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....

Monday, 11 October 2021

1985/86: Leicester City v Manchester United

Football in England may have been in a bad place - a European ban, television blackout, and talks of a Super League - yet for Manchester United fans the start of the 1985/86 season was a heavenly experience. Ten straight wins in the league saw Ron Atkinson's team open up a nine-point lead over Liverpool, as talk turned to the club ending their title drought stretching back to 1967.

One more win would equal Tottenham's record of eleven consecutive wins at the start of their 1960/61 double season, but even though the 1-1 draw at Luton thwarted this attempt, the team bounced back to win three of their next four matches - drawing with Liverpool in the other - as their lead extended to ten points after fifteen matches.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

1986: Mike Tyson v Trevor Berbick

To a lot of boxing writers, pundits, and fans, Mike Tyson was a breath of fresh air in the heavyweight division as he moved menacingly towards a shot at the WBC world title. To most opponents in 1985 and 1986 he was like a terrifying hurricane enveloping them and unleashing pain. 

November 22, 1986 would see another chapter written in the Tyson story. Coming into his fight with WBC champion Trevor Berbick, Tyson had won 27 fights, 25 inside the distance, with 15 wins coming inside the first round. The hype and sense of expectation surrounding Tyson was reaching fever pitch.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

1986: The rise of Mike Tyson continues

After the first 15 fights of Mike Tyson's professional heavyweight career in 1985, there was more to come as 1986 progressed. A further 12 fights would follow as Tyson edged his way up the world rankings, moving towards a shot at the WBC belt in November.

Naturally there would be sterner tests the closer Tyson got to his title showdown with Trevor Berbick. Twice Iron Mike would go the distance, but as the likes of Reggie Gross, William Hosea, and Marvis Frazier could vouch for, there were still occasions that Tyson would demonstrate the destruction his fists possessed.