1987/1988: A review of the season as told by the Panini Football Yearbook

In the late 80s Panini set up a football yearbook to rival the traditional Rothmans Football juggernaut. The 88/89 Panini yearbook is a charming edition that pulls you in during the editorial where it’s scathing of the Tory government, labelling it’s minister of sport as “unimpressive” and is very honest about the state of the game in England. But perhaps the most fascinating section of the book is the diary that details what happened during the previous season.

It’s unsurprising, but the football landscape in the late eighties was very different to what it is now. The game is riven with erratic transfer tribunals (do we even have those any more), low crowds and the dark spectre of football hooliganism. Despite this we did get to enjoy the Centenary celebrations with the highlight being the ludicrous Mercantile Credit Trophy weekend – you’ll find out about that later..

I’ve transcribed some of the more interesting news points below. What’s probably more intriguing than things that actually did happen are those rumours that never came to fruition. Brian Clough taking over from Mike England as Wales manager? Or how about Johan Cruyff accepting a role from Robert Maxwell as Derby County technical director? Cruyff opted for the Barcelona manager’s job instead, and the rest (as they say), is history.

JULY 1987
1 – FIFA confirm that the 46 African nations who advocated the amalgamation of the four British countries have withdrawn their proposal.
7 – The FA refuse to sanction pre-season trips of Spurs to Holland, and Leeds to West Germany.
9 – Spurs have their £10,000 fine for fielding a weakened side against Everton in Cup final week halved on appeal.
14 – Liverpool have to postpone their first home games because of a collapsed sewer under the Kop.
15 – Oxford announce a further £500,000 sponsorship deal with Wang.

7 – An informal meeting in London between UEFA president Jacques Georges and Sports Minister Colin Moynihan, England’s case for returning to European club competition is discussed and a review promised for next March.
8 – The Football League launch their centenary season with a 3-0 win at Wembley over a star studded Rest of the World side managed by Terry Venables and including Maradona, Michel Platini, and Gary Lineker.
9 – An American football game at Wembley draws 72,000 spectators, over 10,000 more than watched the previous day’s Football League Centenary match.
13 – The Football League announce a new sponsorship deal – £4.5 million over three years by Barclays Bank.
21 – Wolves are fined £5,000 because of their fans behaviour at Scarborough last Saturday, and a joint League and FA inquiry prohibits Wolves fans from obtaining tickets for six matches starting from September 1.
25 – Luton Town relax their ban on away fans for the Littlewoods Cup in time for the 2nd-round draw.
26 – Spanish champions Real Madrid thrash injury-depleted Everton 6-1 in a friendly in Madrid.
27 – Barcelona name Gary Lineker and Bernd Schuster as their two foreign players, omitting Mark Hughes and Steve Archibald from their squad.
30 – In Scotland, Celtic beat Rangers who have player-manager Graeme Souness sent off and take over from Aberdeen at the top on goal difference.

2 – QPR beat Everton 1-0 at Loftus Road and go top of Division 1.
3 – Chelsea announce a three-year £1.25m sponsorship deal with American-based computer giant Commodore, the biggest club sponsorship in British club football.
5 – The most extraordinary result of the day comes in Division 3 where Gillingham swamp Chesterfield, who had previously not conceded a goal, by 10-0!
8 – A Football League side, captained by Ossie Ardiles, scrapes a 2-2 draw with the Irish League in Belfast thanks to a late equaliser from Mirandhina.
9 – England go down 3-1 in West Germany. Neil Webb (Forest), on for Glenn Hoddle after an hour, becomes England’s 1,000th international.
12 – QPR beat Chelsea 3-1 with a Gary Bannister hat-trick and go 5 points clear at the top of Division 1.
16 – Welsh Cup holders Merthyr beat Atalanta of Italy 2-1 in the Cup-Winners Cup 1st round, 1st leg.
20 – In the first televised league match of the season a Steve Nicol hat-trick helps Liverpool to cruise past Newcastle 4-1 at St James’s Park.

8 – Luton, drawn at home to Coventry in the Littlewoods Cup, decide to play the tie at Craven Cottage rather than relax their member’s only rule.
12 – Luton transfer their home Littlewoods Cup tie with Coventry to Leicester because of the prohibitive cost of policing the game at Craven Cottage.
23 – Spurs manager David Pleat resigns after ‘kerb-crawling allegations in the Sun.
29 – Wimbledon’s Vinny Jones is fined £250 by the FA for remarks in a newspaper article.

2 – Glasgow Rangers captain Terry Butcher becomes the fourth player charged by the police over incidents in the Celtic match.
2 – Alex Ferguson fines Graeme Hogg for newspaper comments and loans him to West Brom for a month.
5 – UEFA fix Mo Johnstone’s transfer fee from Celtic to Nantes at £376,300 and order Celtic to pay him about £5,000 back pa.
16 – Sacked Spurs manager David Pleat is offered a job with Olympiakos, in Greece.
16 – QPR manager Jim Smith apologises for calling Spurs’ Ossie Ardiles a ‘con man’.
18 – Strong rumours abound that Fosters are to sponsor the FA Cup for £12m over three years.
19 – European Champions France, ignominiously failing to qualify this year, decline an invitation to compete in the Rous Cup, leaving the tournament with problems after Scotland had vetoed Uruguay and the Government had disapproved of Argentina.
20 – Derby chairman Robert Maxwell, also Oxford’s owner, has a takeover bid for Watford accepted, and will pay £3.5 million for Elton John’s shares and outstanding loans; League secretary Graham Kelly says the League will not block the move.
26 – The League refuse to back Robert Maxwell’s Watford takeover and ask him to withdraw. Maxwell accuses the League’s ‘mismanagement’ committee of being ‘frightened men’, declaring: ‘What we have is a professional game dominated by incompetent, selfish, bungling amateurs’!
30 – Mercantile Credit, sponsors of the League’s centenary celebrations, are disappointed with events so far and call for a review of the position.

9 – Forest win the indoor “Soccer-Six” tournament.
12 – Ian Rush is fined £2,500 after his comments in the Sun.
13 – Colombia agree to play England and Scotland in the Rous Cup.
14 – Struggling Morton sign three Danish players till the end of the season.
17 – Sheffield United chairman Reg Brealey sacks himself and suggests a few more chairmen do the same.
19 – Manchester United win away, but debutant Steve Bruce gives away a penalty and breaks his nose.
22 – The League agree to compromise over their pre-season knock-out tournament involving the top 8 Division 1 sides, part of their centenary celebrations, switching it to midweek in September and October.
29 – The FA express alarm at the sale of T-shirts with the slogan ‘England invasion of Germany 1988’,

8 – With many English clubs playing their fourth game in 8 days, about £7million has been taken at the turnstiles.
14 – The FA confirm that the Cup will not be sponsored, the traditionalists within the organisation having prevailed.
14 – Liverpool announce a new sponsorship deal worth £1m over three years, Candy replacing Crown Paints.
19 – AC Milan insure Ruud Gullit for £5m.
20 – Oxford United beat Manchester United 2-0 to reach the semi finals of the Littlewoods Cup.
24 – Arsenal sign Stoke full-back Lee Dixon for £400,000, 10 times what a League tribunal required Stoke to pay Bury for him at the start of hte season.
28 – Villa sign Crewe striker David Platt for £200,000 with £40,000 going to Platt’s first club Manchester United.
28 – QPR beat West Ham 3-1 at Loftus Road, where Wet German police, there to study crowd control, see an overcrowded section spill onto the field and hte game held up for an hour, but are impressed with the crowd behaviour and the police methods used.

3 – Former Spurs manager Keith Burkinshaw is sacked by Sporting Lisbon.
3 – The Welsh FA announce the termination of Mike England’s contract, which had 6 months still to run.
4 – FA of Wales secretary Alun Evans denies reports that Brian Clough is to be offered the job as part-time manager.
8 – Brian Clough expresses his eagerness to become part-time manager of Wales, against the wishes of Forest chairman Maurice Roworth, and is due to discuss terms with the Welsh FA subcommittee tomorrow.
8 – Betis of Seville sack manager John Mortimore.
9 – Brian Clough is set to take the Welsh job on the 24th, although he still has not got the nod from Forest.
11 – Forest refuse Brian Clough permission to manage Wales.
12 – Brian Clough says he will not resign from Forest over the Welsh job disappointment.
12 – Portsmouth, with a tax and VAT bill of over £700,000 have their assets frozen by the bank.
14 – In Division IV, Wolves come back to form with a 4-2 win at Exeter thanks to a Steve Bull hat-trick.
15 – Glenn Hoddle confirms his assertion that the technical standard of French football is higher than that in England by helping Monaco beat his former club Spurs 4-0 in a friendly at White Hart Lane.
16 – Everton’s lowest ever first-team gate at Goodison, 5204, see them lose 2-1 to Luton in the Simod Cup.
24 – Swindon fine Chris Kamara £1000 and suspend him for a month after an incident on Saturday when Shrewsbury striker Jim Melrose had his jaw broken.
24 – British Transport Police call on Cardiff to take action after their fans wrecked four trains on Saturday night.

MARCH 1988
1 – Tottenham’s lowest crowd of the season, 15986, see Spurs play out a dull goalless draw with Derby County.
2 – USA, Brazil and Morocco have bid to host the 1994 World Cup.
6 – Spurs chairman Irving Scholar refuses the Welsh FA permission to approach manager Terry Venables regarding the part-time job as Wales supremo.
15 – Chris Kamara is to be charged with causing grievous bodily harm, the first League player to face police proceedings over an on-field incident.

APRIL 1988
4 – Manchester United make a sensational comeback at Anfield, holding Liverpool 3-3 after being 3-1 down. United manager Alex Ferguson alleges that the ‘intimidating atmosphere’ at Anfield gets to referees and Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish becomes involved in the argument.
8 – Derby chairman Robert Maxwell invites Johan Cruyff to become technical director. Terry Yorath is appointed caretaker manager of Wales for three matches.
11 – Paul Gascgoine named PFA Young Player of the Year.
15 – Johan Cruyff announces that he will become Barcelona coach for a year, declining the offer from Derby.
16 – There is no Saturday Football League programme owing to the Centenary festival at Wembley sponsored by Mercantine Credit. The first day of the festival attracts some 40,000 spectators to see a knock-out competition between 16 clubs (eight from Division I, four from Div II, and two each from Divs III & IV), who qualified on the results of 15 League matches between November and February. From 20-minute each way matches, the semi-finalists to emerge are Manchester United, Sheffield Wednesday, Forest and, from a sector that contained Cup finalists Liverpool and Wimbledon, Fourth Division Tranmere Rovers. Tranmere are the heroes of the first day, beating Wimbledon 1-0 and Liverpool’s conquerers Newcastle 2-0. Seven of the other 10 matches are decided on penalties. Injuries to Liverpool’s John Barnes and Luton’s Mal Donaghy are unfortunate legacies of the tournament.
17 – Forest win the League festival at Wembley. Forest manager Brian Clough is conspicuous by his absence, as are the spectators, numbering only 17,000 on the second day.
18 – Swindon’s Chris Kamara, fined in the courts last week, is banned by FA for the rest of the season.
21 – Milan sign Lothar Matthaus from Bayern Munich for £2.4million.
23 – Liverpool and Celtic clinch the League Championships of England and Scotland.
24 – Luton beat holders Arsenal 3-2 at Wembley to win the Littlewoods Cup, their first ever major trophy.
27 – In Belfast Northern Ireland and France draw 0-0, with Luton’s young Littlewoods Cup star Kingsley Black making his debut as a 60th-minute substitute ad thus settling the unedifying tug-of-war going on all week between Billy Bingham and Bobby Robson for his services.

MAY 1988
2 – Millwall gain promotion to Division I for the first time in their history with a 1-0 win at Hull. They go up as champions, as do Sunderland from Division III and Wolves from Division IV.
3 – UEFA set a limit of 4 foreign players per squad of 16 in UEFA competitions, a ruling that could seriously affect British clubs, as ‘foreign’ denotes players not qualified to represent the club’s country.
12 – The Football League agree a provisional deal with the new British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) that would guarantee a minimum £9m per season and net football some £200m in 10 years; the BSB, with a 15-year franchise from the IBA and due to start operations in August 1989, would form a joint company with the League and the FA; but with the BBC and ITV possibly refusing to negotiate with a joint company, there may be no domestic football on TV next season.
14 – A 38th minute goal by Lawrie Sanchez and a second-half penalty save by man-of-the-match Dave Beasant give Wimbledon a sensational 1-0 victory over Liverpool at Wembley.
14 – Sports minister Colin Moynihan criticizes the West Germans’ refusal to have all-ticket matches in the European Championships.
16 – Newcastle’s Paul Gascgoine is fined £200 for kicking over a bucket of water after being sent off at Derby.
20 – The FA are to charge Cup-winners Wimbledon with bringing the game into disrepute after an incident during Alan Cork’s testimonial just two days after the final in which eight players dropped their shorts at half-time.
24 – Colombia hold England 1-1 at Wembley in an entertaining match watched by under 26,000. England win the Rous Cup.

JUNE 1988
3 – The League decree that from 1990-91 both sleeves of players’ shirts will carry the League logo.
4 – England win a full-scale work-out against Beazer Homes League champions Aylesbury 7-0 with Beardsley scoring 4.
7 – League secretary Graham Kelly is the surprise choice to succeed Ted Croker as chief executive of the FA.
8 – Wimbledon are fined £5,000 and nine players £750 each for the ‘mooning’ incident at Alan Cork’s testimonial.
15 – Holland dump England out of the European Championships with a fine 3-1 win.
16 – The FA withdraws its request to UEFA for the return of English clubs to European competition, And one of the points emerging from the Downing Street soccer summit is the possible withdrawal of the England team from international competition. The bookies give manager Bobby Robson only an even chance of still being in charge as media hysteria for his resignation grows.
27 – The FA ban a proposed international tournament at Wembley in mid-August between Arsenal, Spurs, AC Milan and Bayern Munich.
29 – The Football League name Holland, Spain, Belgium and parts of Greece out-of-bounds for League clubs this summer in an attempt to pre-empt trouble.

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