Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part Seven – Below The First Division
As a part of their contract with the Football League at a time during which the upper hand in terms of the governance of football was held by the game’s authorities rather than the broadcasters, both the BBC and ITV were compelled to cover matches from outside the top division throughout the course of the season. Of course, there was a tendency on their part to wish to cover the biggest matches at the most crucial stages of the season – although, notably, ITV covered the race for promotion from the Second Division in great details at the end of the 1982/83 season, most likely because Liverpool won the First Division title with a handful of matches to spare – but for regional ITV companies it was commonplace for a local club from outside the top flight to take the centre-stage on their weekly highlights programme.
Over the course of the end of October and the start of November 1980, several lower divsion matches were featured on the television and this morning we bring you highlghts of three of them. First up is a match between two clubs that are now again regular fixtures in the Premier League, Chelsea and Newcastle United. Chelsea had been relegated from the First Division for the first time since the early 1960s at the end of the 1978/79 season in a state of financial ruin following the construction of a ruinously expensive new stand, whilst Newcastle United had tumbled down a division a year earlier. The two sides met at Stamford Bridge on the last Saturday of October 1980, a match that resulted in an extremely comfortable win for the home side. Our other two matches come from the following weekend. Our other two matches come from the following weekend, a Third Division match between Fulham and Chesterfield – the visitors, by the way, making their first ever appearance on Match Of The Day – and a Second Division match between Luton Town and Sheffield Wednesday.
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