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The 1983-84 season was the 104th season of competitive football in England.

Contents

Overview

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First Division

Liverpool had a great first season under the management of Joe Fagan as they wrapped up their third successive league title and the 15th in their history. They overcame strong competition from Southampton, Nottingham Forest and Manchester United to lift the championship trophy.

Southampton finished second in the league to record their highest-ever final position and achieve a UEFA Cup place, claiming six points from the last two games (both away) to climb up from fifth place.

The First Division relegation places were occupied by Birmingham City, Notts County and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Second Division

The £1 rescue deal of Chelsea by chairman Ken Bates paid off as they won the Second Division title and were promoted to the First Division along with Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United.

A terrible season saw Cambridge United finish bottom of the Second Division and go down to the Third Division. They didn't win a single game between October 1 1983, when they beat Oldham Athletic 2-1 at the Abbey Stadium and April 28 1984, when they beat Newcastle United 1-0. They were joined by two clubs who had been enjoying better fortunes only a short time ago - Swansea City, who had finished sixth in the First Division just two years earlier, and Derby County, who had been league champions just nine years earlier. Derby's Peter Taylor, who almost guided the club to the semi-finals in the FA Cup that season, resigned as manager and his surprise successor was Arthur Cox, who had just taken Newcastle into the First Division.

Dave Bassett agreed to take charge of Crystal Palace at the end of the season, but changed his mind three days later - without signing the contract - and returned to Wimbledon. Palace installed former Manchester United winger Steve Coppell, 29, as their new manager.

Third Division

Oxford United, Wimbledon and Sheffield United continued their rise through the league by gaining promotion to the Second Division.

Scunthorpe United, Southend United, Port Vale and Exeter City slipped out of the Third Division.

Narrowly avoiding the Third Division drop zone were Plymouth Argyle, who compensated for their dismal league form by reaching the FA Cup semi finals for the first time in their history.

Fourth Division

York City, Doncaster Rovers, Reading and Bristol City occupied the Fourth Division promotion places. York City became the first team in English league football to gain more than 100 points in a season, with 101. It was Bristol City's first successful season for a long time and a welcome piece of good news after their recent fall from the First to Fourth Division in successive seasons.

The re-election system voted in favour of the bottom four clubs in the Fourth Division once again.

FA Cup

Everton overcame Watford 2–0 at Wembley to win the FA Cup, with goals from Graeme Sharp and Andy Gray.

  • 7th January saw AFC Bournemouth pull off one of the biggest upsets of all time by beating Man United 2-0

League Cup

Liverpool won their fourth successive League Cup, with a 1–0 win over neighbours Everton in a replay.

European football

Liverpool also won the European Cup, to complete a unique treble of trophies. Keith Burkinshaw resigned after seven years as Tottenham Hotspur manager, and went out on a high after his side won the UEFA Cup.

Diary of the season

6 June 1983: Resurgent Portsmouth, newly promoted to the Second Division after winning last season's Third Division title, prepare for their latest challenge by paying a club record £180,000 for Coventry City's 21-year-old striker Mark Hateley.

1 August 1983: Gerry Francis, former England midfielder, is appointed player-manager of Exeter City.

4 August 1983: Chelsea, who narrowly avoided relegation to the Third Division last season, prepare for a better run of form this season by paying Reading £175,000 for 21-year-old striker Kerry Dixon.

31 August 1983: August draws to a close with West Ham United as First Division leaders, level on points with Aston Villa and Arsenal level on points, while Coventry City and Southampton completing the top five. Leicester City, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Luton Town and Watford prop up the top flight having yet to gain their first points of the season. [1]

21 September 1983: England lose 1–0 to Denmark in their Euro 84 qualifier at Wembley, making Euro 84 qualification unlikely.

23 September 1983: Newcastle United boost their Second Division promotion push by signing Peter Beardsley, who was rejected by Manchester United last season, in a £150,000 deal from Vancouver Whitecaps.

30 September 1983: West Ham United remain top of the First Division at the end of September, with Manchester United, Southampton, Liverpool and Ipswich Town completing the top five. Leicester City's terrible start to the season sees them prop up the top flight with only a single point from their opening seven games. Wolverhampton Wanderers (winless) and Stoke City (one win) complete the bottom three. [2] Sheffield Wednesday head the race for promotion from the Second Division, followed closely behind by recently relegated Manchester City and a Huddersfield Town side who only won promotion from the Fourth Division four seasons ago. Middlesbrough, Charlton Athletic and Chelsea have also made a good start to the Second Division campaign. [3]

12 October 1983: England keep their faint hopes of Euro 84 qualification alive by beating Hungary 3–0 in Budapest in their penultimate qualifying game, but Denmark remain top of the group.

20 October 1983: Coventry City sign 21-year-old full-back Stuart Pearce from Alliance Premier League side Wealdstone.

31 October 1983: October draws to a close with Manchester United top of the First Division. Liverpool continue their push for a third successive league title as they stand second, while newly promoted Queens Park Raners occupy third place and are bracketed together on points with fellow title challengers West Ham United, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur. Wolverhampton Wanderers, still without a win after 11 games, remain bottom of the table. Leicester City and Notts County complete the bottom three. [4] Sheffield Wednesday are still top of the Second Division, joined in the top three by Newcastle United and Manchester City. Chelsea, Huddersfield Town and Grimsby Town are pushing them hard for promotion. [5]

1 November 1983: Watford sign 20-year-old striker Mo Johnston from Partick Thistle for £200,000.

16 November 1983: England fail to qualify for the Euro 84 despite a 4–0 away win over Luxembourg in their final qualifying game, as Denmark's 2–0 win in Greece places them top of the group.

23 November 1983: Watford further boost their ranks with the £150,000 signing of 19-year-old defender David Bardsley from Blackpool.

30 November 1983: Liverpool's bid a for a third successive league title is now looking stronger as they finish November as First Division leaders with a one-point lead over their nearest rivals West Ham United and Manchester United. Tottenham Hotspur occupy fourth place, while Luton Town look good bets for qualifying for the UEFA Cup and entering European competition for the first time as they occupy fifth place. Wolverhampton Wanderers have finally managed their first win of the league campaign but are still bottom of the First Division with a mere seven points, with Leicester City second from bottom and Watford (last season's league runners-up) completing the bottom three. Everton are just three places (but eight points) clear of the relegation zone and manager Howard Kendall is starting to fall out of favour with the club's fans. [6] Sheffield Wednesday are still top of the Second Division, while Newcastle United remain in the top three and Chelsea have climbed in at the expense of Manchester City. [7]

1 December 1983: Newcastle United further boost their promotion bid with the £150,000 acquisition of Queen's Park Rangers defender Glenn Roeder, while Terry Neill makes a last-ditch attempt to reverse Arsenal's dismal league form by signing 21-year-old Manchester City defender Tommy Caton for £500,000.

10 December 1983: Coventry City achieve one of the most surprising results of the season by defeating league champions Liverpool 4–0 at Highfield Road.

16 December 1983: Terry Neill is sacked after more than seven years as manager of Arsenal, who occupy 16th place in the First Division.

19 December 1983: Arsenal sell misfit striker Lee Chapman to Sunderland for £200,000.

31 December 1983: 1983 draws to a close with Liverpool still top of the First Division and now with a three-point margin over their nearest rivals Manchester United. West Ham United keep up their challenge for a first-ever league title as they occupy third place, followed closely behind by Southampton, another team yet to be champions of the top flight. Nottingham Forest keep the top five, but there is intense pressure upon them from surprise challengers including Luton Town, Queens Park Rangers and Coventry City. At the other end of the table, Wolverhampton Wanderers continue to prop up the top flight having still only achieved three wins this season. Stoke City and Notts County complete the bottom three.[8] Chelsea, Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City occupy the top three places in the Second Division, but Newcastle United are close behind along with surprise promotion contenders Grimsby Town and Carlisle United. [9] At the other end of the table, Leeds United and Derby County (First Division champions as recently as 1974 and 1975 respectively) are hovering just above the relegation zone. [10]

7 January 1984: AFC Bournemouth pull off one of the biggest FA Cup upsets of all time with a 2–0 win over holders Manchester United in the third round.

31 January 1984: January draws to a close with Liverpool still top of the First Division, with Manchester United, West Ham United, Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers completing the top five. Wolverhampton Wanderers and Stoke City are bracketed together on points at the foot of the table, with Notts County completing the bottom three. Ipswich Town, who were league runners-up just two seasons ago, are now just three places above the relegation zone, though with a nine-point gap between them and Notts County. Last season's runners-up Watford, on the other hand, are putting their terrible start to the season behind them and have climbed to a secure 13th place standing. [11] Chelsea, Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City continue to lead the way in the Second Division, still being pushed hard by Newcastle United as well as Grimsby Town, Charlton Athletic, Carlisle United and Blackburn Rovers. [12]

18 February 1984: First Division West Bromwich Albion suffer a shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Third Division strugglers Plymouth Argyle, who win 1–0 in the fifth round showdown at The Hawthorns.

29 February 1984: England's first international game since the Euro 84 qualifying failure ends in a 2–0 defeat to France in the Parc des Princes. On the club scene, Liverpool continue to top the First Division, with a four-point lead over their nearest challengers Manchester United. Nottingham Forest, West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers complete the top five. Wolverhampton Wanderers remain bottom of the table, now needing something little short of a miracle as they are 13 points adrift of safety with 14 games to go. Notts County's survival hopes are hardly any stronger as they are 11 points adrift of safety. Stoke City complete the bottom three but are turning up the heat on the likes of West Bromwich Albion, Leicester City and Ipswich Town. [13] Sheffield Wednesday and Chelsea are level at the top of the Second Division, while Grimsby Town have crept into the top three at the expense of Manchester City. [14]

10 March 1984: Liverpool pay Ipswich Town £450,000 for midfielder John Wark. [15]

14 March 1984: FA Cup surprise package Plymouth Argyle book a semi-final place by beating Derby County 1–0 in the quarter-final replay at the Baseball Ground, four days after the first match ended in a goalless draw at Home Park.

21 March 1984: Oxford United, heading for promotion glory under Jim Smith in the Third Division, sign high-scoring Newport County striker John Aldridge for £78,000.

25 March 1984: Liverpool and Everton force a replay by drawing 0–0 in the first all-Merseyside Football League Cup final.

28 March 1984: Liverpool win an unprecedented fourth successive Football League Cup by beating Everton 1–0 in the replay.

31 March 1984: Liverpool remain top of the First Division as March draws to a close, but their lead over Manchester United is now just two points wide. Nottingham Forest, West Ham United and Southampton complete the top five, but there is intense pressure from the likes of Queens Park Rangers, Tottenham Hotspur and a resurgent Arsenal for the UEFA Cup places. Wolverhampton Wanderers are now 14 points adrift of safety (though with a game in hand) and their relegation is now looking more inevitable that ever. Notts County's survival task remains an uphill one as they are still eight points adrift of safety (with a game in hand), while Ipswich Town complete the bottom three just two years after almost winning the league. Stoke City and Sunderland are barely clear of the drop zone, while Coventry City's dramatic loss of form has sucked them into the relegation battle. [16] Chelsea, Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United are level at the top of the Second Division on 66 points, six points ahead of nearest fellow promotion contenders Carlisle United. [17]

14 April 1984: Everton defeat Southampton 1–0 in the FA Cup semi-final to reach their first final for 16 years, while Watford reach the FA Cup final for the first time ever with their 1–0 win over giantkilling Plymouth Argyle who this time weren't quite good enough.

30 April 1984: April finishes with the First Division title race now virtually a two-horse race between leaders Liverpool and second-placed Manchester United. Queens Park Rangers, Southampton and Nottingham Forest complete the top five, but there is strong competition for a UEFA Cup place from Arsenal and West Ham United. At the other end of the table, Wolverhampton Wanderers have had their relegation confirmed just one season after promotion. Notts County's survival hopes are now looking slim, but Stoke City are turning up the heat on Ipswich Town as well as a Birmingham City side who had looked safe just weeks ago before a drastic loss of form set in. [18] Sheffield Wednesday have sealed their return to the top flight after 14 years away, as have Chelsea after a five-year absence, though the Second Division title has yet to be decided. Newcastle United only need four points from their final three games to be sure of promotion after six years away, though they remain under a distant threat from Manchester City and Grimsby Town. [19]

7 May 1984: Manchester United's 2–1 defeat by Ipswich Town and Liverpool's 5–0 win over Coventry City makes it almost certain that Liverpool will seal the First Division title. Meanwhile, Notts County's relegation is confirmed but there is still every chance of survival for Stoke City, who are now level on points with Coventry City and Birmingham City, and within touching distance of West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland. [20]

9 May 1984: Tottenham Hotspur draw 1–1 with R.S.C. Anderlecht in the first leg of the UEFA Cup Final in Brussels.

10 May 1984: Ray Wilkins accepts an offer to join AC Milan from Manchester United in a £1.5 million deal.

12 May 1984: Liverpool seal their third successive league title, while the final relegation place goes to Birmingham City. Southampton have finished in second place - the highest finish in their history - while Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and QPR complete the top five. [21] Newcastle United have sealed the final Second Division promotion place, with key striker Kevin Keegan announcing his retirement from playing at the age of 33. [22]

19 May 1984: Everton win their first major trophy in 14 years by defeating Watford 2–0 in the FA Cup final. This given them entry to next season's European Cup Winners' Cup. England's entrants into the European Cup next season with be Liverpool, while the UEFA Cup entrants will be Southampton, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and Queens Park Rangers.

21 May 1984: PFA Young Player of the Year Paul Walsh joins Liverpool from Luton Town for £700,000 as manager Joe Fagan lines him up as a potential long-term successor to the 33-year-old Kenny Dalglish.

23 May 1984: Tottenham Hotspur draw 1–1 in the UEFA Cup final second leg at White Hart Lane, and beat R.S.C. Anderlecht on penalties to lift the trophy.

25 May 1984: Everton pay Sunderland £425,000 for 22-year-old midfielder Paul Bracewell.

30 May 1984: Liverpool lift the European Cup on penalties after drawing 1–1 with A.S. Roma in Turin, becoming the first English team to win three major competitions in the same season.

31 May 1984: Keith Burkinshaw resigns after eight years as manager of Tottenham Hotspur due to a dispute with the club's board. He is succeeded by coach Peter Shreeves.

12 June 1984: Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness departs to Sampdoria of Italy in a £650,000 deal.

22 June 1984: Coventry City sign 26-year-old goalkeeper Steve Ogrizovic from Shrewsbury Town for £72,000.

28 June 1984: AC Milan sign Portsmouth striker Mark Hateley for £915,000.

Star Players

Star Managers

Famous debutants

29 August 1983: Mark Bowen, 19-year-old defender, makes his debut for Tottenham Hotspur in 1–1 draw with Coventry City at White Hart Lane. [23]

12 October 1983: Stuart Pearce, 21-year-old defender, makes his debut for Coventry City in 2–1 win over Queen's Park Rangers at Highfield Road after signing from non-league Wealdstone. [24]

13 January 1984: Graeme Hogg, 19-year-old defender, makes his debut for Manchester United in 1–1 draw with Queen's Park Rangers at Loftus Road. [25]

16 May 1984: Clayton Blackmore, 19-year-old winger/defender, makes his debut for Manchester United in 2–0 defeat by Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. [26]

Honours

Competition Winner Runner-up
First Division Liverpool (15*) Southampton
Second Division Chelsea Sheffield Wednesday
Third Division Oxford United Wimbledon
Fourth Division York City Doncaster Rovers
FA Cup Everton (4) Watford
League Cup Liverpool (4*) Everton
Associate Members Cup AFC Bournemouth Hull City
Charity Shield Manchester United Liverpool

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

League table

First Division

P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 42 22 14 6 73 32 +41 80
2 Southampton 42 22 11 9 66 38 +28 77
3 Nottingham Forest 42 22 8 12 76 45 +31 74
4 Manchester United 42 20 14 8 71 41 +30 74
5 Queens Park Rangers 42 22 7 13 67 37 +30 73
6 Arsenal 42 18 9 15 74 60 +14 63
7 Everton 42 16 14 12 44 42 +2 62
8 Tottenham Hotspur 42 17 10 15 64 65 -1 61
9 West Ham United 42 17 9 16 60 55 +5 60
10 Aston Villa 42 17 9 16 59 61 -2 60
11 Watford 42 16 9 17 68 77 -9 57
12 Ipswich Town 42 15 8 19 55 57 -2 53
13 Sunderland 42 13 13 16 42 53 -11 52
14 Norwich City 42 12 15 15 48 49 -1 51
15 Leicester City 42 13 12 17 65 68 -3 51
16 Luton Town 42 14 9 19 53 66 -13 51
17 West Bromwich Albion 42 14 9 19 48 62 -14 51
18 Stoke City 42 13 11 18 44 63 -19 50
19 Coventry City 42 13 11 18 57 77 -20 50
20 Birmingham City 42 12 12 18 39 50 -11 48
21 Notts County 42 10 11 21 50 72 -22 41
22 Wolverhampton Wanderers 42 6 11 25 27 80 -53 29

Second Division

P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Chelsea 42 25 13 4 90 40 +50 88
2 Sheffield Wednesday 42 26 10 6 72 34 +38 88
3 Newcastle United 42 24 8 10 85 53 +32 80
4 Manchester City 42 20 10 12 66 48 +18 70
5 Grimsby Town 42 19 13 10 60 47 +13 70
6 Blackburn Rovers 42 17 16 9 57 46 +11 67
7 Carlisle United 42 16 16 10 48 41 +7 64
8 Shrewsbury Town 42 17 10 15 49 53 -4 61
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 42 17 9 16 69 60 +9 60
10 Leeds United 42 16 12 14 55 56 -1 60
11 Fulham 42 15 12 15 60 53 +7 57
12 Huddersfield Town 42 14 15 13 56 49 +7 57
13 Charlton Athletic 42 16 9 17 53 64 -11 57
14 Barnsley 42 15 7 20 57 53 +4 52
15 Cardiff City 42 15 6 21 53 66 -13 51
16 Portsmouth 42 14 7 21 73 64 +9 49
17 Middlesbrough 42 12 13 17 41 47 -6 49
18 Crystal Palace 42 12 11 19 42 52 -10 47
19 Oldham Athletic 42 13 8 21 47 73 -26 47
20 Derby County 42 11 9 22 36 72 -36 42
21 Swansea City 42 7 8 27 36 85 -49 29
22 Cambridge United 42 4 12 26 28 77 -49 24

Third Division

P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Oxford United 46 28 11 7 91 50 +41 95
2 Wimbledon 46 26 9 11 97 76 +21 87
3 Sheffield United 46 24 11 11 86 53 +33 83
4 Hull City 46 23 14 9 71 38 +33 83
5 Bristol Rovers 46 22 13 11 68 54 +14 79
6 Walsall 46 22 9 15 68 61 +7 75
7 Bradford City 46 20 11 15 73 65 +8 71
8 Gillingham 46 20 10 16 74 69 +5 70
9 Millwall 46 18 13 15 71 65 +6 67
10 Bolton Wanderers 46 18 10 18 56 60 -4 64
11 Orient 46 18 9 19 71 81 -10 63
12 Burnley 46 16 14 16 76 61 +15 62
13 Newport County 46 16 14 16 58 75 -17 62
14 Lincoln City 46 17 10 19 59 62 -3 61
15 Wigan Athletic 46 16 13 17 46 56 -10 61
16 Preston North End 46 15 11 20 66 66 +0 56
17 Bournemouth 46 16 7 23 63 73 -10 55
18 Rotherham United 46 15 9 22 57 64 -7 54
19 Plymouth Argyle 46 13 12 21 56 62 -6 51
20 Brentford 46 11 16 19 69 79 -10 49
21 Scunthorpe United 46 9 19 18 54 73 -19 46
22 Southend United 46 10 14 22 55 76 -21 44
23 Port Vale 46 11 10 25 51 83 -32 43
24 Exeter City 46 6 15 25 50 84 -34 33

Fourth Division

P W D L F A GD Pts
1 York City 46 31 8 7 96 39 +57 101
2 Doncaster Rovers 46 24 13 9 82 54 +28 85
3 Reading 46 22 16 8 84 56 +28 82
4 Bristol City 46 24 10 12 70 44 +26 82
5 Aldershot 46 22 9 15 76 69 +7 75
6 Blackpool 46 21 9 16 70 52 +18 72
7 Peterborough United 46 18 14 14 72 48 +24 68
8 Colchester United 46 17 16 13 69 53 +16 67
9 Torquay United 46 18 13 15 59 64 -5 67
10 Tranmere Rovers 46 17 15 14 53 53 +0 66
11 Hereford United 46 16 15 15 54 53 +1 63
12 Stockport County 46 17 11 18 60 64 -4 62
13 Chesterfield 46 15 15 16 59 61 -2 60
14 Darlington 46 17 8 21 49 50 -1 59
15 Bury 46 15 14 17 61 64 -3 59
16 Crewe Alexandra 46 16 11 19 56 67 -11 59
17 Swindon Town 46 15 13 18 58 56 +2 58
18 Northampton Town 46 13 14 19 53 78 -25 53
19 Mansfield Town 46 13 13 20 66 70 -4 52
20 Wrexham 46 11 15 20 59 74 -15 48
21 Halifax Town 46 12 12 22 55 89 -34 48
22 Rochdale 46 11 13 22 52 80 -28 46
23 Hartlepool United 46 10 10 26 47 85 -38 40
24 Chester City 46 7 13 26 45 82 -37 34

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

National team

The England national football team had failed to qualify for Euro 84 but the FA kept faith in manager Bobby Robson. England also performed badly at the 1984 British Home Championship, coming joint second with Wales behind Northern Ireland but only scoring two goals in the process. However, a tour to South America during June instigated to replace the European Championship for the England team was more successful, with a notable victory over Brazil in the Maracana Stadium.

American tour

10 June 1984
Brazil  0–2  England Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro
  John Barnes, Mark Hateley

13 June 1984
Uruguay  2–0  England Centenario Stadium, Montevideo
Luis Acosta (P), Wilmar Cabrera  

17 June 1984
Chile  0–0  England Estadio Nacional de Chile, Santiago
   

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