1988–89 in English football
The 1988–89 season was the 109th season of competitive football in England.
The season saw Arsenal win their first league title for 18 years, in dramatic fashion, as they beat defending champions Liverpool 2–0 at Anfield to clinch the title on number of goals scored. Liverpool had won the FA Cup six days earlier and for the second season running missed out on a unique second double. Third placed Nottingham Forest lifted both the Football League Cup and Full Members' Cup. The ban on English clubs was now in its fourth season and UEFA then voted for it to continue for a fifth season.
On 15 April, a crowd crush at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough killed 94 people and injured more than 300. A 95th Liverpool supporter died in hospital shortly after. The final death toll became 96 in March 1993, when Tony Bland died after being in a coma for nearly four years. A subsequent inquiry into the tragedy led to the Taylor Report, in which Lord Justice Taylor of Gosforth ordered that all top division clubs should have all-seater stadiums from the 1994–95 season onwards.
Changes to football on televisionEdit
One of the biggest changes in the history of football on television began in this season, as ITV gained exclusive rights to show Football League matches, both in live and highlights form. The rights cost £11m, up from £5.2m in 1983. Most of their coverage was of live matches on Sunday afternoons of top-flight games. They would hold the exclusive rights until 1992, when they lost coverage of the newly formed Premier League to Sky Television.
It ended a long-term partnership with the BBC, who in turn struck up a partnership with the FA for exclusive coverage of the FA Cup. The BBC did not show another live English football league match until 2009 and would not show another live top flight football league match until 2020.
Scunthorpe's new stadiumEdit
Change in playoff formatEdit
The play-off system was slightly altered, they were now contested by the four sides just missing out on promotion, with one less team automatically promoted. The system has stayed in place since then (although it was not until the following season that Wembley Stadium began hosting finals).
Diary of the seasonEdit
7 July 1988 – Tottenham Hotspur complete a British transfer record £2 million deal for 21-year-old Newcastle United midfielder Paul Gascoigne. Gascoigne signs a contract at White Hart Lane until the end of the 1992–93 season.
13 July 1988 – Gordon Cowans ends his three-year spell at Bari to rejoin Aston Villa in a £250,000 deal, while Everton strengthen their midfield in a £925,000 move for Chelsea and Scotland midfielder Pat Nevin.
19 July 1988 – England defender Gary Stevens moves to Scotland in a £1 million move from Everton to Rangers in the costliest transfer involving a British defender. He is replaced at Goodison Park by Newcastle United's Neil McDonald.
20 July 1988 – After two seasons at Barcelona, Mark Hughes returns to Manchester United for a club record £1.8 million, breaking the previous record of £1.75 million that the club paid for Bryan Robson seven years ago.
25 July 1988 – Less than three weeks after Tottenham broke the national transfer record, a new record is set when Everton complete the signing of West Ham United's 23-year-old striker Tony Cottee for £2.2 million.
28 July 1988 – Billy Bonds, the oldest player in the Football League at 41, announces his retirement as a player but will remain with West Ham United as youth team coach.
8 August 1988 – Graham Roberts returns to England in a £470,000 move to Chelsea from Rangers.
13 August 1988 – The first North London derby to be held at Wembley Stadium ends in a 4–0 victory for Arsenal in the friendly Wembley International Tournament; Gunners' goalscorers are Paul Merson, Alan Smith, and Brian Marwood (2).
20 August 1988 – Liverpool gain revenge for their FA Cup final defeat by Wimbledon in May by beating them 2–1 in the Charity Shield. John Aldridge, who missed a penalty in the FA Cup final, scores both goals for Liverpool, and John Fashanu scores for Wimbledon.
27 August 1988 – Millwall begin their life as a First Division side by drawing 2–2 at Aston Villa. Forwards John Aldridge, Alan Smith, and Tony Cottee score opening day hat-tricks as Liverpool beat Charlton Athletic 3–0, Arsenal move to top position by thrashing FA Cup holders Wimbledon 5–1, while Everton thump Newcastle United 4–0. Tottenham Hotspur's opening fixture at home to Coventry City was postponed following the Londoners' failure to obtain a safety certificate for White Hart Lane.
1 September 1988 – Brighton & Hove Albion, newly promoted back to the Second Division, sign Barnet defender Nicky Bissett for £115,000, a record fee for a non-league player. Richard Thompson, 24, becomes the youngest chairman in the Football League when he takes over at Queens Park Rangers in place of David Bulstrode.
10 September 1988 – In the North London derby at White Hart Lane, Arsenal beat Tottenham 3–2.Southampton go top of the First Division after three games with a 2–1 home win over Luton. Norwich hold the First Division other remaining 100% record by beating QPR 1–0 at Carrow Road. Bryan Robson helps Manchester United achieve their first goal and win of the season with a 1–0 home win over Middlesbrough.
12 September 1988 – David Rocastle, Paul Gascoigne and Tony Cottee win their first international caps for England in a 1–0 friendly win over Denmark at Wembley. Nearly a decade after leaving them for Sunderland, goalkeeper Chris Turner returns to Sheffield Wednesday in a £175,000 move from Manchester United.
16 September 1988 – Andy Gray returns to his native Scotland after 13 years to sign for Rangers.
17 September – Southampton drop points for the first time this season with a 2–2 draw against Arsenal at Highbury, enabling Norwich to go top with a 2–0 win at Newcastle, who go bottom of the table. Southampton midfielder Glenn Cockerill suffers a broken jaw in a clash with Arsenal midfielder Paul Davis in a First Division match at Highbury which ends in a 2–2 draw. Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar is hospitalised with meningitis and is expected to be out of action until the new year.
24 September – Norwich drop points for the first time this season but remaining top of the First Division with a 2–2 draw at home to third placed Millwall.
28 September 1988 – Wimbledon sign Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Hans Segers for £180,000. Leeds United, fourth from bottom in the Second Division, sack manager Billy Bremner after three years at the helm.
30 September 1988 – The month ends with Norwich City as surprise leaders of the First Division, two points ahead of Liverpool and newly promoted Millwall. FA Cup holders Wimbledon occupy bottom place. The Second Division promotion race is headed by Blackburn Rovers and Watford. Ipswich Town, Portsmouth, Bradford City and Oldham Athletic occupy the promotion play-off places, while pre-season promotion favourites Leeds United occupy a lowly 18th place.
1 October 1988 – Millwall go top of the league in their first season in the First Division 3–2 win over Queens Park Rangers. Norwich's 3–1 home defeat to Charlton pushes them down to second place. West Ham go bottom of the division with a 4–1 home defeat to Arsenal. Ipswich go top of the Second Division with a 2–1 away win over West Bromwich Albion. Bottom-of-the-table lose a thrilling game at home to Barnsley 5–3.
8 October 1988 – Norwich return to the top of the First Division with a 1–0 win over Derby at the Baseball Ground. Second Division promotion challengers Blackburn beat Crystal Palace 5–4 in a nine-goal thriller at Ewood Park.
10 October 1988 – Howard Wilkinson ends six years as Sheffield Wednesday manager by agreeing to drop down a division to join Leeds United, while Willie McFaul ends his 22-year association with Newcastle United when he is sacked as manager. Reserve team coach Colin Suggett is put in charge, with the club's board saying that he will stay in the role until the end of the season.
15 October 1988 – Millwall miss the chance to go back to the top of the First Division when Coventry hold them to a goalless draw at Highfield Road. A West Midlands derby at St Andrew's sees West Bromwich Albion beat their local rivals Birmingham City 4–1. Chelsea boost their hopes of an immediate return to the First Division by beating Oldham 4–1 at Boundary Park.
22 October 1988 – Southampton make history by fielding three brothers in the same team in their 2–1 league defeat to Sheffield Wednesday: 24-year-old Danny Wallace lines up alongside twin brothers Rod and Ray. Norwich maintain their lead of the First Division with a 3–1 home win over Tottenham, which sends the visitors into the bottom three. West Ham remain in the bottom three despite a 2–0 win over Newcastle, which sends the Tynesiders back to the bottom of the table. Chelsea's Second Division surge continues with a 5–0 home win over Plymouth.
25 October 1988 – Tottenham remain in the bottom three after losing 2–1 at home to Southampton, who climb from tenth place to fifth. Arsenal's title hopes are dented when they are held to a 1–1 draw by Luton at Kenilworth Road. Watford go top of the Second Division with a 4–0 home win over Barnsley.
26 October 1988 – Norwich strengthen their lead of the First Division with a 2–1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford. Newcastle climb off the bottom of the division with a 3–0 home win over local rivals Middlesbrough. Liverpool are seventh after a 2–1 defeat to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
29 October 1988 – Mark Lawrenson is sacked as Oxford United manager after a dispute with the club's board over the sale of Dean Saunders. His assistant Brian Horton, the former Hull City manager, is appointed as his successor. First Division leaders Norwich draw 1–1 at home to Southampton, while Arsenal climb into second place with a 2–0 home win over Coventry. Liverpool get back on track with a 2–0 win at West Ham. The biggest action in the Second Division comes in the shape of a seven-goal thriller at the Manor Ground, where Bradford beat Oxford 4–3.
30 October 1988 – Everton and Manchester United draw 1–1 in a First Division encounter at Goodison Park. Both teams were among the pre-season title favourites but have so far been disappointing in the league, with Everton 14th and United 10th. Tottenham, another team widely expected to challenge for the title this season, are currently second from bottom. In contrast, a Norwich side which battled against relegation last season are top of the league and Millwall are third in their first season as a First Division club.
31 October 1988 – Norwich City are back at the top of the First Division table at the end of the month, now with a six-point lead over nearest rivals Arsenal, who have a game in hand, while Millwall are still third. The bottom three places are occupied by Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United. Middlesbrough, who two seasons ago were in the Third Division and threatened with closure due to financial problems, finish the month in a creditable seventh place. Watford lead the Second Division by five points over Blackburn Rovers. The playoff zone is occupied by West Bromwich Albion, Portsmouth, Chelsea and Manchester City. Leeds United continue to struggle, only being out of the relegation zone on goal difference.
1 November 1988 – Out-of-favour Manchester United striker Peter Davenport becomes Middlesbrough's record signing in a £750,000 deal. Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Keith Burkinshaw takes over as manager of Third Division strugglers Gillingham.
5 November 1988 – In the Second Division, Chelsea win at league-leaders Watford through goals from Gordon Durie and Kerry Dixon, Tommy Tynan fires four for Plymouth Argyle against Blackburn Rovers, and John Sheridan scores the only goal as Leeds United pick up an away win at Ipswich Town. Norwich continue to head the First Division title race with a 2–0 win over Wimbledon at Plough Lane. Millwall go second with a 3–1 home win over Luton. Tottenham are bottom after a 3–1 home defeat to Derby, which sees the East Midlanders bounce from 13th to sixth in the table. Manchester United's frustrating form continues when they are held to a 1–1 draw at home to Aston Villa, meaning that they have now drawn five out of 10 First Division games this season.
6 November 1988 – Arsenal go second in the First Division with a 4–1 away over Nottingham Forest. They are now Norwich's nearest challengers, six points behind with a game in hand.
12 November 1988 – Norwich are still top of the First Division but draw 1–1 at home to Sheffield Wednesday, with Arsenal winning 1–0 at Newcastle to cut Norwich's lead to four points. Southampton go third win a 3–1 home win over Aston Villa. Manchester United make it six draws from their first 11 games with a 2–2 stalemate away to Derby.
16 November 1988 – England draw 1–1 with Saudi Arabia in a friendly in Riyadh, with goalkeeper David Seaman making his international debut. Manchester United sell winger Jesper Olsen to Bordeaux of France for £400,000, where he links up with former Tottenham Hotspur striker Clive Allen.
18 November 1988 – Oxford United captain Tommy Caton returns to the First Division in a £100,000 move to Charlton Athletic. Manchester United sell Danish winger Jesper Olsen to Bordeaux for £400,000.
19 November 1988 – The FA Cup first round kicks off with non-league Altrincham and Bognor Regis Town both seeing off Football League opposition. Norwich drop points again when they are held to a 1–1 draw at Everton, with Arsenal cutting the gap between first and second to two points with a 3–0 home win over Middlesbrough. A relegation crunch game at Kenilworth Road sees Luton beat West Ham 4–1. Bottom club Newcastle crash to a 4–0 defeat at Millwall. Portsmouth go top of the Second Division, level on points with Watford and Blackburn, with a 3–0 home win over Barnsley.
23 November 1988 – Manchester United are held to a 1–1 draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday in the First Division, and have now drawn eight of their opening 13 league games. Tottenham and Coventry draw 1–1 in a stalemate at White Hart Lane. Liverpool beat Arsenal 2–1 in a League Cup third round replay at Anfield.
25 November 1988 – Wimbledon defender Terry Phelan is omitted from tomorrow's squad for the First Division fixture against Liverpool due to a court appearance he faces on a charge of cannabis possession.
26 November 1988 – Norwich are held to another draw, this time 2–2 at home to Luton, but retain their lead of the First Division. Arsenal lose 2–1 to Derby at the Baseball Ground in a match where victory would have taken them to the top of the league on goal difference. Coventry go fifth with a 2–1 home win over local rivals Aston Villa. There are thrilling victories for two promotion-chasing trams in the Second Division, with Barnsley beating AFC Bournemouth 5–2 at Oakwell and West Bromwich Albion beating Crystal Palace 5–3 at the Hawthorns.
27 November 1988 – The only professional action of the day sees Manchester United and Newcastle United grind out a goalless draw on Tyneside. Newcastle are still bottom of the First Division, having won just two of their first 14 games. Manchester United have so far lost just twice in the league, but nine draws and a mere three victories have left them rooted in mid table.
30 November 1988 – The month ends with Norwich City still top of the First Division, with Arsenal, Millwall, Liverpool, Coventry City and Southampton all in close contention. Newcastle United and West Ham United are level on points at the bottom. Watford and Blackburn Rovers lead the way in the Second Division, level on 33 points. Manchester City, Chelsea, Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion occupy the play-off zone.
1 December 1988 – Jan Molby is released from prison after serving 45 days of his three-month prison sentence for motoring offences.
3 December 1988 – Manchester United end their long run without win in the First Division by beating Charlton Athletic 3–0 at Old Trafford. Norwich are still top of the First Division despite a 3–1 defeat at Aston Villa, but Arsenal are three points behind them with two games in hand. Chelsea go second in the Second Division with a 3–0 win over Stoke at the Victoria Ground.
4 December 1988 – Newcastle United's search for a manager ends when they recruit Jim Smith from Queens Park Rangers, who put coach Peter Shreeves in temporary charge of the first team. Arsenal miss the chance to go top of the First Division when they are held to a 1–1 draw at home to Liverpool.
10 December 1988 – Norwich remain top of the First Division after drawing 0–0 at home with their nearest rivals Arsenal. Coventry close in on the leading pair by beating Manchester United 1–0 at Highfield Road. Manchester City go top of the Second Division with a 4–0 home win over Bradford City.
14 December 1988 – Luton Town sign 23-year-old Northern Irish striker Iain Dowie from Isthmian League side Hendon for £30,000. Queens Park Rangers appoint their 34-year-old former England striker Trevor Francis as player-manager.
17 December 1988 – Liverpool are now sixth in the First Division and eight points off the top of the table after losing 1–0 at home to Norwich, who stay top despite Arsenal's 2–1 home win over Manchester United. Derby go fourth win a 2–0 away win over Coventry. Newcastle claim a point in their battle for survival with a 3–3 draw at home to Southampton. Millwall remain third in the league with a 1–0 home win over Sheffield Wednesday.
18 December 1988 – Wimbledon climb out of the bottom three with a 1–0 away win over Nottingham Forest. Sunderland remain within touching distance of the Second Division playoffs – and the chance of a second successive promotion – by beating Plymouth 4–1 at Home Park. West Bromwich Albion keep up their push for automatic promotion with a 6–0 home win over Stoke.
22 December 1988 – Kenny Sansom ends eight years at Arsenal by making a £300,000 move to Newcastle United.
26 December 1988 – Arsenal go top of the First Division after beating Charlton 3–2 at Selhurst Park. Everton go fifth win a 2–1 home win over Middlesbrough. Manchester United climb two places to ninth with a 2–0 home win over Nottingham Forest. Newcastle pick up three vital points in their fight to avoid relegation by winning 2–1 at Sheffield Wednesday. Liverpool pick up three points in their bid to remain on track for the league title, beating Derby 1–0 at the Baseball Ground. Chelsea go top of the Second Division with a 3–0 home win over Ipswich.
27 December 1988 – Walsall, bottom of the Second Division, sack manager Tommy Coakley, their manager for two-and-a-half years, after an 11th successive league defeat. Norwich return to the top of the First Division with a 2–1 home win over West Ham, who are now bottom of the First Division and six points adrift of safety just three seasons after coming close to winning the league title.
31 December 1988 – Arsenal move to the top the First Division on goal difference from Norwich City after beating Aston Villa 3–0. Norwich could only manage a goalless draw at home to Middlesbrough. Wimbledon climb into 14th place with a 4–0 home win over Luton, Everton go fourth win a 3–1 home win over Coventry, and Tottenham reach ninth place with a 2–0 win over Newcastle less than two months after being bottom of the table. The Second Division leading pair of Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion remain level on goal difference after a 1–1 draw at Stamford Bridge. Watford draw level on points with them after beating AFC Bournemouth 1–0. Manchester City maintain their promotion push with a 2–1 win over Swindon at the County Ground. Leicester are just four points short of the playoffs after a 4–0 home win over Blackburn. Sunderland are just two points off the playoffs after beating Portsmouth 4–0 at Roker Park. Barnsley climb into the playoff zone and are in strong contention for a place in the top flight of English football for the first time, beating struggling Shrewsbury 3–2 at Gay Meadow.
1 January 1989 – Manchester United beat Liverpool 3–1 at Old Trafford to leave the Merseysiders nine points behind leaders Arsenal. 20-year-old midfielder Russell Beardsmore, starting for only the second time in the league, scored a second half equaliser for United before setting up a goal each for Brian McClair and Mark Hughes to wipe out Liverpool's lead.
2 January 1989 – Luton Town thrash Southampton 6–1 in the biggest win of the First Division season.
12 January 1989 – After just seven months at Newcastle United, goalkeeper Dave Beasant signs for Second Division leaders Chelsea in a £725,000 deal which contracts him to the Stamford Bridge club until 1994.
28 January 1989 – Sutton United's FA Cup adventure ends in the Fourth Round when they are hammered 8–0 by Norwich City. Brentford beat Manchester City 3–1.
31 January 1989 – Arsenal remain top of the First Division, three points ahead of Norwich City. Coventry City are third, but Millwall have slipped to seventh. Newcastle United are back in bottom place after failing to gain a single league point this month, and are level on points with West Ham United. Chelsea continue to lead the way in the Second Division, while Watford now stand second, level on points with third placed Manchester City. West Bromwich Albion, Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland complete the top six.
8 February 1989 – Midfielder Peter Reid moves from Everton to Queens Park Rangers on a free transfer. Watford boost their Second Division promotion challenge with a £175,000 move for Halifax Town's 19-year-old winger Lee Richardson.
9 February 1989 – Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough is fined £5,000 and banned from the touchline for the rest of the season for punching supporters who invaded the pitch in the recent Football League Cup quarter-final victory over Queens Park Rangers.[deprecated source]
14 February 1989 – Just three months after quitting West Bromwich Albion to take over at Spanish side Atlético Madrid, Ron Atkinson returns to England to succeed Peter Eustace as manager of First Division strugglers Sheffield Wednesday. Arsenal win a friendly against the France national football team 2–0.
18 February 1989 – Liverpool come from behind to beat Hull City 3–2 in the FA Cup fifth round. Everton win 1–0 at Barnsley, and Third Division Brentford continue their good run by beating Blackburn Rovers.
28 February 1989 – Arsenal remain top of the First Division as February ends, with Norwich City still second, and Millwall back up to third. Liverpool are eighth, 19 points behind Arsenal, but with four games in hand. West Ham United are now bottom of the division, and Newcastle United and Sheffield Wednesday complete the relegation zone. Manchester City have overtaken Chelsea as Second Division leaders. The play-off zone is occupied by Blackburn Rovers, Watford, West Bromwich Albion and AFC Bournemouth.
9 March 1989 – Queens Park Rangers set a club record transfer by paying Southampton £800,000 for striker Colin Clarke.
18 March 1989 – Brentford's FA Cup dream ends in the quarter-finals when they lose 4–0 to Liverpool at Anfield. Nottingham Forest defeat Manchester United 1–0 at Old Trafford. West Ham United and Norwich City draw 0–0 at Upton Park.
22 March 1989 – Norwich City move closer to their first-ever FA Cup final by defeating West Ham United 3–1 in the quarter-final replay at Carrow Road. while Southampton pay a club record £700,000 for Portsmouth midfielder Barry Horne. West Ham United also break their transfer fee record by paying £1.1million to bring striker Frank McAvennie back to the club after 18 months at Celtic.
23 March 1989 – Gordon Strachan leaves Manchester United after nearly five years to join Leeds United for £300,000. Trevor Francis bolsters the Queens Park Rangers midfield with a £350,000 move for Brentford's Andy Sinton.
27 March 1989 – Referee Kelvin Morton awards five penalties in just 27 minutes during the Crystal Palace versus Brighton & Hove Albion match. Crystal Palace miss three of their four penalties, while Brighton score from their only penalty. Palace eventually win the match 2–1.
31 March 1989 – Arsenal remain top of the league, three points ahead of Norwich City, while Liverpool, who won six League games this month, have moved into third place with a game in hand and a five-point deficit behind the leaders. West Ham United occupy bottom place with 22 points from 27 games, but Newcastle United are now just one point adrift of safety. Southampton have slipped into the bottom three. Chelsea have returned to the top of the Second Division, exchanging places with Manchester City, while the play-off zone is occupied by West Bromwich Albion, Blackburn Rovers, Ipswich Town and AFC Bournemouth.
4 April 1989 – Liverpool play Scottish champions Celtic in the last ever Dubai Champions Cup, an unofficial 'British Championship'. John Aldridge scores for Liverpool to equalise a Mark McGhee goal for Celtic, and the game finishes 1–1. Liverpool lose 4–2 on penalty kicks.
5 April 1989 – Newport County lose a final appeal against their closure in the High Court more than a month ago; they are expelled from the GM Vauxhall Conference and their record for the season is expunged.
15 April 1989 – English football endures its greatest ever tragedy with the death of 94 Liverpool supporters, and injury of some 300 others, at the FA Cup semi-final clash with Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough. Some of the injured are in a serious condition and there are fears that the death toll could rise even higher. The match is abandoned, while the other semi-final sees Everton beat Norwich City 1–0 at Villa Park.
17 April 1989 – Within 48 hours of the tragedy at Hillsborough, Home Secretary Douglas Hurd promises to pass new legislation which will force all Football League teams to remove standing accommodation from their stadiums. The Football Association gives the go-ahead for the FA Cup to continue, with the re-staged match to take place at Old Trafford on 7 May, despite calls for the final not to be played.
18 April 1989 – The Hillsborough disaster death toll reaches 95 when 14-year-old Lee Nichol dies in hospital from his injuries. Many more of the injured are still in hospital, and there are fears that six spectators who had to be resuscitated have suffered brain damage.
19 April 1989 – The Sun newspaper sparks controversy over an article about the Hillsborough disaster, that carries the front-page headline "The Truth". It contains allegations, supported by sources including South Yorkshire Police, Conservative MP Irvine Patnick and an unnamed South Yorkshire news agency, that Liverpool fans robbed the injured and dead, and assaulted and urinated on police officers who were attending to injured fans. Similar allegations have also been printed by national newspapers including the Daily Star and Daily Mail, as well as several regional newspapers.
26 April 1989 – England beat Albania 5–0 at Wembley in their third World Cup qualifying game. Substitute Paul Gascoigne scores his first international goal.
28 April 1989 – Of the 25 Liverpool fans who were extradited in connection with the Heysel disaster of May 1985, in which 39 spectators died at the European Cup final, 14 are found guilty of voluntary manslaughter; they went on to serve one year in prison.
30 April 1989 – Arsenal remain top of the league as April draws to a close, but are now just three points ahead of a Liverpool side who have superior goal difference and a game in hand. Norwich City are now eight points behind the leaders. At the other end of the table West Ham United are ten points from safety, and occupy the relegation zone with Newcastle United and Luton Town. Chelsea have sealed an immediate return to the First Division as Second Division champions, while Manchester City are just five points away from returning as runners-up after a two-year exile. Watford and Crystal Palace are now the only other teams who can go up automatically, while Blackburn Rovers and Swindon Town complete the top six. Nottingham Forest beat Everton 4–3 in the Full Members Cup final at Wembley to become the first club in English football to win two domestic cups in the same season. Liverpool travelled to Glasgow to play their first game since the Hillsborough disaster. 60,000 attend at Parkhead to watch them beat Celtic 4–0 in a match arranged to raise money for the disaster fund. An estimated £500,000 is raised.
1 May 1989 – Arsenal thrash Norwich City 5–0 at Highbury to effectively end the Canaries' title challenge. Maidstone United clinch the Conference title and are promoted to the Football League, giving them a clash next season with fellow Kent club Gillingham, who are relegated to the Fourth Division on the same day.
2 May 1989 – Manchester United beat Wimbledon 1–0 in a league game at Old Trafford which is watched by 23,2368, the club's lowest home crowd in the league since August 1971.
3 May 1989 – Liverpool play their first match since the Hillsborough tragedy, a 0–0 draw with Everton. Newcastle United are relegated from the First Division after losing 2–1 to West Ham United, whose victory keeps their own slim survival hopes alive.
7 May 1989 – Three weeks after the Hillsborough disaster, Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final clash with Nottingham Forest is replayed at Old Trafford. Liverpool win 3–1 to keep their dream of a second double alive.
13 May 1989 – Middlesbrough join Newcastle United in being relegated from the First Division after they lose a relegation showdown 1–0 away to Sheffield Wednesday and Luton Town beat Norwich City 1–0. The result ensures Wednesday's survival, and West Ham United must now win their last two games to stay up at the expense of Aston Villa. At the top, Arsenal suffer a 2–1 defeat at home to Derby County, while Liverpool beat Wimbledon 2–1 to move within two points of the Gunners with a game in hand.
16 May 1989 – Liverpool move to the top of the First Division for the first time this season after beating Queens Park Rangers 2–0.
17 May 1989 – Arsenal draw 2–2 with Wimbledon in their last home League game of the season. They are level on points with Liverpool having played one game more.
20 May 1989 – Liverpool lift the FA Cup with a 3–2 win over Everton after extra time. Ian Rush scores twice for Liverpool while John Aldridge scores the other goal, and Stuart McCall scores twice for Everton.
23 May 1989 – West Ham United are relegated after eight successive seasons of First Division football as they lose 5–1 to Liverpool at Anfield. The result moves Liverpool three points clear of Arsenal at the top of the table with one game remaining.
26 May 1989 – Arsenal win the league title in the final moments of the season thanks to a late goal from Michael Thomas against Liverpool which gives them a 2–0 away win. First Division top scorer Alan Smith had put Arsenal ahead earlier in the second half. Their triumph gives them their first league championship trophy for 18 years, having scored more goals than their rivals, their points tallies and goal differences being identical. Former Leeds United and England manager Don Revie dies of motor neuron disease at the age of 61.
27 May 1989 – Steve Bull, who scored 52 goals in all competitions for Third Division Wolverhampton Wanderers this season, scores on his debut for England against Scotland at Hampden Park. England win 2–0 to take the Rous Cup.
1 June 1989 – Trevor Steven, the Everton winger, becomes the latest Englishman to sign for Rangers when he agrees terms for a £1.5 million transfer. Kenny Sansom leaves Newcastle United to return to London in an exchange deal to Queens Park Rangers, with Wayne Fereday moving in the opposite direction.
3 June 1989 – England make it three wins from their opening four World Cup qualifying games with a 3–0 win over Poland at Wembley. The domestic season draws to a close when Crystal Palace overhaul a 3–1 deficit to defeat Blackburn Rovers 4–3 on aggregate to win promotion to the First Division after an eight-year exile.
5 June 1989 – John Lyall, the longest-serving manager currently employed in the Football League, is sacked after 15 years in charge of relegated West Ham United. He had been with the club for 34 years, since joining them as an apprentice on leaving school in 1955 at the age of 15.
21 June 1989 – Gary Lineker ends three years in Spain with Barcelona to return to England in a £2 million move to Tottenham Hotspur.
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Liverpool won the Cup by beating Everton 3–2 at Wembley. Ian Rush, who had returned to Anfield after a year at Juventus the previous summer, scored twice. This year's FA Cup featured a famous upset as First Division Coventry City, who had won the competition two years earlier, sunk to a 2–1 loss in the third round at lowly Sutton United. The joy of the non-leaguers was ended emphatically though in the next round as they were thumped 8–0 by Norwich City. Also, Third Division Brentford went on an impressive run to the quarter-finals before losing to Liverpool at Anfield.
Football League silverwareEdit
Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest ended their nine-year trophy drought by beating holders Luton Town 3–1 in the final to win the League Cup. Nottingham Forest also won the Full Members' Cup, beating Everton 4–3 in the final after extra time, having come twice from behind. Garry Parker scored a brilliant goal for Nottingham Forest, running nearly the full length of the Wembley pitch, before beating Neville Southall in the Everton goal. This is arguably one of the best goals scored in a Wembley final.
An exciting League season was eventually won by Arsenal, who clinched the title on number of goals scored with a late goal from midfielder Michael Thomas on the final day of the season at Liverpool, six weeks after the death of more than 90 fans at the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough, which delayed the end of the league season by two weeks and meant that the last games were played six days after the FA Cup Final, in which Liverpool beat Merseyside rivals Everton 3–2. It was Arsenal's first league title for 18 years.
Nottingham Forest's title challenge was over by the end of April, by which time it was a two-horse race between Arsenal and Liverpool, but compensated for this by winning the Football League Cup and Full Members Cup to end nine years without a major trophy. Fourth placed Norwich City mounted the first serious top flight title challenge of their history and although their challenge was over some weeks before the season's end, their final position was their best until they finished third in the inaugural Premier League season. They also reached the FA Cup semi-finals for only the second time. Derby County completed the top five to secure their best finish since winning the league title in 1975.
Everton's eighth-place finish was their lowest since 1981, while newly promoted Millwall's 10th-place finish was the lowest standing they had occupied at any stage during their first season in the top flight. Another big club to endure a disappointing season was Manchester United, who finished 11th a year after being runners-up.
A disastrous season for Newcastle United saw them relegated in bottom place after five years back in the First Division. They were relegated alongside local rivals Middlesbrough and a West Ham United side who had almost won the league title three years earlier, and who then sacked their manager John Lyall after 15 years in charge. Aston Villa, Luton Town, Sheffield Wednesday (who went through three managers in the season) and Charlton Athletic all had narrow escapes from relegation.
|Pos||Team||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Qualification or relegation|
|9||Queens Park Rangers||38||14||11||13||43||37||+6||53|
|18||Middlesbrough||38||9||12||17||44||61||−17||39||Relegated to the Second Division|
|19||West Ham United||38||10||8||20||37||62||−25||38|
Chelsea sealed an instant return to the First Division by topping the Second Division with 99 points, giving them a 17-point lead of second-placed Manchester City. The final promotion place went to Crystal Palace, whose manager Steve Coppell had gradually rebuilt the club since taking over as manager five years earlier. They overcame Blackburn Rovers in the two-legged final by overhauling a two-goal deficit and prolonging the Lancashire club's absence from the First Division into its 24th season. West Bromwich had looked all set for promotion as late as February, only for a late season collapse to drag them down to ninth in the final table – not even enough for a playoff place.
Walsall suffered an instant return to the Third Division after winning just five league games all season, while Birmingham City's decline continued as they fell into the Third Division for the first time. The last club to go down were Shrewsbury Town, whose luck finally ran out after defying the odds at this level for a whole decade, while some of the game's most illustrious clubs had gone down before them.
|Pos||Team||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Qualification or relegation|
|1||Chelsea||46||29||12||5||96||50||+46||99||Promoted to the First Division|
|3||Crystal Palace||46||23||12||11||71||49||+22||81||Qualified for play-offs|
|9||West Bromwich Albion||46||18||18||10||65||41||+24||72|
|19||Brighton & Hove Albion||46||14||9||23||57||66||−9||51|
|22||Shrewsbury Town||46||8||18||20||40||67||−27||42||Relegated to the Third Division|
Second Division playoffsEdit
1st leg –21 May; 2nd leg –24 May 1989
1st leg –31 May; 2nd leg –3 June 1989
Wolverhampton Wanderers continued to thrive after a traumatic few seasons which had almost put the club out of business, as they sealed a second successive promotion and a second successive title thanks largely to prolific striker Steve Bull, who became the first player in senior football to reach the 50-goal mark in consecutive seasons. They were joined in the Second Division by runners-up Sheffield United, whose manager Dave Bassett secured his fifth promotion in nine seasons as a manager. Port Vale compensated for missing out on automatic promotion on goal difference by winning the playoffs.
Northampton Town, promotion contenders the previous season, only survived on goal difference. Southend United were relegated instead, on 54 points – more than any other Football League team ever to have been relegated, until Peterborough United were relegated from the Championship in 2012–13 having also finished the season with 54 points. Gillingham, Chesterfield and Aldershot completed the bottom four.
|Pos||Team||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Qualification or relegation|
|1||Wolverhampton Wanderers||46||26||14||6||96||49||+47||92||Promoted to the Second Division|
|3||Port Vale||46||24||12||10||78||48||+30||84||Qualified for play-offs|
|6||Preston North End||46||19||15||12||79||60||+19||72|
|21||Southend United||46||13||15||18||56||75||−19||54||Relegated to the Fourth Division|
Third Division playoffsEdit
1st leg –21/22 May; 2nd leg –25 May 1989
1st leg –31 May; 2nd leg –3 June 1989
|6th||Preston North End||1||1||2|
Rotherham United secured an instant return to the Third Division as Fourth Division champions. Tranmere Rovers finished runners-up to end the decade on a high by winning promotion from a division where they had spent most of the decade. Crewe Alexandra finally made it out of the Fourth Division at the right end after being there continuously for over 20 years. Leyton Orient triumphed in the playoffs less than three months after they had been 15th in the league and seemingly out of the promotion race.
Darlington slipped out of the Football League after a late rally by Colchester United under Jock Wallace. Darlington themselves had enjoyed a late improvement in form after Brian Little's appointment as manager, but were unable to recover from an abysmal run that saw them win just two league games prior to Little's appointment in mid-February.
|Pos||Team||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Promotion or relegation|
|1||Rotherham United||46||22||16||8||76||35||+41||82||Promoted to the Third Division|
|4||Scunthorpe United||46||21||14||11||77||57||+20||77||Qualified for play-offs|
|24||Darlington||46||8||18||20||53||76||−23||42||Relegated to the Football Conference|
- New club in the league
Fourth Division playoffsEdit
1st leg –21 May; 2nd leg –24 May 1989
1st leg –30 May; 2nd leg –3 June 1989
- Keith Edwards (Hull City) – 26 goals
- Steve Bull (Wolverhampton Wanderers) – 37 goals
- Phil Stant (Hereford United) – 28 goals
In their first season after relegation from the Football League, Newport County went out of business on 27 February. They were then expelled from the Conference for failing to fulfill their fixtures but reformed three months later.
The divisional champions of the major non-League competitions were:
|Football Conference||Maidstone United|
|Northern Premier League||Barrow|
|Southern League||Merthyr Tydfil|
|FA Trophy||Telford United|
Manchester United striker Mark Hughes, who had returned to the club after two unhappy seasons with Barcelona in Spain and Bayern Munich in Germany was voted PFA Players' Player of the Year. The PFA Young Player of the Year award went to Arsenal's winger Paul Merson, who helped his side win their first league title for 18 years.
- George Graham's three years of rebuilding Arsenal paid off as he ended their 18-year title drought with the last goal of the season. He received the Manager of the Year award for his efforts.
- Kenny Dalglish compensated for Liverpool's title disappointment with victory over neighbours Everton in the FA Cup final.
- Brian Clough guided Nottingham Forest to a hard-earned League Cup triumph and also victory in the Full Members Cup after they had gone nine years without a trophy.
- Dave Stringer pulled off one of the shocks of the season by taking unfancied Norwich City to fourth place in the First Division.
- Steve Coppell's five years of outstanding effort at Crystal Palace paid off as he got them promoted to the First Division as playoff winners.
- Graham Turner's rejuvenated Wolves side reached the Second Division with a second successive championship and promotion triumph.
- Dave Bassett celebrated his first full season as Sheffield United manager by winning promotion to the Second Division.
- John Rudge took Port Vale to their highest point in decades by guiding them to success in the Third Division promotion playoffs.
- Dario Gradi took Crewe Alexandra to third place in the Fourth Division and earned them promotion after years in the league's lowest division.
- Frank Clark inspired a late run of excellent form for his Leyton Orient side who won promotion to the Third Division as Fourth Division playoff winners.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2009)
13 May 1989: Steve Howey, 17-year-old defender, makes his debut as a substitute for relegated Newcastle United on the final day of the First Division season, when they lose 2–0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford. Graeme Le Saux, 20-year-old Jersey born defender, makes his debut for Second Division champions Chelsea in 3–2 win against Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
- May 1989: Andy Gray, 33-year-old Rangers and Scotland striker who spent most his career in England. Retired from professional football but returned to England to play non-league football with Cheltenham Town.
- June 1989: Arnold Muhren, 38-year-old Dutch winger who played in England for Ipswich Town and Manchester United before returning to the Netherlands in 1985 to complete his playing career.
- June 1989: Remi Moses, 28-year-old Manchester United midfielder who had been out of action for more than a year due to ongoing injury problems.
- 24 July 1988 – John Harris, 71, born in Glasgow, was Chelsea's centre-half in their league championship winning side of 1955. Later managed Sheffield United and took them into the First Division in 1971.
- 1 August 1988 – Steve Mills, 34, who died after a two-year battle against leukaemia, starting his playing career with Notts County and later playing for Southampton. His career was ended by injury at the age of 23.
- 3 August 1988 – Vic Watson, 90, was West Ham United's all-time leading goalscorer with 326 goals between 1920 and 1935.
- 21 August 1988 – Stuart Leary, 55, played a total of nearly 500 competitive games for Charlton Athletic and Queens Park Rangers and was also a first-cricketer for Kent between 1951 and 1971.
- 16 September 1988 – Dick Pym, 95, kept goal more than 300 times for Bolton Wanderers between 1921 and 1931 as well as three times for the England team. He collected three FA Cup winner's medals with Bolton and was the last surviving member of the team which won the first FA Cup final at Wembley in 1923.
- 7 October 1988 – George Ansell, 78, was a forward for Brighton, Norwich City and Southampton during the interwar years.
- 9 October 1988 – Jackie Milburn, 64, legendary goalscorer for Newcastle United and England during the 1950s. Was a cousin of England World Cup winners Bobby and Jack Charlton. Died of cancer.
- 19 December 1988 – Lady Jean Busby, 80, wife of Manchester United's former manager and current president Sir Matt Busby.
- 11 January 1989 – Len Dunderdale, 73, was a centre forward for clubs including Sheffield Wednesday, Walsall, Watford and Leeds United during the 1930s and 1940s.
- 13 January 1989 – Stan Cribb, 83, played 125 league games during the interwar years for Southampton, QPR and Cardiff City.
- 1 April 1989 – George Robledo, 62, Chilean born striker, formerly of Newcastle United, died of a heart attack. He played for Chile at the 1950 World Cup and won the F.A Cup with Newcastle in both of the two seasons that followed the World Cup. In the second final, he was playing in the same team as his brother Ted Robledo.
- 2 April 1989 – Les Bruton, 86, played for clubs including Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool during the interwar years.
- 15 April 1989 – The 94 Liverpool supporters who died in Hillsborough disaster, on the day of the tragedy at the FA Cup semi-final either at the stadium, on their journey to hospital, or shortly after arrival. These included the tragedy's youngest victim, 10-year-old Jon-Paul Gilhooley, and the oldest victim, 67-year-old Gerard Baron, whose late brother Kevin had played for Liverpool in the 1950 FA Cup Final.
- 18 April 1989 – Lee Nicol, 14, the 95th victim of the Hillsborough disaster, died in hospital from his injuries having never regained consciousness.
- 26 May 1989 – Don Revie, 61, manager of the great Leeds United side of the late 1960s and early 1970s who were league champions twice, F.A Cup winners once, League Cup winners once and European Fairs Cup winners twice and Charity Shield Winners once. Managed England from 1974 to 1977 but walked out on them to gain a lucrative four-year deal as national coach of the United Arab Emirates. Returned to his homeland in 1985, four years before his death from motor neurone disease.
- 7 June 1989 – George Roughton, 80, played at centre-half for Huddersfield Town and Manchester United in the decade preceding the outbreak of World War II, and was Exeter City's first postwar manager, later taking charge of Southampton.
Tottenham midfielder Chris Waddle was sold to Olympique Marseille of France in a £4.25 million deal, in the latest of big money deals which saw players desert English clubs for foreign clubs who were prepared to pay higher wages. Gary Lineker ended his three-year spell at FC Barcelona to join Tottenham. He had played under Tottenham manager Terry Venables during his first season at Barcelona.
Lineker's strike partner Mark Hughes also left Barcelona and returned to his old club Manchester United in a £1.8 million deal. Hughes had been a disappointment in his first season at Barcelona but had recaptured his form during a successful season-long loan deal at Bayern Munich.
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