Video of the Day: Birmingham City vs Wolves, November 1981
At the time of writing, there’s a strong possibility that West Bromwich Albion may be the only West Midlands representatives in the top division of English football next season. With Aston Villa still sitting hopelessly adrift of the rest at the bottom of the table, though, at least the Football League Championship could be in for some interesting derby matches next season. Birmingham City are currently five points off the play-off places – although they do have two games in hand on the teams above them in the table – in ninth place in the table and Wolverhampton Wanderers are just below mid-table, and there’s a chance that these three clubs could all be playing each other next season in the second tier.
Three and a half decades ago, Aston Villa were still the champions of England, but things weren’t quite running smoothly for either them, Birmingham or Wolves. On the morning of the 21st November 1981, Villa’s title defence was faltering badly. Villa were in fifteenth place in the First Division table, level on points but a place below Birmingham City. The Blues, meanwhile, had a visit from the cameras of Match of the Day to look forward to for their home match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at St Andrews. Wolves, for their part, went into the match in the First Division relegation places, in twentieth place in the table, with only Middlesbrough and Sunderland below them and speculation starting to build over how long manager John Barnwell, who’d been in control at Molineux since 1978 and won the League Cup in 1980 – could remain in control at the club. As things turned out, Barnwell quite in January of the following year. Commentary for this match comes from John Motson.
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