Wednesday, 5 June 2019

1983 French Open: Jo Durie

The past is indeed a foreign country. Before Johanna Konta’s exploits, the last British woman to reach a French Open semi-final was Jo Durie in 1983. Around that time, Manchester City had just been relegated, Brighton almost won the FA Cup, Aberdeen lifted a European trophy, and a female Prime Minister was about to increase her majority in the UK election.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

1984 UEFA Cup: Tony Parks

Sport has a habit of creating heroes from the ranks of the previously unknown. In football, one such example was the tale of Nigel Spink. A 23-year-old goalkeeper, who had previously only played one game for Aston Villa, played a significant role in their 1982 European Cup triumph. Two years later, another young English keeper would take centre stage in a European final.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

1983 Cricket World Cup: Kapil Dev turns the tide


Kapil Dev wasn’t quite walking into the last chance saloon as he made his way to the middle of the Nevill Ground at Tunbridge Wells on Saturday June 18, 1983. But India’s World Cup campaign had definitely reached a crossroads. India were 9/4 when Dev arrived at the crease; sadly, for supporters of the national team, that was what the scorecard read, rather than the odds on an Indian victory.

Friday, 3 May 2019

1987/88: Celtic's glorious centenary season

The relationship involving Billy McNeill and Celtic Football Club was always destined to be a marriage made in heaven. The captain of the Lisbon Lions, McNeill then went on to enjoy a successful spell as manager, winning three League titles and a Scottish Cup and League Cup between 1978-1983.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

1985/86: Norwich bounce back

As spring turned to summer in 1985, Norwich City fans must have felt emotionally drained. The footballing Gods may have provided the ecstasy of a Milk Cup win with one hand; they were about to take away plenty with the other.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Great saves of the 80s: 1986 Bruce Grobbelaar

“Hero or villain? Genius or clown? Will the real Bruce Grobbelaar please stand up?” Ken Rogers, writing in the Liverpool Echo, was not alone in focussing his attention squarely on Liverpool’s keeper after a Division One match on February 22, 1986 that appeared to have killed off any hopes of the title returning to Anfield.

“For 73 minutes the controversial keeper was in line for Liverpool's man-of-the-match award as the 134th Merseyside derby unfolded in dramatic fashion at Anfield. Then the Jekyll and Hyde streak that haunts him mercilessly, more often than not in front of a television audience of millions, reared its head once again to leave the red army stunned.”

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

1985: Chelsea's electric fence

Football pitch invaders have been making the news in recent weeks. In April 1985, Chelsea chairman Ken Bates chose a rather controversial method to address the problem.

Preventing football violence during the 1984/85 season was proving a thankless task for the authorities. Events at Derby, Chelsea, and Luton provided examples of the problems facing the sport, and cures for the English disease seemed thin on the ground.