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September issue available now online and in store

Champions 2019-20: Liverpool's 30-year title wait
Tribute to Jack Charlton

Financial imbalance in the Championship | Football returns to Wembley | Shirt swapping keepers | Brazil divided over restart | Boston United leave home | A new league in Scotland | Peterborough's long road to the League | WSC writers' competition | Fletcher Moss Rangers: Manchester's talent pool | Jamie Cureton still going strong | Focus on Jimmy Greenhoff | Brian Clough's first big season

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Wait and see Liverpool end their 30-year title wait
Liverpool's domination of the 1970s and 1980s was summed up by Graeme Souness when the newly crowned champions celebrated a sixth title in ten seasons with victory over Spurs in 1982. As if playing a game of "catch" in his back garden, an on-the-run Souness turns and casually tosses the trophy high into the air. Aimed at no one, it's caught by an eager Ronnie Whelan. While reflecting the captain's cocksure nature, it's also understandable. Winning the League was routine. From 1976 until 1990, Liverpool never loaned the trophy out for more than a single season.

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Exeter City 0-4 Northampton Town Promotion won in an empty Wembley
A visit to Wembley is an opportunity to marvel at the never-ending construction project closing in around it. Yet more blocks of flats are rising to join the newish shopping complex, the civic center, the university. Obviously, it's a two million per cent improvement on the desolate hellhole this used to be, but it's disconcerting that you can now be within a couple of hundred metres of the stadium and not see it. Is the  "home of football" disappearing into its own neighbourhood? The Wembley Park development's website picks out 14 visitor attractions – the stadium is listed tenth, just after the axe-throwing centre. Even though there's a football match on, building work continues beside Olympic Way. Not that there are safety issues; there's hardly anyone here, for reasons you'll have seen on the news.

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Jack of diamonds Jack Charlton obituary
A couple of decades ago a friend of mine who has the cash and commitment salmon fishing demands treated himself to a few September days on the River Tweed. He hired a beat from a local landowner, a 400-yard stretch that cost him £150 a day. One morning he asked the landowner if fishermen always kept to the section of the riverbank they'd been allotted. "Oh yes," the landowner said, "all except for this one chap a few years back. He got up before dawn, fished a huge stretch and only went to his own beat at first light. Tall Geordie fellow. I think he'd been a professional footballer." There was no need to ask the name.

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Killie me softly Writer's competition winner
At the beginning of the truncated 2019-20 season, I decided to keep a log of the matches that I attended. Having been a regular at Kilmarnock for more than 20 years now, I'm not sure what made me begin this particular process, other than a slight tendency towards cataloguing events and completing collections that has grown as I get older. Until lockdown I was in the process of making my way to each of Scotland's 42 senior club grounds. Around the same time, I began to seek a complete set of Kilmarnock programmes from European competition. Despite great progress, the idea that 17 Nentori Tirana away will always elude me frequently bothers me. I don't imagine that there were many who made the journey from Ayrshire to Albania in 1965. Kilmarnock in Europe, and specifically in the Balkans, was to be the first entry in my new list – a match that never took place in a season that never finished.

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Jack Charlton photo by Colorsport, League Two play-off final photo by Getty Images, Liverpool photo by Colorsport, writers' competition illustration by Adam Doughty


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