Wednesday, 1 December 2021

1984/85 Scottish Cup first round: Stirling Albion 20 Selkirk 0

There are no easy games in international football. Well the recent results of both England's men's and women's teams may have assigned this particular cliche to the recycling bin. As the men won 10-0 against San Marino, the debate reignited about the merits of weaker teams participating in qualification for major tournaments. Hold my energy drink, said the women's game.

The 20-0 annihilation of Latvia saw Lauren Hemp score four goals and Ellen White's hat-trick enabled the striker to establish a new scoring record for the women's national team. Whether these two results are good adverts for the game is questionable. Thrashings will always be a part of sport, but a team scoring twenty possibly should be confined to the preserve of children's football.

Immediately the mind rewinds to hammerings of the past. But putting aside the nines and tens I can recall, there is a match that instantly zooms into focus. Normally the 1984/85 Scottish Cup first round was not extensively covered by English newspapers. But one particular fixture resulted in Selkirk becoming a hotspot on the UK footballing map.

Friday, 26 November 2021

1980s: All I Want For Christmas Is....

Is it just me, or does it become harder as the years go by to come up with ideas for Christmas gifts for yourself? Every year my wife mentions that I need to produce a Christmas list for the family, and my mind goes blank, as I struggle to think of anything that I need (bar socks).

It's not like that during your childhood, especially if you were lucky enough to grow up in the 80s. There were plenty of videos, records/tapes/CDs, and computer games to choose from, as the Woolworths and WH Smiths catalogues were scanned in great detail.

And then there was the magic of the Argos catalogue. Picking up one of those bad boys and compiling a Christmas list from the many products displayed was a joy. Thanks to the legends at Retromash, I've been able to visit old Argos catalogues and party like it's 1985 again. 

Below are some of the gifts my parents were kind enough to buy me for Christmas, and a couple that got away. Maybe I should add the presents I didn't receive to my current list? 

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Top 40 Sporting Theme Tunes: No 20-1

Following on from songs 40-21 in my top 40 sporting theme tunes, we are now into the top 20 countdown. From this stage on we are pretty much dealing with iconic tunes, and we even enter the world of radio.

It's fairly likely that I have forgotten an obvious theme tune, so please inform me (politely) of my glaring omission(s) in the comments. I'll have to add them into my Top 40 Breakers, in true 1980s Top of the Pops style.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Top 40 Sporting Theme Tunes: No 40-21

I always thought I would avoid a blog on sporting theme tunes. But sometimes you have to dismiss the nagging doubts and just go for it. You may love or hate this list, yet rest assured that I have spent quite a lot of time deliberating over this whole thing.

So get ready to play Yellow Pearl by Phil Lynott in the background, and do your best Ooh Gary Davies/Bruno Brookes impression, as we begin the top 40 countdown of 1980s sporting themes. 

This week we're going from 40 to 21, taking in some forgotten gems and a few classics. Next week will see the publication of the much awaited top 20. I just hope you can cope with the suspense.

Monday, 1 November 2021

1984/85: Everton v Tottenham

It was hard not to get carried away by the rise of Everton in 1984. Supporters were swept along as a team previously struggling under Howard Kendall turned the corner and hit the road to Wembley twice. There may have been disappointment in the Milk Cup final, but an FA Cup triumph pointed to a brighter future.

"It will be remembered joyously by those who love Everton, as the day this great club emerged again from the gloomy shadows cast by their conquering neighbours," Frank McGhee wrote in the Express, after the 2-0 win over Watford. A Charity Shield win against Liverpool increased the belief that Everton were now real contenders for the big prize.

Monday, 25 October 2021

1980/81 League Cup: Watford v Southampton

Watford face Southampton this weekend in the Premier League. The meeting will have to be something special to match the drama of the 1980/81 League Cup second round between the two clubs.

We often hear how a two-goal advantage is a dangerous lead in football. Atalanta and Spartak Moscow may agree with this particular theory, their recent reversals against English opposition in Europe adding credence to this. So what leads are safe?

As an Arsenal fan I have sadly seen that a four-goal lead can be no guarantee of victory. The 4-4 draw against Newcastle in 2011 was an embarrassing episode, something that should be brushed under the carpet, never to be mentioned again. 

Arsenal's capitulation was a remarkable achievement. Admittedly they had been reduced to ten men, yet with 22 minutes remaining, their four-goal lead was still intact. History has shown us that this example is the exception rather than the norm, but in September 1980 there was another club putting their supporters through this painful experience.

Monday, 18 October 2021

League Cup: Liverpool win four in a row

Liverpool and the League Cup had endured a troubled relationship as the 1980/81 competition kicked off. After entering the inaugural staging in 1960/61, the club decided to sit out the next six editions, and despite the growth of the Merseyside giant, success in the League Cup proved difficult to come by.

A controversial defeat in against Nottingham Forest in the 1978 final replay was the closest the club had come to winning the competition, with Brian Clough's team once again dashing hopes in the 1979/80 semi-final. But you wait ages for one League Cup to come along....