Bobby Robson said that he was not happy with the League's refusal to postpone matches before England's World Cup qualifying games.
Jack Charlton resigned as manager of Newcastle United after fans called for his resignation during a pre-season friendly with Sheffield United.
Charlton Athletic agreed to move to Selhurst Park after the Greater London Council condemned the east terrace at The Valley. Their last match at The Valley in September attracted their largest crowd of the season; after the game, fans dug up the pitch for souvenirs.
A Leeds United director resigned in protest when Eddie Gray was sacked as manager in October.
Bob Wilson, the 44-year-old TV presenter, signed for Bristol Rovers as a standby goalkeeper in November.
Bryan Robson, making his comeback after a lengthy injury, was sent off in Manchester United's 4th Round FA Cup match at Sunderland.
There were two big transfers in the close season, when Ian Rush was sold to Juventus for £3M and Gary Lineker joined Barcelona. The fee for Lineker was £4.2M and he got a £1.5M signing-on fee, spread over six years.
Oxford United, in their first season in the First Division, won the League Cup Final in April.
Middlesbrough, in the hands of the Official Receiver, had to play their home games of the season at Hartlepool because they were locked out of Ayresome Park. The club was rescued when a new consortium agreed to pay all the outstanding debts.
Notts County, one of the founder members of the Football League, became the first club to complete 3,500 matches when they beat Port Vale in February.
Uefa's executive committee voted 8-3 to continue the ban on English clubs in Europe for another year.
The Football League agreed to allow two substitutes to be used next season.
Clive Allen broke the Jimmy Greaves record when he scored his 44th goal of the season for Tottenham Hotspur in April. He was also voted 'Footballer of the Year' by the Football Writers Association. Teammate Ray Clemence also entered the record books with his 1,099th senior game in April, passing Pat Jennings's British record.
Mark Dennis of Queens Park Rangers was banned for eight matches after being sent off for the ninth time in his career. Dave Caldwell of Torquay United received the same punishment for being sent off five times during the season.
Steve Bull of Wolverhampton Wanderers scored a total of 52 goals, breaking the club's record that had stood since the 1938-39 season.
Wimbledon were charged with bringing the game into disrepute, when nine of their players dropped their shorts during a testimonial match. The club was fined £5,000 and each of the players were fined £750.
Alan Shearer was the youngest player, at the age of 17 years and 140 days, to score a hat-trick in the First Division when Southampton beat Arsenal 4-2 in April.
Gary Pallister became the first Second Division player to appear for England since Peter Taylor in 1976, when he made his debut against Hungary in April.
Peter Shilton broke Terry Paine's record when he played his 825th League match in April.
Brighton's first-choice goalkeeper, Perry Digweed, did not turn up for the match against Scunthorpe United in September, because nobody remembered to tell him that he was playing.
The League decided to ban artificial pitches in the First and Second Divisions from the start of the 1991-92 season.
Barclay's Bank extended their sponsorship of the Football League, in a deal worth £7M.
Manchester United broke the transfer record between two British clubs when they signed Gary Pallister from Middlesbrough for £2.3M.
Three brothers, Danny, Rodney, and Ray Wallace, played for Southampton in October, it was the first time in 68 years that three brothers had played in the same First Division side.
Steve Bull scored his 100th goal for Wolverhampton Wanderers in December. In May, when he took his season total to 52, he became the first player to score 100 goals in two seasons since George Camsell in 1928.
A record five penalties were awarded in the match between Crystal Palace and Brighton in March, including three in five minutes>. Crystal Palace missed three of their four penalties.
Peter Shilton equalled Bobby Moore's record of 108 international caps when England beat Poland 3-0 in a World Cup qualifying match in June.
Sheffield Wednesday made amends for being held 0-0 at home to Aldershot, by thrashing the Fourth Division side 8-0 in the second leg of their League Cup match. It was a record away victory in the competition.
Frank Bunn scored six times in the Oldham Athletic 7-0 victory over Scarborough in the League Cup.
David Seaman became the most expensive goalkeeper when he joined Arsenal from Queens Park Rangers for £1.3M.
Second Division Oldham Athletic enjoyed two good Cup runs, reaching the final of the League Cup where they lost to Nottingham Forest, and the semi-final of the FA Cup, where they took Manchester United to a replay before going out.
Fifa changed the offside law so that a player level would no longer be offside, they also made professional fouls subject to an automatic sending-off.
Millwall, in the First Division for the first time, briefly led the League in September; however, they won only two more games and finished in last place.
Everton fined Neville Southall a week's wages for staging a sit-down protest at half-time in their opening game of the season.
Tottenham Hotspur fell foul of the law before their match at Chelsea in December, when their coach was wheel-clamped on their way to the game and towed away.
Gary Lineker won Fifa's £20,000 fair play prize for never being booked or sent off during his career.
Chelsea were fined £105,000 for making illegal payments to players.
Paul Gascoigne became the first player to be sent off in a League match shown live on television, when he was dismissed for dissent against Manchester United on New Year's Day.
Fifteen players were sent off over the weekend of 22-23 December, including three in the match between Leicester City and Watford, it was the worst weekend for sending-offs in the history of the Football League.
Torquay became the first club to win promotion on penalties, they drew 2-2 with Blackpool in the Fourth Division play-off and won the penalty shoot-out 5-4.
Ron Atkinson guided Sheffield Wednesday into the First Division, and the final of the League Cup, and then pledged himself to the club. Within days, he had left to become manager of Aston Villa.
Peter Shilton left Derby County to become player/manager at Plymouth Argyle.
Three Leicester City fans won compensation when they sued Millwall over the poor view they'd had at the Den.
The Football Association rejected a £2M offer from Bass to sponsor the FA Cup Semi-Finals and the Final.
Chris Waddle returned to England when he moved to Sheffield Wednesday from Marseille for £1M.
Coca-Cola took over as sponsors of the League Cup, signing a £2.25M 2-year deal in July.
Leeds United banned 19 fans for life after they were convicted of offences arising from disturbances in Bournemouth last season.
Wimbledon's 3-0 victory over Luton Town in September was watched by only 3,231 people, the lowest First Division crowd since the war. They then went one worse with only 3,121 against Sheffield Wednesday in October.
Terry Fenwick of Tottenham Hotspur was jailed for 4 months in September for drink driving offences.
Ron Noades, the Crystal Palace Chairman, was forced to apologise for remarks he made about black players in a television programme. Ian Wright subsequently moved from Crystal Palace to Arsenal for £2.5M.
Acknowledgements: Chris Nawrat & Steve Hutchings.
Reader Comments (45)
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1 Posted 26/05/2021 at 16:18:35
Bobby Robson. What a true gentleman of football. Great manager & coach also.
The 85-86 season. On the back of last weekend, we talk about disappointing seasons and just missing out. Oh my. May 10th 1986 was a low point for me. To finish 2nd and be runners up in the FA Cup should be considered a decent season. I was devastated.
Middlesborough staring down the abyss of existence. I remember Wolves being in a similar situation not many years previous. We are rightly self-critical of Everton, but since 1954 we have only known top tier football. We have not been subject to what the likes of Wolves, Manchester City and Leeds United supporters have endured and come back from.
Was it only that late when we could name 2 subs?! That surprised me.
On Everton, I still think that 86-87 was arguably Howard Kendalls best achievement. The 84-85 title winning side were formidable and rightfully get the plaudits. But against the backdrop of the psychological impact of missing out on the double and with a decimated squad, Kendall showed true management to win a second title in 3 years. It still should have been 3 but I won't go back to 85-86 as it still hurts!!
The FA cup marathons with Sheffield Wednesday & Middlesborough. I attended just about every one. Also watching Everton & Wayne Clarke stop Liverpool on their way to an unbeaten season. In reflection, what is stark about that season is we considered 4th failure.
David Seaman. Was it just me or does anyone else think he was overrated? Don't get me wrong, he was a good keeper, but I think he was blessed to play in front of one of the tightest and best organised defences I've personally seen. A lot of half decent keepers could have looked good in front of that defence.
That half time sit down protest! How bizarre was that?
Ron Atkinson. Maybe not the best, but decent and what a character in the game! I just see jewellery!!
Leicester fans suing Millwall for having a poor view? We must have good lawyers and very tolerant home fans!!
The 4-4. The 1-0 against Liverpool in the cup. I mentioned on my own post about listening or receiving Everton results in faraway locations & situations. When that Dave Watson goal crackled in over the radio I shouldn't have been listening too on a hilltop somewhere, I made way too much noise than I should have done. But I then had a huge smile on my face and was focussed on the job!!
2 Posted 26/05/2021 at 17:37:43
3 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:00:23
4 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:19:52
In addition, I come here fairly assiduously and it was only your comment in the comments section made me aware this piece – which I enjoyed greatly – was even here. Whilst not trying to be critical to the editors of this great site, finding content such as John's on mobile is quite difficult if it is not at the very top of the page.
No sir, it is not the quality of the article or the subject matter of the article that is lacking here. It is mere timing and circumstances, a point I feel most gently proven by the almost overwhelmingly positive feedback you have enjoyed when penning pieces such as these.
Many contributors have of course, ceased or reduced their contributions on here and that is their right. And yours, Mr MacFarlane. But allow my voice to join Danny's in saying I'll always make the time to read what you've written and I thank you for it.
5 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:25:34
Lineker, never booked never sent off. He'd get called out for being a layabout and a passenger these days wouldn't he?
Although to be fair, the threshold to get booked in those days was much higher. The tackle to break Maradona's leg was sadly pretty typical of the time, the bad old days were on the way out but we weren't all the way there yet. I don't mourn the likes of Vinny Jones not being able to get a game these days anyway.
6 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:29:07
7 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:30:33
Before he did we went one last time to Highbury to watch EFC lose in a midweek League Cup game. They lost every time we went to watch them in London. Strangely enough I remember because Inchy had just signed and had a shocker, I think. I am sure my dad was looking down and pulling a few heavenly strings guiding Brocks backpass at Oxford! But he never got to enjoy the best of the HK years, though I did! No live coverage in those days and if you were lucky EFC might be on BBC radio for second half commentary. By the time the 80s finished so were we. Thatcherism, banned from Europe etc. We sold up and emigrated to Canada where it was even more difficult to hear or see any live commentary. Again if you were lucky you might get the last 20 minutes on BBC World radio sport, thats if you could find it on the radio!
So that kind of covers the years you have described. The 90s were a desert except for the 1995 oasis. Watched on tv as that was the only game broadcast on Canadian TV!
Thanks for the memories!
8 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:45:32
Good to see you back in fine health and posting some great nostalgia again.
The thing that stood out for me is how low the transfer fees were compared to the megabucks deals today and of course how great the '80s were to be a blue.
Keep posting and stay healthy.
9 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:50:19
My main reason for reminiscing is to remind fans of my generation, and to give younger fans an idea of what we were fortunate (or unfortunate) to have witnessed. I thank you for your kind words. I enjoy the involvement, but as a one-fingered operator it really is a "Labour of Love", quite often taking me 2 or 3 hours to accomplish, and 'John' sounds a lot friendlier to me, than Mr McFarlane.
10 Posted 27/05/2021 at 15:59:46
I hope you are keeping okay in these sad, but hopefully getting better times. How is Josh getting on with his football? Is there a summer league starting in your area for Josh to play in? I take it there hasn't been much football for him to play in during this lockdown, which will leave you both disappointed.
11 Posted 27/05/2021 at 16:00:34
We missed a trick when we didn't pull out the stops and he opted for Leeds.
Fortunate enough to have seen him play for Everton and even though that was in his twilight, the best Everton Keeper I've seen aside from Southall.
12 Posted 27/05/2021 at 16:28:35
Up until now I've read your articles to learn about the past but now you've hit the era where it's nostalgia for me as I can actually remember this time period.
Steve Bull I remember well as he almost single handedly dragged Wolves up the league from the brink of oblivion. I had a Wolves Subbuteo team at the time (it happened to be on sale) so his plastic version was often in action against either my Everton 86 (white bibs) or 89 Subbuteo teams. He had to sub in for Brazil sometimes because one of their players got crushed when my sister stepped on his and the orange was passable as yellow.
Waddle I remember was joined for a time in Marseille by Trevor Steven. I think Trev ended back at Rangers pretty quickly though after Bernard Tapie was jailed and that whole match fixing scandal sunk Marseille.
Mark Dennis, a right thug he was. Much like Terry Hurlock of Millwall. The Wallace brothers were good, I think Rodney surpassed Danny ultimately as the best of the three. Likewise, there were the Allens although they were cousins not brothers. Clive had that incredible season but somehow couldn't get much of a shot with England, due to the form of Lineker. Young Tony Cottee was also favored ahead of him by Robson, and even Steve Bull despite playing in the second tier.
Great times. You did a great job of picking out many and varied highlights. Each one struck a bell. Cheers John
13 Posted 27/05/2021 at 16:35:15
Hi Don  I'm pleased learn that you enjoyed my contribution, but as I have stressed previously, I'm only relaying the information from books.
Hi David  although your Dad may have missed the glory of the 80s I feel sure he would have enjoyed the magic of the 60s.
Hi Jay  you are spot on regarding transfer fees, and may I add, the wages paid to players was the maximum of £20 a week, although very few would have received that amount. If memory serves me right, Everton players were paid £16 a week during the season and £12 pound in the close season, it may not sound much but it was higher than the working man's pay.
14 Posted 27/05/2021 at 16:35:23
Have to say though, John, the '80's were the only period we actually put a few seasons together
My team was the 63 lot but we never really built on it, as was 1970
Howards team was the catalyst and though we have so many posters telling us we shouldn't live in the past and make excuses Heysel really fucked us
15 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:02:29
I only started watching Everton properly circa 93-94 I guess when I was 13/14. The Wimbledon game wasnt as bad for me as others as I mistakenly thought we only needed a draw so I was relaxed after Stuart scored our 3rd!
I was fortunate to go to odd game such as 89 cup final but 93/94 and Limpar coming in for Beagrie I think under Walker. What a player Limpar turned out to be in my opinion. Anfield with Kanchelskis a couple of seasons after with them both on the wings was ace.
16 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:14:10
The trouble in the 60s EFC did not get on TV too often except the 1966 FA Cup Final! So the only way was by reading newspaper reports. How things have changed! Even in their pomp the Golden Vision, the Welsh Wizard and the Holy Trinity rarely won at Highbury!
17 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:22:01
Hi Danny  It's quite likely that by the time I've typed this post someone will have told you that an Everton gave him directions to Leeds.
Hi Kieran  I envy you managing a Subbuteo team, I had to make do with 'Blow Football' Dave Abrahams and others of our generation will describe that to you.
Hi John  I was at the Gwladys Street end that day, while Southall staged his 'Protest' at the Park End, although my book describes it as a 'Protest sit down' I think it was @Hissy Fit'
Hi Peter  I was unable to attend that Wimbledon game, I had just started a new job which entailed Saturday working, I sneaked out to my car to grab a piece of the action, and heard the commentator say "If Everton are going to take anything from this game they'll have to score." It was only later that I learned that they were 2-0 down at that stage.
18 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:25:11
19 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:33:10
Kieran stirred some memories, "Deadly" Dean Saunders whose goals would have propelled Derby into Europe but for errm....Heysel.
Ironically he ended up going to the RS and being somewhat of a scapegoat for what was the very death throes of the boot room era.
Limpar unironically was like Overmars for us for a brief period. We had some enigmatic foreign players in that general era. Preki anyone?
Hurlock was an out-and-out thug. If Jamie from America sees this he might compare the eighties to the ice hockey he's very much also a fan of. Every team back then seemed to have one - or more - goons or if not goons hard fellas quite capable of handing it out if they deemed it necessary. (ala Reidy).
Was all so very different, especially the terraces, which as a kid would sometimes terrify me. It seemed a very lawless place compared to the rest of my then world! I remember watching Euro 88 and that truly fantastic Dutch team and wishing Van Basten, Rijkaard and Gullit played in England. Was Ossie Ardiles still the most exotic player in the league?
Great memories again John and others, many thanks.
20 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:47:51
21 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:50:12
Hi Martin  I sense a hint of frustration and sarcasm which I fully understand, but unfortunately that is the plight of any football fan, we all experience it at one time or another.
Hi Again Danny  I omitted the word 'Director', in relation to Nigel Martyn's journey to Leeds.
22 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:53:46
Yeah Ossie would probably be the most exotic coming from South America and there were very from even from outside the British Isles. Nico Claesen of Spurs, Johnny Metgod, Molby, Jesper Olsen, Sivebaek, Of course we briefly had Warzycha, Rehn and Atteveld. I think it was a few years later Peter Ndlovu, Nii Lamptey and other African players (excluding South Africans who'd been around a while like Grobelaar, Wegerle and Bailey) started to arrive. Oh and Mirandinha, was he about 1988? I remember that was a big deal, Brazilian striker coming to England! didn't pan out though.
23 Posted 27/05/2021 at 17:57:26
It was a surprise that Dutch team never got going at the 1990 World Cup. Three uninspiring draws then Rijkaard got drawn into a spitting match with Voeller that pretty well finished them off.
24 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:04:09
No research here, so shooting from the hip and the ageing memory but it was a time when there were few foreign player in the English league as we entered the 80s.
I think Bobby Robson at Ipswich started bringing in players from the likes of the Netherlands and yes, Tottenham brought in the 2 Argentinians.
Without politicising this, it was also a difficult time for both Ardiles and Villa given they landed here at time of conflict between our respective countries. Credit to them and credit to the majority of football supporters for looking beyond that and judging them on football. It wasn't Everton, but I'll never forget Ricky Villa's goal in that FA Cup Final replay against Manchester City. Magnificent footballing moment.
25 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:11:47
26 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:12:57
The fact the Germans and the Argentinians could play such anti-football and play in the games greatest showpiece was viewed with some disdain at the time. It was the last World Cup to allow the tackle from behind, the back pass, offside where you had to be behind the defender not just level. The Dutch were mugged was my memory.
Cameroon was definitely a great story from that World Cup, but the football they played I won't even begin to describe. A few years ago I rewatched some games from the tournament on YouTube and it was very very negative. The Dutch, not for the first or last time, had the right team at the wrong time in 1990. Not unlike those Magic Magyars John has pointed out in one or two of his pieces. Football is in some ways the cruelest of games.
27 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:22:56
Great point. The tournament started as it ended with a rough house 1-0 with two men sent off. Argentina featured in both which says a lot about how they approached that tourney.
Aside from the dreadful fouling, I'd say Klinsmann took diving to a new level with that ridiculous flop in the final where he went to ground then sort of body popped himself feet first up into the air again before crash landing a second time. Cannigia was another big time diver but Bernard Massing and was it Kana Biyick (?) absolutely assaulted him in that first game.
28 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:25:34
Yeah I believe Arnold Muhren who was a veteran by the time I saw him at Euro had years before been a foreign pioneer of sorts under Robson at Ipswich.
29 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:40:53
I think the only game I've managed to watch in it's entirety over several decades was the "Agueroooooo!!" game when City won their first Premier League title.
Yes, footy existed before the Premier League... but it was already in decline.
30 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:48:28
Style-wise maybe you're right but I would have loved to watch the old ploughed potato field, long johns and top hats glory days when people other than Maradona could randomly use their hands without a complaint from the ref, and the crowd were kept off the field by an old rope.
31 Posted 27/05/2021 at 18:56:07
And now I'll set myself up to get laughed out of town. But from an Everton perspective in my lifetime, Kevin Sheedy.
No Cryruff, but what a joy to watch in an Everton shirt.
32 Posted 27/05/2021 at 19:28:36
We never adequately replaced Sheeds or Beardsley and a look at the squad in hindsight shows why we came within a Hans Segers Pickford moment of ruin not long thereafter. It didn't seem so obvious at the time!
33 Posted 27/05/2021 at 19:34:20
Said it previously about Beardsley. A player of the highest quality looking up and not having many options due to the lack of quality around him.
Often he would play a pass and we all knew it was a good pass so would bemoan the other players for not reading the game as he could.
One of the most intelligent players I've watched in terms of a footballing brain.
34 Posted 27/05/2021 at 19:49:35
Outstanding player - a consistently high performer during his time with us and who maintained a 1-in-3 strike rate for another 4 years with the Barcodes.
35 Posted 27/05/2021 at 20:11:08
36 Posted 27/05/2021 at 20:26:51
Before I post, I would like to thank everyone for their contribution to this thread, and hope that my next submission, if there is one, may be placed in a more prominent place.
37 Posted 27/05/2021 at 21:01:08
Maybe neither of those goals were mistakes.
38 Posted 27/05/2021 at 21:03:04
Thanks for taking us back to a time when football people had ‘proper names' (with Ron Noades being a prime example) and even the appalling hairstyles were better than the now popular ‘bun'.
39 Posted 27/05/2021 at 21:07:27
40 Posted 27/05/2021 at 21:53:21
41 Posted 27/05/2021 at 22:19:14
42 Posted 27/05/2021 at 23:40:22
Talking of thugs in football the worst I've ever seen was Andoni Goikoetxea, aka The Butcher of Bilbao. He was a real psycho who makes Ramos seem like a fairy, and to me that's what the greats of yesteryear had to deal with all season every season, and they were still brilliant!
43 Posted 27/05/2021 at 00:00:07
I remember him, an absolute psycho. Made Vinnie Jones look like a ballerina.
44 Posted 28/05/2021 at 06:39:20
I don't think for a second Segers let it in deliberately, but it was a rather poor piece of keeping. If we'd conceded a similar goal to go down what would the reaction have been?
45 Posted 30/05/2021 at 10:51:09
Just to clarify the points made about the comparatively low transfer fees paid in the 1980 and the maximum wage. The maximum wage had been abolished in 1961 after threats of strike action by the PFA, led by Fulham's Jimmy Hill.
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