Sunday, 31 January 2021

1981/82: Liverpool v Man City

Pep Guardiola will undoubtedly view the forthcoming visit to Anfield as an ideal opportunity to break his duck at the home of the champions. Yet it is not only the current Manchester City manager that has an unenviable record at this ground. Manchester City have won just two league matches at Anfield in the last 40 years.

One of these victories came during an uncertain time for Liverpool. The 1980/81 campaign had seen Bob Paisley lead his team to the European Cup and Milk Cup, but a poor run in the league from January onwards killed any chance of retaining their title. As the 1981/82 season developed, it appeared as if inconsistency would again threaten Liverpool's title aspirations.

Monday, 25 January 2021

1982/83: Dundee United

The Dundee United club statement released after the sad death of Jim McLean on Boxing Day 2020 said it all. "An integral part of our history and rise to the forefront of European football, Jim was simply a titan of Dundee United folklore, cherished by the United family the world over."

The term legend is thrown about freely, but in the case of Jim McLean there is every justification in applying the term to the manager who transformed the fortunes of Dundee United. When McLean took over at Tannadice in December 1971, the club were in the shadow of their city rivals. Within 13 years, he would win two Scottish League Cups, a Premier League title, and get the club within a whisker of making the European Cup final.

Sunday, 17 January 2021

1987/88 FA Cup third round: Sheffield Wednesday v Everton

Despite being reigning champions, the summer of 1987 had been an unsettling time for Evertonians. With Howard Kendall departing for Athletic Bilbao, assistant Colin Harvey faced the unenviable task of filling the shoes of his great friend. 

Most of the squad from the two title winning teams remained. But by the turn of the year it was apparent that the title would be going across Stanley Park, as Everton and the rest struggled to keep pace with the last great Liverpool team of that era. There was satisfaction for Harvey, as Everton defeated their rivals in the Littlewoods Cup. And of course, the FA Cup provided hope for silverware.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

1986/87 FA Cup: Chorley humble Wolves

The 1980s had started in exciting fashion for supporters of Wolves. Winning the League Cup at Wembley, with £1.49 million record signing Andy Gray scoring the winner against Nottingham Forest, the club finished sixth in Division One, and the future looked bright under manager John Barnwell. Yet the foundations for a decade of decay had already been established.