agree with this sentiment. Installed as the Five Nations favourites before the tournament kicked off, the 9/4 odds offered on England were looking more and more inaccurate as the weeks progressed. As Ireland (5/2) and France (9/2) battled their way to a shared championship, England were left with only the wooden spoon and plenty of time to have a sit down and think about what they had just done.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

1983-84 FA Cup: Fourth round

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the first, second and third rounds of the 1983/84 FA Cup, which you can view here, here and here.

The fourth round of the 1984 FA Cup provided talking points aplenty. From the exit of the favourites, to another lifeline for Howard Kendall, a frenetic south coast derby, and the blossoming relationship of Watford's very own Little and Large, the fourth round gave us enough entertainment to make this blog as lengthy as the Everton-Gillingham trilogy.