FORMER EUROPEAN CHAMPION AND FINALIST IN THE SECOND DIVISION

Since the start of UEFA European Club Championship (now called as UEFA Champion League (UCL)), they are 5 English team that had won the trophy. With Liverpool had won it 5 times (1977,1978,1981,1984, 2005) , Manchester United won it 3 times(1968,1999,2008) and Chelsea 1 times (2012). When Manchester United had won it in 1968 they had become the first English team to lift the trophy and Liverpool becomes the first English team to win it 2 consecutive times when they had lifted the trophy in 1977 and 1978. The next 2 winners are Nottingham Forest who had won the trophy 2 consecutive times (1979,1980) and Aston Villa 1 times (1982). They are also Leeds United whom had been in the final of this competition in 1975 but were beaten by Bayern Munich amid controversies.

But unlike Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea whom still in the Premier League, this 3 team had been relegated to the Division 1. Nottingham Forest had been relegated to Division 1 in 1999, Leeds United in 2004 and Aston Villa was relegated in 2016. Before this team had been relegated they had been a former Division 1 (now the Premier League) Champions where Leeds first lift the title in 1969,1974 and 1992, Nottingham Forest had done it in 1978 and Aston Villa 1981.

Now the in UCL, a team can qualify if they are not the domestic champion but in the past, only the domestic champion and defending champion will be allowed to compete in this competition. Leeds when they had entered the competition for the first time 1969-1970 season they were impressive and notched some result like trashing the Norwegian team Lyn 16-0 via aggregate home and away in the first round before knocked out in the semi-final by the eventual finalist Celtic.

DON REVIE
Don Reevie who had transformed Leeds United with his implementation of the youth policy and change of their jersey to all white to emulate Real Madrid,

 

There second outing in 1974-1975 was more impressive when they had reached the final via knocking out the Barcelona team that had Johan Cyruff in the semi-final. In the final due to some controversial decision by the referee Michel Kitabdjian who had disallowed Leeds United Peter Lorimer goals due to offside. Initially, the referee had pointed to the center circle indicating a goal but after a discussion with the linesman, the referee had canceled the goal. In the end, Bayern Munich had won the game 2-1 and Leeds United who is angry as they felt they had been cheated had makes massive riot which Leeds United been banned from the European Competition for 2 years.

kitabdjian01
Michel Kitabdjian the controversial referee

Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough who want to prove himself to the world after the 44 days disaster as Leeds United manager when he was appointed in 1974. He had told Leeds United player to throw the medal in the dustbin as they had not won it fairly. With Nottingham Forest Brian Clough had proved to the world on why he is one the legendary manager in the football world. He had led them to won the title 1978 after led them to back to Division 1 on this first season.

Sport. Football. England. 1980. Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough with the European Cup trophy.
The legendary Brian Clough whom had led Nottingham Forest to won 2 European Cup.

 

His run with the team in European Champion was legendary and it is something that had given great memories to the Nottingham Forest fan until now. In 1978-1979 season, in the first round, they had been drawn against Liverpool whom also the defending champion. With a 2-0 win in City Ground and a 0-0 draw in Anfield Forest had knocked out the defending champion and continue their impressive run knocking out AEK Athens in the second round, Grasshopper a Swiss Club in the quarter-final and also FC Koln from Germany in the semi-final. In the final, they had beaten Malmo FC to lift the trophy and become only the third English team to won it.

In the second season 1979-1980 where they had now qualified as defending champion, they had progressed to the final and beating the favourites Hamburg from Germany who had thrashed Real Madrid 5-1 in the semi-final and also had Kevin Keegan in the team. With this win, Nottingham Forest became the second English team to win the title twice consecutively and the 6th team to win the title twice consecutively after Real Madrid, Benfica, InterMilan , Ajax Amsterdam and Bayern Munich.  Nottingham Forest also is the only team that had more European Title than the domestic championship. They also had 42 games unbeaten run in Division 1 that started from 26 November 1977 until 9 December 1978. This record had been broken by Arsenal team in a 2004-2005 season where they had record run of 49 games unbeaten.

Aston Villa under Ron Saunder had won the title 1980-1981 season but he had resigned in halfway in 1981-1982 season and replaced by Tony Barton his assistant manager. But the managerial change does not affect the team in European Competition as they had reached the final and beat the favorites Bayern Munich who had Paul Breitner and Karl-Heinz Rumminenge in the team. With this win, Aston Villa becomes the 4th English team to win the competition.

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Peter Withe scorer of the winning goal for Aston Villa in the final against Bayern Munich in 1982 final.

Unfortunately, their past does not count to anything now as due to financial struggle that had led the team to unable to buy any player and needs to sell their players had led this team to be relegated and playing the trade in division 1. Until now they are still not promoted back yet to the Premier League.

This team European competition performance in late 1970’s and early 1980’s had created a mini dominance for the English team before the Heysel ban in 1985. From 1975 until 1985 they final had been completed by an English with the exception of Leeds United in 1975 and Liverpool in 1985 had been won by the English team starting with Liverpool in 1977 and 1978, Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980, Liverpool again in 1981, Aston Villa in 1982, and Liverpool again in 1984.

The fall of this team is absolutely disastrous for the fans whom now reflect and looks back on their glory days with the hope of the something will happen again in the future. Let’s hope this team will be back in Premier League.

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