10 January ~ In manager Graham Taylor’s third season in charge, Lincoln powered their way to promotion utilising the direct style of play that came to be called “long ball”. Lincoln’s 74 points was a record under the two points for a win system. They were also the first team in nine seasons to score more than 100 league goals. Taylor left a year later to apply his methods at Watford with whom he won three promotions in five seasons.
Southport had one of the worst ever starts to a season, taking just three points from their first 18 games, but a run of three successive wins in April at least lifted them above the equally hapless Workington. Champions Lincoln played in front of the smallest crowd of the season, with just 871 seeing their 2-1 win at Southport in September; Workington drew the lowest average crowd, just 1,276.
Reading were managed by former Ireland defender Charlie Hurley and featured his old international team-mate Eamon Dunphy as well as the legendarily wild striker Robin Friday who was playing his final season before a brief stay with Cardiff. They held a promotion spot for almost the entire season, as did Tranmere who gained a crucial 3-0 win over challengers Huddersfield with four matches to go. Ronnie Moore, Tranmere’s centre-forward and now their manager, was the division’s top scorer with 34 goals.
The Northampton side that thrashed Barnsley included 21-year-old John Gregory, playing at right-back. He switched to midfield before moving on Aston Villa the following year. This was the first success for Northampton since a turbulent run in the 1960s in which they had gone from Division Four to Division One and back again in eight years. Former Wales boss Dave Bowen, who had presided over the club’s rise, was still involved in a combined role as secretary and general manager.
Two of Swansea’s players in their match with Cambridge were in the team that was promoted to Division One under John Toshack five years later – full-back Wyndham Evans and midfielder Robbie James, who scored the goal in their 3-1 defeat. Cambridge’s flamboyant manager Ron Atkinson led them to the Division Four title in 1976-77, then moved into the national spotlight after taking charge of West Brom.