Thursday, 26 September 2013

1980: Alan Minter v Marvin Hagler

It wasn't supposed to end like this for either Alan Minter or Marvin Hagler on the night of September 27 1980. Minter had just seen his all too brief grip on the WBA/WBC world middleweight titles end in seven minutes and 45 seconds of punishment, his face a mess, blood streaming from gashes inflicted by the superb Hagler. The American should have been elated, but any such emotions were soon replaced with genuine fear, as bottles and cans of beer headed towards the ring, the new champion fleeing the scene before he could even receive his belts. A shameful end to the story of Minter versus Hagler, but in retrospect perhaps not a surprising conclusion given what had preceded it.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

1980s: League Cup Third round memories

The League Cup Third round produced some dramatic moments in the 1980s, during a prosperous period for the competition. No squad rotation or penalty shoot-outs back then, even allowing for teams having European commitments before the Heysel-related ban (admittedly there were less European matches in comparison to the bloated affairs we witness today, but the smaller squads counteracted this).

This week, I am taking a look back at ten Third round ties from the League Cup in the 1980s, including some ding dong derbies, a shock, a replay marathon, the end of an era and the start of a new one at Old Trafford, Alex Ferguson angst, and some record breaking exploits. The following will probably not be made into a Channel 4 'Top Ten Moments of the League Cup Third round in the 1980s' style programme (Channel 5 maybe?), yet hopefully they will highlight just how important the competition was in the distant past, especially as the majority of matches below involve the old-school big five.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

1989: NatWest Trophy Final

After my first NatWest final in 1985, there had been a distinct lack of last over dramas during the next few end of season finals. True, there had been some classy knocks during difficult run chases - Ramprakash and Hadlee spring to mind - but as I sat down to watch the 1989 final between Middlesex and Warwickshire, I yearned for a classic finale played out in a late summer setting of Lord's. As a fan of English cricket, it surely wasn't too much to ask for was it? 1989 certainly owed me one from a cricketing perspective.

Friday, 6 September 2013

1981: Switzerland v England

The World Cup glory of 1966 must have seemed like a distant memory come the early 1980s. Failure to qualify for the 1974 tournament had cost Sir Alf Ramsey his job, with the 1978 qualification campaign thrown into turmoil as soon as Don Revie decided to quit and defect to the United Arab Emirates in 1977. Revie's replacement, Ron Greenwood, narrowly failed to get England to Argentina - kindly pointed out to us in the lyrics of Andy Cameron's Tartan Army ("England cannae dae it, 'Cos they didnae qualify") - so by the time the draw was made for the 1982 qualification matches, England were desperate to get back to the top table of world football.