Tuesday, 26 November 2019

1980s: Football in the snow

As we approach the festive period, there is a strong chance that P-P will appear on more and more results pages, as winter weather begins to hit fixture programmes across the UK. Although many pitches can cope with snow and ice, many a game is called off due to worries over spectator safety getting to and from the ground.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

1987: Mark Hughes plays in two matches on the same day

Liverpool will be playing matches on consecutive days in December. In November 1987, one man managed to participate in two games on the same day.

A lot has been made of the fact that Liverpool are being forced to play on December 17 and 18 in the Carabao Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. Yet back in the 1980s, matches on consecutive days were a reasonably regular occurrence. In 1980, 1982, 1983 and 1986, Liverpool played League fixtures on back-to-back days, and without the comfort of the huge squads that clubs enjoy in the modern era.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

1980/81: Sheffield United pay the penalty

Sheffield United are currently flying high in the Premier League. But things were a lot different in May 1981.

As a football supporter, there are some matches that it is impossible to ever truly get over. Defeats that still leave a bad taste in the mouth, bring a shudder down the spine, and immediately transport you back to a dark place. Sheffield United fans of a certain age may want to look away now as the events of May 2, 1981 are raked over.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

1985/86: Football television blackout

Overindulgence is often a problem over the festive period, and this is not just limited to food and drink. December 2019 will see a total of 41 live Premier League matches available to UK viewers on Sky, BT and Amazon platforms, and combined with the numerous highlights packages on our screens is there a chance that we're reaching saturation point? Football might be in danger of eating itself, but it hasn't always been this way.

Can you imagine the uproar if an announcement had been made before the 2019/20 season declaring that there would be no football coverage on our television screens? No Match of the Day, Goals on Sunday, Super Sunday, Monday Night football, and a complete ban of any goal action on news programmes. Only Soccer AM for us to watch; it sounds horrific.

Monday, 28 October 2019

1981/82 UEFA Cup: Arsenal v Winterslag

This article first appeared in issue 270 of The Gooner

The start of the 1981/82 season was not going swimmingly for Arsenal manager Terry Neill. After losing Liam Brady in the summer of 1980, Frank Stapleton was the next star to leave Highbury, his departure in August 1981 made that much harder when he chose to join Manchester United. Without adequate replacements for their star men, the Arsenal faithful were restless.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Cricket: Silk Cut Challenge for all-rounders

“I count myself extremely fortunate to have played the bulk of my international career in the company of a clutch of outstanding all-rounders,” Ian Botham wrote in Botham’s Century. “It was quite a freaky time in that respect, and the fact that Kapil, Imran Khan and Richard Hadlee were vying with each other and myself for the unofficial title of ‘the best in the world’ undoubtedly spurred us all on.”

Thursday, 3 October 2019

1989/90: Alex Ferguson's struggles continue

There are many achievements of Sir Alex Ferguson’s that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would love to repeat as Manchester United manager. But mirroring the start of the 1989/90 campaign was probably low down on his list. The recent draw against Arsenal gave Manchester United their worst league start to a season in 30 years. When United gained seven points from seven matches in 1989, it seemed that Fergie time was running out.