Sat. Aug 24th, 2019

The story of English clubs in the Uefa Super Cup

1 min read

“Keegan! What’s the score?” sang the Kop, as Terry McDermott clutched his man-of-the-match trophy, suggesting he might “melt it down or something” because there was no space left on his mantelpiece.

Aston Villa vs Barcelona, 1982

Liverpool’s barnstorming Super Cup win in 1977 rubberstamped the start of an era of English dominance in Europe. Two further European Cups in 1978 and 1981, sandwiching the astonishing back-to-back triumphs for Nottingham Forest, were followed by Aston Villa toppling Bayern Munich in 1982. 

The Super Cup defied the form book, however. Defeats for Liverpool to Anderlecht in 1978 and for Forest against Valencia in 1980 were followed by a literal non-event in 1981: Liverpool simply couldn’t find a convenient date, let alone two, to face Dinamo Tbilisi.

If that suggested the Super Cup wasn’t quite at the top of everyone’s To Do list, the 1982 edition (held the following January) brought it kicking and screaming into significance. Early 1980s Barcelona were an almost cartoonishly cynical outfit, even with the world’s most expensive player Diego Maradona (who missed both games through illness), and their 1-0 first-leg lead guaranteed a tense return at Villa Park.

Barca held firm for an hour before Julio Alberto, already on a booking, caught a lofted ball forward with both hands and threw it into the crowd. Villa levelled the tie with ten minutes left – Peter Withe elbowing a Barcelona defender in the face before Gary Shaw swept the ball home – and Barcelona’s implosion began. 

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