1980–81 in English Football - Diary of The Season

Diary of The Season

9 August 1980: Liverpool win the Charity Shield as Terry McDermott scores the only goal in a 1–0 win over West Ham United.

14 August 1980: Having not played a first team game for Arsenal, Clive Allen leaves the club after just two months to join Crystal Palace, again costing his new club £1,250,000.

16 August 1980: Norwich City achieve the biggest win of the opening day of the First Division season, beating Stoke City 5–1. Champions Liverpool begin with a 3-0 win at home to Crystal Palace.

31 August 1980: The first month of the Football League season ends with Ipswich Town, Southampton and Aston Villa level at the top of the First Division after four matches. Stoke City, Manchester City and Leeds United occupy the bottom three places. The Second Division promotion race has begun with Blackburn Rovers, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday occupying the top three places. Cambridge United, in only their 11th season as a Football League team, stand fourth in the division harbouring dreams of the quickest modern day rise from non-league football to the First Division.

10 September 1980: England's 1982 World Cup qualifying series begins with a 4–0 win over Norway at Wembley.

30 September 1980: September draws to a close with Ipswich Town leading the First Division by four points over their nearest rivals Liverpool, Everton and Aston Villa. Crystal Palace have slumped to the bottom of the table and are joined in the relegation zone by Manchester City and Leeds United. The race for a place in the First Division next season is headed by the Second Division top three of Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United and Notts County. Cambridge United's promising start has fallen away and they now stand third from bottom.

1 October 1980: Manchester City sack manager Malcolm Allison and replace him with Norwich City's John Bond, who in turn is replaced by Ken Brown.

15 October 1980: England suffer a 2–1 defeat to Romania in Bucharest in their second World Cup qualifier.

17 October 1980: Andy Ritchie, the highly promising Manchester United striker who turns 20 next month, is surprisingly sold to Brighton & Hove Albion for £500,000.

22 October 1980: Bottom of the First Division, Manchester City win their first league match of the season at the thirteenth attempt when they defeat Tottenham Hotspur 3–1.

31 October 1980: Aston Villa, who last won a top division title in 1910, finish October as First Division leaders, though Ipswich Town, still unbeaten, are two points behind them with two games in hand. Liverpool, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion are a further two points behind. Crystal Palace, Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion occupy the relegation places. The race for three places in the First Division next season is being headed by Notts County, West Ham United and Chelsea, with Swansea City, Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday in close contention.

11 November 1980: Ipswich Town's unbeaten start to the season ends when they lose their fifteenth match 1–0 to bottom-placed Brighton & Hove Albion.

19 November 1980: England get their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track with a 2–1 win over Switzerland at Wembley.

29 November 1980: Ken Brown makes his first signing for Norwich City by paying Liverpool £100,000 for 19-year-old central defender Dave Watson.

30 November 1980: November ends with Aston Villa still leading the First Division, two points ahead of Liverpool. Ipswich Town are now third, but are three points off top spot with three games in hand. West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal complete the top five. Leicester City prop up the First Division having lost their last four games, and join Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion in the bottom three. West Ham United, Chelsea and Notts County continue to head the challenge for promotion to the First Division.

31 December 1980: The year ends with Liverpool leading the First Division on goal difference ahead of Aston Villa. Ipswich Town are a point behind the leaders with two games in hand, and Arsenal are a further three points adrift. Crystal Palace and Leicester City remain stranded in the bottom three, but Brighton & Hove Albion have climbed out of the drop zone on goal difference at the expense of Norwich City. FA Cup holders West Ham United lead the Second Division promotion race, joining in the top three by Swansea City (who have never played in the top flight before) and Chelsea (who were last in the top flight two seasons ago). Notts County and Derby County are pushing the top three hard, while the likes of Luton Town and Orient are starting to emerge as possible contenders.

3 January 1981: Ipswich Town beat Aston Villa 1–0 in a heavyweight clash in the FA Cup third round. Everton defeat Arsenal 2–0.

10 January 1981: Aston Villa move to the top of the First Division after beating Liverpool 2–0 at Villa Park.

19 January 1981: FA Cup holders West Ham United are beaten 1–0 in a third round second replay by fellow Second Division side Wrexham.

24 January 1981: Manchester City defeat Norwich City 6–0 in the FA Cup fourth round tie at Maine Road, just two months after John Bond's move between the two clubs as manager. Everton knock out Merseyside rivals Liverpool with a 2–1 victory at Goodison Park, and Nottingham Forest beat Manchester United 1–0.

28 January 1981: Third Division Exeter City cause one of the shocks of the season by beating Leicester City 3–1 in an FA Cup fourth round replay.

31 January 1981: January draws to a close with Ipswich Town back on top of the First Division, ahead of second placed Aston Villa on goal difference with a game in hand. Liverpool are beaten 2-1 at home by Leicester City and are now four points off the top. Southampton and West Bromwich Albion complete the top five, while Manchester United, with fifteen draws already this season, have fallen to ninth in the table. Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Norwich City remain in the bottom three. West Ham United continue to lead the race for promotion, with Notts County and Chelsea completing the top three. Liverpool's 85-match unbeaten home run in all competitions is ended by a 2-1 home defeat to struggling Leicester City in the league, Their last home defeat was in February 1978.

18 February 1981: Exeter City reach the FA Cup quarter-finals for only the second time in their history by defeating Newcastle United 4–0 in a replay after drawing 1–1 in the original fixture.

28 February 1981: Having won five League matches in a row, Ipswich Town remain top of the First Division at the end of February, with Aston Villa two points behind them. Liverpool's challenge is effectively over after taking just four points from four League games this month. Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Norwich City still occupy the relegation zone. West Ham United remain top of the Second Division, followed closely behind by Notts County and joined in the top three by Sheffield Wednesday at the expense of Chelsea, who have slumped to seventh. Grimsby Town have emerged as surprise promotion contenders alongside larger clubs like Blackburn Rovers and Derby County.

7 March 1981: Exeter City's FA Cup run finally ends when they lose 2–0 away to Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter-finals.

10 March 1981: Ipswich Town remain in contention for a treble of the league title, FA Cup and UEFA Cup by beating Nottingham Forest 1–0 in the FA Cup quarter-final replay after drawing the first game 3–3.

12 March 1981: Ken Brown continues to build for the future of First Division strugglers Norwich City by paying Queens Park Rangers £225,000 for 22-year-old goalkeeper Chris Woods. Meanwhile, Liverpool sign 23-year-old Vancouver Whitecaps and Zimbabwe goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar for £250,000.

14 March 1981: The League Cup final ends in a 1–1 draw between Liverpool and West Ham United.

25 March 1981: Spain beat England 2–1 in a friendly at Wembley.

31 March 1981: Ipswich Town lose 3–0 away to Leeds United but remain one point ahead of second placed Aston Villa at the top of the First Division. West Bromwich Albion have moved into third, but are a distant six points behind Aston Villa. Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Leicester City remain in the bottom three places. West Ham United and Notts County continue to head the Second Division promotion race, joined in the top three by Grimsby Town at the expense of Sheffield Wednesday, who are now eighth.

1 April 1981: Liverpool win the Football League Cup for the first time, winning the replay 2–1 against West Ham United at Villa Park.

4 April 1981: Crystal Palace are relegated from the First Division with five matches of the season remaining.

8 April 1981: Aston Villa move three points clear at the top of the First Division after winning the derby against third-placed West Bromwich Albion 1–0.

11 April 1981: Ipswich Town's treble bid is ended with a 1–0 extra-time defeat by Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park. In the final, they will face either Tottenham Hotspur or Wolverhampton Wanderers, who draw 2–2 in the other semi-final at Hillsborough.

14 April 1981: Ipswich Town return to Villa Park for a crucial League match against First Division leaders Aston Villa, and win 2–1 to move within a point of their opponents with a game in hand.

15 April 1981: Tottenham Hotspur reach the FA Cup final by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3–0 in the semi-final replay at Highbury.

18 April 1981: Aston Villa take a decisive step towards the First Division title by beating Nottingham Forest 2–0 on the same day that Ipswich Town lose 2–0 at home to Arsenal.

25 April 1981: Aston Villa defeat Middlesbrough 3–0 at Villa Park, meaning they only need a draw from their final game of the season to seal their first league title since 1910. Leicester City are relegated.

29 April 1981: England draw 0–0 with Romania in their World Cup qualifying game at Wembley.

30 April 1981: Manchester United sack Dave Sexton after four trophyless seasons as manager.

2 May 1981: Aston Villa seal their first league title for 71 years despite losing their final game of the season 2–0 to Arsenal as Ipswich Town lose 2–1 to Middlesbrough, their third League defeat in four matches. Norwich City are relegated after a 3–2 home defeat to second-bottom Leicester City. Newly promoted to the First Division for next season are West Ham United after a three-year exile, Notts County after 55 years away, and Swansea City for the first time ever.

6 May 1981: Ipswich Town beat AZ Alkmaar 3–0 of Holland in the first leg of the UEFA Cup final at Portman Road.

9 May 1981: In the FA Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City's Tommy Hutchison scores for both teams, first putting Manchester City 1–0 but later scoring an own goal to bring the match to a replay.

12 May 1981: Zico scores the only goal as Brazil beat England 1–0 at Wembley.

14 May 1981: Tottenham Hotspur lift the FA Cup, defeating Manchester City 3–2 in the replay.

20 May 1981: Ipswich Town win the UEFA Cup 5–4 on aggregate despite losing 4–2 to AZ Alkmaar in the second leg of the final.

23 May 1981: England lose 1–0 at home to Scotland in the Home Championship, but the tournament remains unfinished after Northern Ireland are unable to complete their fixtures.

27 May 1981: An Alan Kennedy goal gives Liverpool their third European Cup triumph as they defeat Real Madrid 1–0 in the final at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

30 May 1981: A 2–1 defeat away to Switzerland leaves England struggling to qualify for the 1982 World Cup Finals.

6 June 1981: England end a run of six matches without a win with a 3–1 victory away to Hungary in a World Cup qualifier.

8 June 1981: Having failed to save Crystal Palace from relegation, Clive Allen drops down a division to return to Queens Park Rangers in a £400,000 deal.

9 June 1981: After a month of searching for a new manager, Manchester United appoint Ron Atkinson from West Bromwich Albion.

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