1980/81

Frank Stapleton

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Forward. Age 24 (until 10 July ’81). Born Dublin, Eire. Frank came to Arsenal as an apprentice in June, 1972 and became a professional in October, 1973. One of the most feared strikers in Europe, particularly in the air. Frank opened the season with a goal in each of the first five games before a lean spell afterwards. Finished 1980/81 with 14 League goals in 40 matches before joining Manchester United in August 1981. An Eire international.

Brian Talbot

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Midfielder. Age 27 (until 21 July ’81). Born Ipswich. Joined Arsenal from Ipswich Town two seasons ago and created a record by winning consecutive FA Cup Final medals for different teams (Ipswich and Arsenal) and then playing in three successive Finals. Industrious player who weighed in with seven goals in 40 League matches during another industrious season.

Kenny Sansom

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Defender. Age 21 (until 26 Sept ’80). Born Camberwell. Now a regular with England. He joined Arsenal in the close season in the controversial move that took £1 million striker Clive Allen to Crystal Palace. Kenny made 172 appearances for Palace before moving to Highbury. Impressed supporters with his speed, tackling and crossing. Ever-present in the number 3 shirt in 1980/81, winning the Arsenal ‘Player of the Year’ award at the end of the campaign.

Dennis Mortimer

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Midfielder. Age 28 (until 5 Apr ’81). Born Liverpool. Villa captain whose inspiring performances in the 1980/81 season, have helped his claims for an England call-up. He started with Coventry and attracted the attention of many top clubs, joining Villa in December 1975 in a £175,000 deal. Capped by England in Youth, Under-23 and 'B’ teams and trained with the full squad in May. Ever-present for Villa in 1980/81, scoring four times in Division One, including in a 2-0 victory over Liverpool in January. Lifted the League championship at the end of the season.

Gary Shaw

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Forward. Age 19 (until 21 Jan ’81). Born Birmingham. Promising young striker with deadly finishing who developed a tremendous understanding with Peter Withe. Shaw hit three goals in the opening four games of 1980/81, including winners at Villa Park against Norwich and Coventry. His 18 League goals put Villa within reach of the First Division Championship, although one of his best, an explosive just from just inside the penalty area, was a mere consolation against Ipswich in April. Voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1981 and tipped for an England call-up.

David Geddes

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Forward. Age 22 (until 12 May ’81). Born Carlisle. Mainly operated as a fringe player for Villa since his £300,000 move from Ipswich Town in September. Nevertheless, he proved a thorn in the side of his former club’s championship bid in 1980/81 with four Villa goals in just eight League starts. He hit the Villains' winner against Wolves in September, following two successive defeats. He also halted a run of four games without a win by scoring twice in the 3-0 victory in the derby match with Birmingham in December. 

David Langan

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Defender. Age 23 (until 15 Feb ’81). Born Dublin. This wholehearted right-back turned pro with Derby County in June 1976, making his League debut against Leeds United in February 1977. Two months later, he made his debut for the Republic of Ireland against Turkey. After 143 League games for the Rams, he signed for Birmingham in June 1980 for a club record £350,000. In 1980/81, he was ever-present in his first season at St Andrews.

Joe Gallagher

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Defender. Age 25 (until 11 Jan ’81). Born Forest Gate. A hard-working competitive centre-back who joined the Blues in July 1970 and made his debut against Arsenal in October 1973. Recovered from a broken leg and a car crash, Joe plays at the heart of the Blues' defence, forming an impressive combination with Colin Todd, particularly excelling in the air. Missed just one League game in 1980/81. Enjoyed a testimonial match against Aston Villa in May 1981.

Alan Curbishley

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Midfielder. Age 22 (until 8 Nov ’80). Born Forest Gate. Alan has built up a fine midfield partnership with Archie Gemmill at St Andrews. He began with West Ham, turning pro in June 1975. Jim Smith signed him in June 1979 from the Hammers as part of a rebuilding programme after relegation from the top flight. His consistency helped the Blues return to Division One at the first time of asking and justified his £225,000 price tag. In 1980/81, Curbishley played 29 Division One matches, ever present before an injury against Brighton in February put an end to his campaign. Scored six League goals including the winner in that match.

Ray McHale

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Midfielder. Age 29 (until 12 Aug '81). Born Sheffield, Yorkshire. Goalscoring midfield player who, until joining Brighton, played all his football in the lower divisions, with nearly 400 appearances for Chesterfield, Halifax and Swindon before signing for the Seagulls in May 1980 for £25,000 plus defender Andy Rollings who moved the other way. He was amongst four nominations for the Sunday People Third Division 'Player of the Year' award in May 1980. Found the going tough in the top flight, and after just thirteen games, signed for Barnsley for £60,000 in March 1981.

Steve Foster

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Defender. Age 22 (until 24 Sep '80). Born Portsmouth, Hampshire. A central defender with strong aerial ability and leadership skills. Joined Brighton from Portsmouth in June 1979 for a fee of £150,000. Already played in all four divisions of the Football League, and also been capped at Under-21 level. The fans voted him Brighton's 'Player of the Year' for 1979/80. Did not miss a single League game during 1980/81. Foster scored the opening goal in the 2-0 win against Leeds in May that guaranteed First Division survival.

Mark Lawrenson

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Defender. Age 23 (until 2 Jun '81). Born Preston, Lancashire. Classy footballer who joined Brighton for £111,111 from Preston in June 1977, having made his international debut for Eire during the previous month. After an injury in September 1979 kept him out of two months, returned for the rest of the campaign as a midfielder. In 1980/81 was back in central defence and had another outstanding season as Albion beat the drop. His well-timed tackles, reading of the game, and confidence to bring the ball out of defence, made him a target for the top clubs. Sold to Liverpool in a club record £900,000 deal in August 1981.

Steve Hunt

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Forward. Age 23 (until 4 Aug '80). Born Birmingham. Steve played seven games for Aston Villa before flying off to play for New York Cosmos in the NASL in February 1977. After two seasons in America, Coventry paid £40,000 in September 1978 to bring him back to England. Made 40 League appearances for the Sky Blues in 1980/81, scoring six times. The Away from Home' Coventry blog describes Hunt as 'a fiery competitor': 'It was Hunt who hauled the inconsolable Garry Thompson to his feet in the League Cup semi-final with West Ham having put through his own goal. Clenching his fist to the West Terrace to galvanise support, City came from two down to win 3-2 that night.'

Mick Coop

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Defender. Age 32 (until 10 Jul '81). Born Grimsby. An experienced player nearing the end of his career. Mick was an excellent school boy cricketer and footballer who joined the Sky Blues as an apprentice in 1962. In January 1966, he turned professional and soon made his debut for the club. A poor run of form in 1974/75 led to Graham Oakley relaxing Mick who went on loan to York for four games. Upon his return, he regained his starting position. In 1980/81, Coop made 27 Division One appearances at right-back. After 424 League games for the Sky Blues, Coop was transferred to Derby in July 1981 for £20,000.

Gerry Daly

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Midfielder. Age 26 (until 30 Apr '81). Born Dublin. Established himself with the Bohemians club. Crossed the Irish Sea to join Manchester United in 1973. Although the Red Devils were relegated at the end of his first season, Daly became a key player in the promotion side the following campaign, After making 111 League appearances, he moved to Derby midway through 1976/77. Joined Coventry from Derby in August 1980 in a £300,000 deal and was an instant success, supplying the strikers and getting amongst the goals himself. He ended 1980/81 as the Sky Blues' top scorer with eight goals from 35 Division One appearances. This included a double in the 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace in September.

Mike Flanagan

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Forward. Age 27 (until 9 Nov '80). Born Ilford. Made his debut in 1971/72, forming a successful partnership with Derek Hales. He joined NASL side New England Tea Men in 1978, with his 30 goals helping him to the Most Valuable Player Award for that year. In summer 1979, he joined newly promoted Crystal Palace but scored just five Division One goals in his first season. In 1980/81, Mike lifted some of the gloom at Selhurst Park with a hat-trick in a 3-2 victory over Southampton in October. Left for QPR in December to rejoin old boss Terry Venables in a £150,000 deal.

Jerry Murphy

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Midfielder. Age 20 (until 23 Sep '80). Born Stepney, Greater London. One of a long line of youngsters to develop through the Palace youth system. Although Jerry played for England schoolboys, he played three times for the full Republic of Ireland team. According to boss Terry Venables: "He has a lazy style like Pat Crerand, has great vision, can dribble and passes well." 1980/81 proved a difficult season for Jerry who made 19 Division One appearances, unable to hold down a regular place in a struggling side. Nevertheless, he scored twice, both in December, including the equaliser at arch rivals Brighton in a 3-2 defeat.

Billy Gilbert

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Defender. Age 20 (until 10 Nov '80). Born Lewisham. Billy developed through the apprentice ranks at Selhurst Park before turning pro in December 1976. He made his League debut for Palace in a 3-1 loss at Blackpool in October 1977. He went on to form a formidable central defensive partnership with Jim Cannon that led to the Second Division championship in 1978/79. His manager Terry Venables said: "At first the lad had a problem with consistency and seemed lackadaisical at times. But he's overcome the problem and has all the makings of a top player." Gilbert missed just three League games in 1980/81 but could not halt Palace's slide back to Division Two.

Martin Hodge

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Goalkeeper. Age 21 (until 4 Feb '81). Born Southport. Spotted by Plymouth Argyle while playing for amateur side Southport Trinity. Signed as an apprentice and eventually made his League debut for the Pilgrims in 1977/78. His form caught the eye of Everton who signed Martin in July 1979 for £135,000. In his first season at Goodison Park, Hodge became first choice keeper, making 28 appearances. However, in 1980/81, a knee injury and Jim McDonough's arrival from Bolton sidelined him until January when he made his comeback in a 2-1 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup. He played two more times in Division One in February, but McDonough won back the number one shirt.

Kevin Ratcliffe

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Defender. Age 19 (until 12 Nov ’80). Born Mancot. Kevin graduated through the Goodison youth system, making his debut in March 1980. Although he began as a central defender, he began 1980/81 in the number three shirt. He said: "It's good to have two positions to go for, but I feel left-back is my better position now. This is partly because of my height, although I'm not bad in the air." After four games, Ratcliffe was dropped but then, in November, he made his Welsh international debut against Czechoslovakia, setting up both goals in a famous win. He returned to the Everton side as a centre back in a 3-0 defeat at home to Manchester City on Boxing Day and was a regular until the end of the season, being deployed in a variety of roles in defence and midfield.

Asa Hartford

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Midfielder. Age 29 (until 24 Oct '80). Born Clydebank. Strong, talented player who began his professional career with West Brom, winning the FA Cup in 1968. He was seen by Don Revie as in the Billy Bremner mould. In November 1971, a high profile transfer to Leeds fell through when a suspected hole-in-the-heart condition was found. Asa moved to Manchester City in 1974 in a £210,000 deal, winning the League Cup two years later. In July 1979, he joined European Champions Nottingham Forest in a £500,000 deal but appeared in just three matches before leaving for Everton for £400,000. During 1980/81, Hartford played 39 League games for the Toffees, scoring five times, including in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool in October, and twice in a 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough in March.

George Burley

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Defender. Age 24 (until 3 Jun '81). Born Cumnock, Scotland. Classy Scottish international right-back who joined Ipswich from school in June 1971, signing professional forms two years later. He made his League debut at Manchester United in 1973, with the job of marking George Best. Burley became a regular and won the FA Cup with Town in 1978. He made 23 Division One appearances in 1980/81 when tragedy struck in the FA Cup tie at Shrewsbury. Burley suffered a cruciate ligament injury as well as damaging his cartilage in an awkward fall. He said: "I went to head the ball. I had to really stretch and I lost my balance. When I heard a click I realised it was probably quite a serious injury." Missed the rest of the season including the UEFA Cup Final.

John Wark

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Midfielder. Age 22 (until 4 Aug '80). Born Glasgow. A gritty player who blossomed in a midfield triangle with Thijssen and Muhren. He said: "My main job is to sit in front of the back four and this comes quite naturally because of my experience as a central defender in my early days." After his debut in 1975, he metamorphosed into a midfielder, retaining his ball winning abilities but displaying an uncanny knack of arriving in the box at the right time to find the net. In 1980/81, Wark hit 36 goals in all competitions. This included a then record-breaking 14 in the UEFA Cup. He proved deadly from the penalty spot, as shown with a hat-trick of penalties against Aris Salonika in September. By the end of a prolific campaign, John also scooped the PFA Player of the Year and the European Young Player of the Year awards.

Paul Mariner

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Forward. Age 27 (until 22 May '81). Born Bolton. Powerful, skilful England striker, especially dangerous in the air but also able to create his own chances on the ground. He earned a fine reputation as a goalscorer with Plymouth Argyle before Bobby Robson paid £200,000 for him in October 1976. From 1978/79 onwards, he formed a formidable strike partnership with Alan Brazil, with Eric Gates operating behind. During 1980/81, Mariner scored 26 goals in 58 matches. This included the only goal against Aston Villa in the FA Cup in January, and twice in France in a vintage 4-1 victory over St Etienne in the UEFA Cup in March. Paul was third in the PFA 'Player of the Year' awards for 1980/81.

Gary Hamson

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Midfielder. Age 20 (until 24 Aug '80). Born Nottingham. Tenacious and strong young player with excellent skills and passing ability. He began his career at Sheffield United where he made 108 League appearances. He was sold to Leeds in a £140,000 deal in July 1979 and made 22 first team appearances in his first campaign at Elland Road. However, 1980/81 proved a damp squid: "I was really looking forward to the season back in the summer but it's not really worked out the way I hoped it would." He picked up an injury in his first senior game of the season at Norwich and then cut his head in training. Gary made just seven starts in Division One and came off the bench four times, with his last outing in mid-January against Southampton.

Eddie Gray

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Defender. Age 32 (until 17 Jan '81). Born Glasgow. An integral member of the legendary Leeds United side of the 1960s and 1970s, most famous for his two sensational goals against Burnley in 1970. Eddie made his first team debut aged 17 on New Year's Day 1966 and developed into an outstanding and tenacious winger, renowned for his ability to beat full-backs for skill, pace and thought. He tormented David Webb in the 1970 FA Cup Final, but injuries meant he missed most of the 1973/74 season. In October 1980, he successfully converted to the left-back position in a bid to preserve his career, making 38 Division One appearances, mainly in his new role.

Neil Firm

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Defender. Age 22 (until 23 Jan '81). Born Bradford. Tall central defender who turned professional with Leeds in January 1976. He made his League debut at Manchester City in March 1980 but found first team chances difficult to come by through stiff competition from the likes of Gordon McQueen, Trevor Cherry and Paul Hart. While strong in the air, he was less surefooted on the ground, especially against tricky attackers. In 1980/81, Neil made five Division One appearances, but was sent off in the penultimate fixture, a 2-0 defeat at Brighton in May.

Arthur Graham

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Forward. Age 27 (until 26 Oct '80). Born Glasgow. A tricky Scottish international winger who won his first cap against East Germany as substitute in East Berlin in September 1977. He scored 34 goals in 220 league games with Aberdeen before moving to Leeds in July 1977 for £125,000, hitting a hat-trick against Birmingham in January 1978, the first by a Leeds player in any competition in nearly five seasons of football. Made 40 Division One appearances in 1980/81, scoring three times, including the winner in the 2-1 away win at West Brom in early December.

Jim Melrose

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Forward. Age 21 (until 7 Oct '80). Born Glasgow. This Scottish striker became Leicester's record signing when he moved from Partick Thistle for £250,000 during summer 1980. Took time to adjust to the English game and lost his starting place in September 1980. At the time, Jim said: "Obviously, the fact I haven't scored is a bit of a worry but overall I'm reasonably happy with my form." It took until a first-half double at Birmingham in a 2-1 win in early December for Melrose to break his City duck. He then followed up with a collector's item: a winner at Anfield in the Foxes' shock 2-1 victory over Liverpool in January 1981. The Scot then hit the only goal against Manchester United, as Leicester fought bravely against relegation. Melrose's hat-trick at Norwich on the final day in a 3-2 win was not enough to prevent the drop.

Andy Peake

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Midfielder. Age 18 (until 1 Nov '80). Born Market Harborough. Joined Leicester as an apprentice before turning professional two days after his debut against Blackburn Rovers in January 1979. He then made 25 appearances in the promotion season of 1979/80. In 1980/81, Andy kickstarted the Foxes' campaign by hitting a spectacular right-footed swerving shot from the edge of the area against champions Liverpool in a shock 2-0 win in August. His fortunes took a downturn when he was carried off in the League Cup tie with West Brom in September. He said: "I had set my sights on playing all 42 League gams this season but that went out of the window when I cracked my anklebone in a tackle with Remi Moses." Even so, Peake was back in November and ended up with 24 Division One appearances.

Alan Young

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Forward. Age 24 (until 26 Oct '80). Born Kirkcaldy. A talented, brave striker who had scored 30 times in 122 League games for Oldham when Leicester paid £200,000 for his services in July 1979. Alan was Leicester's top scorer in their Second Division championship season in 1979/80 with fourteen goals. Despite featuring in 38 Division One matches in 1980/81, he contributed just seven goals as the Foxes were relegated at the end of a difficult campaign. A purple patch came from mid-October, when he hit three goals in five matches.

Jimmy Case

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Midfielder. Age 26 (until 18 May '81). Born Liverpool. Skilful, tough-tackling performer with a ferocious shot. He signed professional forms for his first club, Liverpool, in May 1973 and made his League debut against QPR in April 1975. In 1976/77, Case played a prominent role in the Reds side that clinched the League title and European Cup. He also scored a classic goal on the turn in the FA Cup Final against Manchester United. Over the next few seasons, the Liverpudlian was a fixture in the Reds midfield that dominated English football. However, in September 1980, Jimmy lost his starting place to Sammy Lee, and made just 24 Division One appearances, including ten from the bench.

Howard Gayle

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Forward. Age 22 (until 18 May '81). Born Toxteth, Liverpool. Winger who joined the ranks at Liverpool in 1974, eventually becoming the first black player to break into the first team at the club. Howard played fourteen times on loan at Fulham in 1979/80, and eventually made his Reds debut as a sub against Manchester City in a 3-0 win in October 1980. He scored at Tottenham in April 1981, totalling four League appearances by the end of that campaign. However, his finest hour came with a magnificent display in the European Cup Semi-Final Second Leg, where he repeatedly tormented the Bayern Munich defence.

Avi Cohen

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Defender. Age 23 (until 14 Nov '80). Born Cairo, Egypt. A classy, composed Israeli international with good passing and a fine reader of the game. He joined the Reds from Tel Aviv in a £200,000 deal in May 1979, becoming the first Israeli to play in the Football League. He made his Reds debut in the 1-1 draw at Leeds in September that year but was dropped immediately afterwards, as he clearly had a lot to learn about English football. It took until April 1980 for him to be given another chance, when he was deployed as a left-back. Avi responded by scoring at both ends when Liverpool clinched the title against Aston Villa a month later. In September 1980, Cohen regained the number three shirt, threatening Alan Kennedy's future for a time. He made 14 League appearances but was a peripheral squad player by the end of the campaign.

Steve MacKenzie

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Midfielder. Age 18 (until 23 Nov '80). Born Romford. Attacking player who caused a sensation in July 1979 when Malcolm Allison paid £250,000 for him as a 17 year old Palace reserve who had never played in the first team. He was then English football's most expensive teenager. Steve featured in the England youth team that won the UEFA tournament in Germany in May 1980. His second season, 1980/81, coincided with an upturn in fortunes under John Bond. He made 39 Division One appearances, contributing six goals. Got the third goal against Tottenham in October, helping City to their first League win at the 13th attempt. He also scored with a magnificent volley in the FA Cup Final Replay against Spurs in May 1981.

Dave Bennett

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Forward. Age 21 (until 11 Jul '81). Born Manchester. A quicksilver, tricky winger who joined the City youth team alongside brother Gary. Dave got his chance in April 1979, making his debut against Everton. He became a regular the following season. In 1980/81, he hit five goals as City reached the League Cup Semi-Final. He also made 26 League appearances, scoring seven goals. A spectacular run of four goals in four matches let to Dave being chosen for the FA Cup Final. He assisted Tommy Hutchison's goal in the first match and won a penalty in the replay after being pushed by Paul Miller.

Ray Ranson

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Defender. Age 20 (until 12 Jun '81). Born St Helens. This reliable right-back was signed as an apprentice by City in 1976. He made an impressive League debut in a goalless draw at champions Nottingham Forest in December 1978. Such was his progress, he won two England Under-21 caps in 1979/80. In the following campaign, Ray made 33 Division One appearances and played in both the FA Cup Final and the replay at Wembley.

Nikola Jovanovic

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Defender. Age 27 (until 18 Sep '80). Born Cetinje, Yugoslavia. The first non-British Isles player to be bought by Manchester United. Jovanovic had an impressive record of 359 matches and 50 goals for Red Star Belgrade before being purchased by Dave Sexton in a £300,000 deal in January 1980. He made his United debut in a friendly with Hajduk Split before his first League match at Derby in February. Towards the end of his first campaign at Old Trafford, he began to suffer from chronic back pain, hindering his ability to justify his fee. In 1980/81, the 6ft 3in tall Yugoslav international made 19 League appearances for the Red Devils, scoring four times. These included a double in a 5-0 victory over Leicester in September.

Lou Macari

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Midfielder. Age 31 (until 7 Jun '81). Born Largs, Scotland. An energetic and enterprising midfielder who was surprisingly good in the air, despite being just 5ft 6in tall. He was a prominent part of Manchester United's superb attacking side of the late 1970s. He had begun his career at Celtic where he enjoyed three seasons as a striker before moving to Old Trafford in a £200,000 deal in 1973. After a difficult start, he was successfully converted into a midfielder by boss Tommy Docherty. Macari opened Manchester United's scoring on the opening day in a 3-0 thrashing of Middlesbrough. He added eight further goals in his 38 Division One appearances that 1980/81 season.

Martin Buchan

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Defender. Age 31 (until 6 Mar '81). Born Aberdeen. An influential and cool performer at the heart of the United defence. He became the only player to captain both the Scottish Cup winners (1970) and the English FA Cup winners (1977). Martin joined the Red Devils from Aberdeen in a £125,000 transfer in 1972. Although his first campaign as club captain ended in relegation in 1974, he led a resurgent United side back up in 1975. In the 1980/81 campaign, Martin made 26 League appearances. However, he was hampered until the New Year by injuring his hamstring in the 0-0 draw at Widzew Łódź as United exited the UEFA Cup in October.

Charlie Bell

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Midfielder. Age 21 (until 24 Nov '80). Born Guisborough. A lifelong Boro fan who broke his leg just three days after signing as a professional. Even so, he recovered to make his debut against Wolves in 1977 but still only had a handful of first team appearances by the start of 1980/81. Charlie played his way back into the side in January 1981, eventually making five Division One appearances during the season. This included his first senior goal, in the 2-1 defeat at Birmingham in April. "It was a great feeling seeing the ball hit the back of the net. I'd love to be able to say that there'll be more where that came from," he said.

David Hodgson

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Forward. Age 19 (until 8 Aug '80). Born Gateshead. An England under-21 international who came through the Boro junior side and signed apprentice forms on his 16th birthday. He made his debut at Nottingham Forest in September 1978, and has caused worries for numerous First Division defences with his searing pace and aggression. David played 32 League games in 1980/81. In December 1980, he hit a stunning hat-trick against Tottenham in a 4-1 win. Then, a month later, he scored twice in another thumping victory, 5-0 at Swansea in the FA Cup.

Craig Johnston

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Midfielder. Age 20 (until 25 Jun '81). Born Johannesburg, South Africa. Brought up in Australia. While turning out for Lake McQuarrie FA, Craig saw Middlesbrough play on a tour Down Under. At the age of 14, he wrote to four English clubs seeking a trial. He flew 12,000 miles for a trial with Middlesbrough aged 15. After an inauspicious start, with Jack Charlton describing him as the worst player he had ever seen, Johnston made the grade, developing his own training programme. The youngster's senior debut came in an FA Cup tie against Everton in January 1978. His League debut followed a month later in a 2-1 victory over Birmingham. In March 1981, Craig made a 'gentleman's agreement' to join Liverpool at the end of the 1980/81 campaign in a £650,000 deal, but he left prematurely in March after receiving disgruntled messages from Boro supporters. In his final season at Ayresome Park, he hit an impressive 10 goals in 27 League matches. He was also in the top six candidates for PFA 'Young Player of the Year.'

Mark Barham

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Midfielder. Age 18 (until 8 Aug '80). Born Folkestone. A teenager with deft touch and vision, excelling on the right wing. He made his debut in a 5-0 defeat at Manchester United in November 1979 before getting another chance in the final three games of the campaign. He proved a revelation in Norwich's summer tour of China in 1980. "I had the good fortune to play in all four games, a very pleasant surprise considering I originally didn't contemplate going," he said. In 1980/81, Mark established himself as a regular in the first team, making 35 Division One appearances in total. His only goal came in the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal in October.

Duncan Forbes

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Defender. Age 39 (until 19 Jun '81). Born Edinburgh. Veteran defender who made 270 League appearances for Colchester before joining Norwich in September 1968. He captained the Canaries in the promotion season of 1971/72 as well as the League Cup Final defeats to Spurs in 1973 and Aston Villa in 1975. After no first team action the previous campaign, his energetic and robust style led to a recall in the League cup tie at Shrewsbury in August 1980. He noted: "I had resigned myself to reserve team soccer. After all, you don't re-start First Division careers 12 months from your 40th birthday." Forbes made his top flight comeback in a 4-1 defeat at Liverpool that August, before adding two further appearances in 1980/81.

Justin Fashanu

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Forward. Age 19 (until 19 Feb '81). Born Hackney. A former junior ABA Boxing Champion. Justin turned professional in football with Norwich City in December 1978, making his debut a month later. He scored the BBC 'Match of the Day' Goal of the Season with a spectacular volley against Liverpool in a 5-3 defeat. With his strong, physical approach, Justin became hot property in 1980/81, and the Canaries slapping a £2 million price tag on him in October 1980. He eventually hit 19 League goals in the campaign, including a hat-trick on the opening day, in a 5-1 demolition of Stoke City. His goal in the 1-0 win over Ipswich in April 1981 gave the Canaries their fourth successive victory as they fought to avoid relegation, a battle that was ultimately lost.

Kenny Burns

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Defender. Age 26 (until 23 Sep '80). Born Glasgow. A Scottish international known for his strong-willed play and 'bad boy' reputation. He scored 45 League goals as a striker with Birmingham in 188 games. Joined Forest in August 1977 in a £135,000 deal and was successfully converted into a central defender. The solidity he provided at the back with Larry Lloyd was a strong foundation for the Forest success story. At the end of the 1977/78, he was voted 'Footballer of the Year' by the Football Writers' Association. Burns played 30 Division One games in 1980/81, scoring five times, including winners in 1-0 victories over Everton in January and Middlesbrough in March. Won the Forest 'Player of the Season' award that campaign, his last season at the City Ground.

Trevor Francis

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Forward. Age 26 (until 19 Apr '81). Born Plymouth. Highly rated striker with great acceleration and ability to turn in the box. Trevor made an impressive start to his Birmingham career, scoring 15 goals in 1970/71, including four against Bolton at the tender age of 16. After 118 League goals in 280 games for the Blues, Trevor signed for Forest in February 1979 in the first ever transfer between English clubs for over £1 million. In the European Cup Final three months later, he scored the winner in the final against Malmo with a far-post header. A severed Achilles tendon injury kept Francis out of England's squad for the European Championships in 1980. He had to wait until the Sunderland match in December 1980 for his first Forest game of 1980/81. Scored just six League goals in 18 Division One appearances that campaign, which was not helped by Clough's tendency to play Francis on the right-wing rather than his preferred position up front.

Frank Gray

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Defender. Age 25 (until 27 Oct '80). Born Glasgow. After joining straight from school, Frank turned professional with Leeds in November 1971. Playing both left-back and in midfield, he made 193 League appearances for United, winning the League Championship in 1973/74. After over ten years at Elland Road, Frank moved to Forest for £500,000 in July 1979 and won a European Cup winner's medal against Hamburg at the end of his first full season in 1980. He had been on the losing side in his career when Leeds lost to Bayern Munich in Paris in 1975. Frank was first choice as Forest left-back in 1980/81, missing just two matches. When John Robertson was out of action in December 1980, Frank proved a capable understudy as penalty taker, scoring against Crystal Palace and Wolves from the spot.

Graham Baker

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Midfielder. Age 21 (until 3 Dec '80). Born Southampton. Industrious, hard-tackling player who could pass and shoot well. Made a sensational debut when he scored in the opening minute against Blackpool in November 1977. Despite his promise, it took a while for Graham to become a first team regular. However, in 1980/81, Baker made 39 Division One appearances as Southampton reached sixth, their then highest top flight finish. His eight goals included Saints' opener in an epic 4-4 draw with Spurs on Boxing Day at White Hart Lane.

Alan Ball

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Midfielder. Age 35 (until 12 May '81). Born Farnworth. Alan was the youngest member of the England World Cup winning team in 1966, giving a magnificent performance in the final. As a midfield dynamo, he began with Blackpool before transferring to Everton after the competition for £110,000. Another British record fee took him to Arsenal in 1971 before arriving at the Dell six years later, the third time he had joined a club that were then the FA Cup holders. After a spell in the USA with Philadelphia Fury and Vancouver Whitecaps, he returned to Britain as Blackpool player-manager in February 1980. However this was not a success. When he was sacked in February 1981, Ball returned to Southampton a month later, playing the last ten matches of the 1980/81 season as a Saint.

Steve Williams

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Midfielder. Age 22 (until 12 Jul '81). Born Romford. A tiger in the middle of the park who combines a competitive edge with a natural ball-holding ability. Steve made his League debut in a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth in 1976, after Peter Osgood was dropped for disciplinary reasons. Steve reached 177 appearances by the end of 1980/81. He was a regular in the number 4 shirt during the Division One campaign, playing 33 times and scoring four goals. This included the opener against south coast rivals Brighton in a 3-1 win in October and a spectacular drive from outside the box against Ipswich in a classic 3-3 draw two months later.

Paul Bracewell

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Midfielder. Age 18 (until 19 Jun ’81). Born Stoke. Highly promising left-sided teenager who made his debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers just before his 18th birthday. Became a regular in 1980/81, making 40 League appearances, and hit a double against Wolves on the last day of the season in a 3-2 victory. His only other goal came against Wolves in a 2-2 draw in the third round of the FA Cup in January 1981.

Loek Ursem

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Midfielder. Age 22 (until 7 Jan '81). Born Amsterdam, Netherlands. Ursem became the first player from outside the British Isles to play for Stoke City, having been bought by Alan Durban from AZ '67. A left-sided winger who had a good touch, although perhaps not suited to the physical demands of the Football League. Nevertheless, he had a purple patch from August 1980 where he scored four goals in just six Division One matches. Ended 1980/81 with seven League goals in 28 appearances.

Lee Chapman

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Forward. Age 20 (until 5 Dec ’80). Born Lincoln. Son of ex-Port Vale player, Roy. Lee turned pro for the Potters in June 1978. He established himself as a handful upfront, and particularly good in the air. He scored on his first team debut in the League Cup against Swindon in September 1978. Lee missed just one League game in 1980/81, leading the club's scoring charts with an impressive 15 goals in Division One. This included two hat-tricks, at home to Norwich in November 1980 and then at Leeds in February 1981.

Tom Ritchie

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Forward. Age 28 (until 2 Jan ’81). Born Edinburgh. Tom played locally for Bridgend Thistle in Scotland before being signed by Bristol City in July 1969. The tall Scot established himself in the Robins' attack, playing a vital role in the club's rise to the First Division by 1976. However, his thirteen goals (including six penalties) could not halt his side's slide back to the Second Division at the end of 1979/80. Out of form, he joined Sunderland in January 1981 in a £180,000 deal. He came on as a sub in the 2-1 defeat at Southampton at the end of that month. Then, in a sudden goal burst, he put an end to a lean six month spell without a League goal in 26 matches with a hat-trick against Birmingham in a 3-0 victory in April, before adding another two days later from the penalty spot in the 2-1 defeat at West Brom.

Steve Whitworth

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Defender. Age 28 (until 20 Mar ’81). Born Coalville. Steve began his career at Leicester, making his debut against Bristol City in September 1970. At the end of his first season in the starting line-up, he helped the Foxes to promotion from Division Two. He also scored the winning goal in the Charity Shield against Liverpool in 1971. He made 353 League appearances for the Foxes as well as winning seven England caps, making his international debut at right-back in a 2-0 victory over West Germany in March 1975. He joined Sunderland for £150,000 in March 1979, and was ever-present when the Rokerites won promotion back to the top flight in 1979/80. Made 29 Division One appearances in 1980/81.

Sam Allardyce

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Defender. Age 25 (until 19 Oct ’80). Born Dudley. Sam began his career at Bolton, making his debut against Millwall in the League Cup in November 1973. He was part of the Trotters' side that clinched promotion from the Second Division in 1977/78. When Wanderers were relegated at the end of 1979/80, Allardyce then joined Sunderland in a £150,000 deal, with a £20,000 signing on fee and £300 a week contract, and became captain under boss Ken Knighton. The big defender made 25 League appearances for the Rokerites in 1980/81, scoring twice. However, he also put in a transfer request during the campaign as he tired of the long distance travel from his Bolton home. To compound matters, chairman Tom Cowie refused to help him finance the purchase of a home in Sunderland.

Gordon Chisholm

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Midfielder. Age 20 (until 8 Apr ’81). Born Glasgow. This young Scot was able to play with equal effectiveness in midfield or at the back, where he finished at the end of the 1979/80 promotion season when Jeff Clarke was injured. Then, in Division One, Gordon made 34 League appearances in 1980/81, in a variety of roles, scoring three times. This included two in two matches, against Manchester United and Southampton, in January. He also scored that month in the FA Cup in a 1-1 draw with Birmingham.

Kevin Arnott

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Midfielder. Age 21 (until 28 Sep ’80). Born Gateshead. Talented player with excellent vision and ball control. He made his League debut in January 1977, quickly establishing himself, along with Gary Rowell and Shaun Elliott, as a young Rokerite with immense potential. Signed a new contract in the summer of 1980 and played 34 Division One games in 1980/81. Hit two goals including the clincher in a 2-0 victory over Arsenal in December.

Shaun Elliott

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Defender. Age 23 (until 26 Jan ’81). Born Haltwhistle. Shaun was originally a midfielder before settling into a defensive role, renowned for his skilful play. He turned professional in 1975 impressing with his pace and mobility upon his debut, despite the club's relegation from the top flight in 1976/77. He rapidly became a key player in the team, and his inspiring performances had much to do with Sunderland's promotion success in 1979/80. In the First Division campaign of 1980/81, Shaun played 38 times, with the Rookeries losing all four games while he was absent. An England 'B' international.

Osvaldo Ardiles

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Midfielder. Age 21 (until 28 Sep ’80). Born Gateshead. Talented player with excellent vision and ball control. He made his League debut in January 1977, quickly establishing himself, along with Gary Rowell and Shaun Elliott, as a young Rokerite with immense potential. Signed a new contract in the summer of 1980 and played 34 Division One games in 1980/81. Hit two goals including the clincher in a 2-0 victory over Arsenal in December.

Paul Miller

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Defender. Age 20 (until 11 Oct ’80). Born Stepney. This six footer signed for Spurs as an apprentice in April 1976, before turning pro just over a year later. After a handful of first team appearances, he spent seven months with Skeid Oslo in the Norwegian First Division. Upon his return, he gradually established himself at Tottenham. In 1980/81, he had to wait until late October for his first appearance of the season but was a first team regular by the end. Scored both his league goals for the campaign over just three days in April, against Norwich and Southampton. Conceded a penalty in the FA Cup Final replay.

Graham Roberts

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Defender. Age 21 (until 3 Jul ’81). Born Southampton. Tough tackling competitor. Having not had the best of fortune in trying to make a breakthrough with Southampton, Bournemouth and Portsmouth, Graham was sold to non-league Dorchester before moving to rivals Weymouth. Despite competition from West Brom, Graham transferred to Spurs after boss Keith Burkinshaw made a £30,000 bid in 1980. Although he was originally a striker, Roberts operated in midfield and defence for Spurs in 1980/81. He made 24 League appearances in total, as well as playing in both FA Cup Final matches against Manchester City. In the first match, he lost three teeth but that did not dampen the celebrations after the 3-2 win in the replay.

Barry Cowdrill

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Defender. Age 23 (until 23 Jan '81). Born Birmingham. Formerly a striker, Barry was signed from Sutton Coldfield for £5,000 in 1979. However, he switched to defence and provided useful cover for Derek Statham in 1979/80. In November 1980, West Brom paid his former club an additional £5,000 when he made his tenth appearance, in the League Cup replay with Preston. Cowdrill got another chance in the League, making ten appearances at left-back, when Statham was sidelined for several months in November. The understudy hit his first goal for the Baggies in the FA Cup tie with Grimsby in January 1981.

John Deehan

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Forward. Age 22 (until 6 Aug '80). Born Solihull. 'Dixie' began his career with Aston Villa for whom he signed full professional forms in April 1974, playing 110 League games and scoring 42 goals. He gained a League Cup winners' medal in 1977. Joined West Brom in September 1979 in a £450,000 deal but has not enjoyed the best of form, scoring just twice in 15 League appearances in 1980/81. This included the clincher in a 2-0 win at Leicester in January and the winner against Nottingham Forest in March.

Derek Monaghan

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Forward. Age 21 (until 20 Jan '81). Born Bromsgrove. Exciting striker who scored in West Brom's Youth Cup Final winning team of 1976. He made his debut at Southampton in March 1980, amassing four appearances by the end of the campaign. In 1980/81, Derek made four more appearances, deputising for the absent Cyrille Regis against Coventry in October, before starting a run of three matches in place of first team regular Peter Barnes.

John Richards

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Forward. Age 24 (until 30 Nov '80). Born Glasgow. A striker of outstanding aerial ability as well as skill and knowhow on the floor. Started his career at Dundee United before joining Aston Villa in September 1975. He was the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year in 1977. Two years on, he became Britain’s costliest player when he joined Wolves from Aston Villa in September 1979 in a £1.5million deal. He repaid this with the only goal of the League Cup Final against Nottingham Forest in 1980, capitalising on a mix-up between David Needham and Peter Shilton. In 1980/81, a knee ligament injury in October led to Gray being sidelined for two months. However, the Scottish striker did manage nine goals in his 27 appearances in Division One. These included the only goal against Tottenham in April.

Andy Gray

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Forward. Age 24 (until 30 Nov '80). Born Glasgow. A striker of outstanding aerial ability as well as skill and knowhow on the floor. Started his career at Dundee United before joining Aston Villa in September 1975. He was the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year in 1977. Two years on, he became Britain’s costliest player when he joined Wolves from Aston Villa in September 1979 in a £1.5million deal. He repaid this with the only goal of the League Cup Final against Nottingham Forest in 1980, capitalising on a mix-up between David Needham and Peter Shilton. In 1980/81, a knee ligament injury in October led to Gray being sidelined for two months. However, the Scottish striker did manage nine goals in his 27 appearances in Division One. These included the only goal against Tottenham in April.

Colin Brazier

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Defender. Age 23 (until 6 Jun '81). Born Solihull. A utility player who primarily plays as a centre-back. Colin signed professional in September 1975 and made his senior debut in a 1-0 victory over Ipswich in the FA Cup in February 1977. Although he enjoyed a good spell of games in the latter part of the 1979/80, he was an unused substitute in the League Cup Final in 1980. Brazier made 24 Division One appearances in 1980/81, going on to play Jacksonville Teamen in the North American Soccer League in the summer.