Thursday, 18 December 2014

An Ode to Billy Joel

Something a little different for my last blog of the year, and apologies if this is not your cup of tea, but this week I am paying tribute to my love of sport in the 1980s by butchering Billy Joel's We Didn't Start The Fire.



I had great fun putting this together, and please don't be too harsh.  After all, I'm no Stock, Aitken or Waterman.

Monday, 15 December 2014

1984 World Darts Championship

This week I am taking a look back on the 1984 World Darts Championships, as Eric Bristow emphatically rights the wrong of the previous year, Keith Deller finds it tough at the top, John Lowe causes ire, and a slightly tipsy Jocky Wilson takes a tumble in a classic semi-final.

Monday, 8 December 2014

1982: Erika Roe

This blog is about anything to do with sport in the 1980s, so please forgive me as I look back on a memorable incident involving a young lady who streaked during the half-time break of a rugby union international, and became an instant media star.

Saturday January 2, 1982, England v Australia at Twickenham: on a cold, grey and wet day, England rugby union captain Bill Beaumont is doing his best to give his team some important instructions during the half-time break that in the distant amateur days of the past traditionally used to take place in a huddle on the pitch. But Beaumont sensed that his team were not completely focused on his words, that their minds and eyes appeared to be elsewhere.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

1983-84 FA Cup: Second round

This piece follows on from my previous blog on the first round of the 1983/84 FA Cup, which you can view here.

A look back this week on the second round of the 1983/84 FA Cup, including a couple of derby days, a bit of non-league success, managerial chaos for a club less than two days before their fixture, and an England cricketer of some repute turning out for Scunthorpe United.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

1980-81: Anglo-Scottish Cup

By 1980 it was clear to all concerned that the Anglo-Scottish Cup was on its last legs. A distinct lack of concern south of the border had reduced interest in the competition, with the Scottish League understandably unimpressed with the lack of quality teams entered by the English Football League, and as early as September 1980 the rumours began to circulate that this would be the last Anglo-Scottish Cup. Indeed the 1980/81 edition did prove to be the last knockings of the tournament, yet along the way it did provide a few talking points, including a rare moment of glory for a Derbyshire club, a debut for a 14-year-old, and an embarrassing episode for a Scottish giant.

Monday, 17 November 2014

1984 Formula One World Championship: Lauda v Prost

Half a point. Just half a point. Sixteen races taking in four continents over seven months of intensive competition, and at the end of it just half a point separating the two protagonists. The 1984 Formula One World Championship season would involve a battle between two legendary drivers that would go right down to the wire, the pair finally separated by the tiniest of winning margins. To the winner the spoils, and one last championship to crown his career that was inevitably drawing to an end. To the runner-up, more heartbreak, as for the third year in a row he was denied the title and the chance to be the first Frenchman to win the Formula One World Championship.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

1986: Viv Richards' 56-ball Test century

When Misbah-ul-Haq recently hit a 56-ball century against Australia in Abu Dhabi he equalled a Test record that had stood for 28 years. That particular innings was played by a man who is an all-time great, one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, and a knight of Antigua and Barbuda. Sir Vivian Richards' assault on a floundering England during the final Test of the 1986 series in the Caribbean was as thrilling and exhilarating as the fast bowling attack the West Indian skipper had at his disposal, one which had pounded England into submission during the series. And to top it all, the record was achieved at St John's, Antigua, the home island of the great man himself.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

1983: England v New Zealand (Rugby Union)

When it came to the 1983 Autumn international between England and New Zealand, it was hardly a case of England expects. With only two wins in twelve matches against the All Blacks, history was not exactly on England's side, and events in the past twelve months were even less encouraging. No wins and a bottom-placed finish in the 1983 Five Nations was a far from ideal start for the new England coach Dick Greenwood, and with New Zealand looming on the horizon in November, it did not look as if things were about to get better.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

1983-84 FA Cup: First round

The start of a series of blogs on the 1983/84 FA Cup, beginning with the first round in November 1983. A round of shocks, thrashings, replays, non-league success, and a reminder of a bygone era of football when some players simply turned up and played for the love of the game.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Euro 1984 qualification: Northern Ireland

After Northern Ireland's flying start to the qualification campaign of Euro 2016 a lot of references have been made to the fact that they have never qualified for a European Championships finals tournament. Hearing this, my mind drifted back thirty years or so to the nearest of near things, a time when Northern Ireland defeated West Germany home and away, and came within ten agonising minutes of joining the finalists at France 1984. An attempt at qualification so inspiring and full of pride, yet so frustrating and tinged with regret. From the highs of Hamburg to the anguish in Ankara, the story of Billy Bingham's brave men warms the sporting soul, as the underdogs nearly pulled off the impossible.

We probably should not have been too surprised by the eventual progress made by Northern Ireland. A successful 1982 World Cup had seen the team make the second group stage, their win with ten men over hosts Spain in Valencia the finest example of the Irish ability to punch above their weight and defy the odds. However, it would take an upset of David versus Goliath proportions for manager Billy Bingham to lead his country to Euro 1984. Reigning European champions and 1982 World Cup finalists West Germany had been drawn in Group Six, and realistically it looked like a straight fight between Northern Ireland and Austria for the runner-up position. And as Northern Ireland would sadly discover, the so-called minnows of the group in Turkey and Albania would also provide stern tests at various stages.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

1981: Suntory World Matchplay

1981 had been a challenging year for Seve Ballesteros. Throughout the season, the Spaniard had been embroiled in a row with the European Tournament Players' Division (ETPD) over appearance money on the European Tour, so much so that Ballesteros left the Tour and refused to play events in Britain that didn't pay him the money he felt he was rightfully entitled to.

To many, Ballesteros was seen as a greedy, a man too big for his boots, someone who needed a return to reality. But others saw the debate from Seve's perspective. After all, he was Europe's finest player, a winner of two majors, and why was it acceptable to pay a non-European Tour member an appearance fee (such as Lee Trevino or Arnold Palmer), but not Europe's star attraction?

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

1980s: Football debuts

Throughout the years, football debuts have come in many shapes and sizes. From the sublime (Wayne Rooney against Fenerbahce) to the ridiculous (Jonathan Woodgate for Real Madrid), a footballer is often remembered by their first appearance for club or country. This week I'm taking a look back on some footballing debuts of the 1980s. Some memorable for all the wrong reasons, others the stuff of dreams.

As ever, this is not a definitive list. So please feel free to contribute your own ideas in the comments section.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

1983/84: Cambridge United

It is often stated that losing, as well as winning, can become a habit. Just ask the players and supporters of Cambridge United during the 1983/84 league season. For seven long months the team embarked on an unwanted record breaking run consisting of 31 matches without victory. A run involving three managers, 32 players, thrashings, near-things, Nick Hornby, and no airing of I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts (I'll explain later) for far too long. A regrettable season maybe, but in many ways an unforgettable one too.

Friday, 19 September 2014

1985 Ryder Cup: Craig Stadler

Eighteen inches. Just eighteen inches. So close, that even asking a former US Masters champion to play the shot seemed questionable, almost a waste of time. You or I might miss the occasional one from this length, but not a professional playing in the Ryder Cup. Surely not. Back went the putter and.....

Monday, 15 September 2014

1989 Ryder Cup: Christy O'Connor Jnr

Before 1989, Christy O'Connor Jnr had a strained relationship with the Ryder Cup. Winless in his one previous appearance and then rejected in 1985, he must have felt that his chances of taking part in the ever popular event had long gone. But just when it looked as if the two would go their separate ways, fate decided to play a part in giving O'Connor and the Ryder Cup one last chance at patching up their differences. Beautiful fate.

Monday, 8 September 2014

1989: The decline of Sandy Lyle

February 1989: the start of Sandy Lyle's season on the US tour has continued where he left off in 1988. Two second-place finishes and another in third gives the impression that all is well with Lyle's game, and that he is set for another prosperous year on both sides of the Atlantic. Whether he can repeat his marvellous feats of 1988 is questionable, after all Lyle won the Greater Greensboro Open and then the US Masters, as well as the Dunhill Masters and World Matchplay in a never to be forgotten year. But the early signs are promising.

Fast forward just six months. Lyle is unrecognisable from the man who was ranked world number two and sat third in the US PGA money list. In a relatively short space of time, Lyle's game has dissolved completely, so much so that when Tony Jacklin offers him a place on Europe's Ryder Cup team, Lyle has no other option but to turn it down. How did it come to this?

Thursday, 4 September 2014

1980s: Match of the Day Goal of the Season

Whilst watching the recent 50 years celebration programme about Match of the Day it struck me how big a deal the Goal of the Season award was during my formative years. So this week I am taking a look back on the ten winning goals during the 1980s, a collection of volleys, headers and screamers that I could watch again and again and again.

Monday, 18 August 2014

The making of a sports obsessive

A change of tack this week, as I reveal a bit about my childhood in the 1980s, and the massive part sport played in making me the sporting obsessive that I am today. Some of these tales are cringeworthy - most of them actually - yet I am sure that a few of you might be able to relate to some of the below. If not, then please don't judge me. We were all young once, and I honestly didn't do anyone any harm. I probably annoyed them intensely, mind.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

1988 US Open Tennis

A look back this week on the final Grand Slam of the 1988 tennis season: the US Open. A tournament which saw the completion of Steffi Graf's glorious year, another win for Mats Wilander and Sweden, more British disappointment, a shock for Martina Navratilova, and the continued rise of Andre Agassi.

This completes my series on the 1988 Grand Slam tennis season:

Australian Open
French Open
Wimbledon


Monday, 4 August 2014

1982 Challenge Cup final: Hull v Widnes

The Challenge Cup certainly owed Hull a thing or two come 1982. The club had last won the famous trophy in 1914 (in Halifax), but since then had lost five finals, including three at Wembley, giving strength to the ever growing impression that the team were suffering from a hoodoo when it came to the Twin Towers. Their last final defeat had been particularly galling - a 10-5 loss to bitter rivals Hull Kingston Rovers in 1980 - so as the 1982 final against Widnes approached, Hull had a lot of issues to resolve with the competition.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

1986 US PGA: Bob Tway

The passing years since 1986 have probably not been too kind to Bob Tway. Think of him now and it is hard not to view him as a one-off winner of a major title, one of the merry band of brothers that includes the likes of Larry Mize, Scott Simpson, Paul Lawrie, Ian Baker-Finch, Jeff Sluman and Michael Campbell. Say the name Bob Tway, and golf fans will probably recall that bunker shot, and mention his name in the same category as Mize, a man who got lucky and eroded another piece of Greg Norman's spirit.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

1986 Commonwealth Games: Clash of the Rivals

The 1986 Commonwealth Games may have been hit by a widespread boycott - for more information on this see my blog last week - but at least there were still a couple of rivalries that were able to flourish during the championships. Coe, Ovett and Cram were kept apart for various reasons (illness in Coe's case, and Ovett running the 5000 metres didn't help either), yet in the field two British women were able to go head-to-head once more, and the pool would see the renewal of a battle that had begun at Brisbane in 1982.

This week I am taking a look back at the Moorhouse-Davis rivalry in the pool, and the Sanderson-Whitbread clash in the javelin at Edinburgh 1986. Duels that would see a few upsets along the way, and the beginning of an unlikely beautiful friendship.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

1986 Commonwealth Games: The Boycott Games

If I am being honest, I had not heard anything about the Commonwealth Games before the 1986 event approached. But what an introduction I was in for. All of a sudden, the Edinburgh Games were making headlines for unwanted reasons, dominating the front pages of the newspapers and lead stories on the news, and this was even before a starting pistol had been fired.

This week I am going to look back on the turmoil surrounding the 1986 Commonwealth Games, as sport and politics collided and left a sorry state behind.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

1989 Open Championship: As it happened

This week I am attempting to pay a tribute to the excellent Guardian Open Championship live blogs that run every year. I've turned back time and revisited the first ever four-hole play-off at the Open Championship in 1989, and had a stab at writing a "as it happened" piece.

Please note: the times below are a rough approximation of the actual timetable of events, so please don't be too harsh on me if I am a couple of minutes out here or there.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

1986: England v India First Test

Cricket, like most sports, has a few examples of history repeating itself. Just ask Peter Moores. In 2007 Moores took charge of an England side that had lost 5-0 in Australia, and then suffered a series defeat at home to an Asian team after previously having that country nine wickets down at Lord's in an agonising draw (I'm ignoring the West Indian series for the purposes of my comparison). Sounds slightly familiar doesn't it?

Want another example? No? Well you're going to get one regardless. In 1985, a 28-year-old left-handed batsman led England to a home Ashes series win (after winning away in India) and all seemed rosy in the English garden. But then followed a demoralising 5-0 reverse in a series overseas, which snowballed into a home series defeat against an Asian team that they were expected to beat. Alastair Cook may think things are tough at the moment, but at least he has managed to cling on to his job. In 1986, David Gower was not so lucky.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

1982 World Cup: Brazil's Goals 15 to 1

Brazil 1982. The mere mention of that country and year combo brings back a host of memories for anyone lucky enough to have lived through the experience first time round. It pains me to say that they were just before my time, that I caught the football bug one year too late, and that my first exposure to football was of the slightly less vintage Arsenal 1983 team (trust me, it wasn't pretty).

So after passing on my affliction to my 7-year-old son, I decided to sit him down and show him every goal that Brazil scored at the 1982 World Cup. And then I decided to rank them 15 to 1. You may disagree with my final chart countdown, although I promise not to be too bothered. After all, I got to sit through numerous YouTube clips of this fabulous team. There are worse ways to spend your time.

Friday, 20 June 2014

1988 Wimbledon

Continuing my 1988 Grand Slam tennis series, a look back this week on the 1988 Wimbledon Championships. A tournament that saw one Grand Slam ambition end and another continue, more British disappointment, classic semi-finals, and a Swede confirm his undoubted talent by winning the Wimbledon title.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Ivan Lendl - The Man Who Made Murray

It is dangerous to go through your life with the same opinions on someone or something that you have always believed to be true. So as my life has progressed, I have always tried to educate myself on matters that I feel need addressing. Obviously with me that involves sporting issues rather than sensible, grown-up things, but what do you expect?

Therefore, reading Ivan Lendl - The Man Who Made Murray by Mark Hodgkinson was a valuable experience for me, a real eye-opener. Previously I had held the firm belief that Lendl was dull, cold, boring, and seriously lacking on the personality front. As I read the book, I discovered that I was not alone in this view, after all, Lendl was hardly Mr Popular on the international tennis scene in the 1980s. But in his excellent and engrossing book, Hodgkinson sets about tackling the misconceptions and myths surrounding the man, who would eventually win eight Grand Slam singles titles, and as the title suggests, help Andy Murray to realise his ambitions.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

1986 World Cup A to Z

We all remember our first World Cup; the excitement and anticipation felt as a child when you experience wall-to-wall football for a month. This week I have decided to compile my personal A to Z of Mexico '86, including Maradona, Lineker, and a green mascot that nearly saw me develop an addiction to chocolate.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

1980 Mundialito

What better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first ever World Cup in Uruguay than to arrange a tournament between the six previous winners, a champion of champions event played in the very same country where the World Cup had first kicked-off all those years ago? And so the Mundialito (Little World Cup) or Copa de Oro (Gold Cup) was conceived in 1979, the celebratory tournament to be played in December 1980 and January 1981, contested between Uruguay, Italy, West Germany, Brazil, England, and Argentina.

Monday, 19 May 2014

1988 French Open Tennis

Roland Garros had been hosting the French Open championships for 60 years when the second Grand Slam event of the 1988 season began in Paris. It would be a tournament which saw the Grand Slam dream staying alive for two players, former greats falling by the wayside, a teenage invasion of the women's singles, French hopes raised and then dashed at the last, and a women's final that set records, yet one which Natasha Zvereva would probably prefer to forget.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

1986-87 FA Cup final

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth rounds and semi-finals of the 1986/87 FA Cup, which you can view here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

"Seven times we've won the cup, and number eight is coming up". The bold statement penned by Chas and Dave, and sung by the Tottenham squad in their number 18 hit Hot Shot Tottenham!, may have seemed cocky, but the general consensus was that it was a proclamation that would come true as Cup final day on May 16 approached.

Tottenham were heavy favourites to defeat Coventry, a club appearing in their first major final in their 104-year history. But the underdogs were used to proving the doubters wrong during their 1987 cup run. Their Go For It single was an appropriately titled anthem for all that had gone before and what was to follow.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

1980s: Sporting thrashings

There can be nothing worse than being on the end of a sporting thrashing. I should know, having once played in for a junior football team which lost a match 33-0 (we made the local paper and earned a free trip to Burger King and the local cinema to watch Home Alone, so we did get something out of it).

My embarrassment was fortunately limited, a very local affair that I have tried my best to forget. But many of the participants in the following sporting thrashings were not as lucky as me. Theirs was very much a national or international humbling, played out in front of the watching public, read about by sports fans at the time and since.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

1986/87: Football League Play-offs

When it was announced in April 1986 that a new promotion play-off system was to be introduced in the English league structure, many saw this as a positive move for football. Stuart Jones, writing in The Times ahead of the 1986/87 season, said of the play-offs that "The welcome change in the antiquated system will clearly introduce added tension and excitement at the season's end", the main advantage to the new approach being that teams which previously had nothing to play for would now have an opportunity to gain a play-off place and earn promotion via this back door route.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

1983 World Snooker Championships

Snooker was still very much on the ascendancy as the 1983 World Championships approached. Television viewing figures were healthy, Riley Leisure had made a £1.4 million profit for the 17 months up to December 1982, and now had 51 clubs open in the UK due to the growth of snooker. According to newspaper reports, Steve Davis had recently become the first man to earn £1 million from playing the sport, which was all well and good, yet what Davis really wanted more than anything was to add a second world title to his CV.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

1986-87 FA Cup: Semi-finals

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds of the 1986/87 FA Cup, which you can view here, here, here, here, here and here.

It seems that even back in 1987 there was a lot of conjecture about the location and scheduling of the FA Cup semi-finals. Finding a neutral venue for the Watford-Tottenham fixture proved troublesome. Due to Highbury being blacklisted by the FA because of Arsenal's reluctance to fence fans in - the 1984 FA Cup semi had seen pitch invasions by jubilant Everton fans - and Stamford Bridge ruled out with Fulham and QPR both at home on Saturday April 11, fans of both clubs faced the prospect of travelling up the M1/M6 to Villa Park, hardly ideal, but in the circumstances the inevitable solution. Thankfully the FA rejected an approach from Wembley to host the match; an FA Cup semi-final at the same location as the final would obviously be wrong, wouldn't it?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

1980s: Test match 99s

For my 99th blog this week, I thought I would analyse the number 99 in the 1980s. No, this is not a blog on Nena's Red Balloons, or my constant quest for ice cream as a child, but a look back on the eight men who made Test match 99s during this decade. For some, the mere act of scoring one more run for the treasured Test landmark gave us an insight into the psychological barrier that exists between 99 and 100. For one unlucky man, it was as good as it got.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

1985: World Championship of Cricket

The Greatest Show on Turf. In truth, the 1985 World Championships of Cricket failed to live up to its billing - The Wettest of Damp Squibs may have been a better tag line - the unofficial World Cup contested in Australia between the seven Test playing nations failing to catch the imagination of the public. In fact, the tournament raised many concerns about the direction cricket was taking, as journalists and players alike voiced their opinions on a variety of matters, from player burn out to the flogging of the one day game. The greatest show on turf it wasn't.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

1986-87 FA Cup: Sixth round

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the first, second, third, fourth and fifth rounds of the 1986/87 FA Cup, which you can view here, here, here, here and here.

"It's at about this stage when you start thinking of Wembley". So said Tottenham keeper Ray Clemence as the FA Cup Sixth round weekend neared in 1987, the eight teams remaining just two matches away from walking out at Wembley in front of the watching millions across the world. For four teams though, their road to Wembley would be blocked at this stage, some in slightly more controversial circumstances than others.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

1988: Suntory World Matchplay

Come the end of the 1980s, British wins at the World Matchplay golf were very much like buses. After a 23 year drought, Ian Woosnam had finally ended the British wait for a winner of the autumnal tournament played at Wentworth, by winning the 1987 event, and in 1988 another Brit was about to see his name join an illustrious set of winners such as Palmer, Nicklaus, Player, Ballesteros and Norman. For Sandy Lyle, his win at the 1988 World Matchplay capped off a fine year, and put an end to his frustration in the tournament.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

1980-81 European Cup Winners' Cup: Newport County

As I watched Swansea progress in the Europa League before Christmas, my mind inescapably rewound to the 1980s, recalling similar such adventures for the Welsh club. Four times Swansea would participate in the old European Cup Winners' Cup, but nothing they did in the eighties would match the exploits of Newport County in the 1980/81 competition. For Newport's tale is one of triumph and despair, little hope but then great expectations, and above all, a sad conclusion containing massive slices of ill fortune. Not bad for a club that years previously had struggled for mere existence.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

1986-87 FA Cup: Fifth round

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the first, second, third and fourth rounds of the 1986/87 FA Cup, which you can view here, here, here and here.

Prior to the 1987 FA Cup Fifth round, a football think-tank got together to discuss the future of the English game. Chaired by Jimmy Hill, assisted by Bertie Mee and Ron Greenwood, 13 first division managers attended the meeting, along with other luminaries such as England manager Bobby Robson, league secretary Graham Kelly, and PFA secretary Gordon Taylor, as the men at the top of the sport pondered how to improve the product currently on display.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

1988: Eddie The Eagle Edwards

Sport, especially in this internet age, divides opinion. As soon as anything happens that is slightly contentious - for example, the Luis Suarez penalty against Aston Villa recently - you just know what is coming. Battle lines are drawn, as views are expressed passionately, and heaven forbid anyone whose perspective on an incident differs from that which is seen as the definitive answer. It makes you wonder how the modern world would have coped with some of the sporting events of yesteryear.

Take Eddie The Eagle Edwards for instance. For some, the man was a hero, someone who sacrificed a lot to live the dream, an athlete who competed with a smile on his face, and deservedly reaped the rewards of his unexpected fame whilst he could. For others, Edwards was a laughing stock, belittling both the sport of ski jumping and the 1988 Winter Olympics, and represented everything that was bad in a nation that seemed to adore sporting losers. Either way, the story behind Edwards' rise to stardom is still fascinating all these years later, and love him or hate him, you cannot deny Edwards his place in Winter Olympics history.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

1980: France v England (Rugby Union)

Sixteen years. Sixteen long years. By 1980, this was how long the England rugby team had waited to taste victory in Paris, a period of time that had seen England lose six matches and draw one against their French rivals. However, it was not just the French that England had a problem with. Since their last outright Five Nations title win in 1963, the state of the English rugby team had fluctuated between poor and embarrassing.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

1986-87 FA Cup: Fourth round

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the first, second and third rounds of the 1986/87 FA Cup, which you can view here, here and here.

The Fourth round of the 1987 FA Cup may have been relatively kind to Division One clubs - only one would lose to lower league opposition - but it was still full of enough drama to keep the competition ticking along nicely. A couple of shocks, an eye opener for Alex Ferguson, an horrific injury to an England Under-21 international which sparked legal action, own goals, thrashings, and growing unrest at Chelsea. Enough incidents to fill a blog at least.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

1988 Australian Open Tennis

This week I have decided to take a look back at the 1988 Australian Open, a tournament staged at a spectacular new complex, involving epic matches, stifling heat, one final dart at glory for a past great, and the true beginning of a new era in the women's game.

Monday, 6 January 2014

1986 World Darts Championship

The 1986 World Darts Championship may have been played at a different venue, but it was very much a case of the same old story come the end of the final. Eric Bristow celebrated his fifth world title on the stage of the Lakeside Country Club, and his period of domination looked set to continue for years to come. The fact that this would be his last world championship may have been surprising, but his march to a third consecutive title had a chilling inevitability about it from the off.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

1986-87 FA Cup: Third round

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the first and second rounds of the 1986/87 FA Cup, which you can view here and here.

One of my many bugbears about the modern form of the FA Cup is the disappearance of the traditional Monday cup draws. Yet after investigating this piece, I was slightly startled to discover that the draw for the Third round of the 1986/87 FA Cup was actually the first time since 1976/77 that this had taken place on the supposedly traditional day. Bang goes another childhood memory that I had obviously invented in my head.