How the world has changed since Wolves last played in Europe

It’s been a while lads!



When Andy Gray smashed the ball into an empty net at Wembley to win the 1980 League Cup Final and put Wolverhampton Wanderers into the following season’s UEFA Cup, most fans probably didn’t think it would be 39 years before this famous old club would grace the European stage once again.

Back then the Old Gold were eliminated in the first round by PSV Eindhoven, but Thursday’s Europa League play-off game against Crusaders gives the club from the Black Country a chance to take another step towards qualification for the group stages of this season’s competition.

We’ve taken another trip in the Paddy Power Tardis this week and gone back to 1980 to take a look at how we were living our lives when Emlyn Hughes was team captain and his central defensive partner George Berry had the biggest barnet in professional football.

Who shot JR?

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US TV smash Dallas had the nation asking who really did shoot JR Ewing? The covetous, egocentric, manipulative and amoral oil baron (not my description but that of Wikipedia) played by Larry Hagman. 21.5m viewers tuned into watch the episode when his killer was revealed to be Kristin Shepard, sister of his alcoholic missus Sue Ellen, who became an overnight sex symbol.

Following the broadcast, the BBC were reportedly inundated with letters of condolence as nutters all over the country thought that JR was actually a real character and who presumably, were the same folk who sent death threats to Coronation Street actor Johnny Briggs, who played Manchester’s answer to JR, Mike Baldwin, when his on-screen affair with Deirdre Barlow became public.


One of the biggest selling singles of the year was D.I.S.C.O by Ottawan, which became a dancefloor classic for Brits holidaying on mainland Spain or Balearic Islands. By 1980 however, disco music was on its way out despite floor fillers such as Funky Town by Lipps inc and Kelly Marie’s Feels Like I’m in Love topping the hit parade. Unfortunately, The Police were on their way in at the start of the decade and Don’t Stand So Close to Me is still giving Sting and company regular royalty cheques.

Serial Eurovision winner Johnny Logan carried on with his “boy next door” image singing What’s Another Year and the sick bucket was back out at Christmas when St Winifred’s School Choir, including (future Coronation Street star and wife of ex Style Council drummer Steve White) Sally Lindsay, claimed the coveted festive number one spot with Grandma.

Clever Trevor

People who attended the 1980 FA Cup Final witnessed a minor miracle when West Ham United and England midfielder Trevor Brooking scored the winning goal for the East London side against Arsenal with his only ever recorded header. Not since Evel Knievel tried smashing himself up trying to jump 13 London buses five years earlier, had the Empire Stadium been left in such a state of shock.

The Hammers, who were a Second Division outfit at the time, remain the last club outside of the top-flight to lift the trophy and young midfielder Paul Allan would have become the youngest player to score in the final had Scottish brute Willie Young not decapitated him when he was clean through on goal.

Coe v Ovett

When sport meets politics the end result is usually quite ghastly, so when the USA decided to boycott the Moscow Olympics in 1980, the only thing worth watching over the whole three weeks was the middle distance showdown between British runners Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett. The former was a university graduate from West London who was coached by his dad, the latter was a miserable b**tard from Brighton who hated the press and the pair were simply untouchable over 800 and 1500 metres.

With the two of them swapping world records on a weekly basis, all that was left was to see the two adversaries (who despised each other and who’d made sure that they never ran in the same races on the summer calendar) go head-to-head behind the iron curtain to decide once and for all who was the best. Ovett claimed first blood in the 800 with Coe grabbing silver, but the future head of the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) got his revenge in the 1500 with Ovett only taking Bronze. Later Ovett revealed it wasn’t missing out on double gold that made him angry, but getting beat by a bloke whose middle name was Newbold.

Wacko Jacko

Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining was released in May of 1980 and the movie has gone down as one of the all-time classic cinema spine chillers. Based on the novel by Stephen King, the story is about caretaker Jack Torrance who goes mad due to supernatural forces whilst looking after a hotel out of season in Colorado.

Many Newcastle United fans can probably relate to this believing that their current patron has been possessed in a similar way, but Magpies owner Tony Ashley is certainly no Jack Nicholson, although it would be hilarious if he was seen hacking down the entrance door to the boardroom at St James’ Park screaming “Here’s Tony!”

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