21 February ~ Manchester City’s derby win capped their revival under manager John Bond who replaced Malcolm Allison after a terrible start when the team failed to win any of their first 12 games. Midfielder Steve Daley later revealed that Allison would get the players to lap the pitch while he stood in the centre circle and yelled “How do you feel?” to which they were expected to respond “Sharp!”.
The bottom three clubs at this point also went down. Brighton saved themselves by winning their last four games while Norwich slipped below them by losing their last two – after severely denting Ipswich's title hopes with a 1-0 at Carrow Road in the 40th match.
Crystal Palace went through four managers, including Terry Venables and his former mentor, the ubiquitous Allison, whose return to the club lasted only six matches. Allison stayed just long enough to sell three players, Terry Fenwick, Mike Flanagan and John Burridge, to Venables’ new club, QPR, for a surprisingly low combined fee. In January new owner Ron Noades brought in Dario Gradi. The team lost their first seven games under Gradi’s management, this defeat at Villa being the fourth in the sequence.
Villa, by contrast, were in the middle of a run of seven wins, though they didn’t overhaul leaders Ipswich until a win at Leicester at the start of April. Ipswich beat Villa three times that season, twice in the league and once in the Cup – a fact which still troubles Alan Brazil who often mentions it on his radio show.
One of Ipswich’s goalscorers in the 3-1 win over Wolves was central defender Kevin Beattie who was playing his penultimate match for the club at the age of 27. Beattie had been tipped for stardom after his England debut in 1975 but his career was ruined by injury. Liverpool’s draw with Brighton marked the last appearance of their Israeli full-back Avi Cohen, who had been their only foreign signing since English clubs had been permitted to bring in overseas players in 1978.
In a short-lived experiment this season, ITV’s commentary on West Brom’s match at Selhurst Park in October 1980 included contributions from the visiting manager Ron Atkinson.