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?