1977–78 in English football

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The 1977–78 season was the 98th season of competitive football in England.

Overview[edit]

First Division[edit]

Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest side took on the First Division by storm, winning the League Cup on 22 March and confirming themselves as league champions the following month. They joined a small and exclusive company of clubs to have won the league championship one season after promotion.

Manchester United broke the British transfer fee record on 9 February by paying Leeds United £495,000 for Scottish defender Gordon McQueen.

West Ham United, Newcastle United and Leicester City were all relegated.

Second Division[edit]

Bolton Wanderers, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur were all promoted, while Blackpool, Mansfield Town and Hull City were relegated.

Third Division[edit]

Wrexham, Cambridge United and Preston North End were all promoted, while Portsmouth F.C., Port Vale, Bradford City and Hereford United were all relegated. Portsmouth became the second English champions to fall through the Third Division trap door into the basement tier after Huddersfield Town.

Fourth Division[edit]

Wimbledon played their first season in the Football League, replacing Workington. Watford F.C., Southend United, Swansea City and Brentford F.C. were all promoted, while Southport F.C. failed to be re-elected and were replaced by Wigan Athletic. Southport would be the last club to drop out of the Football League until the introduction of automatic relegation to the Football Conference in 1987.

Non-league[edit]

Wigan Athletic were elected to the Football League in place of Southport. The club had applied for Football League membership 28 times since it was formed in 1932 in place of a previous club, Wigan Borough, who had briefly been league members during the 1920s.

FA Cup[edit]

Bobby Robson led Ipswich Town to victory in the FA Cup, winning the final 1–0 against Arsenal.

Northern League side Blyth Spartans beat Second Division Stoke City 3–2 away to become the first non-League team to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup since 1949. They were seconds away from reaching the quarter-finals, but Wrexham equalised from a retaken corner kick before winning a replay.

European football[edit]

Liverpool thrashed Hamburg 6–0 to win the European Super Cup 7–1 on aggregate. In the Hamburg side was former Liverpool striker Kevin Keegan. They went on to beat Club Brugge 1–0 thanks to a Kenny Dalglish goal to retain the European Cup.

Manchester United were thrown out of the European Cup Winners' Cup on owing to the behaviour of their fans in the away leg of their tie against St. Étienne. They were reinstated a week later, but had to play the second leg at least 300 km from Manchester, at Plymouth Argyle's Home Park ground.

Diary of the season[edit]

11 July 1977: Don Revie resigns as manager of the England national football team after three years in charge.

12 July 1977: Barely 24 hours after quitting as England manager, Don Revie accepts a four-year contract worth £340,000 to take charge of the United Arab Emirates national team, making him the highest-paid football manager in the world.

14 July 1977: Dave Sexton steps down at Queens Park Rangers to take over as manager of Manchester United, where Tommy Docherty was sacked ten days ago. Frank Sibley succeeds Sexton at QPR, becoming the youngest manager in the history of the top-flight.

17 July 1977: Fulham are banned from the transfer market due to a reported £700,000 debt.

25 July 1977: Manchester City pay £300,000 for Southampton striker Mick Channon, who signs a six-year contract at Maine Road.

3 August 1977: Derby County sign a sponsorship deal with Swedish carmaker Saab, who supply all of the club's players with a Saab car.

5 August 1977: The Football League backs The Football Association's ban on sponsors advertising themselves on player's strips. However, non-league clubs are permitted to show sponsor's names on their players' shirts.

10 August 1977: Kenny Dalglish becomes the most expense player to be signed by a British club when he joins Liverpool in a £440,000 move from Celtic. He takes over from Kevin Keegan, who recently joined Hamburg to become the most expensive player in Europe, as Liverpool's main striker.

11 August 1977: Pat Jennings ends 13 years at Tottenham Hotspur and signs for Arsenal in a £45,000 deal.

15 August 1977: Ron Greenwood, general manager of West Ham United and team manager until 1974, accepts an offer to become temporary manager of the England national team, initially for three matches only.

19 August 1977: Walsall hooligan Edward Beech, 19, receives a three-year prison sentence for kicking a policeman in the face at a game at Fellows Park last season.[1]

20 August 1977: Champions Liverpool open the First Division season with 1–1 draw away to Middlesbrough. Promoted Nottingham Forest win 3–1 at Everton.[2]

31 August 1977: Nottingham Forest top the First Division table at the end of the first month of the season after winning their first three matches. Birmingham City and West Ham United have both lost their first three games.[2]

8 September 1977: Sir Alf Ramsey makes a shock return to management, taking over at the First Division's basement side Birmingham City following the resignation of Willie Bell. However, he also announces that this role will only be temporary, and that he will step down by, at the latest, the end of the season.

19 September 1977: Tommy Docherty makes a swift return to management at Derby County, who demote Colin Murphy back to his previous role as reserve team manager.

30 September 1977: Manchester City, Nottingham Forest and Liverpool are level on points at the top of the League at the end of September. Newcastle United and winless Derby County fill the bottom two places.[2]

15 October 1977: Bottom-of-the-table Newcastle United lose their tenth consecutive League match,[2] a club record.[3]

31 October 1977: Nottingham Forest continue to set the pace at the end of October. They are now four points ahead of Liverpool. Newcastle United remain bottom, and are joined by Leicester City and Bristol City in the relegation zone.[2]

9 November 1977: Newcastle United sack manager Richard Dinnis, as a result of the club's appalling form combined with Dinnis publicly attacking club chairman Lord Westwood.

16 November 1977: England beat Italy 2–0 at Wembley Stadium in their final World Cup qualifying game, but will still fail to qualify for next summer's tournament, if Italy draw or win against Luxembourg.[4]

18 November 1977: Bill McGarry is appointed as Newcastle United's new manager, and shakes the club up by immediately announcing that several of the players who threatened strike action to secure the appointment of previous manager Richard Dinnis earlier in the year, in particular Alan Gowling, Tommy Craig and team captain Geoff Nulty, are transfer-listed with immediate effect and will not play for the club again.

30 November 1977: After picking up just four points from four matches this month, Nottingham Forest have had their lead at the top of the table cut to just one point by Everton, with West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City a further two points behind. At the bottom, Newcastle United are already seven points from safety; Leicester City and West Ham United complete the bottom three.[2]

3 December 1977: Italy's win against Luxembourg eliminates England from the World Cup.

6 December 1977: Liverpool win the European Super Cup by completing a 7–1 aggregate win over Hamburg; they win the second leg 6–0 after drawing 1–1 in the first leg.

12 December 1977: Ron Greenwood is appointed England manager on a four-and-a-half year contract despite their failure to qualify for the 1978 World Cup.

17 December 1977: Nottingham Forest shock everyone by beating Manchester United 4-0 at Old Trafford, shaking off the 'caretaker leaders' tag applied to them by members of the media, who firmly believed Liverpool would lead the way at this stage.

22 December 1977: West Bromwich Albion manager Ronnie Allen resigns, despite the club being fourth in the First Division.

31 December 1977: Nottingham Forest end a remarkable year with a clear five-point lead over Everton at the top of the First Division. Newcastle United have overtaken Leicester City at the bottom, and Queens Park Rangers have slipped into the relegation zone just two seasons after finishing second in the League.[2]

7 January 1978: Chelsea beat Liverpool 4–2 in the FA Cup third round.[5]

12 January 1978: Cambridge United manager Ron Atkinson is appointed as manager of West Bromwich Albion. Cambridge, who are second in the Third Division, announce that Atkinson's assistant, John Docherty will succeed him as manager.

28 January 1978: First Division strugglers Leicester City are knocked out of the FA Cup by Third Division Walsall in one of the shocks of this season's competition. Holders Manchester United are held to a 1–1 draw at home by West Bromwich Albion.[5]

31 January 1978: Nottingham Forest's title bid shows no signs of faltering, and they are six points ahead of Manchester City, Everton and Liverpool at the end of January.[2]

1 February 1978: West Bromwich Albion beat Manchester United 3–2 in an FA Cup fourth round replay.[5]

6 February 1978: Blyth Spartans, of the Northern Premier League, defeat Stoke City of the Football League Second Division 3–2 at the Victoria Ground to become the first non-league club to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup in 29 years. In another surprise result, Newcastle United are beaten 4–1 in a replay by Wrexham.[5]

9 February 1978: Manchester United pay a national record fee of £495,000 for Leeds United defender Gordon McQueen.

18 February 1978: Blyth Spartans concede a last-minute equaliser to Wrexham in a 1–1 draw at the Racecourse Ground that denies them a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.[5][6]

22 February 1978: Ron Greenwood's first match as permanent England manager ends in a 2–1 defeat to West Germany in Munich.[4]

27 February 1978: Wrexham finally end the FA Cup run of Blyth Spartans by beating them 2–1 in a replay at St James' Park.[5][6]

6 March 1978: Birmingham City appoint Blackburn Rovers manager Jim Smith as their new manager, as Sir Alf Ramsay announces his final retirement from football management.

8 March 1978: Liverpool suffer their fourth defeat in five League games, 4–2 at Derby County, and now trail Nottingham Forest by nine points having played a game more.[2]

11 March 1978: West Bromwich Albion beat Nottingham Forest 2–0 at The Hawthorns in the FA Cup sixth round. Arsenal beat Wrexham 3–2, and Ipswich Town win 6–1 at Millwall in a game interrupted by rioting spectators.[5][7]

14 March 1978: Second Division Orient take the last FA Cup semi-final spot with a 2–1 replay victory over Middlesbrough.[5]

18 March 1978: The League Cup final ends in a goalless draw between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.[8]

22 March 1978: Nottingham Forest end their 19-year wait for a major trophy by defeating Liverpool 1–0 in the Football League Cup final replay at Old Trafford,[8] thanks to a penalty by John Robertson.[9]

23 March 1978: Hartlepool United defender Dave Wiggett, 20, is killed in a car crash.

31 March 1978: Nottingham Forest remain in a commanding position at the top of the First Division, four points ahead of Everton with two games in hand. At the bottom, Leicester City and Newcastle United have been cut adrift, and Queens Park Rangers are one point behind West Ham United in the battle to avoid the remaining relegation spot.[2]

5 April 1978: Leicester City sack manager Frank McLintock, following a defeat to Liverpool which has all but confirmed their relegation barring a highly improbable set of results.

8 April 1978: Arsenal and Ipswich Town reach the FA Cup final after semi-final victories over Orient and West Bromwich Albion respectively.[5]

15 April 1978: Leicester City's relegation is confirmed with a 4–1 defeat at home to Birmingham City. The Foxes go down with just four wins and 22 goals from their 39 matches so far this season.[2]

17 April 1978: Newcastle United lose at Aston Villa and are relegated to the Second Division.[2]

19 April 1978: A goal from Kevin Keegan gives England a 1–1 draw against Brazil at Wembley.[4]

22 April 1978: Nottingham Forest seal the Football League First Division title, and become only the third club in history to do so a year after winning promotion.[10] They get the point they need to guarantee the championship with four matches left from a goalless draw with Coventry City.[2]

29 April 1978: West Ham United lose 2–0 at home to Liverpool, and can now only stay up on goal difference if Wolverhampton Wanderers lose their remaining two matches.[2] Alex Stepney, the 35-year-old Manchester United goalkeeper, retires from playing. He spent the final 12 years of his playing career at Old Trafford, and at the time of his retirement he was the club's longest serving player and the last player remaining from their European Cup triumph of 1968. He also contributed to the League title triumph of 1967, relegation in 1974, promotion in 1975 and FA Cup glory in 1977.[11]

2 May 1978: Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Aston Villa 3–1 to stay in the First Division at West Ham United's expense.[2]

4 May 1978: Champions Nottingham Forest draw 0–0 with second-place Liverpool at Anfield to finish seven points clear at the top of the table. They are unbeaten in their last 26 League matches, a run stretching back to November, and have lost just three League games all season.[2]

6 May 1978: Ipswich Town win the FA Cup for the first time in their history when an Roger Osborne goal gives them a 1–0 win over Arsenal at Wembley Stadium.

10 May 1978: Liverpool retain the European Cup thanks to a Kenny Dalglish goal against Club Brugge of Belgium at Wembley Stadium.

20 May 1978: Steve Coppell scores the only goal in England's 1–0 win over Scotland at Hampden Park. England win the Home Championship with a 100% record.[4]

2 June 1978: Wigan Athletic, runners-up of the Northern Premier League, are elected to the Football League Fourth Division at the expense of Southport. Boston United, champions of the Northern Premier League, had been unable to apply for election to the Football League.

15 June 1978: Less than three months after Hartlepool United defender Dave Wiggett was killed in a car crash, another Football League club is plunged into mourning with the death of a player when Blackpool midfielder Alan Groves died of a heart attack aged 29.

Famous debutants[edit]

3 September 1977: Cyrille Regis, 19-year-old French Guyana born striker, makes his debut for West Bromwich Albion against Middlesbrough at home in the First Division, scoring in a 2–1 win.[12]

15 April 1978: Terry Butcher, 19-year-old defender, makes his debut for Ipswich Town in the 1–0 First Division defeat by Everton at Goodison Park.[13]

Honours[edit]

Competition Winner Runner-up
First Division Nottingham Forest (1) Liverpool
Second Division Bolton Wanderers Southampton
Third Division Wrexham Cambridge United
Fourth Division Watford Southend United
FA Cup Ipswich Town (1) Arsenal
League Cup Nottingham Forest (1) Liverpool
Charity Shield Liverpool and Manchester United (shared)
Anglo-Scottish Cup Bristol City
Debenhams Cup Blyth Spartans Wrexham
Home Championship  England  Wales

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

Competition Winners
FA Trophy Altrincham
FA Vase Newcastle Blue Star
Isthmian League Enfield
Southern League Bath City
Northern Premier League Boston United

Football Writers' Association

Professional Footballers' Association

Football League[edit]

First Division[edit]

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Nottingham Forest 42 25 14 3 69 24 +45 64
2 Liverpool 42 24 9 9 65 34 +31 57
3 Everton 42 22 11 9 76 45 +31 55
4 Manchester City 42 20 12 10 74 51 +23 52
5 Arsenal 42 21 10 11 60 37 +23 52
6 West Bromwich Albion 42 18 14 10 62 53 +9 50
7 Coventry City 42 18 12 12 75 62 +13 48
8 Aston Villa 42 18 10 14 57 42 +15 46
9 Leeds United 42 18 10 14 63 53 +10 46
10 Manchester United 42 16 10 16 67 63 +4 42
11 Birmingham City 42 16 9 17 55 60 −5 41
12 Derby County 42 14 13 15 54 59 −5 41
13 Norwich City 42 11 18 13 52 66 −14 40
14 Middlesbrough 42 12 15 15 42 54 −12 39
15 Wolverhampton Wanderers 42 12 12 18 51 64 −13 36
16 Chelsea 42 11 14 17 46 69 −23 36
17 Bristol City 42 11 13 18 49 53 −4 35
18 Ipswich Town 42 11 13 18 47 61 −14 35
19 Queens Park Rangers 42 9 15 18 47 64 −17 33
20 West Ham United 42 12 8 22 52 69 −17 32
21 Newcastle United 42 6 10 26 42 78 −36 22
22 Leicester City 42 5 12 25 26 70 −44 22

Second Division[edit]

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Bolton Wanderers 42 24 10 8 63 33 +30 58
2 Southampton 42 22 13 7 70 39 +31 57
3 Tottenham Hotspur 42 20 16 6 83 49 +34 56
4 Brighton & Hove Albion 42 22 12 8 63 38 +25 56
5 Blackburn Rovers 42 16 13 13 56 60 −4 45
6 Sunderland 42 14 16 12 67 59 +8 44
7 Stoke City 42 16 10 16 53 49 +4 42
8 Oldham Athletic 42 13 16 13 54 58 −4 42
9 Crystal Palace 42 13 15 14 50 47 +3 41
10 Fulham 42 14 13 15 49 49 +0 41
11 Burnley 42 15 10 17 56 64 −8 40
12 Sheffield United 42 16 8 18 62 73 −11 40
13 Luton Town 42 14 10 18 54 52 +2 38
14 Leyton Orient 42 10 18 14 43 49 −6 38
15 Notts County 42 11 16 15 54 62 −8 38
16 Millwall 42 12 14 16 49 57 −8 38
17 Charlton Athletic 42 13 12 17 55 68 −13 38
18 Bristol Rovers 42 13 12 17 61 77 −16 38
19 Cardiff City 42 13 12 17 51 71 −20 38
20 Blackpool 42 12 13 17 59 60 −1 37
21 Mansfield Town 42 10 11 21 49 69 −20 31
22 Hull City 42 8 12 22 34 52 −18 28

Third Division[edit]

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Wrexham 46 23 15 8 78 45 +33 61
2 Cambridge United 46 23 12 11 72 51 +21 58
3 Preston North End 46 20 16 10 63 38 +25 56
4 Peterborough United 46 20 16 10 47 33 +14 56
5 Chester 46 16 22 8 59 56 +3 54
6 Walsall 46 18 17 11 61 50 +11 53
7 Gillingham 46 15 20 11 67 60 +7 50
8 Colchester United 46 15 18 13 55 44 +11 48
9 Chesterfield 46 17 14 15 58 49 +9 48
10 Swindon Town 46 16 16 14 67 60 +7 48
11 Shrewsbury Town 46 16 15 15 63 57 +6 47
12 Tranmere Rovers 46 16 15 15 57 52 +5 47
13 Carlisle United 46 14 19 13 59 59 +0 47
14 Sheffield Wednesday 46 15 16 15 50 52 −2 46
15 Bury 46 13 19 14 62 56 +6 45
16 Lincoln City 46 15 15 16 53 61 −8 45
17 Exeter City 46 15 14 17 49 59 −10 44
18 Oxford United 46 13 14 19 64 67 −3 40
19 Plymouth Argyle 46 11 17 18 61 68 −7 39
20 Rotherham United 46 13 13 20 51 68 −17 39
21 Port Vale 46 8 20 18 46 67 −21 36
22 Bradford City 46 12 10 24 56 86 −30 34
23 Hereford United 46 9 14 23 34 60 −26 32
24 Portsmouth 46 7 17 22 41 75 −34 31

Fourth Division[edit]

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Watford 46 30 11 5 85 38 +47 71
2 Southend United 46 25 10 11 66 39 +27 60
3 Swansea City 46 23 10 13 87 47 +40 56
4 Brentford 46 21 14 11 86 54 +32 56
5 Aldershot 46 19 16 11 67 47 +20 54
6 Grimsby Town 46 21 11 14 57 51 +6 53
7 Barnsley 46 18 14 14 61 49 +12 50
8 Reading 46 18 14 14 55 52 +3 50
9 Torquay United 46 16 15 15 57 56 +1 47
10 Northampton Town 46 17 13 16 63 68 −5 47
11 Huddersfield Town 46 15 15 16 63 55 +8 45
12 Doncaster Rovers 46 14 17 15 52 65 −13 45
13 Wimbledon 46 14 16 16 66 67 −1 44
14 Scunthorpe United 46 14 16 16 50 55 −5 44
15 Crewe Alexandra 46 15 14 17 50 69 −19 44
16 Newport County 46 16 11 19 65 73 −8 43
17 Bournemouth 46 14 15 17 41 51 −10 43
18 Stockport County 46 16 10 20 56 56 +0 42
19 Darlington 46 14 13 19 52 59 −7 41
20 Halifax Town 46 10 21 15 52 62 −10 41
21 Hartlepool United 46 15 7 24 51 84 −33 37
22 York City 46 12 12 22 50 69 −19 36
23 Southport 46 6 19 21 52 76 −24 31
24 Rochdale 46 8 8 30 43 85 −42 24

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]

  • 30 August 1977 - Alf Young, 71, played 283 league games in defence for Huddersfield Town between 1929 and 1939 and was capped nine times for England before his career was cut short by the war. After the war, he managed three Danish club sides and took charge of the Danish national side in 1956.
  • 23 October 1977 - Dick Crawshaw, 79, played 66 league at inside-forward for Manchester City, Halifax Town and Nelson between 1919 and 1924.
  • 29 November 1977 - Wilfred Milne, 78, spent his whole career as a full-back with Swansea between 1920 and 1937, making a club record 586 league appearances for the Swans.
  • 27 December 1977 - James Marshall, 69, began his career with Rangers in his native Scotland in 1925 and scored 138 league goals before his transfer south of the border to Arsenal in 1934. However, he played just four league games for the Gunners before he moved to West Ham United the following year, scoring 14 goals in 59 league games before retiring in 1937. He was capped three times by Scotland.
  • 22 February 1978 - Jack Taylor, 64, played 201 league games as a full-back for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Norwich City and Hull City between 1931 and 1950, his career being disrupted by the war. He then managed non-league Weymouth before being appointed to QPR in 1952, serving at Loftus Road for seven years despite failing to win them promotion from the third tier of the English league. He was then recruited to Leeds United but they were relegated and he was dismissed in March 1961 to be succeeded by Don Revie.
  • 23 March 1978 – Dave Wiggett, 20, Hartlepool United defender who was killed in a car crash.
  • 4 April 1978 – Tony Leighton, 38, former Doncaster Rovers, Barnsley, Huddersfield Town and Bradford City striker, who died from motor neurone disease.
  • 25 April 1978 - Harry Griffiths, 47, who served Swansea for most of the last three decades of his life, was the club's assistant manager when he died of a heart attack during the game at Vetch Field in which they clinched promotion to the Third Division. He made 422 appearances in the league as a full-back between 1949 and 1964, scoring an impressive (for a defender) 72 goals. He returned to the club as coach in 1967 and was promoted to the manager's seat in 1975, becoming assistant manager weeks before his death on the appointment of John Toshack as player-manager.
  • 15 June 1978 – Alan Groves, 29, Blackpool midfielder who died as a result of a heart attack. He had previously played for five other clubs, most notably Oldham Athletic.

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Smailes, Gordon (2000). The Breedon Book of Football Records. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 140. ISBN 1859832148. 
  3. ^ Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2011-2012. London: Headline. 2011. p. 265. ISBN 9780755362318. 
  4. ^ a b c d Payne, Mike (1993). England: The Complete Post-War Record'. Derby: Breedon Books. ISBN 1873626398. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Smailes, Gordon (2000). The Breedon Book of Football Records. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 233. ISBN 1859832148. 
  6. ^ a b http://www.wsc.co.uk/the-archive/37-As-good-as-it-got/1673-blyth-spartans-1977-78
  7. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/suffolk/content/articles/2008/02/19/itfc_1978_in_video_feature.shtml
  8. ^ a b Smailes, Gordon (2000). The Breedon Book of Football Records. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 257. ISBN 1859832148. 
  9. ^ http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-fc/liverpool-fc-news/2012/02/16/lfc-in-the-league-cup-final-1978-reds-suffer-heartbreak-as-referee-partridge-gets-them-the-bird-at-old-trafford-100252-30343034/2/
  10. ^ Entertainment & Sports Agency Limited. "Nottingham Forest FC News – Forest MAD". Archived from the original on 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  11. ^ http://www.sporting-heroes.net/football-heroes/displayhero_club.asp?HeroID=37689
  12. ^ http://www.sporting-heroes.net/football-heroes/displayhero_club.asp?HeroID=43080
  13. ^ http://www.sporting-heroes.net/football-heroes/displayhero_club.asp?HeroID=38741
  • Rothmans Football Yearbook 1978–79