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1986–87 Football League: Wikis

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Statistics of The Football League in season 1986/1987.

Contents

Overview

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First Division

The First Division championship went to Everton in their final season under the management of Howard Kendall before his departure to Athletic Bilbao. His side overcame a spate of injuries to fight off competition from runners-up Liverpool and third-placed Tottenham. Fourth place went to George Graham's emerging young Arsenal side who also won the League cup in his first season in charge. Fifth place in the league went to newly promoted Norwich City, whose manager Ken Brown built a strong squad on a limited budget to achieve a finish which would have been enough to qualify for UEFA Cup had it not been for the ongoing ban on English clubs in European competitions.

Wimbledon finished sixth in the First Division in only their tenth season as a Football League club. Dave Bassett's men had led the league for the first two weeks of September, but sixth place was still much higher than most pundits had tipped them for at the start of the season.

Aston Villa were relegated to the Second Division just five years after they won the European Cup. Chairman Doug Ellis had sensed from the start that 1986-87 would be a tough season for the club, so he axed manager Graham Turner in September and replaced him with Manchester City's Billy McNeill. But McNeill was unable to stop the rot and Villa went down in bottom place. McNeill was subsequently sacked and replaced by Watford's Graham Taylor.

Villa were joined on the way down by Manchester City and Leicester City. In the first season of the relegation/promotion playoffs, Charlton Athletic beat Second Division Leeds United to retain their top flight status.

Manchester United, whose blistering start to the previous season had ended in failure, started the 1986-87 season badly and entered November second from bottom in the league. Manager Ron Atkinson paid for these failings with his job and in came the Aberdeen manager Alex Ferguson to replace him. Ferguson rejuvenated United and they climbed up the table to finish in a secure 11th place.

Second Division

Just two clubs were promoted from the Second Division this season. Champions Derby County were promoted for a second successive season; 12 seasons after they were last crowned champions of the First Division. Under the management of Arthur Cox they arrested an alarming slide which had seen them spend their centenary season (1984-85) in the 3rd Division. Runners-up spot went to Portsmouth, who were also automatically promoted.

The three playoff places were occupied by Oldham Athletic, Leeds United and Ipswich Town. Oldham and Ipswich blew their chances in the semi-finals, while Leeds were defeated by Charlton in the final to miss out on promotion - an FA Cup semi-final defeat had ended their chances of success in the cup competitions.

The relegation/promotion playoffs which operated between the Second and Third Divisions saw Sunderland go down to the Third Division for the first time in their history after losing to Gillingham in the promotion-relegation play-offs. Gillingham were subsequently defeated in a play-off final replay that saw Swindon Town promoted to the second tier. Lawrie McMenemy was sacked by the Rokerites at the end of March and Bob Stokoe, manager of the 1973 FA Cup winning team, was brought in as his successor, but was unable to keep Sunderland clear of the drop.

Third Division

The three promotion places in this division were gained by three clubs who were among the least fancied promotion contenders at the start of the season. Champions Bournemouth were promoted to the Second Division for the first time in their history thanks to the efforts of hard working manager Harry Redknapp. Runners-up spot went to Bruce Rioch's Middlesbrough, who had begun the season on the verge of extinction and had been forced to play their first home game of the season at Hartlepool's ground because the official receiver had locked them out of Ayresome Park.

The relegation/promotion playoffs between the Third and Fourth Divisions saw Bolton Wanderers go down to the bottom division for the first time. Carlisle, Darlington and Newport County were also relegated.

Fourth Division

The stars of the Fourth Division during 1986-87 were Graham Carr's runaway champions Northampton Town, with young midfielder Eddie McGoldrick being the key player in his side's season of success.

Down at the bottom end of the division, an injury time winner for Torquay United kept them in the Football League after a police dog had bitten one of their players. The introduction of automatic relegation to the Conference saw Lincoln City lose their league status in favour of Conference champions Scarborough.

1986-87 saw many famous clubs reach their lowest ebb throughout the league. In the Fourth Division it was Burnley - league champions 27 years earlier - who plummeted to new depths. They finished third from bottom in the league and only a win on the last day of the season prevented them from going down to the Conference.

League standings

First Division

Pos Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1. Everton 42 26 8 8 76 31  +45 86
2. Liverpool 42 23 8 11 72 42  +30 77
3. Tottenham Hotspur 42 21 8 13 68 43  +25 71
4. Arsenal 42 20 10 12 58 35  +23 70
5. Norwich City 42 17 17 8 53 51  +2 68
6. Wimbledon 42 19 9 14 57 50  +7 66
7. Luton Town 42 18 12 12 47 45  +2 66
8. Nottingham Forest 42 18 11 13 64 51  +13 65
9. Watford 42 18 9 15 67 54  +13 63
10. Coventry City 42 17 12 13 50 45  +5 63
11. Manchester United 42 14 14 14 52 45  +7 56
12. Southampton 42 14 10 18 69 68  +1 52
13. Sheffield Wednesday 42 13 13 16 58 59  -1 52
14. Chelsea 42 13 13 16 53 64  -11 52
15. West Ham United 42 14 10 18 52 67  -15 52
16. Queen's Park Rangers 42 13 11 18 48 64  -16 50
17. Newcastle United 42 12 11 19 47 65  -18 47
18. Oxford United 42 11 13 18 44 69  -25 46
19. Charlton Athletic 42 11 11 20 45 55  -10 44
20. Leicester City 42 11 9 22 54 76  -22 42
21. Manchester City 42 8 15 19 36 57  -21 39
22. Aston Villa 42 8 12 22 45 79  -34 36
Key
Champions
Qualified for the promotion/relegation playoffs
Relegated to Division Two

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

Second Division

Pos Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1. Derby County 42 25 9 8 64 38  +26 84
2. Portsmouth 42 23 9 10 53 28  +25 78
3. Oldham Athletic 42 22 9 11 65 44  +21 75
4. Leeds United 42 19 11 12 58 44  +14 68
5. Ipswich Town 42 17 13 12 59 43  +16 64
6. Crystal Palace 42 19 5 18 51 53  -2 62
7. Plymouth Argyle 42 16 13 13 62 57  +5 61
8. Stoke City 42 16 10 16 63 53  +10 58
9. Sheffield United 42 15 13 14 50 49  +1 58
10. Bradford City 42 15 10 17 62 62  0 55
11. Barnsley 42 14 13 15 49 52  -3 55
12. Blackburn Rovers 42 15 10 17 45 55  -10 55
13. Reading 42 14 11 17 52 59  -7 53
14. Hull City 42 13 14 15 41 55  -14 53
15. West Bromwich Albion 42 13 12 17 51 49  +2 51
16. Millwall 42 14 9 19 39 45  -6 51
17. Huddersfield Town 42 13 12 17 54 61  -7 51
18. Shrewsbury Town 42 15 6 21 41 53  -12 51
19. Birmingham City 42 11 17 14 47 59  -12 50
20. Sunderland 42 12 12 18 49 59  -10 48
21. Grimsby Town 42 10 14 18 39 59  -20 44
22. Brighton & Hove Albion 42 9 12 21 37 54  -17 39
Key
Promoted to Division One
Qualified for the promotion/relegation playoffs
Relegated to Division Three

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

Third Division

Pos Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1. Bournemouth 46 29 10 7 76 40  +36 97
2. Middlesbrough 46 28 10 8 67 30  +37 94
3. Swindon Town 46 25 12 9 77 47  +30 87
4. Wigan Athletic 46 25 10 11 83 60  +23 85
5. Gillingham 46 23 9 14 65 48  +17 78
6. Bristol City 46 21 14 11 63 36  +27 77
7. Notts County 46 21 13 12 77 56  +21 76
8. Walsall 46 22 9 15 80 67  +13 75
9. Blackpool 46 16 16 14 74 59  +15 64
10. Mansfield Town 46 15 16 15 52 55  -3 61
11. Brentford 46 15 15 16 64 66  -2 60
12. Port Vale 46 15 12 19 76 70  +6 57
13. Doncaster Rovers 46 14 15 17 56 62  -6 57
14. Rotherham United 46 15 12 19 48 57  -9 57
15. Chester City 46 13 17 16 61 59  +2 56
16. Bury 46 14 13 19 54 60  -6 55
17. Chesterfield 46 13 15 18 56 69  -13 54
18. Fulham 46 12 17 17 59 77  -18 53
19. Bristol Rovers 46 13 12 21 49 75  -26 51
20. York City 46 12 13 21 55 79  -24 49
21. Bolton Wanderers 46 10 15 21 46 58  -12 45
22. Carlisle United 46 10 8 28 39 78  -39 38
23. Darlington 46 7 16 23 45 77  -32 37
24. Newport County 46 8 13 25 49 86  -37 37
Key
Promoted to Division Two
Qualified for the promotion/relegation playoffs
Relegated to Division Four

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

Fourth Division

Pos Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1. Northampton Town 46 30 9 7 103 53  +50 99
2. Preston North End 46 26 12 8 72 47  +25 90
3. Southend United 46 25 5 16 68 55  +13 80
4. Wolverhampton Wanderers 46 24 7 15 69 50  +19 79
5. Colchester United 46 21 7 18 64 56  +8 70
6. Aldershot 46 20 10 16 64 57  +7 70
7. Orient 46 20 9 17 64 61  +3 69
8. Scunthorpe United 46 18 12 16 73 57  +16 66
9. Wrexham 46 15 20 11 70 51  +19 65
10. Peterborough United 46 17 14 15 57 50  +7 65
11. Cambridge United 46 17 11 18 60 62  -2 62
12. Swansea City 46 17 11 18 56 61  -5 62
13. Cardiff City 46 15 16 15 48 50  -2 61
14. Exeter City 46 11 23 12 53 49  +4 56
15. Halifax Town 46 15 10 21 59 74  -15 55
16. Hereford United 46 14 11 21 60 61  -1 53
17. Crewe Alexandra 46 13 14 19 70 72  -2 53
18. Hartlepool United 46 11 18 17 44 65  -21 51
19. Stockport County 46 13 12 21 40 69  -29 51
20. Tranmere Rovers 46 11 17 18 54 72  -18 50
21. Rochdale 46 11 17 18 54 73  -19 50
22. Burnley 46 12 13 21 53 74  -21 49
23. Torquay United 46 10 18 18 56 72  -16 48
24. Lincoln City 46 12 12 22 45 65  -20 48
Key
Promoted to Division Three
Qualified for the promotion/relegation playoffs
Relegated to the Conference

See also

References


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