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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part Eleven – Villa Start To Kick Into Gear

We’re now less than two weeks from Christmas 1980 in our new series on the story of the 1980/81 football season, and this morning we have another three matches for you from that very season. Aston Villa against Birmingham City is our a first match, a feisty local derby at the best of times but one made all the spicier this time around by the fact that the home side went into the match separated from the top of the First Division table from the champions Liverpool only by goal difference. Our second match sees Tottenham Hotspur play Manchester City at White Hart Lane, and finally two matches from the Second Round of the FA Cup, with something of a derby again as Sheffield United play Chesterfield. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking...

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Divided They Fall: The Great Coventry City Schism

It has been another busy few days for Coventry City Football Club, which has ended with questions again being asked in parliament about the administration process that has proved to be such a big part of where the club is now, a bizarre protest outside the City Council headquarters which involved just forty people and a statement from the council clarifying exactly why they are largely unable to comment upon the club’s continuing exile thirty-five miles away in Northampton. And at the end of busy few days, the feeling that we are left with is that, amongst the support at the very least, only division remains, and these are scars that may take many years to heal. Meanwhile crowds at Sixfields, which are perhaps the only true, measurable barometer of how the people of this city feel about their football club at the moment, remain pitifully low. It’s difficult not to look at Coventry City Football Club and pick up the distinct whiff of decay in the air. First up came the emergence of a new pressure group, called Get Cov Back To The Ricoh. This particular group claimed to be non-partisan in taking sides between the owners of the football club and the owners of the stadium, but their initial questions seemed very much to be slanted towards making ACL, the stadium owners, and Coventry City Council, part-owners...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part Ten – Liverpool Back On Top… For Now

The first weekend of December saw Liverpool leading the First Division table on goal difference from Aston Villa, and the cameras of Granada Television were at Anfield to see the champions take on mid-table Tottenham Hotspur, who we saw yesterday morning getting beaten at home by West Bromwich Albion the week before. Our second match this morning comes from The Dell, as Lawrie McMenemy’s Southampton win by a solitary goal at home against Coventry City. By the close of business on the 6th December 1980, though, things were tight at the top of the First Division, with just five points separating Liverpool at the top of the table the then-defending European champions Nottingham Forest in eighth place in the table. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking...

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Northern Lights: The Sudden Ascent Of The Iceland National Football Team

Those amongst us who had sleptwalked their way through the UEFA qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil might have been forgiven for not quite picking up on the full implications of such a story, but perhaps the big surprise of the group stages anywhere in the world came right here in Europe, where Iceland has qualified for the play-offs for a place at next summer’s jamboree. Last Tuesday evening the streets of Rekjavik fell silent as the Iceland national team took on a challenge that it has never faced before. A win in Oslo against Norway would have been enough to guarantee the team a place in the play-offs regardless of anything that happened elsewhere, but a draw would also have been enough should Slovenia not better their result in their match against Switzerland. As things turned out, Iceland were a little dependent on the munificence of others to reach their place in the play-offs. They drew one-all in Oslo, but the Swiss – who had already comfortably qualified for the finals and will be one of the top seeded nations when the draw for them is made – did them a favour by beating Slovenia by a single goal in Berne, meaning that Iceland would go on to take part in the play-offs for a place in Brazil. And this afternoon the Icelandic Football Association,...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part Nine – Liverpool Brave The Sunderland Snow

We’re almost at the end of November 1980 in our story of the 1980/81 football season, and this morning we kick off with four matches from the last week of that month. We start with the UEFA Cup match between Ipswich Town and the Polish club Widzew Lodz from Portman Road, a macth which eneded in an extremely comfortable win for the home team, before going on to three matches from the following weekend’s First Division fixtures. First up is a match from Roker Park between Sunderland and the champions, Liverpool. Sunderland had been promoted at the end of the previous season and went into the match in fourteenth place in the table, while Liverpool had dropped to third place in the table behing the two clubs who would come to define much of the remainder of the seaosn in this division, Aston Villa and Ipswich Town. Our second match comes from the middle of the First Division, between Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion. Spurs went into the match in mid-table in the division, apparently unable to fnd any consistency in their performances, especially away from home, whilst West Bromwich Albion went into the match in fifth place and with every chance of achieving European football by the end of the season. The final match comes from the wrong end of the First Division table. Crystal Palace had...

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