THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Division One

Wovles-v-Liverpool-7030 March ~ “Well, with the season almost over, how do I feel about the past few months?" asks Wolves' manager Bill McGarry. "I'll tell you in just one word... disappointed." Welcome to football, Bill, what took you so long? His team hadn't won since beating Ipswich in January, and wouldn't win again before the end of the season, which finished on April 10 because of the Mexico World Cup.

Liverpool, meanwhile, were in transition just before the era of Steve Heighway, John Toshack and Kevin Keegan, and at the end of a season you might also call... disappointing, as they ended up in fifth place, 14 points adrift of champions Everton. Still, fans would be too busy worshipping their manager to care, if you believe Evening Mail columnist Dennis Shaw. "Bill Shankly is to Liverpool fans rather like Chairman Mao is to the Chinese," he writes level-headedly. "They hang on to his every word. They quote him to settle any argument." As in: "Hey fella, you been shaggin' me Mam?" "Sorry lad, but Bill Shankly said it'd be sound, like."

Perhaps a Shankly quote might have brought some sense to a discussion in the programme's Paper Talk feature about Brazil's decision to sack manager João Saldanha just three months before the World Cup. The Sun's Peter Batt was apparently amazed that the bookies thought this would make no difference to Brazil's chances. "This sacking can be a disastrous blow to morale in the Brazilian soccer camp," he writes, urging punters to rush down to the bookies and stick money on England at 5-1. He doubted that the South Americans, already handicapped by the weakness of their "temperament", would be "capable of putting a spanner in the works of those ruthless defensive machines manufactured in Rumania and Czechoslovakia" (in the event they somehow managed a total of seven goals against these factory-engineered Iron Curtains on legs).

Saldanha, incidentally, was reportedly sacked because he planned to drop Pelé for an upcoming game against Chile, for having "played poorly" in recent games. "I wanted to stop him for a while to see what was wrong with him," he told the Daily Express. Though getting lippy with the head of Brazil's technical committee, one João Havelange, probably didn't help. At a "stormy late-night meeting", the future head of FIFA had threatened to dissolve the whole committee, to which Saldanha replied: "What do you mean, dissolved? I'm not ice cream. Havelange then told me, ‘You are sacked.’”

Targeting the fan demographic "BREW XI: For the men of the Midlands." Not for women, not for southerners either. How left out do you feel now, eh?

Shooting wide of the Zeitgeist Emlyn Hughes "is one of the new breed of players who are gaining 'pop star' style recognition with their good looks and exciting personality."

Result Wolves 0 Liverpool 1 (Lawler)
Crowd 32,754
Wolves Oldfield, Wilson, Parkin, Bailey, Holsgrove, Munro, McCalliog, McAlle, Dougan, Curran, Wagstaffe (Lutton)
Liverpool Clemence, Lawler, Yeats, Smith, Lloyd, Hughes, Callaghan, Livermore, Evans, Graham, Thompson

Ian Plenderleith

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