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The 1980-81 season was the 101st season of competitive football in Englandmarker.

Overview

The Football League introduced a three points for a win system in place of the two points for a win system which had operated since the league's formation in 1889. This was to be effective from the following season on.

First Division

The 1980-81 season saw Ron Saunders complete Aston Villa's revival, as they ended their 71-year wait for the league championship trophy. They competed in a two-horse race with Ipswich Town during the final stages of the season before pipping the Suffolk side at the post. Liverpool slipped into fifth place but compensated for this downfall by lifting the European Cup and their first-ever League Cup. But Manchester United failed to make the top five and this shortcoming cost Dave Sexton his manager's job. He was succeeded by Ron Atkinson, who had just finished fourth in the league and reached the UEFA Cup quarter finals with an impressive West Bromwich Albion side - who would suffer a rapid decline after Atkinson's departure.

Crystal Palace endured a dreadful season with just six wins. They were joined in the Second Division by also-doomed Norwich City and Leicester City.

Second Division

FA Cup holders West Ham United regained their First Division status by lifting the Second Division championship trophy. They were joined by Notts County and Swansea City, completing a meteoric rise under John Toshack, from the Fourth Division to the First in just four years.

Both Bristol clubs were relegated from the Second Division in 1980-81. They were joined in the drop zone by Preston North End.

Third Division

Rotherham United, Barnsley and Charlton Athletic occupied the promotion places in the Third Division. Hull City, Blackpool and Colchester United were joined in the Third Division drop zone by Sheffield United - who just seven years earlier had finished sixth in the First Division.

Fourth Division

Southend United, Lincoln City, Doncaster Rovers and Wimbledon occupied the four promotion places in the Fourth Division. There were no movements between the Fourth Division and the Alliance Premier League as the re-election system went in favour of the league's bottom four clubs.

FA Cup

Inspired by Ricardo Villa and Osvaldo Ardiles, World Cup winners with Argentina in 1978, Tottenham Hotspur overcame Manchester City in the FA Cup final replay to lift their first major trophy under the management of Keith Burkinshaw.

League Cup

Liverpool added to their European Cup triumph with their first-ever League Cup, beating West Hammarker 2-1 in a replay.

European football

English clubs continued their dominance of European football. Liverpool won the European Cup, ensuring that the European Cup remained in English hands for the fifth year running. Bobby Robson proved his managerial credentials by bringing UEFA Cup glory to Ipswich Town, who had narrowly missed out on the league title.

Star players

  • High scoring defensive midfielder John Wark was credited for his achievements at UEFA Cup Winners Ipswich Town by the PFA, who elected him Player of the Year.
  • Aston Villa's promising young forward Gary Shaw added the PFA Young Player of the Year award to his league championship medal.
  • The FWA voted Ipswich's Dutch winger Frans Thijssen as their Player of the Year.
  • West Bromwich Albion midfielders Bryan Robson and Remi Moses became two of the most feared players in the league and would soon follow their manager Ron Atkinson to Manchester United.


Star managers

  • Ron Saunders ended Aston Villa's 71-year wait for the league championship trophy by pipping Ipswich Town at the post.
  • Bob Paisley made up for Liverpool's disappointing league form with success in the European Cup and League Cup.
  • Bobby Robson couldn't quite bring the league championship trophy to Ipswich Town but compensated by bringing them the UEFA Cup.
  • Keith Burkinshaw completed his rebuilding programme at Tottenham Hotspur by yielding an FA Cup triumph.
  • John Lyall had another successful season with West Ham United as they won promotion to the First Division a year after winning the FA Cup.
  • John Toshack completed the quickest rise through the Football League with Swansea City, who climbed from the Fourth Division to the First Division with three promotions in four seasons.
  • Ron Atkinson took West Bromwich Albion to fourth place in the league to attain their second UEFA Cup place in three seasons.
  • Terry Neill guided Arsenal to third place in the league to ensure UEFA Cup qualification.
  • Jimmy Sirrel took Notts County into the First Division for the first time in nearly 60 years.
  • Norman Hunter attained promotion to the Second Division with Barnsley.


Diary of the season

13 June 1980: Clive Allen, 19, becomes the most expensive teenager in Europe when he joins Arsenal from Queen's Park Rangers in a £1,250,000 deal.

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.

31 August 1980: The first month of the Football League season ends with Ipswich Town as leaders, while Southampton, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Liverpool complete the top five. Stoke City, Manchester City and Leeds United occupy the bottom three places. [247758] The Second Division promotion race has begun with Blackburn Roversmarker, 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. [247759]

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

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. Nottingham Forest complete the top five. Crystal Palace have slumped to the bottom of the table, joined in the relegation zone by Manchester City and Leeds United. [247760] 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. [247761]

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 Bucharestmarker in their second World Cup qualifier.

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

31 October 1980: Aston Villa, who last won a top division title in 1910, finish October as First Division leaders, though Ipswich Town are two points behind them with two games in hand. Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Manchester United complete the top five. Crystal Palace, Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion occupy the relegation places. [247762] 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.

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, while Liverpol are second. 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 after a dismal run of results, joining Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion in the bottom three. [247763] West Ham United, Chelsea and Notts County continue to head the challenge for promotion to the First Division. [247764]

31 December 1980: 1980 draws to a close with Liverpool leading the First Division on goal difference ahead of Aston Villa. Ipswich Town in third place are a point behind the leaders with two games in hand. Arsenal and Nottingham Forest complete the top five. Crystal Palace and Leicester City remain in the bottom three, but Brighton & Hove Albion have climbed out of the drop zone at the expense of Norwich City. [247765] 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. [247766]

24 January 1981: Manchester City defeat Norwich City 6-0 in the FA Cup fourth round tie at Maine Roadmarker, just two months after John Bond's move between the two clubs as manager.

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's decline in form has pushed them down to third place, four points off the top. Southampton and West Bromwich Albion complete the top five, while Manchester United have fallen to ninth in the table and manager Dave Sexton is under great pressure as the club has yet to win any silverware in his four seasons as manager. Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Norwich City remain marooned in the bottom three. [247767] West Ham United continue to lead the race for promotion, with Notts County and Chelsea completing the top three. [247768]

18 February 1981: One of the biggest shocks of this season's FA Cup sees Fourth Division Exeter City defeat Newcastle United 4-0 in the replay after drawing 1-1 in the first game.

28 February 1981: Ipswich Town remain top of the First Division at the end of February, with Aston Villa two points behind them. The challenge from the other top five clubs - Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion and Nottingham Forest - is becoming more distant. The bottom three clubs - Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Norwich City - remain unchanged from last month. [247769] 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. [247770]

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 Queen's 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.

31 March 1981: Ipswich Town remain top of the First Division as March draws to a close, one point ahead of second placed Aston Villa and with a game in hand. The title challenge is now looking like a two horse race as the gap between their nearest contenders - Nottingham Forest, Southampton, West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool - has widened. Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Leicester City remain in the bottom three places. [247771] 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. [247772]

11 April 1981: Ipswich Town's treble bid is ended with a 1-0 defeat by Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Parkmarker. City will face either Tottenham Hotspur or Wolverhampton Wanderers (who drew 3-3 in the other semi-final at Hillsborough) in the final next month.

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

25 April 1981: Aston Villa defeat Middlesbrough 3-0 at Villa Parkmarker, meaning they only need a draw from their final game of the season - or for Ipswich Town to drop a point in either of their final two games - to seal their first league title since 1910.

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 to Arsenal as Ipswich Town lose to Middlesbrough. Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Leicester City have been relegated. 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 Hollandmarker in the first leg of the UEFA Cup final at Portman Roadmarker.

9 May 1981: Tommy Hutchison puts Manchester City 1-0 up against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup final, but then scores an own goal to bring the match to a replay.

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

20 May 1981: Ipswich Town win the UEFA Cup despite losing 4-2 to AZ Alkmaar in Hollandmarker.

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

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

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

13 July 1981: Everton sign 22-year-old goalkeeper Neville Southall from Bury for £150,000.

Honours

Competition Winner Runner-up
First Division Aston Villa Ipswich Town
Second Division West Ham United Notts County
Third Division Rotherham United Barnsley
Fourth Division Southend United Lincoln City
FA Cup Tottenham Hotspur Manchester City
League Cup Liverpool West Ham United
Charity Shield Liverpool West Ham United
Home Championship Tournament abandoned


League table

First Division

P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Aston Villa 42 26 8 8 72 40 +32 60
2 Ipswich Town 42 23 10 9 77 43 +34 56
3 Arsenal 42 19 15 8 61 45 +16 53
4 West Bromwich Albion 42 20 12 10 60 42 +18 52
5 Liverpool 42 17 17 8 62 42 +20 51
6 Southampton 42 20 10 12 76 56 +20 50
7 Nottingham Forest 42 19 12 11 62 44 +18 50
8 Manchester United 42 15 18 9 51 36 +15 48
9 Leeds United 42 17 10 15 39 47 -8 44
10 Tottenham Hotspur 42 14 15 13 70 68 +2 43
11 Stoke City 42 12 18 12 51 60 -9 42
12 Manchester City 42 14 11 17 56 59 -3 39
13 Birmingham City 42 13 12 17 50 61 -11 38
14 Middlesbrough 42 16 5 21 53 61 -8 37
15 Everton 42 13 10 19 55 58 -3 36
16 Coventry City 42 13 10 19 48 68 -20 36
17 Sunderland 42 14 7 21 52 53 -1 35
18 Wolverhampton Wanderers 42 13 9 20 43 55 -12 35
19 Brighton & Hove Albion 42 14 7 21 54 67 -13 35
20 Norwich City 42 13 7 22 49 73 -24 33
21 Leicester City 42 13 6 23 40 67 -27 32
22 Crystal Palace 42 6 7 29 47 83 -36 19

Second Division

P W D L F A GD Pts
1 West Ham United 42 28 10 4 79 29 +50 66
2 Notts County 42 18 17 7 49 38 +11 53
3 Swansea City 42 18 14 10 64 44 +20 50
4 Blackburn Roversmarker 42 16 18 8 42 29 +13 50
5 Luton Town 42 18 12 12 61 46 +15 48
6 Derby County 42 15 15 12 57 52 +5 45
7 Grimsby Town 42 15 15 12 44 42 +2 45
8 Queens Park Rangers 42 15 13 14 56 46 +10 43
9 Watford 42 16 11 15 50 45 +5 43
10 Sheffield Wednesday 42 17 8 17 53 51 +2 42
11 Newcastle United 42 14 14 14 30 45 -15 42
12 Chelsea 42 14 12 16 46 41 +5 40
13 Cambridge United 42 17 6 19 53 65 -12 40
14 Shrewsbury Town 42 11 17 14 46 47 -1 39
15 Oldham Athletic 42 12 15 15 39 48 -9 39
16 Wrexham 42 12 14 16 43 45 -2 38
17 Orient 42 13 12 17 52 56 -4 38
18 Bolton Wanderers 42 14 10 18 61 66 -5 38
19 Cardiff City 42 12 12 18 44 60 -16 36
20 Preston North End 42 11 14 17 41 62 -21 36
21 Bristol City 42 7 16 19 29 51 -22 30
22 Bristol Rovers 42 5 13 24 34 65 -31 23

Third Division

P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Rotherham United 46 24 13 9 62 32 +30 61
2 Barnsley 46 21 17 8 72 45 +27 59
3 Charlton Athletic 46 25 9 12 63 44 +19 59
4 Huddersfield Town 46 21 14 11 71 40 +31 56
5 Chesterfield 46 23 10 13 72 48 +24 56
6 Portsmouth 46 22 9 15 55 47 +8 53
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 19 14 13 56 44 +12 52
8 Burnley 46 18 14 14 60 48 +12 50
9 Brentford 46 14 19 13 52 49 +3 47
10 Reading 46 18 10 18 62 62 +0 46
11 Exeter City 46 16 13 17 62 66 -4 45
12 Newport County 46 15 13 18 64 61 +3 43
13 Fulham 46 15 13 18 57 64 -7 43
14 Oxford United 46 13 17 16 39 47 -8 43
15 Gillingham 46 12 18 16 48 58 -10 42
16 Millwall 46 14 14 18 43 60 -17 42
17 Swindon Town 46 13 15 18 51 56 -5 41
18 Chester City 46 15 11 20 38 48 -10 41
19 Carlisle United 46 14 13 19 56 70 -14 41
20 Walsall 46 13 15 18 59 74 -15 41
21 Sheffield United 46 14 12 20 65 63 +2 40
22 Colchester United 46 14 11 21 45 65 -20 39
23 Blackpool 46 9 14 23 45 75 -30 32
24 Hull City 46 8 16 22 40 71 -31 32

Fourth Division

P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Southend United 46 30 7 9 79 31 +48 67
2 Lincoln City 46 25 15 6 66 25 +41 65
3 Doncaster Rovers 46 22 12 12 59 49 +10 56
4 Wimbledon 46 23 9 14 64 46 +18 55
5 Peterborough United 46 17 18 11 68 54 +14 52
6 Aldershot 46 18 14 14 43 41 +2 50
7 Mansfield Town 46 20 9 17 58 44 +14 49
8 Darlington 46 19 11 16 65 59 +6 49
9 Hartlepool United 46 20 9 17 64 61 +3 49
10 Northampton Town 46 18 13 15 65 67 -2 49
11 Wigan Athletic 46 18 11 17 51 55 -4 47
12 Bury 46 17 11 18 70 62 +8 45
13 Bournemouth 46 16 13 17 47 48 -1 45
14 Bradford City 46 14 16 16 53 60 -7 44
15 Rochdale 46 14 15 17 60 70 -10 43
16 Scunthorpe United 46 11 20 15 60 69 -9 42
17 Torquay United 46 18 5 23 55 63 -8 41
18 Crewe Alexandramarker 46 13 14 19 48 61 -13 40
19 Port Vale 46 12 15 19 57 70 -13 39
20 Stockport County 46 16 7 23 44 57 -13 39
21 Tranmere Rovers 46 13 10 23 59 73 -14 36
22 Hereford United 46 11 13 22 38 62 -24 35
23 Halifax Town 46 11 12 23 44 71 -27 34
24 York City 46 12 9 25 47 66 -19 33
P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

Non-League football

The divisional champions of the major non-League competitions were :

League Champions
Alliance Premier League Altrincham
Athenian League Windsor & Eton
Cheshire County League Division One - Nantwich Townmarker
Division Two - Accrington Stanley
Combined Counties League Malden Town
Cornwall Combination Penryn Athleticmarker
Dorset Combination Dorchester Town reserves
Eastern Counties League Gorlestonmarker
Essex Olympian League Rayleigh Town
Essex Senior League Bowers United
Gloucestershire County League Almondsbury Greenwaymarker
Hellenic League Premier Division - Newbury Town
Division One - Wantage Townmarker
Herts County League Premier Division - Cockfosters
Division One - Bovingdon
Division Two - Sun Sportsmarker reserves
Division Three - Bovingdon reserves


Isthmian League Premier Division - Slough Townmarker
Division One - Bishop's Stortford
Division Two - Feltham

Kent League Division One - Cray Wanderers
Lancashire Combination Wren Rovers
Leicestershire Senior League Division One - Shepshed Charterhouse
Division Two - Lutterworth Townmarker
London Spartan League Premier Division - Fisher Athletic
Mid-Cheshire League Division One - Rylands
Division Two - Handforth Irwin
Midland Combination Division One - Moor Green
Division Two - Sheldon Promovere
Division Three - Southam Unitedmarker

Midland League Premier Division - Boston
Division One - Borrowash Victoria
Northern Alliance Percy Main Amateurs
Northern League Blyth Spartans
Northern Premier League Runcorn
South Midlands League Premier Division - Stotfoldmarker
Division One - The 61 FCmarker
South Western League St Blazeymarker
Southern League Midland Division - Alvechurch
Southern Division - Dartford
Sussex County League Division One - Paghammarker
Division Two - Whitehawkmarker
United Counties League Premier Division - Stamfordmarker
Division One - Stevenage Borough
Wearside League Chester-le-Street Town
West Midlands League Premier Division - Shifnal Townmarker
Division One - Oldswinford
Division Two - Bromsgrove Rovers reserves

Western League Premier Division - Bridgwater Town
Division One - Chippenham Town
Yorkshire League Division One - Leeds Ashley Road
Division Two - Ossett Albion
Division Three - Bradley Rangers



Bishop's Stortford won the FA Trophy, while Whickhammarker lifted the FA Vase.


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