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.

Monday, 25 February 2019

1988: Everton v Liverpool (Division One)

The 1987/88 season was never going to be easy for Everton. They may have been reigning champions, but the departure of Howard Kendall to Athletic Bilbao was always going to hit the club hard. Like many before and after him, Kendall’s assistant Colin Harvey would discover that replacing a legendary manager was a thankless task.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Great saves of the 80s: 1985 Neville Southall

The sad passing of Gordon Banks has inspired me to start a new series: great saves of the 1980s. The first entry involves a Welshman at the peak of his powers, and a defining moment in the 1984/85 Division One season.

Although he is often regarded as one of the world’s best goalkeepers of the 1980s, it had actually taken Neville Southall a few years to establish himself as Everton’s number one. Making his debut in 1981, a spell out on loan at Port Vale in early 1983 suggested that his days at Everton were numbered.

Monday, 11 February 2019

The rise and demise of Newport County

All football clubs experience relative highs and lows throughout their history; seasons to remember, others to forget. But not all clubs manage to squeeze in such a wide range of emotions into one decade alone. The case of Newport County in the 1980s is a journey from hero to absolute zero.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

1988/89: Aberdeen v Rangers - Ian Durrant

Life was pretty good for anyone associated with Glasgow Rangers at the start of the 1988/89 season. Seven wins out of eight in the Premier Division, including a 5-1 destruction of Celtic, had catapulted Graeme Souness’ team to the top of the league, and the club also progressed to the final of the League Cup.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

1987: Ireland v England (Rugby Union)

Reversing the fortunes of the England rugby union team in the mid-1980s was never going to be an easy task. Winning only two matches in the Five Nations championship between 1983-85, urgent action was required to revive the English patient.