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Star Soccer

ATV Midlands Football Highlights 1968-81
The Midlands Sunday afternoon highlights version of Star Soccer was due to begin on Sunday 11th August 1968 covering a goalless draw between West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield Wednesday*. The commentator, 45 year old Hugh Johns, was already familiar to viewers in the Midlands having described a number of England matches (including the triumphant 1966 World Cup final) and Manchester United's 1968 European Cup final victory for the whole ITV network, Johns became best known for his catchphrase "One-nothing!" which he often shouted out whenever the first goal was scored.
ATV, who produced the programme, had originally provided the very first weekend commercial television service for the London area from September 1955**, a decade later they began producing a regular football highlights show for London viewers only (also called Star Soccer - see here), the Midlands and North's weekend commercial service at that time had been provided by ABC television who produced World Of Soccer.
In July 1968, ATV lost their weekend capital franchise to 'London Weekend Television' but they would gain an exclusive seven days a week Midlands contract. Hugh Johns was retained by ATV - as was the Star Soccer brand - and both then became synonymous with Midlands football***. The show was still being broadcast in black and white in 1968/69 with ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers legend Billy Wright providing analysis and interviewing the key personal on the pitch after the game. From November 1969 Star Soccer was broadcast in colour and in late 1971 former Westward TV presenter Gary Newbon took over as interviewer/link man, Newbon could still be seen presenting the programme in its' final season of 1982/83 whilst Hugh Johns lasted until the end of 1981/82**** by which time ATV had been replaced by Central Television (For details of the post January 1982 period seeStar Soccer - The Central Years).

*Industrial action may have blacked out the first two Midlands editions of Star Soccer.
**ATV had broadcast a Monday-Friday service to the Midlands since 1956.
***Star Soccer would sometimes be screened by other smaller regions who struggled to justify covering matches of their own (HTV and Border for example).
****After leaving Star Soccer, Hugh Johns continued to work for HTV Wales for whom he'd presented mid-week sports coverage whilst employed by ATV/Central at weekends, he continued to commentate for HTV until the 1995/96 season, he died on 27th June 2007 at the age of 84.

See here for an article on Star Soccer published in 1977.

Gary NewbonHugh Johns
(Left) "Star Soccer" presenter Gary Newbon, seen here on "ATV Today".
(Right) Commentator Hugh Johns.

The ATV/Central region's clubs 1968-1983

West Bromwich AlbionWolverhampton Wanderers
West Brom & Wolves

Chosen for ATV Midlands first ever Star Soccer match, Alan Ashman's West Bromwich Albion were the region's undisputed glamour club at the start of 1968/69 having just won the FA Cup thanks to a goal scored by one of the game's best known strikers of the period, Jeff Astle. Albion also found another potent goalscorer in Ally Brown to line-up alongside the likes of Len Cantello, Asa Hartford, Alistair Robertson and Tony Brown.
Still fresh in the memory at the time was the late 1950's glory days of Wolverhampton Wanderers who were now back in the top flight with Derek 'The Doog' Dougan, Derek Parkin, Dave Wagstaffe and Peter Knowles (who quit football at the age of 25 in 1969 due to his beliefs as a Jehovah's witness). ATV covered their first black country derby in February 1970 and the match ended in a 3-3 draw, viewers had to wait until October 1972 to see a victory between the two when Don Howe's West Brom won 1-0 thanks to a goal by Bobby Gould, but it was Wolves (managed by Bill McGarry since November 1968) who were generally the more successful side in the early 1970's, winning the League Cup in 1974 as well as reaching the final of the UEFA cup two years earlier, but they then suffered a surprise relegation in 1976 - a fate already suffered by West Brom back in 1973, by which time two other clubs had emerged as the Midlands front-runners......

Derby CountyStoke City
Derby & Stoke

Stoke City's first home appearance on the Midlands version ofStar Soccer saw them beat league champions Manchester City in September 1968, Tony Waddington's Potters reached two consecutive FA Cup Semi-finals in 1971 & 72 (both on ITV), inbetween which they won the League Cup (also on ITV) and then finished 5th in '73/74 and '74/75. The stars in stripes included England goalkeeper Gordon Banks, Mike Pejic, Alan Hudson, Terry Conroy and George Eastham. Derby County were even more successful to the point of dominating Midlands football in the first half of the '70's with two top flight championships, the first was managed by the region's biggest football personality of the Star Soccer era, Brian Clough, who had also guided Derby to promotion as champions of the 2nd tier in 1969, the Rams enjoyed an impressive run of ATV recorded victories in their first season back in the top flight (Spurs & Liverpool both thrashed, West Brom and Man Utd also beaten) before Derby claimed the ultimate domestic prize in 1972 with the likes of Kevin Hector, John Robson, Colin Todd, Alan Hinton and Roy McFarland. By this time the combined average viewing figures for ITV regional highlights was said to be around 8 million and the Rams went on to win the league once again in 1975 under Dave MacKay. Brian Clough had fallen out with the Derby board in 1973 and then spent a couple of inauspicious season's managing outside the region, but he would be back......

Notts CountyNottingham Forest
Notts County & Forest

The two Nottingham clubs began the Star Soccer years at opposite ends of the four divisions, yet by the mid-1970's both were competing in the 2nd tier and it was Notts County who began to gain the upper hand under manager Jimmy Sirrel, a fact that became apparent to ATV viewers when the Magpies' Les Bradd netted a last minute winner at the City Ground in August 1975, but in the same year that Sirrel was tempted away from County to manage outside the Midlands, Brian Clough returned to the region as manager of Nottingham Forest. Ex-Derby heroes John O'Hare, Archie Gemmill and captain John McGovern all joined Clough at Forest who won promotion in 1976/77, England goalkeeper Peter Shilton (ex Leicester and Stoke) also arrived at the City Ground for Forest's first season back in the top flight, ATV viewers saw them beat Derby 3-0 on the 2nd weekend of a campaign that ended with Forest being crowned as champions, they also added two League cups to the trophy cabinet in 1978 and 1979 and then went on to lift the European Cup in 1979 and 1980. The only goal in their initial European success was scored by the first million pound player, Trevor Francis, who had followed Kenny Burns to Forest from Birmingham City.....

Birmingham CityAston Villa
Birmingham & Villa

The two clubs representing the Midlands 'capital' city had both struggled to make much of an impression in the early days of Star Soccer, Aston Villa even dropped into the 3rd tier in 1970 as well as suffering a 4-0 defeat in the first Birmingham derby to be televised by ATV back in September 1968, but both were to achieve promotion in 1972 with Freddie Goodwin's Birmingham (boasting a formidable front line of Trevor Francis, Bob Latchford and Bob Hatton) making a return to the top flight whilst Vic Crowe's Villa won promotion from the 3rd. As a 2nd tier club (now managed by Ron Saunders) Aston Villa won the League Cup in 1975 and two years later they won it again - this time as a top flight outfit. Regular Birmingham derby's had resumed in September 1975 with Star Soccer viewers witnessing a 2-1 home win for the Villa (Chico Hamilton and Brian Little on target for the winning side). Almost a year to the day later, ATV captured a victory for the Blues on the same ground by the same score, this being the first in a sequence of Star Soccer Brum-derby away victories registered by both clubs before the Blues were relegated in 1979.

The early 1980's

At the turn of the decade, Wolves and West Brom seemed the most likely Midlands clubs to challenge Forest's dominance, John Barnwell's men in gold included the long serving Kenny Hibbitt and John Richards as well as George 'that Afro' Berry, whilst Ron Atkinson's Albion lined up with an unprecedented triumvirate of black players; Laurie Cunningham, Cyrille Regis and Brendon Batson. Wolves underlined their credentials in the 1980 League Cup final by beating Forest 1-0 with a goal by another million pound man, Andy Gray (signed from Aston Villa), yet it was Villa who emerged as the third and final Midlands club to achieve big-time success during the Star Soccer era as the Claret and blues matched Derby and Forest's league championship glory by winning the title in 1981 (manager Ron Saunders only used 14 players all season; Tony Morley, Gary Shaw and Gordon Cowans among them).
Meanwhile Notts County completed a hat-trick of promotions from the 4th division to the 1st - The ascent had begun in 1971 with the 4th Division title, the ultimate promotion to the top flight was sealed in 1981 after manager Jimmy Sirrel and club captain Don Masson had both returned to the club to finish the job, Notts then produced one of the great Star Soccer upsets by beating League champions Aston Villa at Villa Park with a goal from Iain McCulloch on the opening day of 1981/82, a season that ended with the Villa captain Dennis Mortimer (ex Coventry) lifting the European Cup after Peter Withe's goal was enough to beat Bayern Munich in the final. By this time Ron Saunders had quit the club after falling out with the Chairman and, as with Derby and Forest before them, Villa were unable to keep pace with the all conquering Liverpool machine.
The two Midlands clubs managed by Brian Clough had begun to develop a keen rivalry in the early days of ATV coverage, one which ought to have reached epic proportions after 'Cloughie' began having success with Forest, but Derby were no longer up to the challenge and were relegated in 1980. However, the Rams did record the two best remembered victories in Star Soccer 'A52' meetings, Derby had won 4-2 at the City Ground back in November 1970, then in January 1983 came the eagerly anticipated FA Cup clash between Clough and his ex-assistant Peter Taylor (now the Derby manager) following their much publicised falling out, Central TV cameras were at the Baseball ground to record Saturday night highlights of a 2-0 win for the home side.
Stoke City had already pre-empted Derby's fade from an early 1970's heyday with relegation in 1977, but unlike the Rams (who's 1980 demotion eventually led to time being spent in the 3rd tier), Stoke quickly restored their top flight status with a promotion in 1979 under Alan Durban, the Victoria Ground hosted a latter day Star Soccer classic in September 1982 with a ding-dong 4-4 draw v Luton Town (Stoke keeper Peter Fox was sent off and Luton also missed a penalty). The supporters of another, as yet unmentioned Midlands team became very used to the ups and downs of promotion and relegation whilst their neighbours seemed to be curiously immune from the process.......

Leicester CityCoventry City
Leicester & Coventry

Leicester City turned out to be the Midlands top flight/2nd tier yo-yo club of the period, swapping divisions no less than six times between '68 and '83. Frank O'Farrell, Jock Wallace and Gordon Milne oversaw the three promotion campaigns, whilst Jimmy Bloomfield was in charge for the lengthiest run in the top flight - during which Leicester arguably fielded the most charismatic and gifted player to grace the region, Frank Worthington. The last of the three promotions in 1983 was Star Soccer's final Midlands success story in which the club also produced a home grown superstar in Gary Lineker (who went on to become top scorer in the 1986 World Cup finals). By the time Star Soccer came to an end, only one local team had remained in the top flight throughout its' run; Coventry City. Managed by Noel Cantwell, then Joe Mercer, Gordon Milne and finally Dave Sexton, the sky blues came through numerous relegation battles unscathed, but they were to become embroiled in a dispute with TV companies in the early 1980's over shirt sponsorship which saw them disappear from our screens for a time*. Coventry heroes over the years included Willie Carr (later Wolves), Mick Coop, Ernie Hunt, Ian Wallace (later Forest) and Mark Hateley. No Midlands club managed to win the FA Cup during the period Star Soccer was on air, although Leicester reached the final in 1969 and Coventry were to triumph four years after the programme ended (no Midlands club has won it since!).

*Sponsorship on shirts first began to take off at the very end of the 1970's, but sponsored shirts could not be worn in front of TV cameras until the 1983/84 season.

Oxford UnitedShrewsbury TownHereford UnitedWalsallPort Vale
Oxford, Shrewsbury, Hereford, Walsall & Port Vale

Unlike some of the other region's highlights programmes, Star Soccer was fortunate to have such a wide choice of relatively successful teams to cover. Of the core bona-fide Midlands clubs, only Walsall and Port Vale failed to enjoy at least one season in the upper tiers, yet Walsall were still featured on the programme from time to time including a giant killing FA Cup victory over Leicester (then in the top flight) in 1978. Arthur Turner's Oxford United had won promotion to the 2nd tier in 1968 (only six years after first joining the Football League) but they dropped back into the lower divisions in the mid-'70s and their next notable period of success came too late for Star Soccer. Hereford United had been added to the Midlands roster of league clubs in 1972 making a seamless transition from non-league to life in the 4th division by winning an immediate promotion to the 3rd, which they were then crowned champions of in 1976 under John Sillett. Graham Turner's Shrewsbury Town also finished top of the 3rd tier in 1979 inbetween two notable efforts to reach the Quarter-finals of the FA Cup, the first of which saw them take Wolves to a replay after an ATV televised 1-1 draw at Molineux. The Shrews remained in the 2nd tier long after Star Soccer was taken off the air.

Fringe Midlands clubs

Swindon Town* attracted the attention of ATV in the early days, enjoying an incredible season in 1968/69 under Danny Williams by winning the League Cup as well as promotion from the 3rd tier. Northampton Town** were paid a visit by ATV when Manchester United came into town in 1970 for what has since become perhaps the most famous of all Star Soccer featured matches after George Best scored 6 times in an 8-2 FA Cup win***. In the North, Mansfield Town enjoyed a single season in the 2nd tier under Peter Morris in 1977/78 but neither Chesterfield or Lincoln City were able to climb out of the old 3rd division and Star Soccer pretty much left Yorkshire Television to showcase both them and the Stags.

*ATV/Central coverage of the Swindon area overlapped with that of HTV WEST who's cameras were also sent to Swindon Town's ground on numerous occasions.
**As well as Northampton Town, Peterborough United could almost be regarded as a Midlands club, especially after Central began their Central News East service, although both towns were still primarily covered by Anglia.
***ATV may have been encouraged to cover the 1970 Northampton v Man Utd cup tie because Anglia would not be colour equipped until mid-way through the following season.
****A proportion of viewers around Oxford were tuned to the London service. Some viewers in the Stoke area were tuned to Granada.

Star Soccer
Clipping from "TV World" magazine, for Sunday 11th August 1968

Star Soccer programme format
The programme was typically an hour in length, would start sometime between 2pm-2:30pm on Sunday afternoons and would be divided into three parts; beginning with the main match* which would be, regardless of the result, the Midlands ground the ATV cameras had been sent to. So if the Midlands based match had ended in a goalless bore, it would still dominate the programme even though footage available from other regions might have yielded more excitement. Around 35 minutes of footage from the main game would be shown with an ad break at half-time, full-time would be followed by interviews with managers/players conducted on the pitch after the spectators had left the ground. The remainder of the programme would include one or two matches from other regions (preferably involving a Midlands team playing away) but these would be re-edited from the original edits to fit into a shorter time slot, the 3rd match would be little more than just the goals. There was also a round-up of local football interest read to camera by another presenter (Trevor East did this for a while, later Tony Francis, Nick Owen or Bob Hall). Occasionally there'd be a "Dancing footballers" sequence which would be a rather crude montage of action clips of just a split second or two (players falling over, fouls, players kissing eachother in celebration etc.) all shuttled rapidly backwards and forwards in time to a pop hit of the day for 'hilarious' results**. There was no proper post match analysis until Jimmy Greaves was recruited for the start of season 1980/81 when the show was switched to a Saturday night slot for the first time, although Billy Wright had occasionally been interviewed on the pitch for his thoughts by Hugh Johns.

*Hugh Johns would usually be the first voice heard on the programme, welcoming viewers to whichever ground he was at. Studio introductions began around 1978.
**The "Dancing footballers" technique was first employed to fill time during ITV's coverage of the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico.

The Star Soccer theme tunes
The classic 1970's Star Soccer theme tune was specially commissioned for the programme. Composed by Richard Hill, it was simply titled "Star Soccer". The show originally had a different tune when the Midlands version began in 1968*, I have a hunch that the more familiar tune was not introduced until around 1971 as it sounds, to my ears, like an attempt to mimic the overall feel and pace of the new Match of the Day theme over on BBC1. A 3rd signature tune was introduced from the start of the 1981/82 season.

*Star Soccer retained the London version theme (a guitar piece) until at least late 1969 and probably stuck with it until the Richard Hill tune was introduced. There was however an alternate closing theme on at least one show in 1969/70, which was also used for ITV's coverage of the 1970 Home Internationals.

What's left in the archives?
Very few pre-1981/82 season editions of Star Soccer are thought to have survived on broadcast standard videotape, all of the 1960's & '70's archive footage seen on TV since appears to have been culled from tapes of LWT's The Big Match - which would sometimes select Midlands footage to be shown after the main London based match (often in re-edited form). The earliest known surviving typical episode on VT (ie. highlights of Saturday league matches) is apparently the 10/Dec/1977 edition, this being one of only three such complete shows from the 1970's in the BFI archive*. Happily a fair number of programmes from 1981-83 are still in the vaults and there is an indication that ITC film reels sent to TV companies abroad exist for complete season's dating back to the 1960's until 1978**.

*The 14/Aug/1971 edition may possibly survive in complete form at the BFI, there are also a few examples of raw footage from early-mid '70' matches (just the action, not of the broadcast programme) as well as an Anglo-Scottish [Texaco] Cup edition from Aug/1974. There's also a reference to WBA v Arsenal 1970 (which may in fact be the 25/Apr/1971 edition).
**Star Soccer was sold to Australian TV - it was shown on the Channel 9 stations from 1967/68 and then Channel 7 from 1973/74 until the end of 1977/78 (LWT's The Big Match could also be seen down under on ABC from the early 1970's). From the Autumn of 1969, feeds of ATV coverage were beamed to the Swedish TV channel SVT for live broadcast on Saturday afternoons and this went on for at least a couple of season's.

What matches were shown
The following lists detail all of the Saturday fixtures recorded by ATV cameras as the main match for Star Soccer. Re-edits of regional games included on Star Soccer are, where known, indicated by a letter (L=LWT, G=Granada, Y=Yorkshire, T=Tyne Tees, H=HTV, E=(East)Anglia, W=Westward, S=Southern/TVS and X=Scottish). For midweek games (which were networked) go here, for full details of networked Wembley Cup finals go here, for European finals see here. Given dates are for when the match was played (not the broadcast). Non-Midlands based matches are in italics."ITC export" denotes that a film recording is known to have been distributed to TV stations abroad and may still exist.

Season 1968/69
All "Star Soccer" programmes for this season were broadcast in 405-line black & white on VHF only.
10/Aug     West Bromwich Albion 0 Sheffield Wednesday 0 *may not have been shown due to industrial action
17/Aug     Leicester City 1 (Nish) Ipswich Town 3 (Crawford, O'Rourke, Hegan) *may not have been shown due to industrial action
24/Aug     Abandoned Match - Nottm Forest 1 (Hilley) Leeds Utd 1 (Belfitt)  *Abandoned after 45 mins due to a fire in the main stand, ITC export
31/Aug     Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 (Bailey) Stoke City 1 (Elder) *ITC export
07/Sep     Stoke City 1 (Conroy) Manchester City 0 *ITC export
14/Sep     Nottingham Forest 0 Coventry City 0 *Played at Notts County's ground, ITC export
21/Sep     Birmingham City 4 (Summerhill, Greenhoff, Vincent, Vowden) Aston Villa 0 *ITC export
28/Sep     Leicester City 1 (Fern) Coventry City 1 (Hunt) *ITC export
05/Oct     Coventry City 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 (Dougan) *ITC export
12/Oct     Leicester City 0 West Bromwich Albion 2 (Astle, Hartford) *ITC export
19/Oct     Showed LWT coverage of Chelsea 3 (Baldwin 3) Leicester City 0 *ITC export
26/Oct     Showed Granada coverage of Man City 3 (Bell, Young, Hindley) Nottm Forest 3 (Moore, Baker, Chapman) *ITC export
02/Nov    Birmingham City 0 Oxford United 1 (G. Atkinson) *ITC export
09/Nov    Wolverhampton W. 2 (Farrington, Bailey) West Ham United 0 *ITC export
16/Nov    Coventry City 0 Leeds United 1 (Madeley) *ITC export
23/Nov    Stoke City 0 Manchester United 0 *ITC export
30/Nov    West Bromwich Albion 3 (Brown, Rees, Hartford) Sunderland 0 *ITC export
07/Dec     Leicester City 2 (Nish, Fern) Manchester United 1 (Law) *ITC export
14/Dec     Coventry City 0 Arsenal 1 (Gould) *ITC export
21/Dec     Stoke City 0 Everton 0 *ITC export
28/Dec     Showed Anglia coverage of Northampton T. 0 Luton Town 2 (Rioch 2) *ITC export
04/Jan      West Bromwich 3 (Forbes, Rees, Astle) Norwich City 0 [FA Cup R3] *ITC export (poss with E as 2nd game)
11/Jan      Wolverhampton W. 1 (Knowles) Nottingham Forest 0 *ITC export
18/Jan      Showed LWT coverage of Charlton Athletic 2 (Treacey, Tees) Derby County 0 *ITC export
25/Jan      Tottenham Hotpsur 2 (Johnson, Greaves) Wolves 1 (Wagstaffe) [FA Cup R4] *ATV cameras venturing outside the Midlands region, ITC export
01/Feb     Derby County 2 (Hector 2) Cardiff City 0 *ITC export
08/Feb     *Only 4 fixtures played from all divisions due to bad weather
15/Feb     Wolverhampton W. 2 (Dougan, Curran) Manchester United 2 (Charlton, Best) *Snowy pitch
22/Feb     Charlton Athletic 1 (Moore) Aston Villa 1 (Simmons) *ATV cameras outside region, ITC export, had intended Cov v QPR (Australian newspaper lists this match for "Star Soccer")
01/Mar     Leicester City 0 Liverpool 0 [FA Cup Quarter Final] *ITC export
08/Mar     West Bromwich Albion 0 Chelsea 3 (Boyle, Houseman, Hutchinson) *ITC export
15/Mar     League Cup Final - Swindon Town 3 (Smart, Rogers 2) Arsenal 1 (Gould) *Networked LWT highlights, ITC export
22/Mar     FA Cup SF *Networked highlights of Man City/Everton *ITC export
29/Mar     Swindon Town 0 Watford 1 (Endean) *L match probably shown first (which is logged on ITC & listed in Observer)
05/Apr     West Bromwich Albion 1 (Astle) Everton 1 (Ball(pen))
12/Apr     Aston Villa 1 (Simmons) Birmingham City 0 *ITC export
19/Apr     Walsall 0 Swindon Town 2 (Rogers 2) *2nd match may have been L (which is logged on ITC)
26/Apr     FA Cup Final - Leicester City 0 Manchester City 1 (Young) *Networked live, "Star Soccer" highlights on Sunday, ITC export
17/May    Showed Granada coverage of Manchester United 3 (Best, Law, Morgan) Leicester City 2 (Fern, Nish) *Late programme change, listed in Observer & Sunday Times

*ITC logs also include Wolves v Manchester City, but this was played on Tuesday 8th April, the entry probably refers to a reel of the 15/Feb match v Manchester United.

1968/69 saw West Bromwich Albion (in their 2nd season under manager Alan Ashman) finish as the highest placed Midlands club -10th in the top flight with Jeff Astle netting 21 of their league goals, and as holders Albion reached the SF's of the FA Cup. Wolves began the season under Ronnie Allen, but he was replaced with Bill McGarry in November and Wanderers finished 16th, Forest were 18th (appointing Matt Gillies as manager on 29th January after parting company with John Carey), Tony Waddington's Stoke finished 19th and Noel Cantwell's Coventry 20th. There was double heartbreak for Leicester City who had replaced manager Matt Gillies with Frank O'Farrell  on 1st Decemeber, they were not only relegated from the top flight in 21st, they also suffered the pain of losing yet another FA Cup final (having recently lost in both the 1961 and 1963 finals). In the 2nd tier, Derby County (managed by Brian Clough since 1st June 1967) won promotion as champions and Dave MacKay was jointly named "Footballer of the year", Birmingham City, under Stan Cullis, were 7th, Aston Villa (replacing manager Tommy Cummings with Tommy Docherty along the way) were 18th and Oxford United 20th (with Arthur Turner becoming general manager and, for a brief spell, Ron Saunders taking over team affairs). Swindon Town of the 3rd tier won promotion as runners-up as well as sensationally winning the League Cup by beating Arsenal at Wembley. Other 3rd tier clubs Walsall and Shrewsbury finished 13th and 17th. In the 4th tier Port Vale were 13th, Notts County 19th.

Star Soccer opening titles from the 24th November 1968 edition.

Season 1969/70
All "Star Soccer" programmes up to 8th November 1969 were broadcast in 405 line black & white on VHF only.
09/Aug     Leicester City 3 (Fern, Manley, Lochhead) Birmingham City 1 (Summerill) *ITC export
16/Aug     Nottingham Forest 1 (Rees) Leeds United 4 (Clarke, Gray, Giles, Lorimer) *ITC export
23/Aug     Wolverhampton W. 0 Manchester United 0
30/Aug     West Bromwich Albion 0 Derby County 2 (McKay, Hector) *ITC export
06/Sep     Wolverhampton W. 3 (Curran 2, Dougan) Nottingham Forest 3 (Newton 2, Rees) *Peter Knowles last match for Wolves, ITC export
13/Sep     Stoke City 4 (Herd, Ritchie 2, Greenhoff) Sunderland 2 (Harris, McGiven) *2nd match may have been L (which is the game logged on ITC)
20/Sep     Derby County 5 (Durban 2, Hector, Carlin, O'Hare) Tottenham Hotspur 0 *ITC export
27/Sep     Coventry City 1 (Hunt) Leeds 2 (Clarke, Gray) *Keith Macklin commentated, at least for Yorkshire TV, ITC
04/Oct     Derby County 2 (Hector, Fitzpatrick(og)) Manchester United 0 *ITC export
11/Oct     Nottingham Forest 2 (Moore, Lyons) Manchester City 2 (Lee 2) *2nd match may have been L (which is the game logged on ITC)
18/Oct     Aston Villa 0 Birmingham City 0 *ITC export
25/Oct     Coventry City 0 Everton 1 (Royle) *ITC export
01/Nov    Derby County 4 (McGovern, O'Hare, Hector 2) Liverpool 0 *Recorded in colour for test purposes, ITC export
08/Nov    Showed LWT coverage of Arsenal 4 (George, Sammels 2, Armstrong) Derby County 0 *ITC export
From 15th November 1969 ATV began broadcasting on 625 line PAL colour on UHF, "Star Soccer" was videotaped and broadcast in colour from this point onwards.
15/Nov    Sowed colour Granada match (ATV ob colour unit still not ready?) *Poss ITC export (may be later League cup tie)
22/Nov    West Bromwich Albion 3 (Hope, Astle, Suggett) Sheffield Wednesday 0 *ITC export
29/Nov    Wolverhampton W. 1 (Curran) Sunderland 0 *also beamed to Sweden, ITC export and listed in Observer, LWT document cites Walsall 3 Shrewsbury 2
06/Dec    Coventry City 3 (Machin, O'Rourke, Gibson) Tottenham Hotspur 2 (England, Gilzean) *ITC export
13/Dec    Leicester City 1 (Fern) Cardiff City 2 (Clarke, King) *ITC export
20/Dec    Nottingham Forest 4 (Hilley 2, Hindley, Moore) Wolverhampton W. 2 (McCalling, Wilson) *ITC export
27/Dec    Showed Yorkshire's match *ITC export, intended match Port Vale v Colchester PP'd
03/Jan     Leicester City 1 (Roberts) Sunderland 0 [FA Cup 3rd Round] *ITC export
10/Jan     Stoke City 0 Liverpool 2 (Graham, Thompson)
17/Jan     Leicester City 0 Swindon Town 2 (Horsfield 2) *ITC export
24/Jan     Derby County 3 (O'Hare 2, Durban) Sheffield Utd 0 [FA Cup 4th Round] *ITC export
31/Jan     West Bromwich Albion 3 (Suggett, Astle, Hartford) Manchester City 0 *ITC export
07/Feb    Northampton Town 2 (McNeil, Large) Manchester United 8 (Best 6, Kidd 2) [FA Cup R5] *b&w copy of complete show may exist at MACE (Granada version is colour VT), also ITC
14/Feb    Birmingham City 0 Leicester City 1 (Farrington) *ITC export
21/Feb    Showed Yorkshire's FA Cup QF *ITC export
28/Feb    West Bromwich Albion 3 (Ashe, Suggett 2) Wolverhampton W. 3 (Curran(1pen) 2, O'Grady) *ITC export
07/Mar    League Cup Final - W.B.A. 1 (Astle) Man City 2 (Doyle Pardoe) *ATV had own "Star Soccer" highlights presentation of LWT's match coverage, ITC
14/Mar    FA Cup SF *Networked highlights of Chelsea/Watford, ITC export
21/Mar    Wolverhampton W. 1 (Curran) Leeds United 2 (Clarke, Jones) *ITC export
28/Mar    Swindon Town 1 (Trollope) Watford 0
04/Apr    Walsall 2 (Trevis 2) Bradford City 0 *ITC export
11/Apr    FA Cup Final *"Star Soccer" Sunday highlights show, ITC export

*Mystery ITC logs: - Wolves v West Ham (could actually be Wolves v Man Utd), Man City v Everton (both league & league cup fixtures were on BBC), Wolves v Coventry (played on Friday 10th April, could this have been included on the Cup final highlights programme?), Stoke v Leicester (didn't meet this season, may in fact be Stoke v Liverpool).

Derby County had an excellent first season back in the top flight in 1969/70 - By finishing 4th the Rams were the highest placed Midlands club with Coventry City and Stoke City close behind in 6th and 9th, West Brom's Jeff Astle was the top division's leading scorer with 25 goals, Albion reached the final of the League Cup (in a battle of the two previous season's FA Cup winners) but they did not leave Wembley with a trophy this time and finished a lowly 16th, Wolves were 13th and Forest 15th. It was another poor campaign for 2nd tier club Aston Villa who on this occasion sunk into the 3rd division for the first time in their history, Tommy Docherty was sacked and replaced with Vic Crowe in January. Leicester narrowly missed out on an instant return to the top flight in 3rd place, Swindon had an excellent first season at the higher level in 5th, whilst Oxford finished 15th and Birmingham 18th (with manager Stan Cullis retiring in March). In the 3rd tier, Walsall were 12th, Shrewsbury 15th. Port Vale won promotion from the 4th tier along with champions Chesterfield. Notts County appointed Jimmy Sirrel as their new manager in November and showed signs of improvement to finish 7th.

Season 1970/71
01/Aug    Showed LWT's Watney Cup QF
08/Aug    Derby County 4 (McFarland, Hinton, Durban, Mackay) Manchester United 1 (Best) [Watney Cup final] *Networked highlights
15/Aug    Birmingham City 2 (Summerhill, Vowdem) Queens Park Rangers 1 (Bridges) *ITC export
22/Aug    Aston Villa 1 (McMahon) Plymouth Argyle 1 (Aitken) *ITC export
29/Aug    Swindon Town 2 (Horsfield, Gough) Sunderland 0 *ITC export, one of the goalposts collapsed in the 2nd half
05/Sep    Wolverhampton W. 1 (Curran) Stoke City 1 (Greenhoff) *ITC export
12/Sep    Leicester City 1 (Brown) Luton Town 0 *ITC export
19/Sep    Coventry City 0 Chelsea 1 (Hollins) *ITC export
26/Sep    West Bromwich Albion 2 (McVitie, Brown) Derby County 1 (O'Hare) *ITC export
03/Oct    Derby County 1 (Hinton(pen)) Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Peters) *ITC export
10/Oct    West Bromwich Albion 2 (Suggett, McVitie) Leeds United 2 (Jones, Clarke) *ITC export
17/Oct    Coventry City 2 (Martin, Hunt) Nottingham Forest 0 *ITC export
24/Oct    Wolverhampton W. 3 (McCalliog(pen), Gould 2) Manchester City 0 *ITC export
An ITV technicians colour strike affected programmes until mid-February, some highlights would now be recorded in black & white
31/Oct    Birmingham City 2 (Vincent, Robinson) Swindon Town 1 (Noble) *ITC export
07/Nov   Derby County 0 Liverpool 0 *ITC export
14/Nov   Stoke City l (Ritchie) Everton l (Hurst) *ITC export
21/Nov   Coventry City 2 (Martin, Clements) Crystal Palace l (Kember) *ITC export
28/Nov   Nottingham Forest 2 (Chapman, Moore) Derby County 4 (Gemmill, O'Hare, Wignall, McGovern) *ITC export
05/Dec   Wolverhampton W. 1 (Alcock) Blackpool 0 *ITC export
12/Dec   West Bromwich Albion 3 (Brown 3) Tottenham Hotspur l (Chivers) *black & white, ITC export
19/Dec   Stoke City l (Burrows) Derby County 0 *ITC export
26/Dec   Wolverhampton W. 2 (Dougan 2) Everton 0 *snow covered pitch, ITC export
02/Jan    Wolverhampton W. 5 (McCalliog 2(l pen), Hibbitt, Gould 2) Norwich City l (Foggo) [FA Cup R3] *ITC export
09/Jan    Derby County 1 (Gemmill(pen)) Wolverhampton W. 2 (Shaw, Gould) *ITC export
16/Jan    Nottingham Forest 2 (Moore 2) Newcastle United 1 (Robson) *ITC export
23/Jan    West Bromwich Albion 1 (Suggett) Ipswich Town 1 (Clarke) [FA Cup 4th Round] *ITC export
30/Jan    Oxford United 1 (Smithson(pen)) Sheffield United 2 (Dearden 2) *intended Coventry v West Ham PP'd, 2nd match prob G (which is the game on ITC log)
06/Feb   Leicester City 0 Hull City 0 *ITC export
ITV technicians colour strike now ended, all programmes in colour from now on
13/Feb   Stoke City 0 Ipswich Town 0 [FA Cup 5th Round] *2nd match may have been G (which is the game logged on ITC)
20/Feb   Stoke City l (Conroy) Chelsea 2 (Hutchinson, Harris) *ITC export
27/Feb   League Cup Final - Aston Villa 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Chivers 2) *"Star Soccer" highlights of LWT's match coverage, ITC
06/Mar   FA Cup QF's including YTV coverage of Hull City 2 (Wagstaff 2) Stoke City 3 (Conroy, Ritchie 2) *ITC ref to Lpool v Spurs
13/Mar   Derby County 0 Manchester City 0 *ITC export
20/Mar   Stoke City 1 (Ritchie) Manchester United 2 (Best 2) *ITC export
27/Mar   Stoke City 2 (Smith, Ritchie) Arsenal 2 (Storey 2(1pen)) [FA Cup SF] *at Hillsborough, Hugh Johns for ATV viewers - ITC, BBC covered replay
03/Apr   Aston Villa 3 (Vowden 2, Gregory) Swansea City 0 *ITC export
10/Apr   Nottingham Forest 1 (Moore) West Ham United 0 *ITC export
17/Apr   Wolverhampton W. 0 Southampton 1 (Channon) *ITC export
24/Apr   West Bromwich Albion 2 (Hartford, Brown) Arsenal 2 (McLintock, Hartford(og)) *ITC export
01/May   Derby County 2 (Durban, Hinton) West Bromwich Albion 0 *ITC export
08/May   FA Cup Final *ATV probably had their own "Star Soccer" Sunday highlights show, ITC export

1970/71 was a good season for Wolves who took 4th spot and won the Anglo-Scottish Cup (beating Hearts 3-2 on agg). For the 2nd successive season, West Brom fielded the top flight's highest scorer as Ally Brown netted 28 times but his team finished a disappointing 17th and Alan Ashman was then sacked (apparently hearing the news from a waiter whilst on holiday in Greece). Derby were 9th, Coventry 10th, FA Cup Semi-finalists Stoke were 13th and Forest 16th. Leicester City were crowned champions of the 2nd tier (and reached the FA Cup QF's), but manager Frank O'Farell then left for Manchester United, Birmingham ended their first campaign under Freddie Goodwin in 9th, Swindon were 12th and Oxford (now managed by Gerry Summers) 14th. Aston Villa were condemned to another season in the 3rd tier by finishing 4th, Shrewsbury were 13th, Port Vale 17th and Walsall 20th. Notts County topped the 4th tier in record breaking style.

Season 1971/72
07/Aug    Leicester City 1 (Whitworth) Liverpool 0 [Charity Shield] *Played at Filbert Street, Brian Moore commentated, ITC
14/Aug    Derby County 2 (Hector, Wignall) Manchester United 2 (Law, Gowling) *Complete show may still exist **
21/Aug    Walsall 1 (Manning) Aston Villa 1 (Vowden) *ITC export
28/Aug    Oxford United 2 (Roberts, Cassidy) Burnley 1 (Casper) *ITC export
04/Sep    West Bromwich Albion 0 Arsenal 1 (Roberts) *ITC export
11/Sep    Wolverhampton W. 1 (Hegan) Everton 1 (Royle)
18/Sep    Swindon Town 4 (Noble, Rogers, Jones, Butler) Fulham 0 *ITC export
25/Sep    Coventry City 1 (Carr) Tottenham Hotspur 0 *ITC export
02/Oct    Stoke City 0 Liverpool 0 *ITC export
09/Oct    Wolverhampton W. 4 (Dougan 2, Parkin(pen), Daley) Southampton 2 (Kirkup, Channon) *ITC export
16/Oct    Birmingham City 1 (Latchford) Sunderland 1 (Kerr) *ITC export
23/Oct    West Bromwich A. 0 Leicester City 1 (Weller) *ITC export
30/Oct    Nottingham Forest 0 Derby County 2 (Hinton(pen), Robson) *ITC export
06/Nov   West Bromwich A. 0 Stoke City 1 (Greenhoff(pen)) *ITC export
13/Nov   Wolverhampton W. 2 (Richards 2) Derby County 1 (O'Hare) *ITC export
20/Nov   Derby County 3 (Hector, Hinton(2pens)) Sheffield United 0 *ITC export
27/Nov   Nottingham Forest 0 Leeds United 2 (Lorimer, Clarke) *ITC export (log reverses fixture) Sammy Chapman becomes 1st Forest player to be sent off in 32 years!
04/Dec    Coventry City 1 (McGuire) Leicester City 1 (Brown) *ITC export
11/Dec    Stoke City 1 (Mahoney) Manchester United 1 (Law) *ITC export
18/Dec    Wolverhampton W. 2 (Dougan, Bloor(og)) Stoke City 0 *ITC export
01/Jan     Derby County 1 (Gemmill) Chelsea 0 *ITC export
08/Jan     Showed Granada coverage of Man Utd 1 (McIlroy) Wolves 3 (Dougan, Richards, McCalliog) *ITC export
15/Jan     Derby County 2 (Hector 2) Shrewsbury Town 0 [FA Cup 3rd Round] *ITC export
22/Jan     Stoke City 3 (Ritchie, Greenhoff 2) Southampton 1 (Byrne) *ITC export
29/Jan     Derby County 1 (Robson) Coventry City 0 *ITC export
05/Feb    Birmingham City 1 (Latchford) Ipswich Town 0 [FA Cup 4th Round] *Intended to show Derby v Notts County but Derby refused. Anglia covered Coventry v Hull
12/Feb    Wolverhampton W. 1 (Richards) West Ham United 0 *ITC export
19/Feb    Birmingham City 2 (Taylor, Hatton) Burnley 0 *ITC export
26/Feb    Birmingham City 3 (Hatton, Latchford 2) Portsmouth 1 (Reynolds) [FA Cup 5th Round] *ITC, Anglia covered Stoke v Hull
04/Mar    League Cup Final - Stoke City 2 (Conroy, Eastham) Chelsea 1 (Osgood) *"Star Soccer" highlights of LWT's match coverage, ITC
11/Mar    Leicester City 2 (Nish 2) West Ham United 0 *ITC export
18/Mar    Birmingham City 3 (Page, Latchford, Hatton) Huddersfield Town 1 (Cherry) [FA Cup QF] *ITC export
25/Mar    Shrewsbury Town 1 (Wood(pen)) Notts County 1 (Bradd) *ITC export (incorrectly logged as Shrewsbury v 'Nottingham City')
01/Apr    Coventry City 2 (Barry, Graham) Manchester United 3 (Best, Moore, Charlton) **
08/Apr    Birmingham City 1 (Latchford) Millwall 0 *ITC export
15/Apr    Stoke City 1 (Simpson(og)) Arsenal 1 (Armstrong) [FA Cup SF] *at Villa Park, Hugh Johns for ATV viewers, ITC, +probably Stafford Rangers 3 Barnet 0 [FA Trophy final] with Gerald Sinstadt comm.
22/Apr    West Bromwich Albion 0 Leeds United 1 (Giles(pen)) *ITC export
29/Apr    Aston Villa 5 (Vowden 2, Lochhead, Jackson(og), Little) Torquay United 1 (Edwards) *ITC export

**ITC log references to recordings of both Coventry City and Derby County playing at home to Man City this season are probably their games against Man Utd as listed above.

Derby County were crowned champions, the first Midlands club to finish top since 1959. Wolves reached the final of the newly renamed UEFA Cup (formerly known as the Fairs Cup) knocking out Juventus along the way, but the final proved to be a big anti-climax as they met another English team over 2 legs and lost to Spurs who held on to an advantage gained in the opening leg at Molineux, this after finishing 9th in the league. Stoke City suffered a successive FA Cup SF exit to Arsenal but were still able to lift silverware at Wembley by beating Chelsea in the League Cup final (though for the neutral armchair viewer the epic semi-final with West Ham was far more memorable), goalkeeper Gordon Banks was named "Footballer of the year" and the Potters finished 17th . Leicester, on their return to the top flight and now under Jimmy Bloomfield, finished 12th, West Brom (now under Don Howe) were 16th and Coventry 18th (manager Noel Cantwell's left in March). Nottingham Forest were relegated in 21st but one of the clubs taking their top flight place would be another Midlands club, 2nd tier runners-up Birmingham City who's Bob Latchford was the 2nd tier's leading scorer, Swindon were 11th, Oxford 15th. Aston Villa also won promotion as champions of the 3rd tier, Notts County narrowly missed out on joining them in 4th, Walsall were 9th, Shrewsbury 12th and Port Vale 15th.

Season 1972/73
10/Jun     Probably Stoke City 1 Roma 2 [Anglo-Italian] *Live 2nd half football at 3:20-4:15pm on WOS, Hugh Johns comm
05/Aug    Aston Villa 0 Manchester City 1 (Lee(pen)) [Charity Shield] *played at Villa Park, ITC export
12/Aug    Birmingham City 1 (Latchford) Sheffield United 2 (Hockey, Woodward) *ITC export
19/Aug    Aston Villa 2 (Vowden, Graydon) Huddersfield Town 0 *ITC export
26/Aug    Nottingham Forest 2 (Lyall, O'Neill) Oxford United 1 (Skeen) *ITC export
02/Sep    Notts County 1 (Nixon) Walsall 1 (Mayo) *ITC logged as 'Nottingham County'. Poss also b&w16mm [Copy no. E1007/VTR5772]
09/Sep    Stoke City 2 (Hirst, Conroy) Leeds United 2 (Lorimer, Clarke) *ITC export
16/Sep    Wolverhampton W. 2 (Dougan, Richards) Manchester United 0 *ITC export
23/Sep    Nottingham Forest 1 (Fraser) Aston Villa 1 (Cottam(og)) *ITC export
30/Sep    Coventry City 1 (Alderson) Chelsea 3 (Garner, Blockley(og), Houseman) *prob ITC export
07/Oct    West Bromwich Albion 2 (A. Brown 2) Manchester United 2 (Best(pen), Moore) *ITC export
14/Oct    Coventry City 3 (Stein, Aldeson, Carr) Manchester City 2 (Marsh, Summerbee) *ITC export
21/Oct    West Bromwich Albion 1 (Gould) Wolverhampton W. 0 *ITC export
28/Oct    Derby County 2 (Todd, O'Hare) Sheffield United 1 (Currie) *ITC export
04/Nov   Showed LWT coverage of West Ham United 2 (Robson, Brooking) Wolverhampton W. 2 (Kindon 2) *ITC export
11/Nov   Wolverhampton W. 1 (Richards) Arsenal 3 (Radford 2, Marinello) *ITC export
18/Nov    Showed Anglia coverage of Norwich City 2 (Stringer, Paddon) West Bromwich Albion 0 *ITC export
25/Nov    Derby County 5 (McGovern, Hinton, McFarland, Hector, Davies) Arsenal 0 *ITC export
02/Dec    Stoke City 1 (Conroy) Chelsea 1 (Osgood) *ITC export
09/Dec    West Bromwich Albion 1 (T.Brown) Liverpool 1 (Boersma)
16/Dec    Showed Granada's match *Listed in Sunday People & ITC export
23/Dec    Birmingham City 1 (Bowker) Arsenal 1 (Kelly) *ITC export
30/Dec    Leicester City 2 (Farrington, Worthington) West Ham United 1 (Brooking) *ITC export
06/Jan     Aston Villa 0 Burnley 3 (Newton, Nulty, Ingham) *ITC export
13/Jan     Wolverhampton W. 1 (Bailey) Manchester United 0 [FA Cup 3rd Round] *prob ITC export
20/Jan     Showed Granada coverage of Liverpool 1 (Toshack) Derby 1 (Davies) *ITC, bad weather PP'd Mids games, intended match was Stoke v Coventry.
27/Jan     Wolverhampton W. 2 (Huges(og), Richards) Liverpool 1 (Keegan) *ITC export
03/Feb    Derby County 1 (Davies) Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Chivers) [FA Cup 4th Round] *ITC export
10/Feb    Birmingham City 2 (Latchford, Francis) Derby County 0 *ITC export
17/Feb    Wolverhampton W. 1 (K.Hibbitt) Newcastle United 1 (T.Hibbitt) *Two opposing brothers scoring the goals, ITC export
24/Feb    Coventry City 3 (Alderson, Stein 2) Hull City 0 [FA Cup 5th Round] *ITC export
03/Mar    League Cup Final *Networked highlights, ITC export
10/Mar    Hereford United 1 (Redrobe) Exeter City 0 *David Icke was the Hereford goalkeeper, ITC logs as 'Hertford'
17/Mar    Wolverhampton W. 2 (Richards, Hibbitt(pen)) Coventry City 0 [FA Cup QF] *ITC, LWT covered Derby 0 Leeds 1
24/Mar    Birmingham City 3 (Hatton, Latchford, Taylor) Coventry City 0 *ITC export
31/Mar    Aston Villa 2 (McMahon, Vowden) Oxford United 1 (Roberts) *ITC export
07/Apr    FA Cup SF *Networked highlights of Sunderland/Arsenal, ITC export
14/Apr    Stoke City 2 (Greenhoff, Ritchie) Manchester United 2 (Macari, Morgan(og)) *ITC export
21/Apr    West Bromwich Albion 0 Norwich City 1 (Cross)
28/Apr    Wolverhampton W. 3 (Sunderland, Richards, Powell) Coventry City 0

Wolves were the highest finishing Midlands side in 5th with John Richards netting 27 league goals, Derby County reached the Semi-finals of the European Cup but were unable to turn around a 3-1 1st leg defeat away to Juventus, it was later claimed that the referee in the Italian leg had been bribed, the Rams finished 7th in the league whilst Birmingham had a good first season back in the top flight in 10th. Stoke were 15th, Leicester 16th and Coventry (now under Joe Mercer) 19th, but there was disaster for West Brom who finished bottom. In the 2nd tier, Aston Villa finished 3rd but, points wise, were some way off promotion. Oxford were 8th, Forest (who replaced Matt Gillies with Dave Mackay in November) 14th and Swindon 16th. Notts County were on the up again from the 3rd tier as runners-up, Port Vale were only 4 points behind in 6th, Shrewsbury 15th and Walsall 17th, whilst Hereford won promotion from the 4th in their first season as members of the Football league.

ITC ref to Wolves v Man City is probably one of the two televised Wolves v Man Utd fixtures.

Season 1973/74
25/Aug    Aston Villa 2 (Aitken, Hockey) Preston North End 0 *ITC export
01/Sep    Birmingham City 0 Derby County 0 *ITC export, also claim of Leicester 1 Liverpool 1 footage
08/Sep    Showed Yorkshire coverage of Leeds United 3 (Lorimer 3(1pen)) Birmingham City 0 *ITC export
15/Sep    Walsall 1 (Wright) Bournemouth 2 (Boyer 2) *ITC, also claim of Birmingham 1 L'pool 1 footage with Johns.
22/Sep     Coventry City 2 (Alderson, Stein) Newcastle United 2 (MacDonald, Tudor) *ITC export
29/Sep     Showed LWT coverage of Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Coates) Derby County 0
06/Oct     Wolverhampton W. 2 (McCalliog, Dougan) Manchester United 1 (McIlroy) +Y *archived (separate from ITC)
13/Oct     Leicester City 2 (Worthington, Birchenhall) Leeds United 2 (Jones, Bremner) *ITC export
20/Oct     Wolverhampton W. 2 (Richards, Daley) Queens Park Rangers 4 (Leach, Francis(pen), Bowles 2) *ITC export
27/Oct     Nottingham Forest 1 (McKenzie) Aston Villa 2 (Graydon, Aitken) *ITC export
03/Nov    Derby County 1 (Gemmill(pen)) Queens Park Rangers 2 (Francis, Bowles) *ITC export
10/Nov    West Bromwich Albion 2 (T.Brown, Shaw) Notts County 1 (Randall) *ITC export
17/Nov    Leicester City 2 (Glover, Stringfellow) Burnley 0 *ITC export
24/Nov    Coventry City 3 (Stein, Cross 2) Sheffield United 1 (Woodward) *ITC export
01/Dec     Leicester City 3 (Glover 2, Earle) Tottenham Hotspur 0 *ITC export
08/Dec     Derby County 1 (McFarland) Arsenal 1 (Newton(og)) *ITC export
15/Dec     Birmingham City 3 (Burns 2, Hatton) West Ham United 1 (Gould) *ITC export
22/Dec     Aston Villa 1 (B.Rioch) Notts County 1 (Randall(pen)) *ITC export logs Villa v 'Nottingham Forest' (but must be this Notts County game)
29/Dec     Stoke City 4 (Mahoney, Pejic, Ritchie, Greenhoff) Queens Park Rangers 1 (Leach) *ITC export
05/Jan      Leicester City 1 (Earle) Tottenham Hotspur 0 [FA Cup 3rd Round] *ITC export, match footage also exists on vt
12/Jan      Nottingham Forest 1 (McKenzie) West Bromwich Albion 4 (T.Brown 4) *ITC export
19/Jan      Birmingham City 1 (Latchford) Manchester City 1 (Law) *ITC export
26/Jan      Showed LWT coverage of Arsenal 1 (Kennedy) Aston Villa 1 (Morgan) [FA Cup 4th Round] *ITC export
02/Feb     Showed LWT's "The Big Match" - West Ham United 0 Birmingham City 0 *ITC export
09/Feb     Showed Tyne Tees coverage of Newcastle 5 (Craven(og), Bruce, Dugdale(og), Tudor, Macdonald) Coventry 1 (Alderson) *ITC export
16/Feb     Coventry City 0 Queens Park Rangers 0 [FA Cup 5th Round] *ITC export
23/Feb     Stoke City 3 (Pejic, Hudson, Smith) Leeds United 2 (Bremner, Clarke) *ITC export
02/Mar     League Cup Final - Wolves 2 (Hibbitt, Richards) Manchester City 1 (Bell) *Networked highlights, ITC export
09/Mar     Newcastle United 4 Nottm Forest 3 [FA Cup QF] *Later replayed (riot deemed to influence result), Hugh Johns on mic (least for ATV viewers), ITC
16/Mar     Birmingham City 1 (Gallagher) Manchester United 0 *ITC export
23/Mar     Wolverhampton W. 0 Liverpool 1 (Hall) *ITC export
30/Mar     FA Cup SF *Networked highlights Newcastle/Burnley
06/Apr     Leicester City 3 (Glover 2, Cross) Birmingham City 3 (Burns 3) *ITC export
13/Apr     West Bromwich Albion 1 (Hartford) Orient 0
20/Apr     Shrewsbury Town 0 Walsall 0 *ITC export ref, also listed in the Sunday Times (one source said Leicester)
27/Apr     Birmingham City 2 (Hatton, Burns) Norwich City 1 (Stringer) *ITC export

Derby County were this season's highest placed Midlands club finishing 3rd, but they had lost manager Brian Clough on 15th October after he fell out with the board, Dave MacKay left Forest to take over the Rams on the 23rd. Stoke City finished close behind in 5th, Leicester's Frank Worthington was runner-up in the top flight scoring chart with 20 goals as the Filberts finished 9th and reached yet another FA Cup SF, but it was Wolves fans who were probably the happiest bunch in the Midlands having watched their side win the League Cup (before ending the league campaign in 12th). Coventry finished 16th. Promotion/relegation places between the 1st&2nd and 2nd&3rd tiers were increased from two to three (all automatic, there were no play offs in those days) and there was a close call for Birmingham who finished 4th bottom. In the 2nd tier, Forest (who replaced manager Dave MacKay with Allan Brown) finished 7th and were involved in a controversial epic FA Cup QF with Newcastle, West Brom were 8th, Notts County 10th, Aston Villa 14th (Vic Crowe was sacked at the end of the season) and Oxford 18th. Swindon couldn't blame the extra relegation place for their woes as they finished rock bottom. The 3rd tier saw Walsall take 15th spot, Hereford 18th, Port Vale a very disappointing 20th whilst Shrewsbury were another Midlands club to suffer a demotion, dropping into the Fourth Division.

Season 1974/75
03/Aug    West Bromwich A. 0 Birmingham City 0 [Texaco Cup] *programme billed as "Texaco Cup" 1:55-2:40pm
10/Aug    Birmingham City 3 (Campbell, Hatton, Francis) Norwich City 1 (Boyer) [Texaco Cup] *for "Star Soccer", complete show archived. +L
17/Aug    Stoke City 3 (Mahoney, Cherry(og), Ritchie) Leeds United 0 *ITC export
24/Aug    Walsall 1 (Robinson) Halifax Town 1 (Shanahan(pen)) *ITC export
31/Aug    Hereford United 2 (McNeil 2) Peterborough United 0 *ITC export
07/Sep    Notts County 3 (Randall, Stubbs, Masson(pen)) Southampton 2 (Peach, Osgood) *ITC export (logged as 'Nottingham County')
14/Sep    Birmingham City 3 (Hatton, Francis 2(1pen) Derby County 2 (Rioch, Davies) *ITC export
21/Sep    Northampton Town 3 (Stratford, Best, Carlton) Shrewsbury Town 3 (Durban, Kearney, Morris) *Anglia at Ipswich, Granada at Port Vale, ITC ref to L
28/Sep    Leicester City 0 Coventry City 1 (Holmes) *ITC export
05/Oct    Birmingham City 1 (Francis(pen)) Coventry City 2 (Lloyd, Holmes) *ITC ref to L
12/Oct    Wolverhampton W. 2 (Withe, Parkin) Carlisle United 0 *ITC export
19/Oct    West Bromwich Albion 0 Nottingham Forest 1 (Richardson) *ITC export
26/Oct    Derby County 2 (Hector, Hinton) Middlesbrough 3 (Hickton, Foggon, Mills)
02/Nov    Leicester City 1 (Sammels) Burnley 0 *ITC export
09/Nov    Wolverhampton W. 2 (Hibbitt, Munro) Ipswich Town 1 (Woods) *ITC export
16/Nov    Birmingham City 4 (Kendall, Hatton 2, Burns) Manchester City 0 *ITC export
23/Nov    Aston Villa 2 (Hamilton, B.Little) Portsmouth 0 *ITC export
30/Nov    Showed LWT's match *ITC export
07/Dec    Birmingham City 0 Stoke City 3 (Greenhoff, Moores 2) *ITC export
14/Dec    Derby County 0 Everton 1 (Latchford) *ITC export
21/Dec    West Bromwich Albion 2 (Cumbes(og), Mayo) Aston Villa 0 *ITC export
28/Dec    Stoke City 2 (Salmons(pen), Hurst) West Ham United 1 (Holland) *ITC export
04/Jan     Wolverhampton W 1 (Richards) Ipswich Town 2 (Viljoen, Johnson) [FA Cup 3rd Round] *ITC export
11/Jan     Coventry City 2 (Carr, Lloyd) Wolverhampton W. 1 (Kindon) *ITC export
18/Jan     Leicester City 1 (Glover) Stoke City 1 (Hurst) *ITC export
25/Jan     Coventry City 1 (Alderson) Arsenal 1 (Ball) [FA Cup 4th Round] *ITC export
01/Feb    Stoke City 4 (Moores 2, Hudson, Hurst) Manchester City 0 *ITC export
08/Feb    Wolverhampton W. 1 (Hibbitt(pen)) Arsenal 0
15/Feb    Birmingham City 2 (Hatton, Burns) Walsall 1 (Taylor) [FA Cup 5th Round] *ITC, pp'd Derby v Leeds Cup match possibly first choice
22/Feb    Aston Villa 2 (Graydon, Aitken) Manchester United 0 *ITC export
01/Mar   League Cup Final - Aston Villa 1 (Graydon) Norwich City 0 *Networked highlights, ITC export
08/Mar    Showed other region's FA Cup QF's *ITC export, ref to L
15/Mar    Derby County 1 (Hector) Stoke City 2 (Greenhoff 2) *ITC export
22/Mar    Nottingham Forest 0 Manchester United 1 (Daly) *ITC export
29/Mar    Wolverhampton W. 1 (Hibbitt(pen)) Manchester City 0 *ITC export
05/Apr    Birmingham City 1 (Gallagher) Fulham 1 (Mitchell) [FA Cup SF] *at Hillsborough, Hugh Johns for ATV viewers, ITC, City lost replay which was only shown as a newsreel
12/Apr    Derby County 1 (Rioch) West Ham United 0 *ITC export
19/Apr    Stoke City 0 Newcastle United 0 *ITC export
26/Apr    Derby County 0 Carlisle United 0 *ITC export

Dave MacKay guided Derby County to another League championship title, their 2nd in four seasons. Birmingham City were favourites to reach Wembley in the FA Cup after being paired up with 2nd tier Fulham in the SF's, but after a 1-1 draw, Birmingham failed to make their superior divisional status count for a 2nd time and lost the replay. Stoke City finished 5th again, Wolves were 12th, Coventry (with Gordon Milne now in charge) 14th and Leicester 18th. It was an excellent season for Ron Saunders' Aston Villa who won the League Cup as well as promotion back into the top flight (Brian Little was the 2nd tier's leading scorer with 20 goals), other Midlands 2nd tier interest saw West Brom finish 6th in what proved to be Don Howe's last season in charge, Oxford were 11th and Notts County 14th above neighbours Forest in 16th, Brian Clough has been appointed manager of the Reds on 6th January. The 3rd tier saw Port Vale return to form in 6th whilst Walsall took 8th and Hereford 12th. Shrewsbury Town bounced back from last season's relegation by taking the runners-up spot in the Fourth division behind fringe ATV club Mansfield Town.

Season 1975/76
09/Aug    Leicester City 2 (Lee 2) West Bromwich Albion 1 (Giles) [Anglo-Scottish Cup] *ITC export
16/Aug    Aston Villa 1 (Phillips) Leeds United 2 (Lorimer 2(1pen)) *ITC export
23/Aug    Walsall 1 (Buckley) Swindon Town 1 (Eastoe) *ITC export
30/Aug    Nottingham Forest 0 Notts County 1 (Bradd) *ITC export (logged as Forest v 'Nottingham County')
06/Sep     Derby County 3 (Lee, Gemmill, Hector) Burnley 0 *ITC export
13/Sep     Wolverhampton W. 2 (Carr 2) Birmingham City 0 *ITC export
20/Sep     Shrewsbury Town 2 (Collier(pen), Kearney) Crystal Palace 4 (Swindlehurst, Kemp, Taylor, Durban(og)) *ITC export
27/Sep     Aston Villa 2 (Hamilton, Little) Birmingham City 1 (Francis) *ITC export
04/Oct     Coventry City 1 (Cross) Burnley 2 (Hankin, James) *ITC export
11/Oct     Notts County 0 Oxford United 1 (D.Clarke) *ITC export (logged as 'Nottingham County')
18/Oct     Derby County 3 (Hector 2, Lee) Wolverhampton W. 2 (Kindon, Richards) *ITC export
25/Oct     Stoke City 1 (Greenhoff) Newcastle United 1 (Gowling) *ITC export
01/Nov    Coventry City 1 (Cross) Queens Park Rangers 1 (Givens) *ITC export
08/Nov    Showed Granada coverage of Blackpool 0 WBA 1 (Johnston) *ITC export, Hugh Johns comm for ATV
15/Nov    Derby County 2 (Rioch, George) West Ham United 1 (Brooking) *ITC export
22/Nov    Leicester City 0 Ipswich Town 0 *ITC export
29/Nov    Wolverhampton W. 0 Manchester City 4 (Hartford 2, Barnes, Tueart) *ITC export
06/Dec     Stoke City 1 (Greenhoff) Aston Villa 1 (Graydon) *ITC export
13/Dec     Aston Villa 3 (Graydon, Deehan 2) Norwich City 2 (Macdougall, Peters) *ITC export
20/Dec     Derby County 3 (Nish, George, Garner(og)) Sheffield United 2 (Woodward 2) *ITC export
27/Dec     Birmingham City 1 (Hatton) Stoke City 1 (Moores) *ITC export
03/Jan      Derby County 2 (George 2) Everton 1 (Jones) [FA Cup 3rd Round] *ITC export,Leicester 3 (Garland 3) Sheffield United 0 was covered by Yorkshire TV
10/Jan      West Bromwich Albion 0 Sunderland 0 *ITC export
17/Jan      Showed Granada coverage of Burnley 1 (Fletcher) Derby County 2 (James, George) *Hugh Johns comm for ATV
24/Jan      Derby County 1 (Davies) Liverpool 0 [FA Cup 4th Round] *ITC export
31/Jan      Leicester City 1 (Lee) Manchester City 0 *ITC export
07/Feb     West Bromwich Albion 3 (Cantello, Mayo, A.Brown) Bristol Rovers 0 *ITC export
14/Feb     Leicester City 1 (Lee) Manchester United 2 (Macari, Daly) [FA Cup R5]  *ITC export, Derby v Southend was covered by Anglia, Stoke v Sunderland by Granada
21/Feb     Stoke City 1 (Greenhoff) Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Duncan, Hoddle) *ITC, Hoddle's first goal, Johns interviewed him afterwards
28/Feb     League Cup Final *ITC export
06/Mar     Showed Granada coverage of Man Utd 1 (Daly) Wolves 1 (Richards) [FA Cup QF]
13/Mar     Birmingham City 0 Liverpool 1 (Neal(pen)) *ITC export
20/Mar     Notts County 1 (Mann) Blackpool 2 (Smith 2) *ITC export (logged as 'Nottingham County')
27/Mar     Coventry City 1 (Murphy) Newcastle United 1 (Bird) *ITC export
03/Apr     Birmingham City 3 (Hibbitt, Burns, Francis) Aston Villa 2 (Gray, Graydon(pen)) *ITC export
10/Apr     Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 0 *ITC export
17/Apr     West Bromwich Albion 2 (Martin, Johnston) Nottingham Forest 0
24/Apr     Hugh Johns was sent to Yugoslavia for Wales match, LWT match shown as main game on Star Soccer *ITC export

Derby County were the pride of the Midlands yet again by finishing ahead of the rest in 4th, the Rams also hosted Real Madrid in the 2nd round 1st leg of the European Cup and won the match 4-1, but they then lost 5-1 in Madrid. In domestic cups Derby reached the Semi-finals of the FA Cup but lost to Man Utd. Leicester City finished a creditable 7th in the top flight, Stoke were 12th, Coventry 14th and Aston Villa 16th. Birmingham changed manager on 18th September with Freddie Goodwin making way for Willie Bell, City finished 19th - three points ahead of Wolves who suffered a shock relegation in 20th resulting in the dismissal of manager Bill McGarry. One of the teams who would be replacing Wolves was West Brom (now managed by Johnny Giles) who snatched 3rd place. Notts County (5th) again finished the season ahead of neighbours Nottingham Forest (8th) despite losing manager Jimmy Sirrel to Sheffield United in October, Ron Fenton was his replacement. Two more Midlands sides swapped leagues further down the divisions as Oxford United were relegated from the 2nd (despite a change of manager in October with Mick Brown replacing Gerry Summers) and John Sillett's Hereford United were champions of the 3rd (Dixie McNeil was their leading marksman with 35 goals), Walsall were 7th, Shrewsbury 9th and Port Vale 12th. Two fringe Midlands clubs Lincoln City and Northampton Town were promoted from the 4th tier.

Season 1976/77
21/Aug    Wolverhampton W. 0 Burnley 0 *ITC export
28/Aug    Derby County 0 Manchester United 0 *ITC export
04/Sep    Stoke City 2 (Crooks, Conroy) West Ham United 1 (Taylor) *ITC export
11/Sep    Nottingham Forest 4 (Bowyer 2, Butlin , Robertson) Hereford United 3 (McNeil 2, Spiring) *ITC export
18/Sep    Aston Villa 1 (Gray) Birmingham City 2 (Burns, Connolly) *ITC export
25/Sep    Derby County 2 (McFarland 2) West Bromwich Albion 2 (Treacey 2)
02/Oct    Stoke City 1 (Conroy) Aston Villa 0
09/Oct    Nottingham Forest 6 (Bowyer 2, Butlin, Curran, Withe, Anderson) Sheffield United 1 (Hamilton) *ITC export
16/Oct    Coventry City 1 (Powell) Newcastle United 1 (Gowling) *ITC export
23/Oct    Leicester City 4 (Weller 2, Earle, Worthington(pen)) Arsenal 1 (Stapleton) *ITC export
30/Oct    West Bromwich Albion 3 (Martin, A.Brown 2) West Ham United 0 *ITC export
06/Nov   Wolverhampton W. 3 (Kitchener(og), Sunderland, Daley) Millwall 1 (Brisley) *ITC export
13/Nov    Port Vale 2 (Williams, Bailey) Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Towner, Ward) *ITC export
20/Nov    Leicester City 1 (Garland) Manchester United 1 (Daly(pen)) *ITC export
27/Nov    Birmingham City 0 Manchester City 0 *ITC export
04/Dec    Showed Granada coverage of Manchester City 3 (Kidd 2, Tueart) Derby County 2 (James 2) *ITC export, many games postponed this weekend
11/Dec    Showed LWT coverage of Chelsea 3 (Wilkins, Britton, Finneston) Wolverhampton W. 3 (Richards 2, Gould) *ITC export
18/Dec    Stoke City 0 West Bromwich Albion 2 (Statham, Trewick) *ITC export
01/Jan     Showed Anglia coverage of Norwich 3 (Busby 3) Leicester 2 (Sammels, Earle) *ITC export, ATV game most likely PP'd
08/Jan     Leicester City 0 Aston Villa 1 (Gray) [FA Cup 3rd Round] *ITC export
15/Jan     Showed Granada's match *ITC export
22/Jan     West Bromwich Albion 1 (T.Brown(pen)) Leeds United 2 (E.Gray, McQueen) *ITC export
29/Jan     Birmingham City 1 (Burns) Leeds United 2 (Jordan, Clarke) [FA Cup 4th Round] *ITC export
05/Feb    Showed Granada coverage of Liverpool 4 (Neal(pen), Heighway 2, Toshack) Birmingham 1 (Burns) *ITC export
12/Feb     Derby County 0 Leeds United 1 (Jordan) *ITC exportd
19/Feb     Leicester City 1 (Earle) Ipswich Town 0 *ITC export
26/Feb     Aston Villa 3 (Nicholl, Little, Deehan) Port Vale 0 *ITC export
05/Mar    West Bromwich Albion 1 (Robson) Derby County 0 *ITC ref to E
12/Mar    League Cup Final - Aston Villa 0 Everton 0 *Networked highlights, ITC export
19/Mar    Wolverhampton W. 0 Leeds United 1 (E.Gray) [FA Cup QF] *ITC export
26/Mar    Nottingham Forest 3 (Withe 2, Woodcock) Blackpool 0 *ITC export
02/Apr     Derby County 2 (Daly(pen), James) Stoke City 0 *ITC export
09/Apr     Port Vale 1 (Harris) Mansfield Town 4 (Randall, Bird 2, Foster) *ITC export
16/Apr     West Bromwich Albion 0 Manchester City 2 (Tueart, Kidd) *exists as telerecording (but only up to end of main game), also ITC export
23/Apr     FA Cup SF *Networked highlights of Man Utd/Leeds, ITC export
30/Apr     Birmingham City 1 (Kendall) Leicester City 1 (Earle) *ITC export
07/May    Wolverhampton W. 1 (Richards) Chelsea 1 (Langley) *ITC export
14/May    Showed Granada coverage of Bolton W. 0 Wolverhampton W. 1 (Hibbitt) *at least partially exists (vt?) also ITC

Aston Villa were the Midlands highest placed finishers of 1976/77, finishing 4th with 25 goals from Andy Gray, and Villa also won the League Cup again - but needed a 2nd replay at Old Trafford and yet more extra time to see off Everton. West Brom had an impressive first season back in the top flight finishing 7th but manager Johnny Giles then resigned, Leicester were 11th (Jimmy Bloomfield's last season in charge) and Birmingham 13th. Derby - who sacked manager Dave MacKay on 25th November and replaced him with Colin Murphy - finished 15th, Coventry stayed up in 19th, but Stoke City - following a consistent run of good campaigns - suffered a surprise relegation in 21st, Tony Waddington's 17 year run as manager came to an end in March and he was succeeded by George Eastham. Two Midlands clubs won promotion from the 2nd tier, Sammy Chung's Wolves went up as champions whilst Nottingham Forest snatched 3rd place at the death. Notts County were only 4 points behind Forest in 8th, but Hereford United made an immediate return to the 3rd tier by finishing bottom. Fringe Midlands club Mansfield Town won promotion to the 2nd tier for the first time in their history. Shrewsbury were 10th, Walsall 15th, Oxford 17th and Port Vale 19th. A 30-yard screamer from Kenny Stroud of Swindon Town v Everton on 29/Jan/1977 was voted the Midlands Goal of the Season (actually captured by HTV cameras in a game shown after Birmingham v Leeds in the ATV region).

ATV - Star Soccer
Star Soccer opening titles (left) and the half-time score caption from the 17th April 1977 edition.

Season 1977/78
20/Aug    Birmingham City 1 (Hibbitt) Manchester United 4 (Macari 3, Hill) *ITC export
27/Aug    Nottingham Forest 3 (Withe 2, Robertson) Derby County 0 +L
03/Sep    Walsall 2 (Serella, Dennehy) Swindon Town 0 *ITC export
10/Sep    Leicester City 1 (Sims) Everton 5 (Latchford, Thomas, King 2, McKenzie) *ITC export
17/Sep    West Bromwich Albion 2 (T.Brown(pen), Cross) Wolverhampton W. 2 (Bell, Daley) *ITC export
24/Sep    Stoke City 0 Sunderland 0 *ITC export
01/Oct    Aston Villa 0 Birmingham City 1 (Bertschin) *ITC export
08/Oct    Stoke City 0 Crystal Palace 2 (Chatterton, Perrin) *ITC export
15/Oct    Wolverhampton W. 2 (Richards, Hibbitt) West Ham United 2 (Pike, Robson) *ITC export
22/Oct    Coventry City 1 (Hutchison) Ipswich Town 1 (Mariner) *ITC export
29/Oct    Showed LWT's coverage of Arsenal 1 (Rice) Birmingham City 1 (Bertschin) *ITC export
05/Nov    Derby County 0 Everton 1 (Lyons) *ITC export
12/Nov    Nottingham Forest 2 (Burns, Gemmill) Manchester United 1 (Pearson) *ITC export
19/Nov    Showed Tyne Tees coverage of Middlesbrough 0 Wolves 0 *ITC ref to G
26/Nov    Showed Granada coverage of Everton 6 (Dobson, Latchford 3, Pearson, King) Coventry 0 *ITC export (Villa v Newcastle cancelled?)
03/Dec    Derby County 2 (Hughes, Ryan) Manchester City 1 (Power) *Ref disallowed City equaliser blowing for time before ball hit net, ITC export
10/Dec    Nottingham Forest 2 (O'Neill, McGovern) Coventry City 1 (Wallace) *Full programme archived at BFI. +E (also ITC)
17/Dec    Notts County 3 (Hooks, Thompson(og), Vinter) Burnley 0 *ITC export (logged as 'Nottingham County')
24/Dec    No fixtures played
31/Dec    West Bromwich Albion 1 (T.Brown(pen)) Leeds United 0 *ITC export
07/Jan     Showed Granada coverage of Everton 4 (King, Ross(pen), McKenzie, Latchford) Aston Villa 1 (Gray) [FA Cup R3] *ITC export, Express also lists G (ITV document says Birmingham v Wigan)
14/Jan     Mansfield Town 1 (Syrett) Southampton 2 (MacDougall 2(1pen)) *ITC export, YTV showed this as their main game too
21/Jan     Wolverhampton W. 3 (Hibbitt 2, Daley) Everton 1 (Ross(pen)) *ITC export
28/Jan     Walsall 1 (Evans) Leicester City 0 [FA Cup 4th Round] *ITC ref to L
04/Feb    Nottingham Forest 2 (Woodcock, McGovern) Wolverhampton W. 0 *ITC export
11/Feb    Walsall 3 (Dennehy, Buckley(pen), Serella) Shrewsbury Town 0 *ITC export
18/Feb    Showed FA Cup 5th Round matches from other regions, intended match was probably the postponed Derby v WBA, ITC ref to L
25/Feb     Stoke City 0 Bolton Wanderers 0 *ITC export
04/Mar    Coventry City 4 (Ferguson 3, Beck) Birmingham City 0 *ITC export
11/Mar    Showed FA Cup QF matches from other regions *ITC refs to T&H
18/Mar    League Cup Final - Nottingham Forest 0 Liverpool 0 AET *Networked highlights, ITC export
25/Mar    Mansfield Town 3 (Syrett 3) Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Jones, Hoddle 2(1pen)) *ITC export, YTV at Rotherham
01/Apr    Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 3 (Dalglish 2, Kennedy) *ITC export
08/Apr    FA Cup SF *Networked highlights of Arsenal/Orient, ITC export
15/Apr    Nottingham Forest 1 (Withe) Leeds United 1 (F.Gray(pen)) *ITC export
22/Apr    Notts County 2 (Vinter, Bradd) Crystal Palace 0 *ITC export (logged as 'Nottingham County')
29/Apr    Nottingham Forest 0 Birmingham City 0 *ITC export

Brian Clough and Nottingham Forest were the surprise package of 1977/78 by winning the league championship having only just been promoted, Forest also won the League Cup by beating Liverpool (with a little help from the referee) in a replay at Old Trafford. West Brom, Coventry and Villa finished 6th, 7th and 8th, West Brom also reached the FA Cup Semi-finals having started the season under Ronnie Allen and ending it under Ron Atkinson (who took over on 12th January). Birmingham City's Trevor Francis was the runner-up on the top flight goal scoring charts with 25, a season in which Birmingham were briefly managed by Sir Alf Ramsey before Jim Smith took charge to see the team finish 11th, Derby sacked Colin Murphy after less than a year in the managers job on 17th November, his replacement was Tommy Docherty and the Rams ended the season in 12th whilst Wolves finished 15th. It was a bad season for Leicester City under new boss Frank McLintock, they finished bottom of the top flight.  The 2nd tier saw Stoke cushion themselves in 7th after replacing manager George Eastham with Alan Durban, Notts County slumped to 15th - sacking Ron Fenton in October and then welcoming back Jimmy Sirrel. Mansfield Town made an immediate return to the 3rd tier where Walsall finished 6th, Shrewsbury 11th and Oxford 18th. Port Vale were demoted to the Fourth division as were Hereford United in a successive relegation season.

TV Times, Sunday 2nd April 1978

Season 1978/79
12/Aug    Nottm Forest 5 (O'Neill 2, Withe, Lloyd, Robertson) Ipswich 0 [Charity Shield] *Networked highlights from Wembley, Brian Moore commentated
19/Aug    Aston Villa 1 (Gray) Wolverhampton W. 0 *ITC export
26/Aug    Leicester City 1 (Christie) Cambridge United 1 (Biley) *ITC export, possibly exists elsewhere (on vt?) too
02/Sep    Walsall 1 (Austin) Shrewsbury Town 1 (Turner) *ITC ref to G, but Express lists Walsall
09/Sep    Nottingham Forest 2 (Robertson, Bowyer) Arsenal 1 (Brady) *ITC export
16/Sep    Derby County 3 (Duncan, Powell, Daly) West Bromwich Albion 2 (Regis, Cunningham) *ITC export
23/Sep    Birmingham City 1 (Givens) Chelsea 1 (Mackenzie) *ITC export
30/Sep    Stoke City 1 (Irvine) Crystal Palace 1 (Murphy) *ITC export, possibly exists elsewhere (on vt?) too
07/Oct    Showed Anglia's match
14/Oct     Wolverhampton W. 1 (Eves) Arsenal 0
21/Oct     Birmingham City 0 Aston Villa 1 (Gray) *ITC export, possibly exists elsewhere (on vt?) too
28/Oct     Stoke City 2 (O'Callaghan, Crooks) Sheffield United 1 (Anderson) *ITC export
04/Nov    Nottingham Forest 0 Everton 0
11/Nov    Coventry City 2 (Wallace, Thompson) Middlesbrough 1 (Burns)
18/Nov    Derby County 2 (Daly, Buckley) Birmingham City 1 (Givens) *complete show archived (inc ints with Steve Buckley(Derby) & Alan Buckley(B'ham)).
25/Nov    West Bromwich Albion 1 (T.Brown(pen)) Aston Villa 1 (Evans)
02/Dec    Intended game was probably postponed, showed LWT's match
09/Dec    Derby County 1 (Daly) Manchester United 3 (Ritchie 2, Greenhoff)
16/Dec    Wolverhampton W. 0 West Bromwich Albion 3 (A.Brown 2, T.Brown)
23/Dec    Coventry City 3 (Wallace, Thompson, Hunt) Everton 2 (Lyons, Latchford)
30/Dec    Stoke City 2 (Irvine, O'Callaghan) Notts County 0 *The famous Granada match Man Utd 3 WBA 5 was shown as the 2nd game
06/Jan     Stoke City v Oldham Athletic [FA Cup 3rd Round] *abandoned at HT due to snow (Stoke led 2-0 with both goals scored by Irvine)
13/Jan     Showed LWT coverage of Arsenal 2 (Price, Stapleton) Nottm Forest 1 (Robertson) *intended match Notts County v Leicester City was postponed
20/Jan     Leicester City 1 (May) Blackburn Rovers 1 (Garner)
27/Jan     Nottingham Forest 3 (Lloyd, McGovern, O'Neill) York City (Wellings) 1 [FA Cup 4th Round] *Snow covered pitch
03/Feb    Wolverhampton W. 1 (Daley) Everton 0
10/Feb    Birmingham City 0 Leeds United 1 (F.Gray(pen))
17/Feb    Leicester City 2 (Peake, Buchanan) Newcastle United 1 (Nattrass)
24/Feb    West Bromwich Albion 1 (T.Brown) Leeds United 2 (Graham 2)
03/Mar    Showed LWT's match
10/Mar    Wolverhampton W. 1 (Rafferty) Shrewsbury Town 1 (Atkins(pen)) [FA Cup QF]
17/Mar    League Cup Final - Nottingham Forest 3 (Birtles 2, Woodcock) Southampton 2 (Peach, Holmes) *Networked highlights
24/Mar    Shrewsbury Town 0 Oxford United 0
31/Mar    FA Cup SF *Hugh Johns comm. for Midlands viewers, even though no Midlands club was involved (Liverpool v Man Utd)
07/Apr    Leicester City 1 (Buchanan) Stoke City 1 (Busby)
14/Apr    Derby County 1 (Webb) Nottingham Forest 2 (Birtles, O'Neill)  *complete show archived. +Y
21/Apr    West Bromwich Albion 1 (Robson) Wolverhampton W. 1 (Richards)
28/Apr    Stoke City 0 Newcastle United 0
05/May    West Bromwich Albion 1 (Regis) Manchester United 0

Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest continued to make all the headlines and achieved the unthinkable by winning the European Cup, a run of unglamorous ties saw them through to the final where they met the equally unfancied Malmo of Sweden who were beaten 1-0 thanks to a goal by the first million pound signing Trevor Francis (bought from Midlands rivals Birmingham City). Forest also lifted the League Cup again (this time at Wembley) and finished 2nd in the league. West Brom cemented their claim to be the Midlands 2nd best team by finishing 3rd and reaching the QF's of the UEFA Cup (losing to Red Star Belgrade), Wolves reached the FA Cup Semi-finals and finished 18th after replacing manager Sammy Chung with John Barnwell in November, Coventry were 10th, but Derby County finished a very disappointing 19th and Tommy Docherty (embroiled in a court case) left the club at the end of the season. Birmingham City were relegated in 21st. Stoke City won promotion from the 2nd tier, Notts County were 6th, Leicester (now managed by Jock Wallace) an alarming 17th. Shrewsbury Town were champions of the 3rd tier, Oxford were 11th (their last season under Mick Brown), Walsall dropped into the Fourth division along with Lincoln.

Season 1979/80
All ITV regions (except Channel TV) were taken off the air in early August 1979 due to a strike which lasted for almost three months! (Midlands viewers only had BBC1 and BBC2 from 6pm on 10th August until 24th October).
27/Oct    Wolverhampton W. 1 (Gray) Aston Villa 1 (Shaw)
03/Nov    Derby County 2 (Hill, Emery) West Bromwich Albion 1 (Robson)
10/Nov    Stoke City 0 Wolverhampton W. 1 (Hibbitt)
17/Nov    Aston Villa 2 (Mortimer, Evans (pen)) Stoke City 1 (Scott) *Dog on the pitch
24/Nov    Notts County 2 (Hooks, O'Brien) Chelsea 3 (Walker 2, Britton)
01/Dec    West Bromwich Albion 1 (Regis) Everton 1 (King)
08/Dec    Walsall 1 (Penn) Wigan Athletic 1 (Quinn)
15/Dec    Coventry City 1 (Ferguson) Manchester United 2 (McQueen, Macari)
22/Dec    Manchester United 3 (Jordan 2, McQueen) Nottingham Forest 0 *ATV venturing outside the region due to most games being played on Friday night
29/Dec    Leicester City 2 (Kelly, Henderson) Queens Park Rangers 0
05/Jan     Birmingham City 2 (Bertschin, Gallagher) Southampton 1 (Channon(pen)) [FA Cup 3rd Round]
12/Jan     Nottingham Forest 3 (Needham, Francis, Anderson) West Bromwich Albion 1 (Regis)
19/Jan     Notts County 0 Leicester City 1 (Strickland)
26/Jan     Swindon Town 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0 [FA Cup 4th Round]
02/Feb    Derby County 1 (B.Powell) Manchester United 3 (Thomas, McIlroy, B.Powell(og))
09/Feb    West Bromwich Albion 2 (Regis 2) Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Hoddle)
16/Feb    Showed LWT coverage of Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Armstrong, Hoddle 2(1pen)) Birmingham City 1 (Bertschin) [FA Cup 5th Round]
23/Feb    Birmingham City 2 (Dillon, Evans) Wrexham 0
01/Mar    Aston Villa 1 (Evans) Derby County 0
08/Mar    Showed LWT coverage of West Ham Utd 1 (Stewart(pen)) Aston Villa 0 [FA Cup QF]
15/Mar    League Cup Final - Wolves 1 (Gray) Nottingham Forest 0 *Networked highlights
22/Mar    Aston Villa 1 (Morley) Ipswich Town 1 (Wark)
29/Mar    Walsall 2 (Rees, Penn) Peterborough United 3 (Kellock 2, Gynn)
05/Apr     Leicester City 1 (May) Chelsea 0
12/Apr     Leicester City 2 (Wilson, Young) Birmingham City 1 (Gemmill(pen))
19/Apr     Nottingham Forest 1 (Gray) Derby County 0
26/Apr     Leicester City 2 (Young, Smith) Charlton Athletic 1 (Gritt)
03/May    Birmingham City 3 (Bertschin, Curbishley, Dillon) Notts County 3 (Mair, Christie, Kilcline)

Nottingham Forest continued to be the Midlands most successful club at the turn of the decade, retaining the European Cup for the 2nd successive season by beating SV Hamburg in the final. Forest were also the Midlands highest placed league club by finishing 5th ahead of Wolves in 6th who they met in the League Cup final - It was the 3rd successive season in which Forest had reached the final of this competition but it was Wolves who emerged victorious thanks to a goal by Andy Gray. Aston Villa finished 7th, West Brom 10th, Coventry 15th, Stoke 18th. Derby County (now managed by Colin Addison) were relegated, but two Midlands clubs won promotion to the top flight - Jock Wallace's Leicester (as champions) and Jim Smith's Birmingham (in 3rd). Shrewsbury finished 13th and Notts County 17th. Walsall won an immediate return to the 3rd tier (with 25 of their goals scored by Don Penn).

Season 1980/81
"Star Soccer" was moved to a Saturday night slot for this season (typically 10pm-11pm).
16/Aug    Birmingham City 3 (Curbishley, Dillon) Coventry City 1 (Blair)
23/Aug    Leicester City 2 (Peake, Henderson) Liverpool 0
30/Aug    Walsall 2 (Hill(og), Buckley) Brentford 3 (Walker, Hill, Funnell)
06/Sep    Derby County 2 (Biley 2) Blackburn Rovers 2 (Kendall(pen), Garner)
13/Sep    Wolverhampton W. 0 Coventry City 1 (Bodak)
20/Sep    Nottingham Forest 5 (Gray, Robertson(pen), Birtles 2, Mills) Leicester City 0
27/Sep    West Bromwich Albion 2 (A.Brown 2) Southampton 1 (George)
04/Oct    Nottingham Forest 1 (Wallace) Manchester United 2 (Macari, Coppell)
11/Oct    Birmingham City 1 (Worthington(pen)) Aston Villa 2 (Cowans(pen), Evans)
18/Oct    Derby County 3 (Sheridan 2, Emson) Queens Park Rangers 3 (King 2, Langley)
25/Oct    Notts County 2 (McCulloch 2) Blackburn Rovers 0
01/Nov   Aston Villa 2 (Shaw, Cowans) Leciester City 0
08/Nov   Notts County 0 Derby County 0
15/Nov   Coventry City 2 (Blair, Hunt) Birmingham City 1 (Curbishly)  *complete show archived. +L/T
22/Nov   Nottingham Forest 1 (Wallace) Ipswich Town 2 (Brazil, Wark(pen))
29/Nov   Aston Villa 1 (Morley) Arsenal 1 (Talbot)
06/Dec    Stoke City 2 (Chapman, O'Callaghan) Everton 2 (McBride, Varadi)
13/Dec    Coventry City 3 (Blair, Daley, Hunt) West Bromwich Albion 0
20/Dec    Birmingham City 1 (Ainscow) Ipswich Town 3 (Brazil, Wark, Mariner)
27/Dec    Nottingham Forest 2 (Francis, O'Neill) Aston Villa 2 (Lloyd(og), Shaw)
03/Jan     Stoke City 2 (Chapman, Bracewell) Wolverhampton W. 2 (Eves, Hibbitt) [FA Cup 3rd Round]
10/Jan     Coventry City 1 (Hunt) Manchester City 1 (MacKenzie)
17/Jan     Notts County 1 (Hooks) West Ham United 1 (Holland)
24/Jan     Shrewsbury Town 0 Ipswich Town 0 [FA Cup 4th Round]
31/Jan     Wolverhampton W. 2 (Eves, Gray) West Bromwich Albion 0
07/Feb    West Bromwich Albion 2 (Robson, Regis) Liverpool 0
14/Feb    Nottingham Forest 2 (Robertson(pen), Wallace) Bristol City 1 (Mabbutt) [FA Cup 5th Round]
21/Feb    Derby County 1 (McFarland) Orient 1 (Margerison)
28/Feb    Wolverhampton W. 0 Aston Villa 1 (Withe)
07/Mar    Nottingham Forest 3 (Francis, Walsh, Robertson(pen)) Ipswich Town 3 (Mariner, Anderson(og), Thijssen) [FA Cup QF]
14/Mar    Aston Villa 3 (Withe 2, Shaw) Manchester United 3 (Jordan 2, McIlroy(pen))
21/Mar    West Bromwich Albion 2 (Gunn(og), Deehan) Nottingham Forest 1 (Mills)
28/Mar    Walsall 4 (Reece 2, O'Kelly, Hart) Chesterfield 3 (Moss 3)
04/Apr    Leicester City 2 (Lynex 2(1pen), Aston Villa 4 (Withe 2, Bremner, Morley)
11/Apr    Wolverhampton W. 2 (Hibbitt, Carr(pen)) Spurs 2 (Archibald, Hoddle) [FA Cup SF] *at Hillsborough, Jimmy Greaves section kept
18/Apr    Aston Villa 2 (Cowans(pen), Withe) Nottingham Forest 0
25/Apr    Notts County 1 (Goodwin) Watford 2 (Blissett 2)
02/May   West Bromwich Albion 4 (A.Brown, Barnes, Robson, Cross) Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Falco, Smith)

Ron Saunders' Aston Villa emerged as the Midlands heroes of 1980/81 by winning the league championship (Peter Withe was the top flight's joint top scorer with 20 goals), West Brom finished 4th and then lost manager Ron Atkinson to Manchester United, Forest finished 7th, Stoke (in Alan Durban's last season in charge) 11th, Birmingham 13th and Coventry (in their last season under Gordon Milne) 16th. Wolves were FA Cup semi-finalists but again missed out on the final and finished a lowly 18th. Leicester struggled to make an impact after their promotion and were instantly relegated, but Notts County would be among those replacing them after winning promotion to a top flight they had last graced in 1926. Derby's return to the lower level saw them finish 6th, Shrewsbury were 14th. In the 3rd tier, Walsall only just managed to avoid another relegation back down to the 4th tier, Oxford improved slightly to finish 14th having replaced manager Bill Asprey with Ian Greaves. The 4th tier saw Lincoln finish as runners-up whilst Hereford had to apply for re-election for the 2nd season running - an imposition that Port Vale once again managed to avoid by a whisker.

Gary Newbon presenting the 11th October 1980 edition, Nick Owen with the news round-up
and analysis from Jimmy Greaves.

Season 1981/82
"Star Soccer" was back on Sunday afternoon's for this season.
29/Aug    Aston Villa 0 Notts County 1 (McCulloch)
05/Sep    Birmingham City 4 (Broadhurst, Evans, Whatmore 2) Nottingham Forest 3 (Wallace 3) *complete show archived
12/Sep    *Cameras were at Derby 3 Leicester 1 but game could not be shown as Rams keeper wore a sponsored shirt, showed Anglia's match instead
19/Sep    Notts County 1 (Osman(og)) Ipswich Town 4 (Wark, Brazil 2, Muhren)
26/Sep    Nottingham Forest 2 (Burns, Wallace) Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Smith)
03/Oct    Leicester City 1 (Lineker) Crystal Palace 1 (Hilaire) *complete show archived +G/S
10/Oct    Port Vale 0 Sheffield United 2 (Edwards, Richardson)
17/Oct    Stoke City 1 (Griffiths) Swansea City 2 (Stanley, Latchford)
24/Oct    West Bromwich Albion 1 (A.Brown) Southampton 1 (Channon)
31/Oct    Aston Villa 0 Ipswich Town 1 (Osman)
07/Nov    Nottingham Forest 0 West Ham United 0
14/Nov    Derby County 2 (Buckley, Edwards(og)) Wrexham 1 (Edwards)
21/Nov   Showed Tyne Tees coverage of Middlesbrough 3 (McAndrew(pen), Ashcroft 2) Aston Villa 3 (Withe, Cowans, Shaw) *Hugh Johns comm. for ATV
28/Nov   Wolverhampton W. 2 (Palmer(pen), Matthews) Stoke City 0  *complete show archived +L/G
05/Dec    Birmingham City 2 (Evans 2(1pen) Notts County 1 (McCulloch) *complete show archived  +S/G
12/Dec    Leicester City 1 (Lineker) Watford 1 (Jenkins)
19/Dec    Showed Granada's match *Intended match was probably postponed, few fixtures played this weekend
26/Dec    Coventry City 0 West Bromwich Albion 2 (Owen, Regis) *The last ATV edition of "Star Soccer"

Gary Newbon hosting a late 1981 edition

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Star Soccer
The Central Years

Central Television
ATV was replaced by Central Television on 1st January 1982. The new station was more of a name change than a brand new company, although they were now obliged to be more locally orientated. ATV had been based in Birmingham but they had held onto premises in Borehamwood (a remnant of ATV's London franchise era), Central would cease producing programmes from Borehamwood and build a new studio in Nottingham from where they would provide a separate local news service for those in the East of the region. Central retained the Star Soccer brand for their football highlights programmes but the 1982/83 season saw a change in commentator when Hugh Johns was replaced by Peter Brackley. Bob Hall could now often be seen presenting the programme but sadly this would be Star Soccer's final season.

The "TV Times" entry for the 30th October 1982 edition (10:35-11:35pm) reads.... "Gary Newbon and Jimmy Greaves head Star Soccer's team, with another fast moving Saturday night's soccer show. The Central cameras bring you coverage of a top Second Division match with commentary by Peter Brackley, while there are highlights from two other top matches - both from the First Division. Nick Owen's news spot rounds up the day's main football stories. Editor - Trevor East, Producer - Sid Kilbey, OB Director - Stuart Wilson"

Season 1981/82
"Star Soccer" was produced by Central Television from January 1982 and the programme continued to be shown on Sunday afternoons....
02/Jan     Birmingham City 2 (Worthington, Curbishly) Ipswich Town 3 (Wark, Brazil 2) [FA Cup 3rd Round]
09/Jan     Nottingham Forest 2 (Ward, Wallace) Birmingham City 1 (Worthington) *complete show archived +Y/G
16/Jan     Notts County 1 (Christie) Aston Villa 0  *complete show archived +Y/G
23/Jan     Showed TVS coverage of Gillingham 0 WBA 1 (Statham) [FA Cup R4] *archived. Hereford 1 Leicester 0 was apparently recorded but not shown
30/Jan     Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 3 (Rush, McDermott 2)
06/Feb    Leicester City 2 (Lynex(pen), Lineker) Derby County 1 (Emson) *complete show archived +Y/G
13/Feb    Coventry City 4 (Thompson 2, Hateley 2) Oxford United 0 [FA Cup 5th Round] *Shrewsbury v Ipswich was also covered, Martin Tyler commentated
20/Feb    Birmingham City 0 Aston Villa 1 (Withe)
27/Feb    Walsall 1 (Penn) Millwall 1 (Tagg)
06/Mar    West Bromwich Albion 2 (Regis, Owen) Coventry City 0 [FA Cup QF] *complete show archived. +X/G
13/Mar    League Cup Final *Networked highlights
20/Mar    West Bromwich Albion 1 (Robertson) Birmingham City 1 (Evans)
27/Mar    Derby County 0 Luton Town 0 *complete show archived, one source says Coventry 0 Wolves 0 but Sunday Express lists Derby
03/Apr    Leicester City 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Crooks, Wilson(og)) [FA Cup SF] *at Villa Park.
10/Apr    Nottingham Forest 0 Wolverhampton W. 1 (Gray)
17/Apr    Wolverhampton W. 1 (Gray) Birmingham City 1 (Harford)
24/Apr    Birmingham City 2 (Broadhurst, Harford) Swansea City 1 (Walsh) *complete show archived
01/May   Leicester City 1 (May) Norwich City 4 (Deehan, Barham, Bertschin, Leet(og))
08/May   Stoke City 2 (Watson, Maguire) Notts County 2 (Christie(pen), Richards)
15/May    Coventry City 0 Birmingham City 1 (Harford)

The European Cup was brought back to England for the 6th successive season, this time it was Aston Villa who were crowned champions of Europe thanks to a 1-0 win over Bayern Munich. Villa were also the highest placed Midlands club in the league despite finishing a lowly 11th, manager Ron Saunders had resigned in February (unhappy with the Chairman) and it was Tony Barton who oversaw the European triumph - by which time Saunders had taken over rivals Birmingham (on 22nd February) and the Blues finished 16th. Forest were 12th, Coventry (with Dave Sexton now in charge) 14th, Notts County 15th, West Brom (with Ronnie Allen in charge for this one season) 17th, Stoke (now managed by Richie Barker) were 18th, but it was a miserable campaign for Wolves who were relegated in 21st with John Barnwell sacked in January and replaced by Ian Greaves (who in turn was out before the start of next season). 2nd tier Leicester reached the FA Cup semi-finals but lost to Spurs and finished 8th, Derby sacked Colin Addison on 25th January and replaced him with John Newman who lasted until 11th August after finishing 16th, Shrewsbury were 18th. In the 3rd tier, Lincoln just missed out on promotion in 4th,  Jim Smith took over at Oxford in March and they finished 5th, Walsall were 20th and Swindon dropped into the 4th division to join Port Vale (who finished 7th) and Hereford (10th).

An early Central edition of "Star Soccer", 31st January 1982

Season 1982/83
"Star Soccer" was on Saturday night's for what turned out to be its' final season. The Central TV commentator was now Peter Brackley.
28/Aug    Coventry City 1 (Whitton) Southampton 0
04/Sep    West Bromwich Albion 3 (Bennett, Eastoe, A.Brown) Manchester United 1 (Robson)
11/Sep    Wolverhampton W. 2 (Humphrey, Eves) Barnsley 0
18/Sep    Nottingham Forest 2 (Walsh, Birtles) Watford 0 *man dressed as a clown invaded the pitch
25/Sep    Stoke City 4 (Berry 2, Bracewell, O'Callaghan) Luton Town 4 (Stein 2, Walsh, Donaghy)
02/Oct    West Bromwich Albion 1 (Cross) Aston Villa 0  *complete show archived
09/Oct    Birmingham City 2 (Langan(pen), Brazier) Luton Town 3 (Stein, Walsh, Moss)
16/Oct    Oxford United 4 (Shotton, Whatmore, Fogg(pen), Brock) Walsall 2 (Beech, Buckley)
23/Oct    Stoke City 1 (Thomas) Liverpool 1 (Lawrenson)
30/Oct    Wolverhampton W. 2 (Palmer(pen), Gray) Derby County 1 (Wilson)
06/Nov    Birmingham City 2 (Dillon(pen), Blake) West Bromwich Albion 1 (Eastoe)
13/Nov    Derby County 0 Bolton Wanderers 0  *complete show archived +S/G
20/Nov    Aston Villa 2 (Shaw, Withe) Manchester United 1 (Stapleton)
27/Nov    Nottingham Forest 3 (Young, Birtles 2) Manchester City 0
04/Dec    Leicester City 2 (Buchanan, Lineker) Fulham 0
11/Dec    Stoke City 2 (Watson, McIlroy) Tottenham Hotspur 0
18/Dec    Aston Villa 2 (Shaw, Withe) Liverpool 4 (Hodgson, Dalglish, Kennedy, Rush)
01/Jan     Shrewsbury Town 2 (Stevens, Brown) Chelsea 0
08/Jan     Derby County 2 (Gemmill, Hill) Nottingham Forest 0 [FA Cup 3rd Round] *complete show archived +L
15/Jan     Birmingham City 1 (Dillon(pen)) Manchester United 2 (Whiteside, Robson)
22/Jan     Aston Villa 1 (Shaw) Manchester City 1 (Hartford)
29/Jan     Showed LWT coverage of Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Crooks, Gibson) West Bromich Albion 1 (Whitehead) [FA Cup 4th Round]
05/Feb    Nottingham Forest 1 (Wilson) Aston Villa 2 (Withe 2)
12/Feb    Coventry City 4 (Melrose, Hateley, Gillespie, Hunt) Manchester City 0
19/Feb    Aston Villa 4 (Shaw, Morley, Gibson, Cowans) Watford 1 (Blissett(pen)) [FA Cup 5th Round]
26/Feb    Leicester City 5 (Lynex 2, Smith, Lineker, Daly) Wolverhampton W. 0
05/Mar    Notts County 3 (Hunt, Chiedozie 2) Tottenham Hotspur 0
12/Mar    Showed two FA Cup QF's, neither involving Midlands clubs
19/Mar    Lincoln City 2 (Shipley 2) Chesterfield 0
26/Mar    Nottingham Forest 1 (Hodge) Southampton 2 (Armstrong, Wallace)
02/Apr    Showed Anglia coverage of Ipswich Town 1 (McCall) Aston Villa 2 (Shaw, Withe) *Peter Brackley commentated for Central viewers +G
09/Apr    West Bromwich Albion 1 (Jol) Watford 3 (Barnes, Callaghan, Lohman) *complete show archived
16/Apr    FA Cup SF *Peter Brackley commentated for Central viewers even though no Midlands club was involved (Brighton v Sheff Wed)
23/Apr    Nottingham Forest 2 (Swain, Proctor) Notts County 1 (Lahtinen)
30/Apr    Leciester City 0 Bolton Wanderers 0
07/May    Birmingham City 2 (Halsall, Harford) Tottenham Hotspur 0
14/May    Leicester City 0 Burnley 0 *The last ever "Star Soccer", the main match was LWT coverage of Derby County 1 (Davison) Fulham 0 with Brian Moore comm.

The final Star Soccer season saw Forest and Villa finish 5th and 6th whilst all the other Midlands' top flight clubs stayed up; West Brom (now under Ron Wylie) were 11th, Notts County 15th again, Birmingham 17th and Coventry finished a single place and point above the drop zone in 19th. Joining them in the top flight next season would be Wolves (now managed by Graham Hawkins) who were runners-up and Gordon Milne's Leicester in 3rd (the emerging young striker Gary Lineker was the 2nd tier's top scorer with 26). Shrewsbury achieved their highest league finish yet in 9th but it was a struggle for Derby who had appointed Peter Taylor as manager at the start of the season -  In spite of a 13th placed finish, the Rams had only just avoided relegation (4 points above the drop), Derby featured in the last ever edition of Star Soccer in a match that emphasised the problems football was now having to deal with, the closing stages of the Derby v Fulham match were played with spectators literally standing along the touchline following a pitch invasion, a nervous referee blew for time two minutes early and the result was allowed to stand despite protestations from Fulham who were hoping to snatch promotion away from Leicester City.  In the 3rd tier, Oxford had to settle for 5th again whilst Walsall improved to 10th. Port Vale won promotion from the Fourth Division in 3rd place, but Hereford finished rock bottom of the 92.

Three studio screen shots from the final series 1982/83
Gary Newbon, Jimmy Greaves and Bob Hall

The captions were overlayed in garish bright green during the first half of
the 1982/83 season, but were then changed back to white.

The end of Sunday afternoon regional highlights
ITV began showing networked LIVE league matches from October 1983 which was pretty much responsible for the death of the traditional regional Sunday afternoon highlights programmes, Central News partly compensated by sending a single camera to selected matches for Monday tea-time reports. 1984/85 was an absolute nadir for English football as crowd trouble spiralled completely out of control, this apocalyptic season's hall of shame included Midlands club Leicester City who's January FA Cup tie with Burton Albion had to be replayed after the Burton keeper was knocked out by a large missile thrown from the Leicester end, whilst on 11th May (the same day of the fatal Bradford City stand fire which claimed the lives of 56 spectators) a 15 year old Birmingham City fan was killed when a wall was pushed over by rioting Leeds fans.
With professional football now synonymous with hooliganism and unsafe grounds, attendance's collapsed to new lows. Unthinkable as it is today, football in England in 1985 was thought to be on it's last legs, there were even calls for the sport to be banned altogether. Television companies inevitably grew weary and for the first half of 1985/86 there was no televised football whatsoever, but a relatively successful and trouble free England World Cup campaign in Mexico during the summer months of 1986 had the desired effect of relaxing the furrowed brow on the face of English football and, as the game began to re-build its' reputation, occasional regional highlights specials popped up throughout the rest of the decade, mostly in mid-week slots - which is where Central Sports Special first appeared.

Central Sports Special
Central's weekday sports programmes were mostly focussed on football and boxing. It was first seen around 1988/89 and normally went out late Tuesday/Wednesday nights (the title was also used for very rare Sunday afternoon highlights). The regular football commentator on the show was Alan Parry, Jimmy Greaves was usually involved (either co-commentating or offering his opinions in the studio) whilst the main presenter appeared to be Bob Hall (although Gary Newbon and Tony Francis may have also presented). Most other regions stuck with Midweek Sports Special networked from London and presented by Jim Rosenthal, Granada were one of the other regions who regularly opted out with Granada Soccer Night (they now had Clive Tyldesley as their regular commentator).

Midweek Football on TV 1968-1983
Networked Midweek Highlights
1968/69 - 1982/83

ITV football 1983-1988
The Network Years
1983/84 - 1987/88

ITV football 1983-1988
The Central Match Live
1992/93 - 1996/97



Cup FinalsHome PageEuropean finals

Midlands football 1968-83 links

A Star Soccer article from an Aston Villa programme 1977
Look! ATV Are Here - Birmingham City programme 1978

Notts on the box
a detailed history of all Notts County appearances on Television.
Aston Villa Stats
includes team line-ups
Wolves Stats 1970/71
also links for other seasons
West Bromwich Albion History
1970's history and programmes
A Star Soccer poem!

Tributes to Hugh Johns
Birmingham Mail tribute , Guardian tribute , BBC tribute , A fan's tribute

ATV stuff
TV Ark -ATV section
Sub-tv - ATV section