Sunday, 29 October 2017

1984/85 UEFA Cup: Tottenham v Real Madrid

With Tottenham and Real Madrid going head-to-head in the 2017/18 Champions League, this week I am taking a look back to their 1985 UEFA Cup quarter final, and two particularly harrowing games for Steve Perryman.

It said a lot regarding the recent fortunes of Real Madrid that, in the eyes of many, they went into their 1985 UEFA Cup quarter final with Tottenham as underdogs. A recent run of just one win in ten matches had seen the club slip out of the race for La Liga, something not made easier by the fact that Terry Venables' Barcelona were on their way to the title. Manager Amancio Amaro was under heaps of pressure, especially with President Luis de Carlos standing down, and Ramon Mendoza expected to take his place in the summer of '85.

Monday, 23 October 2017

1983/84: Aston Villa v Birmingham City

The Second City derby is still a passionate affair, but it is unlikely that any fixture in the modern era can match the one contested between Aston Villa and Birmingham City in October 1983.

It was never likely to be a quiet affair. When ex-Aston Villa manager Ron Saunders took his Birmingham City team to Villa Park on October 15, 1983, he wasn't taking many shrinking violets with him. Tony Coton, Pat Van Den Hauwe, Noel Blake, Robert Hopkins, Howard Gayle, and Mick Harford are individuals that are often mentioned in a Who's Who of football's bad boys. But it wasn't all one way traffic. Colin Gibson and Steve McMahon would give as good as they got.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

1985-88 Rugby League World Cup

With the 2017 Rugby League World Cup about to start, this week I am taking a look back at the 1985-88 tournament, as Australia continued their domination of the sport.

Although the Rugby League World Cup had been running since 1954, the irregular staging of the tournament had not helped the event establish itself in the sporting calendar. Indeed, after the 1977 tournament, it would be another eight years before the International Board decided to resuscitate the concept. A Paris meeting in May 1985 saw the five member nations of Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, France, and Papua New Guinea agree to take part in a ninth World Cup, although a change in format meant that it was now a three-year event.

Friday, 6 October 2017

1986: Arsenal lose to Watford on consecutive days

Arsenal have suffered at the hands of Watford in recent seasons, but at least they didn’t lose twice to the same club on consecutive days.

In this modern world of ours, it seems that Arsenal are only ever a couple of defeats away from a full-blown crisis. An unwanted reverse can now lead to torn badges appearing in newspapers, as the cracks in the Arsenal fan base expand, Twitter explodes, and even fans of other teams reach for the popcorn and turn to AFTV for some entertainment.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

1985: Wales v Scotland (Football)

Wales failing to qualify for the 1986 World Cup was a devastating blow to their supporters. But the tragic death of Scotland manager Jock Stein put everything into perspective.

Although many would say Scotland have had a monopoly on footballing tales of so near and yet so far, surely no one could digest as much disappointment as Welsh football fans in the 1980s. Missing out on World Cup qualification in 1982 on goal difference, and a minute away from Euro 84, the last thing the Welsh nation needed was another agonising near miss during their 1986 World Cup qualification campaign. But the pain of September 10, 1985, would soon be a new chapter of Welsh woe.