1976–77 in English football

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The 1976–77 season was the 97th season of competitive football in England.

Overview[edit]

The Football League revamped the tie-breaking criteria for teams level of points, replacing the traditional goal average tie-breaker with one based on goal difference to try to encourage more scoring. Coloured red and yellow cards were introduced for the first time in domestic English football.

First Division[edit]

Liverpool retained their league championship trophy after a season long neck and neck battle with Ipswich Town and Manchester City that came down to the final game, City edging out Ipswich for second place. Liverpool also won their first European Cup to confirm Bob Paisley as a successful replacement for Bill Shankly in his third season at the helm. Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City's long spells in the First Division came to an end with relegation. Stoke sacked their manager Tony Waddington. On the last day of the season, with three teams hoping to avoid the last relegation place, Coventry City and Bristol City played out a controversial 2–2 draw. The kick-off had been delayed for fifteen minutes by Coventry chairman Jimmy Hill due "crowd congestion". With ten minutes still to play, and the sides level, play virtually stopped when it was announced over the tannoy that Sunderland had lost to Everton. Both clubs survived while Sunderland was relegated.[1]

After Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty had admitted his affair with the wife of the club's physiotherapist, the club's directors decided that he had broken their moral code and he was sacked.

Second Division[edit]

Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chelsea and Nottingham Forest gained promotion to the First Division. Brian Clough's Forest would achieve success beyond the dreams of most supporters over the next few seasons. Carlisle United, Plymouth Argyle and Hereford United occupied the three relegation places. Hereford became the first club to finish bottom of the Second Division after winning the Third Division the previous season.

Third Division[edit]

Mansfield Town, Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace were the three teams promoted to the Second Division. Palace's manager was a certain Terry Venables who would enjoy more success at Palace and elsewhere over the next 20 years. Going down were Reading, Northampton Town, Grimsby Town for admin entrance and York City.

Fourth Division[edit]

Cambridge United, Exeter City, Colchester United and Bradford City occupied the four promotion places in the league's lowest division. A terrible season for Workington was compounded by their failure to gain re-election to the Football League, a humiliation which saw them slip into the Northern Premier League. In their place were Southern League champions Wimbledon, who would make amazing progress over the next decade.

The British pop star Elton John took over Fourth Division side Watford and installed Graham Taylor as manager. Former Arsenal manager Bertie Mee came out of retirement to work at Watford as assistant to Graham Taylor. John immediately asserted his ambition by promising to bring First Division football to Watford.

FA Cup[edit]

Tommy Docherty guided Manchester United to a 2–1 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup final, but was sacked within weeks after announcing his affair with the wife of the club's physiotherapist.

A new competition, the Debenhams Cup, was introduced to reward the two teams from outside the top two divisions to progress furthest in the FA Cup. Chester beat Port Vale in the final but it was only competed for once more.

League Cup[edit]

Ron Saunders took Aston Villa to their second League Cup victory in three seasons as the midlanders continued to re-establish themselves as a top club.

European football[edit]

Liverpool won the European Cup for the first time, beating Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 in the final in Rome.

Star players[edit]

Star managers[edit]

Top goalscorers[edit]

First Division[edit]

Second Division[edit]

Third Division[edit]

Fourth Division[edit]

Diary of the season[edit]

21 August 1976: The First Division season opens with a surprise 1–0 win for promoted Bristol City over Arsenal at Highbury. Champions Liverpool beat Norwich City 1–0, but last year's runners-up Queens Park Rangers lose 4–0 at home to Everton.[2]

31 August 1976: No fewer than nine teams are level on four points at the top of the First Division after three matches. Aston Villa lead on goal difference. Norwich City are the only team yet to register a point.[2]

30 September 1976: Liverpool lead the First Division at the end of September, level on points with Middlesbrough. The two Manchester clubs are a point behind.[2]

9 October 1976: Surprise package Middlesbrough move to the top of the First Division table following a 1–0 win at home to Norwich City.[2]

13 October 1976: England beat Finland 2–1 at Wembley in their second World Cup qualifier.[3]

16 October 1976: The 1975 champions Derby County belatedly record their first League win of the season when they thrash Tottenham Hotspur 8–2 at the Baseball Ground. Newly promoted West Bromwich Albion beat Manchester United 4–0.[2]

18 October 1976: Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe stuns the world of football by handing in his resignation, saying that he believes a new manager will give the club a better chance of First Division survival. Despite a poor start which has seen the club marooned at the bottom of the table with no wins, Stokoe was still incredibly popular among the Roker Park faithful, due to his role in the club's victory in the 1973 FA Cup Final.

31 October 1976: Liverpool are the First Division leaders at the end of October, three points ahead of a chasing group that comprises Manchester City, Ipswich Town, Newcastle United, Leicester City and Middlesbrough. West Ham United are bottom, and Sunderland and Bristol City make up the bottom three.[2]

6 November 1976: Ipswich Town move up to second in the First Division with a 7–0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion. Tottenham Hotspur suffer another heavy defeat, 5–3 at struggling West Ham United.[2]

17 November 1976: With a team featuring six changes from their previous match, England suffer a major set-back in their attempt to reach the World Cup Finals when they are beaten 2–0 by Italy in Rome.[3]

25 November 1976: Barely 18 months after winning the First Division title, Derby County manager Dave Mackay resigns following a poor start to the season, which has left the club just a single point off the bottom of the table. Reserve team coach Colin Murphy takes over as caretaker manager of the club, who are rumoured to be looking to reappoint former manager Brian Clough.

30 November 1976: Liverpool retain a three-point lead from Ipswich Town and Newcastle United at the end of November. Tottenham Hotspur have joined West Ham United and Sunderland in the relegation zone.[2]

2 December 1976: After over a month without a permanent manager, Sunderland announce former Burnley manager Jimmy Adamson as Bob Stokoe's successor.

4 December 1976: Malcolm Macdonald scores a hat-trick for Arsenal in their 5–3 League win over his old team Newcastle United.[2][4]

15 December 1976: Aston Villa beat Liverpool 5–1 in the League at Villa Park.[2]

31 December 1976: At the end of the year, Liverpool's lead at the top of the First Division has been cut to two points over Ipswich Town, who have three games in hand, and Manchester City. Sunderland, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur continue to occupy the relegation zone.[2]

8 January 1977: Tottenham Hotspur are beaten 1–0 by Second Division Cardiff City in the FA Cup third round. Northern Premier League side Northwich Victoria beat Watford 3–2.[5]

10 January 1977: Everton sack manager Billy Bingham. The club had looked like possible title challengers early in the season, but a poor run of form has dropped them to the lower reaches of the table.

30 January 1977: Newcastle manager Gordon Lee is appointed as Everton's new manager. Lee's assistant at Newcastle, Richard Dinnis takes over as acting manager of the Tyneside club.

31 January 1977: Liverpool still lead the First Division, but Ipswich Town are now just a point behind, and still have three games in hand. Manchester City are a further two points adrift.[2]

2 February 1977: The Newcastle United squad, led by captain Geoff Nulty, threaten to strike unless Richard Dinnis is appointed as the club's permanent manager, with frictions exacerbated by the board signing Ralph Callachan without consulting either Dinnis or the other players. Later that day however, the board agree to the players' demands and appoint Dinnis as manager.

9 February 1977: England lose at home for the first time for four years when they are beaten 2–0 by Holland at Wembley.[3]

15 February 1977: Ipswich Town move to the top of the First Division with a 5–0 thrashing of Norwich City in the East Anglia derby.[2]

26 February 1977: Middlesbrough dump Arsenal out of the FA Cup with a 4–1 win at Ayresome Park in the fifth round. Manchester City lose 1–0 to Leeds United, and Manchester United draw 2–2 against Southampton in a repeat of last year's final.[5]

28 February 1977: Two successive defeats for Ipswich Town have allowed Liverpool to regain top spot in the race for the title. At the bottom, Tottenham Hotspur now prop up the table, and are joined by Sunderland and Bristol City in the relegation zone.[2]

5 March 1977: In a spectacular change in form, Sunderland beat West Ham United 6–0 at Roker Park. It is their third consecutive victory in a run in which they have scored sixteen goals.[2]

8 March 1977: Holders Southampton are knocked out of the FA Cup 2–1 by Manchester United in their fifth round replay.[5]

12 March 1977: The League Cup final ends in a 0–0 draw between Aston Villa and Everton at Wembley.[6] Arsenal's 2–1 loss to Queens Park Rangers is their seventh consecutive League defeat, a club record.[2][7]

16 March 1977: The Football League Cup final replay at Hillsborough ends in a 1–1 draw.[6]

19 March 1977: First Division heavyweights Everton, Leeds United, Liverpool and Manchester United all win their FA Cup sixth round ties to reach the last four.[5]

20 March 1977: Peter Houseman, who helped Chelsea win the FA Cup in 1970 and the European Cup Winners' Cup a year later, dies in a car crash at the age of 31. His wife is among the four people who die in the crash, which takes place near Oxford.

31 March 1977: With ten matches left, Ipswich Town have joined Liverpool at the top of the First Division table. Manchester City are three points behind with a game in hand, and Newcastle United are still in contention, a further point adrift. At the bottom, West Ham United, Sunderland, Derby County and Bristol City are separated by a single point.[2]

9 April 1977: Liverpool beat Manchester City 2–1 in a crunch League match at Anfield. Ipswich Town continue their challenge by winning 1–0 at Norwich City.[2]

13 April 1977: The Football League Cup final is decided at the third attempt when Aston Villa beat Everton 3-2 in the second replay at Old Trafford.[6] A last minute goal from Brian Little sends the trophy to Villa Park and prevents the game from going to a third replay.

23 April 1977: Everton and Liverpool draw 2–2 in the FA Cup semi-final at Maine Road, with referee Clive Thomas disallowing a late goal from Everton's Bryan Hamilton.[8] At Hillsborough, Manchester United beat Leeds United 2–1 to reach the final for the second consecutive year.[5]

27 April 1977: Liverpool beat Everton 3–0 in the semi-final replay to reach the FA Cup final.[5]

30 April 1977: Liverpool effectively end Ipswich Town's title challenge by beating them 2–1 at Anfield. Manchester City crash to a 4–0 defeat at relegation-threatened Derby County, and are now two points behind the Reds having played a game more. Meanwhile, half the clubs in the division remain in danger of relegation: Bristol City are bottom, but just five points separate the ten teams immediately above them, with Tottenham Hotspur in most danger, having played more games than their rivals.[2]

7 May 1977: Tottenham Hotspur's first relegation since 1935[7] is virtually guaranteed after the Londoners are thrashed 5–0 at Manchester City.[2]

14 May 1977: Liverpool are confirmed champions of the Football League First Division for the second season running and for the tenth time in total[9] following a 0–0 draw with West Ham United. Manchester City finish second. Tottenham Hotspur's relegation is confirmed, but in an extraordinarily close finish to the season, six other clubs are still fighting to avoid the other two relegation spots.[2]

16 May 1977: Stoke City lose 1–0 to Aston Villa and are relegated. West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers win their last matches of the season to survive, and Bristol City keep their hopes alive by beating Liverpool 2–1. They go into their last match level on points with Coventry City and Sunderland.[2]

19 May 1977: Coventry City and Bristol City draw 2–2 at Highfield Road and both survive in the First Division as Sunderland lose 2–0 at Everton to take the final relegation slot.[2]

21 May 1977: Liverpool's treble bid ends when they lose 2–1 to Manchester United in the FA Cup final.[5] It is United's first major trophy since they won the European Cup nine years ago.

24 May 1977: The First Division fixture schedule is completed when Everton beat Newcastle United. Just five points separate the bottom ten clubs in one of the closest finishes in the history of the League.[2]

25 May 1977: Liverpool win the European Cup for the first time, defeating Borussia Mönchengladbach of West Germany 3-1 Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

28 May 1977: Wimbledon, champions of the Southern League, are elected to the Football League Fourth Division at the expense of Workington, who drop into the Northern Premier League. [3]

31 May 1977: England lose to Wales at Wembley for the first time when Leighton James scores the only goal from the penalty spot in a Home Championship fixture.[3]

4 June 1977: Scotland beat England 2–1 at Wembley to clinch the Home Championship, but their victory is overshadowed by a pitch invasion by celebrating supporters.[3]

15 June 1977: After previous draws against Brazil and Argentina, England end their South American summer tour with a 0–0 draw against Uruguay.[3]

1 July 1977: Liverpool sell striker Kevin Keegan for a European record fee of £500,000.[10]

4 July 1977: Just six weeks after managing Manchester United to FA Cup glory, Tommy Docherty is sacked by the United board soon after admitting to having an affair with Mary Brown, the wife of club phsyiotherapist Laurie Brown. [4]

11 July 1977: Don Revie announces his resignation as England manager after three years.

14 July 1977: Dave Sexton is announced as the new Manchester United manager.

Honours[edit]

Competition Winner Runner-up
First Division Liverpool (10*) Manchester City
Second Division Wolverhampton Wanderers Chelsea
Third Division Mansfield Town Brighton & Hove Albion
Fourth Division Cambridge United Exeter City
FA Cup Manchester United (4) Liverpool
League Cup Aston Villa (3*) Everton
Charity Shield Liverpool Southampton
Debenhams Cup Chester Port Vale
Home Championship  Scotland  Wales &  England

Notes = Number in parentheses is the times that club has won that honour. * indicates new record for competition

League table[edit]

First Division[edit]

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 42 23 11 8 62 33 +29 57
2 Manchester City 42 21 14 7 60 34 +26 56
3 Ipswich Town 42 22 8 12 66 39 +27 52
4 Aston Villa 42 22 7 13 76 50 +26 51
5 Newcastle United 42 18 13 11 64 49 +15 49
6 Manchester United 42 18 11 13 71 62 +9 47
7 West Bromwich Albion 42 16 13 13 62 56 +6 45
8 Arsenal 42 16 11 15 64 59 +5 43
9 Everton 42 14 14 14 62 64 −2 42
10 Leeds United 42 15 12 15 48 51 −3 42
11 Leicester City 42 12 18 12 47 60 −13 42
12 Middlesbrough 42 14 13 15 40 45 −5 41
13 Birmingham City 42 13 12 17 63 61 +2 38
14 Queens Park Rangers 42 13 12 17 47 52 −5 38
15 Derby County 42 9 19 14 50 55 −5 37
16 Norwich City 42 14 9 19 47 64 −17 37
17 West Ham United 42 11 14 17 46 65 −19 36
18 Bristol City 42 11 13 18 38 48 −10 35
19 Coventry City 42 10 15 17 48 59 −11 35
20 Sunderland 42 11 12 19 46 54 −8 34
21 Stoke City 42 10 14 18 28 51 −23 34
22 Tottenham Hotspur 42 12 9 21 48 72 −24 33

Second Division[edit]

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 42 22 13 7 84 45 +39 57
2 Chelsea 42 21 13 8 73 53 +20 55
3 Nottingham Forest 42 21 10 11 77 43 +34 52
4 Bolton Wanderers 42 20 11 11 75 54 +21 51
5 Blackpool 42 17 17 8 58 42 +16 51
6 Luton Town 42 21 6 15 67 48 +19 48
7 Charlton Athletic 42 16 16 10 71 58 +13 48
8 Notts County 42 19 10 13 65 60 +5 48
9 Southampton 42 17 10 15 72 67 +5 44
10 Millwall 42 15 13 14 57 53 +4 43
11 Sheffield United 42 14 12 16 54 63 −9 40
12 Blackburn Rovers 42 15 9 18 42 54 −12 39
13 Oldham Athletic 42 14 10 18 52 64 −12 38
14 Hull City 42 10 17 15 45 53 −8 37
15 Bristol Rovers 42 12 13 17 53 68 −15 37
16 Burnley 42 11 14 17 46 64 −18 36
17 Fulham 42 11 13 18 54 61 −7 35
18 Cardiff City 42 12 10 20 56 67 −11 34
19 Orient 42 9 16 17 37 55 −18 34
20 Carlisle United 42 11 12 19 49 75 −26 34
21 Plymouth Argyle 42 8 16 18 46 65 −19 32
22 Hereford United 42 8 15 19 57 78 −21 31

Third Division[edit]

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Mansfield Town 46 28 8 10 78 42 +36 64
2 Brighton & Hove Albion 46 25 11 10 83 40 +43 61
3 Crystal Palace 46 23 13 10 68 40 +28 59
4 Rotherham United 46 22 15 9 69 44 +25 59
5 Wrexham 46 24 10 12 80 54 +26 58
6 Preston North End 46 21 12 13 64 43 +21 54
7 Bury 46 23 8 15 64 59 +5 54
8 Sheffield Wednesday 46 22 9 15 65 55 +10 53
9 Lincoln City 46 19 14 13 77 70 +7 52
10 Shrewsbury Town 46 18 11 17 65 59 +6 47
11 Swindon Town 46 15 15 16 68 75 −7 45
12 Gillingham 46 16 12 18 55 64 −9 44
13 Chester 46 18 8 20 48 58 −10 44
14 Tranmere Rovers 46 13 17 16 51 53 −2 43
15 Walsall 46 13 15 18 57 65 −8 41
16 Peterborough United 46 13 15 18 55 65 −10 41
17 Oxford United 46 12 15 19 55 65 −10 39
18 Chesterfield 46 14 10 22 56 64 −8 38
19 Port Vale 46 11 16 19 47 71 −24 38
20 Portsmouth 46 11 14 21 53 70 −17 36
21 Reading 46 13 9 24 49 73 −24 35
22 Northampton Town 46 13 8 25 60 75 −15 34
23 Grimsby Town 46 12 9 25 45 69 −24 33
24 York City 46 10 12 24 50 89 −39 32

Administration entrance= Grimsby Town

Fourth Division[edit]

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Cambridge United 46 26 13 7 87 40 +47 65
2 Exeter City 46 25 12 9 70 46 +24 62
3 Colchester United 46 25 9 12 77 43 +34 59
4 Bradford City 46 23 13 10 78 51 +27 59
5 Swansea City 46 25 8 13 92 68 +24 58
6 Barnsley 46 23 9 14 62 39 +23 55
7 Watford 46 18 15 13 67 50 +17 51
8 Doncaster Rovers 46 21 9 16 71 65 +6 51
9 Huddersfield Town 46 19 12 15 60 49 +11 50
10 Southend United 46 15 19 12 52 45 +7 49
11 Darlington 46 18 13 15 59 64 −5 49
12 Crewe Alexandra 46 19 11 16 47 60 −13 49
13 Bournemouth 46 15 18 13 54 44 +10 48
14 Stockport County 46 13 19 14 53 57 −4 45
15 Brentford 46 18 7 21 77 76 +1 43
16 Torquay United 46 17 9 20 59 67 −8 43
17 Aldershot 46 16 11 19 49 59 −10 43
18 Rochdale 46 13 12 21 50 59 −9 38
19 Newport County 46 14 10 22 42 58 −16 38
20 Scunthorpe United 46 13 11 22 49 73 −24 37
21 Halifax Town 46 11 14 21 47 58 −11 36
22 Hartlepool 46 10 12 24 47 73 −26 32
23 Southport 46 3 19 24 33 77 −44 25
24 Workington 46 4 11 31 41 102 −61 19

P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

Deaths[edit]

  • 22 October 1976 – Willie Hamilton, 38, former Scottish international forward who had played for Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa as well as several Scottish clubs. Died in Canada as a result of a heart attack.
  • 20 March 1977 – Peter Houseman, 31, Oxford United midfielder who had previously played for Chelsea when they won the F.A Cup in 1970 and the Cup Winners Cup a year later. Houseman died in a car crash near Oxford. His wife also died in the crash.
  • 18 May 1977 - Tony Aveyard, 21, Scarborough winger, died in hospital after collapsing as a result of a head injury in a Northern Premier League fixture two days earlier.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fans' revenge on Fulham legend Jimmy Hill". Sunderland Echo. 20 October 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Smailes, Gordon (2000). The Breedon Book of Football Records. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 138. ISBN 1859832148. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Payne, Mike (1993). England: The Complete Post-War Record'. Derby: Breedon Books. ISBN 1873626398. 
  4. ^ Hutchinson, R. (2011). The Toon. Random House. ISBN 1780573146. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Smailes, Gordon (2000). The Breedon Book of Football Records. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 232. ISBN 1859832148. 
  6. ^ a b c Smailes, Gordon (2000). The Breedon Book of Football Records. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 256. ISBN 1859832148. 
  7. ^ a b Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2011-2012. London: Headline. 2011. ISBN 9780755362318. 
  8. ^ Liverpool v Everton FA Cup semi-final 1977: The story of the goal that never was, Mail Online
  9. ^ Entertainment & Sports Agency Limited. "Liverpool FC News – LFC Online". Archived from the original on 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ [2]