World Cup 1994 on ITV

World Cup Logo

FIFA brought the world of football to the United States of America for the staging of the fifteenth World Cup in 1994. However, the tournament would perhaps be best remembered for events off the field. On the opening day, America was gripped by an altogether different occasion involving a sports star as former NFL player OJ Simpson went on the run from the police in a car chase which gripped the nation and played out Live on television, following suspicions of murdering his wife. When the football did get underway, it was once again Diego Maradona who grabbed the headlines for the wrong reasons when he was sent home after two group matches due to failing doping. He was found with a ‘cocktail of drugs’ in his system, which came as no surprise to anyone who saw his extreme close-up celebration at the camera after his one and only goal this summer against Greece. And Colombian defender Andres Escobar was tragically murdered by members of a drugs cartel five days after his country was eliminated from the tournament, believed to be in retaliation for his own goal against the host nation in the group stages. Elsewhere there were no home nations present at the World Cup for the first time since 1938, owing largely to Graham Taylor’s disastrous campaign with England and a Scotland side in decline. Republic of Ireland were the nearest representative and upset the odds immediately by beating Italy in New York. They graced the knockout stage before elimination at the hands of the Dutch. The competition culminated with the first ever Final penalty shoot-out, as Italy were defeated by Brazil in one of the most laboured of matches. British broadcasters BBC and ITV were there to beam the vast majority of matches direct to our late-night living rooms. In this post I look at the efforts of ITV, who opted to base themselves over in the International Broadcast Centre in Dallas.

 

ITV Sport logoPresenters; Matthew Lorenzo, Tony Francis
Pundits; Denis Law, Ray Wilkins, Don Howe, Jack Charlton
Commentators; Brian Moore, Alan Parry, John Helm, Peter Brackley, Rob Palmer
Co-Commentators; Ron Atkinson, Kevin Keegan, Trevor Francis
Reporters; Gary Newbon, Gabriel Clarke, Phil Mepham


TITLE SEQUENCE & THEME TUNE

ITV Titles

Theme: Daryl Hall & The Sounds of Blackness – Gloryland

ITV’s title music was also the tournament’s official song, sung by Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates fame, accompanied by Minnesota based gospel choir The Sounds of Blackness. Gloryland featured heavy saxophone use, patriotic lyrics and was very catchy. The titles lasted just under a minute and incorporated the ITV Sport logo and programme sponsors Panasonic into the piece. The song was also used on the closing credits as well as instrumental stings going in and out of advert breaks.

ITV titles 1 ITV titles 2 ITV titles 3 ITV titles 4

Lots of typical American imagery featured, with the flag draped and the eagle flying through, mixed with football action which was updated throughout the tournament. The flags of the various participants were also shown rippling across the screen. It ended with the eagle landing and turning its head to the side, where its eye would form the letter O of the World Cup 94 title card. Early in the tournament, the flags would unveil US landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore instead of footballing action, and were variable depending on the match or programme it was introducing. Below is the title sequence to the Italy v Spain Quarter Final.


PRESENTATION TEAM

ITV Lorenzo IBC

Matthew Lorenzo anchored ITV’s World Cup coverage for the one and only time, in doing so becoming the youngest lead presenter of a tournament at the age of 35. He enjoyed rather a whirlwind success with ITV, having joined the Sport department ahead of the 1993/94 campaign to front Live Champions League football. The competition had launched the year before with Ian St John at the helm but a shake-up of personnel saw huge change. Carlton and independent production company Grand Slam Sports took over from LWT in producing the football and cleared out the majority of their old guard; Saint and Greavsie, Elton Welsby and Nick Owen to name a few. In came Lorenzo with a newer breed of pundit; Don Howe, Ray Wilkins, Trevor Francis and, a returning favourite, Denis Law. This new team saw one of the most dismal England campaigns in recent times as, under Graham Taylor, the national side failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. ITV picked up away matches in the Netherlands and Poland as well as friendly competition the 1993 US Cup. England failed to win any of those five matches.

Lorenzo 94 Tony Francis 94ITV Studio 2

Undeterred by England’s failure, ITV decided to base their entire production on location for the first time at a World Cup. In 1990 there was a dual presentation from London and Italy and previous tournaments had largely been based in their London Studios. But for this one their infamous Dallas bunker was the setting, part of the International Broadcast Centre shown above right. However, as this was a windowless studio disconnected from the atmosphere of the grounds and the comforts of home it really lacked the desired effect. Indeed, many viewers perhaps would not have known they weren’t in London at all. Lorenzo was a perfectly competent host, hired on his ability to remain cool, relaxed and witty in the style of Des Lynam on the Beeb. But that doesn’t translate as well when there are regular ad breaks and scripted links. ITV’s coverage of the tournament was panned by critics, viewers and even their own staff and it seemed Lorenzo was made scapegoat. When the tournament ended he was given the boot and wasn’t even invited to their World Cup wrap party – according to a 2017 interview Lorenzo gave to the hugely entertaining Quickly Kevin 90s football podcast. He returned to where his broadcasting days began – Sky – and forged a successful career hosting multiple Live sports and magazine programmes including the first incarnation of Goals on Sunday. When Matthew wasn’t hosting in Dallas, his understudy on highlights, previews and other Live games was Tony Francis (above right); previously ITV’s Champions League reporter and host in the Central region.

Law 94 ITV WilkinsITV duo

ITV’s core punditry line up was small but their US base did allow for co-commentators to do stints in the studio and vice versa. Leading the line was former Manchester United striker Denis Law. After a hugely successful career in the North West of England, the Scotsman became a regular in the media after retiring in 1974, including at the ’78 World Cup for BBC. In the 1980s co-hosted Granada’s highlights show Kick Off Match with Elton Welsby. He was part of ITV’s commentary team for the 1982 World Cup, a role he resumed alongside Brian Moore for Manchester United’s early Champions League adventures at the beginning of the 90s. For this World Cup he was largely studio based with occasional stints on the road up on the gantry. As the tournament progressed, so did his tan as those hot summer days started to show! A mainstay of this ITV studio was former England international Ray ‘Butch’ Wilkins. The ex-midfielder was a regular at tournaments for the national side before his last cap in 1986. Whilst still playing at club level he was now a regular in the media. For Italia ’90 he co-commentated for BBC and was a constant presence on Channel 4’s groundbreaking coverage of Serie A in the early part of the decade. When ITV picked up a couple of England Live matches, he joined the team for those, including a furious appearance after defeat to the Netherlands thanks to Ronald Koeman left England all but unable to qualify for USA ’94. His combative playing style was at odds with his friendly, charming persona on television and would go on to feature heavily on the box for many years to come across a variety of broadcasters as well as being in and out of coaching.

Howe 94 ITV Charlton

Another stable of Channel 4’s excellent Football Italia coverage was Don Howe (above left). Going into this tournament, Howe had recently joined new England manager Terry Venables’ set up as assistant coach, having previously worked under Ron Greenwood and Bobby Robson for several years. As a right-back, his playing career was largely at West Brom before joining Arsenal. When he went into management, he took charge of both clubs amongst others. Howe’s reputation as a coach was very high and was brought in to add a tactical perspective, following Andy Gray and Alan Hansen’s lead on other networks. The fourth regular in the studio team was Trevor Francis, another of ITV’s recent England international recruits. Francis’ distinctive West Country accent and nasally tone made his voice instantly recognisable and, like Wilkins, came across as a very likeable man on screen. Despite being 40 years old at this World Cup, Francis had only just finished playing, enjoying a player-manager role at Sheffield Wednesday. He worked for ITV’s coverage of the 1990 World Cup as well as the 1988 European Championships and was a voice in demand when his playing and managing schedule could fit. The final member of the ITV studio was unavailable for the first couple of weeks due to actually being part of the tournament! Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton slotted in to the line-up after his side exited at the last 16 stage. His brother Bobby had been a familiar presence over on the BBC during the 1980s, punditing and commentating on Cup Finals and major tournaments, whilst Jack had been involved on ITV even earlier; part of the fiery 1974 World Cup panel in London with Brian Clough and Derek Dougan. Jack Charlton took over the reins of Ireland in 1986 and had successfully guided them to the Finals in his first four qualification campaigns – ’88, ’90, ’92 and this one. During the Euros in Sweden two years earlier, he also worked for ITV once Ireland had been knocked out and during his weeks in America made many friends with press and journalists around the world. He’d continue to be a presence on ITV for the following years.

ITV Moore & Atkinson

In the commentary box leading ITV’s coverage was once again Brian Moore. This was his seventh World Cup with ITV and was very much THE voice of football for them stretching back three decades. With ITV’s relatively small portfolio now compared to previous years, he would cover pretty much every big match they had; European Cup Finals, England internationals and major tournaments. For this Cup, he was reluctant to spend the duration away from his family and so had a break during the last 16 matches, returning to England for a few days. This gave an opportunity for bigger Live matches to the rest of ITV’s bunch; Alan Parry, John Helm and Peter Brackley. As with 1990, Moore focussed solely on commentating instead of combining it with presenting. Opening ITV’s tournament was second choice Alan Parry. He joined the network from the BBC in 1985 principally for Live athletics commentaries. Over the next couple of years he became more and more involved in their football, and by the time Martin Tyler left for Sky, Parry had risen to number two for Italia ’90 and Euro ’92. He was Central’s voice of the Football League, commentating on a Live match most weeks and one of only a few who survived the big overhaul behind the scenes. Helm joined Yorkshire Television in 1981 and covered matches around the country when the highlights were networked two years later. This was his fourth World Cup for ITV and was given perhaps his most high profile assignments yet, covering the non-Live Semi Final and Third Place Play Off matches for the highlights shows. This was Peter Brackley’s first World Cup back at ITV after four years on satellite television with Sky and Eurosport; including Italia ’90 for the latter as well as the former’s first ever Live match which came from the Zenith Data Systems Cup (also Sky One showed a tie from that Cup between Crystal Palace and Swindon in February 1990, which coincidentally had Matthew Lorenzo as pitchside reporter and Ron Atkinson alongside Brackley). Completing the commentary line up was Rob Palmer. He was one of ITV’s rising stars, having joined Granada from BBC radio earlier in the decade. His previous career was actually on the field, as goalkeeper for the likes of Derby’s youth academy as well as in America and non-League. For ITV his voice was heard on Live League matches in the North West and various highlights, including for the first time at a major tournament.

Atkinson & Newbon

Keeping the commentators’ company on the gantry were ITV regulars Ron Atkinson and Kevin Keegan, along with the previously mentioned Trevor Francis and Denis Law who combined it with studio appearances. Atkinson was the principle summariser and had been on and off for many years, whenever he wasn’t in management. His major tournament commentaries date back as far 1980 where he did the Final with Brian Moore and covered ever subsequent Championships to this point bar Euro ’84. His perma-tan, recognisable voice and fondness for creating his own language turned him into a popular cult figure and was the go-to man for ITV whenever a big match was on and was Central Television’s main man. His partnership with Brian Moore was particularly enjoyable. The other regular partner was Kevin Keegan. The ex-England hero had featured in the studio for ITV during his playing career, including on the groundbreaking World Cup punditry panels during the 1970s which continued on into the 80s. With Ian St John dropped, Keegan took his tournament co-commentary spot behind Atkinson for this Cup and featured on the Champions League. He combined this with his first managerial position at Newcastle United where he was enjoying great success. ITV used him whenever they could from this point on.

ITV Newbon Clarke 94

Reporting on the action around the country and on the touchlines were Gary Newbon, Gabriel Clarke (above right) and Phil Mepham. Newbon was the chief reporter and covered the Republic of Ireland matches as well as the pick of the rest, interviewing players and managers. His association with ITV dates back to the 1960s when he began with Westward TV before becoming most known for his work in the Midlands on ATV then Central. He was the main pitchside reporter across ITV’s Live output – England, European Cup and tournaments – as well as hosting regional presentations of news and sport. Understudy to Newbon was Gabriel Clarke. He joined Saint and Greavsie‘s show as a reporter in 1991, voicing goal round ups, features and interviews until its demise the following summer. He would appear in front of the camera following this tournament, hosting the new Endsleigh Football League Extra networked highlights programme. Another voice heard during coverage of this World Cup was Phil Mepham, doing programme features and round ups. Mepham was a sports reporter for the Central region, clearly signalling which area the new ITV Sport bosses were getting much of their talent from. In the Final credits, Mepham was listed as ‘News Editor’ rather than reporter.


LIVE MATCH SELECTION

ITV’s pick selection of the World Cup was front-loaded, choosing to guarantee themselves with a couple of the Republic of Ireland’s group matches ahead of unknown knockout clashes. As a result, this left them with the middle of the night kick-off time for the Semi Final and the weaker looking Quarter Finals. They showed one fewer match in the group stages than their BBC counterparts (technically one and a half as only the second half of USA v Romania was Live and even that was a last minute decision replacing scheduled highlights), which lead to calls of their coverage being a bit half-bothered. With the kick-off times being quite unfriendly to UK audiences, and having no English representatives, it was impressive that so much of the group stage was covered Live. Clashing matches were not, with Eurosport picking up the bulk of those (and simulcasting many others with the terrestrial channels). Overall, ITV broadcast nineteen World Cup matches Live and direct from USA 1994.

GROUP STAGES; Friday 17th June
Spain 2-2 South Korea (12.30am Kick Off)

Saturday 18th June
Rep of Ireland 1-0 Italy (9pm)

Monday 20th June
Netherlands 2-1 Saudi Arabia (12.30am)

Tuesday 21st June
Germany 1-1 Spain (9pm)

Wednesday 22nd June
USA 2-1 Colombia (12.30am)

Thursday 23rd June
South Korea 0-0 Bolivia (12.30am)

Friday 24th June
Rep of Ireland 1-2 Mexico (5.30pm) & Sweden 3-1 Russia (12.30am)

Saturday 25th June
Belgium 1-0 Netherlands (5.30pm)

Sunday 26th June
USA 0-1 Romania (9pm) *2nd Half Live only*

Tuesday 28th June
Brazil 1-1 Sweden (9pm)

LAST 16; Saturday 2nd July
Spain 3-0 Switzerland (9.30pm)

Sunday 3rd July
Sweden 3-1 Saudi Arabia (6pm)

Monday 4th July
USA 0-1 Brazil (8.30pm)

Tuesday 5th July
Italy 1-1 Nigeria, 2-1 AET (6pm)

QUARTER FINALS; Saturday 9th July
Italy 2-1 Spain (5.05pm)

Sunday 10th July
Sweden 1-1 Romania, 2-2 AET – SWE win 5-4 on penalties (8.30pm)

SEMI FINALS; Wednesday 13th July
Brazil 1-0 Sweden (12.30am)

FINAL; Sunday 17th July
Brazil 0-0 Italy, AET – BRA win 3-2 on penalties (8.30pm)


COVERAGE & GRAPHICS

ITV Sport Ident ITV Sponsor

The ITV Sport logo kicked off the coverage of each programme by fading in over a spinning football, incorporated into the title sequence and sponsorship whilst Gloryland began to play. The logo was adapted to have the American style stars and stripes across the letter V. ITV’s coverage was sponsored by Panasonic using the tagline “Great shots of the World Cup”. Their sponsorship bumpers had children painted with the various colours of the competing nations flags. After this, the USA flag draped over the screen and the full title sequence came to life as the beat of the music kicked in.

ITV intro ITV Mepham

ITV’s graphics were simplistic, mostly using a lower third bar flying in and out from right of screen. The Americanised ITV Sport logo was placed on the left whilst the text was bold on the top line and italicised on the bottom line. These were used during the studio coverage. Above left; we have an example of the introductory graphic setting the scene for the upcoming Live game with the fixture and kick off time. Above right; the on-screen graphic at the beginning of Phil Mepham’s report captioning his name in the build up to Italy versus Spain.

ITV graphics 1 ITV aston 1

Above left; Full screen graphic outlaying Italy’s group and their odds to win it at the beginning of the tournament during the preview programme. The background featured a couple of flags, as also appearing in the title sequence. Above right; ITV’s World Cup astons for managers and players. The additional detail shows the flag of the country, in this case Brazil for their manager Carlos Alberto Parreira.

ITV Italy line up ITV Spain line up

ITV’s team formation line up graphic would differ depending on what part of the programme they were shown, with an opaque background if shown during the studio parts and a semi-translucent background for kick off. Above left; the Italy formation for their match against Spain as shown during the pre-match build up with the pundits. The same background is being used as earlier and the starting eleven is lined up in their playing positions. Above right; the formation graphic that the commentator ran through immediately before kick-off. The semi-translucent graphic allowed the stadium to become the background. This example is also from Spain’s clash with Italy.

Ireland Team FIFA graphics

If ITV did not use their own graphics for the team line ups ahead of kick off, the world feed graphics would be used, as shown above left. This would be the same on the BBC. The world feed graphics had a blue background with italic writing and underlining dots. During the match at occasional intervals, the clock would appear in the top right of the screen, as shown above right. Any in-game graphics for player names, yellow cards, substitutions etc would all be world feed.

ITV Kick Off ITV Comms

At the kick-off of each ITV match, the scene would be set by graphics in the lower third on the right hand side. The fixture would flash up followed by “Live from the” stadium and location information; above left. ITV then added their commentary team name checks; above right. These were made in the style of the official world feed, with a blue background and white text. The panels featured the same faint lines within the blue, mimicking the official tournament branding.

ITV replays ITV in game aston

For action replays, the footage would fly in from the left of screen into the middle with a big white border; above left. Once done, the replay would fly out to the right hand side in a similar fashion. This was the same across the world and occurred for all matches bar the final, where the white border was replaced by a thicker bar stating the two competing countries. Above right; an example of an in-game name aston for Swedish forward Kennet Andersson. As mentioned earlier, these graphics were provided by the host broadcaster for the tournament and used around the world.

ITV Scorebar

The host broadcaster did not provide a permanent scoreboard, allowing each rights holder to add their own custom one over the top of the pictures. Scoreboards and on-screen clocks weren’t particularly common on UK television. Indeed, it was seen as somewhat revolutionary when Sky Sports adopted one for the launch of their Premiership coverage in 1992, however other sports and broadcasters had used permanent scoreboards on occasions prior to this. ITV followed suit the following year for their European and domestic football coverage and by the time of the 1994 World Cup it was very much a rarity to not have the constant reminder of the score and clock present on the main UK broadcasters. Above; the US-style ITV Sport logo was slapped on the top-left of screen, with translucent boxes surrounding it. The scoreline with full team names appeared in a bar on the right, whilst the timer went underneath the logo. For broadcasters that did not use a permanent clock, the world feed graphics popped up on occasions with a reminder of the score at the bottom of the screen and the time in the top right above a nice little pie chart showing the match progress (demonstrated higher up the page). This was very similar in principle to the domestic scoreboard used in previous months by ITV, with the logo left of the fixture and clock.


FEATURES & SUPPORT PROGRAMMING

Highlights and preview programmes did exist in the ITV schedule but they were not regular. The late night kick offs did allow for an extended build up and therefore an opportunity for highlights of that day’s other matches. For the primetime kick offs, coverage was generally kept to a minimum, with fifteen to thirty minute intros and little by way of post-match reaction and analysis. Tony Francis often presented what little amount of preview and review programming there was, with former magazine staple Saint and Greavsie now axed following the loss of top flight football in 1992.


THE FINAL

ITV’s coverage of the World Cup Final was hosted Live from their Dallas studio inside the International Broadcast Centre. Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton was a guest alongside the regular studio team.

BRAZIL 0-0 ITALY (AET, BRA win 3-2 on pens) World Cup 1994 Final, Los Angeles
Sunday 17th July 1994, 8.30pm Kick Off ITV Logo

ITV Credits 1 ITV Credits 2

PRESENTER Matthew Lorenzo GUESTS Jack Charlton, Don Howe, Ray Wilkins & Denis Law
COMMENTATORS Brian Moore & Ron Atkinson
Hosted from the IBC, Dallas     8-11pm Live on ITV (Extended to approx 11.30pm)

Trophy Lift 2

For details on BBC’s World Cup 1994 coverage click HERE.

Small Screen Seagulls; Play Off Final v Notts County, 02/06/1991

Brighton on TVEight years after slipping out of the top flight and reaching the Wembley Final of the FA Cup for the first time, Brighton were poised for a return to the big time. The club were ninety minutes away from getting back into Division One, all that stood in their way were Notts County in the Barclays League Division Two Play Off Final. This was the Albion’s first visit back to the National Stadium since the 1983 Cup Final Replay defeat to Manchester United. Since then, Barry Lloyd had rejuvenated the club and snuck into the Play Offs in sixth position in the Second Tier. Highly rated Neil Warnock was the County boss aiming to thwart Lloyd’s plan. A Sunday out in the Wembley sunshine in June determined the victors. Would the Seagulls fly high again or was it the turn of the Magpies to perch on the top branch? ITV’s South and Central regions were there to see.


Notts County 3-1 Brighton, Play Off Final; 3pm, Sun 2nd Jun ’91

91POF Titles

The Football League Play Offs were introduced in 1987 as a way of determining the final promotion place in Divisions Two, Three and Four. As of 1990, they were contested by the four teams finishing just outside the automatic spots and consisted of two two-legged Semi Finals and a one-off Final held at the National Stadium of Wembley. The Play Offs were credited as being a huge success in harbouring excitement for special occasion of a showpiece Final, as well as ensuring many more meaningful and competitive games towards the latter stages of the campaign as more teams had things to play for. ITV held exclusive television rights to the entire Football League from 1988 to 1992, with regular networked Live matches from Division One as part of The Match presented by Elton Welsby or Jim Rosenthal mostly on Sunday afternoons. The regions were sometimes utilised for highlights programming, showcasing the goals from the local games, but Live games took priority. With the Play Offs still in its infancy in 1991, this match between Notts County and Brighton was not broadcast Live. As a somewhat rare treat, thirty-minute highlights were shown later that Sunday night in both the Central region and TeleVision South.

91POF Table

The final Division Two table saw Oldham promoted as champions along with West Ham and Sheffield Wednesday. Missing out by just two points were Notts County who had to settle for fourth and a place in the Play Offs in their first season back at this level. They gained promotion via the Play Off Final in 1990, defeating Tranmere by two goals to nil to take the Third Division trophy. Manager Neil Warnock was being touted for the vacant Chelsea job ahead of this match but had a job to complete; back to back promotions. They dispatched of seventh-placed Middlesbrough to reach this stage, as a Paul Harding goal with twelve minutes to go in the Second Leg made the difference. They drew the First Leg at Ayresome Park one-all. Brighton meanwhile did the double over Millwall to book their spot at Wembley. A comprehensive four-one win at the Goldstone on the Sunday set them in great stead for the trip to The Den. Mark Barham’s equalising goal just before the break was followed by a quickfire three further in the space of seven second half minutes as Mike Small, Clive Walker and Robert Codner all added their names to the scoresheet. The rematch three days later saw Millwall take the lead early on, as they did in the First Leg. But goals from Codner and John Robinson in the second half ensured a fantastically comprehensive six-two aggregate win. This was in stark contrast to the regular League results, where there was a stalemate at the Goldstone and then a three-nil defeat in South London. It was a similar story against Notts County, again a goalless draw at home was paired with an away defeat. It would be a close Final to call.


Television South & Central Sport Special, ITV (Sunday 2nd June 1991)

91POF TVS ITV Central 91

The ITV region serving Brighton and the South Coast was TVS; TeleVision South. They took over the franchise from Southern on New Year’s Day in 1982. The flagship broadcast of the station was Coast to Coast, the daily regional bulletin which won the RTS award for Best News Programme in both 1989 and 1991. Faces of the South included Fred Dinenage and Fern Britton, whilst the famous logo on the ident featured a six-coloured symbol rotating. For the ITV network, it produced such hits as gameshow Catchphrase, classic kids favourites Art Attack and Finders Keepers, and part of long-running morning talk show The Time, The Place. TVS improved the regional sport programming launching with their own weekly football highlights show in ’82, Sunday Sportshow and latterly The Saturday Match, whereas Southern had often just simulcast LWT’s The Big Match. The likes of Dinenage, David Bobin and Gerald Sinstadt were involved over the years before the main highlights were networked across the country from LWT. Both TVS and Midlands region Central broadcast thirty-minute highlights of the showpiece Play Off Final here.

91POF Newbon

Commentary on Notts County versus Brighton was provided by ITV’s main voice, Brian Moore. Joining the broadcast in 1968 for the launch of LWT and The Big Match, he established himself as a personable frontman and outstanding commentator covering all the showpiece occasions at home and abroad. Interviewing the players and managers was reporter Gary Newbon. He had a long history with the midlands, working as a reporter for ATV in the 1970s (ITV’s first midlands region) before holding the position of their Controller of Sports for more than two decades as well as presenting the local Central sports news and shows. He worked on football, darts and boxing for ITV Sport and was the touchline reporter on Live football from the 1980s onwards. For today’s broadcast, he introduced the programme for Central viewers with a brief piece to camera pitchside before handing over to Brian Moore.

91POF Brighton

Moore talked us through the team news, starting with Brighton. Barry Lloyd joined the Albion as Alan Mullery’s assistant in 1986 and took over the main job the following January. He couldn’t do enough to prevent the second relegation in five seasons though. An immediate return to Division Two came about in his first full season in charge, finishing second behind Sunderland. Lower half finishes in 1989 and ’90 were forgotten about when he guided them to this Play Off spot and just one game away from the promised land of the top flight. He made just one change to the starting line-up that defeated Millwall in the Semi Finals, Clive Walker returned to the fold having had stitches in the First Leg when colliding with an advertising hoarding. Perry Digweed in goal joined a decade earlier from Fulham. Also joining the club in 1981 was defender Steve Gatting from Arsenal who, unlike Digweed, played in the ’83 Final the last time Albion were at Wembley. The club broke the record transfer fee for a non-League player when Nicky Bissett joined from Barnet for £20,000 in March ’88. Colin Pates concluded his loan spell from Arsenal. This was Dean Wilkins’ second spell at the Albion, having played a handful of times in the 83/84 season. Midfielder Mark Barham won two international caps with England in the eighties. Winger Clive Walker was most known for his eight-year spell with Chelsea, a club synonymous with defender Gary Chivers who spent his first five professional years there. Romanian Stefan Iovan recently joined from Steaua Bucharest where he played for more than a decade. Mike Small was the top scorer this campaign with twenty-one goals in his debut season at the Goldstone. He partnered Robert Codner up top. Options on the bench were defender Ian Chapman and Republic of Ireland international striker John Byrne.

91POF Notts County

Notts County managed by Neil Warnock were an industrious, hard-working side. The world’s oldest Football League club named talented young midfielder Mark Draper and twenty-year-old striker Tommy Johnson in the starting eleven. The pair graduated through County’s youth system. Goalkeeper Steve Cherry hadn’t missed a game in the previous two campaigns. An experienced defence included ex-Peterborough right back Alan Paris and former Hull man Charlie Palmer. Centre back Craig Short was a signing from Scarborough in 1989. Midfielder Don O’Riordan scored a cracker against Spurs in the FA Cup Quarter Final back in March, ultimately losing two-one. Dean Thomas spent five years in Germany with Fortuna Dusseldorf. Phil Turner established himself as a stalwart of the County side over the previous two years. Striker Dave Regis was the younger brother of Cyrille and cousin of sprinter John. On the bench was Paul Harding, whose winner was the decider against Middlesbrough in the Semis, and forward Kevin Bartlett, who scored when the two sides met on New Year’s Day. Refereeing was Harrow schoolmaster David Elleray.

91POF Tunnel 91POF Warnock tunnel 91POF Referee 91POF Kick Off

Brighton wore their change kit, the so-called ‘Chewit wrapper’, of red and white. Notts County kicked the match off in their familiar black and white stripes, shooting from right to left in the first half. Neil Warnock emerged from the tunnel in the suit before dashing off to change into the tracksuit just as the game got underway following referee Elleray’s signal. The Albion had the first real chance of the match, beginning brightly. Dean Wilkins corner from the right was swung towards the back stick. A flick on saw the ball fall at the feet of Clive Walker. His shot almost snuck through the legs of goalkeeper Steve Cherry and in, instead deflecting it narrowly wide. The resulting corner was cleared all the way up the other end and almost presented County with a great opportunity, but for the alertness of Digweed to smother. He was forced off his line when a proposed backpass from Barham didn’t quite have the legs after it deflected off Gatting, Tommy Johnson not quite able to nip in. Cries from the Seagulls supporters of “There’s only one Perry Digweed” rung round loudly.

91POF Corner. 91POF Opening goal

However the opening goal came shortly after, with Notts County the ones celebrating and cheering. It came about after a dubious corner was awarded the Magpies way. Albion defender Gary Chivers was adamant the final touch did not come off him but Elleray disagreed and awarded the corner. Replays suggested that Chivers played it onto the foot of Dean Thomas. That was played short before being whipped in by Phil Turner from the near side. Tommy Johnson ran across his marker and glanced the header home from the six-yard line. There was very little Digweed could do about that one from such close range. The delivery was excellent and Johnson just needed a slight touch to guide it in for one-nil just before the half hour mark.

91POF Small 91POF Brighton bench 91POF Post 91POF Half Time

As Barry Lloyd, Martin Hinshelwood and co watched on from the bench unlucky to see Brighton behind, Clive Walker almost came up with the goods to equalise. He was the width of the post away from doing so just a minute before the break. Barham crossed from the right and Walker flew across the box to meet the delivery with his head, very unlucky to see it crash against the post (above, bottom left). This encouraged the crowd once more. “Seagulls! Seagulls! Seagulls!” On the break, Notts County created a half chance for Johnson which was comfortable for Digweed and so it remained one-nil to the black and white stripes at half time.

91POF 2nd Half 91POF Crossbar

Brighton got the game back underway after the break, trailing by that Johnson goal. They began the second half much like the first; well. Having struck the post earlier, it was now the turn to strike the crossbar (above right). Dean Wilkins floated a lovely ball towards the net from a free kick some thirty yards out. It beat Cherry in goal but didn’t quite dip enough and bounced off the top of the bar right in front of many of the travelling Albion faithful. But County always posed a threat and went close again through an excellent chance for Johnson. A terrific through ball from Thomas sent Johnson clear goalside of his marker. He took the shot early on the edge of the area but dragged it wide of the post.

91POF Johnson 2nd 91POF Subs

A quarter of an hour into the second period brought about the second goal, also for Notts County. Strong work by Regis on the far side to hold off Bissett was supported by Johnson nearby, County’s biggest threat. He got his shot away low, hard and, crucially, early from the far corner of the box. It flew in, beating Digweed’s hand to nestle into the bottom of the net. As commentator Brian Moore pointed out, there looked to be no danger until it was too late; “Played in by Dave Regis, taken by Tommy Johnson, wallop! And that’s two-nil.” This brought about a Brighton double substitution almost immediately, with Byrne and Chapman coming on for Iovan and Gatting.

91POF THAT Kit 91POF 3rd goal

It’s worth taking a closer look at that kit! Above left, Gary Chivers is sporting the incredible ensemble sponsored by Nobo, the office supplies company. With just under twenty minutes remaining, sub Ian Chapman scythed down Turner just outside of the right-hand side of the penalty area. The resulting free kick was curled in to the far side of the box by Mark Draper. Up jumped Dave Regis who gently cushioned the ball into the goal off his chest from six yards. An unconventional finish but an effective one none the less and that put the game out of Brighton’s reach, if it wasn’t already.

91POF Replay 91POF Mid game interview

From a coverage viewpoint, even though the match was not televised it had the unusual distinction of replay transitions. These came in the form of a picture flying into the centre with a yellow border, then flying back out again when it’s finished. Another peculiar part was when reporter Gary Newbon interviewed County boss Neil Warnock on the bench just after the third goal went in! Warnock remarked “Brighton have never worked as hard all season and I think it’s been a cracking game.” That feature was probably not going to catch on, with Warnock surprisingly accommodating despite being in the midst of a Wembley Final.

91POF Wilkins goal 91POF Brighton fans

The match wasn’t quite over as there was still time for an Albion consolation. After some terrific work from John Byrne, jinking into the box from near the left touchline he squared it. Barham let it run through for Dean Wilkins to finish first time (above left). His left footer sent the ball through the legs of defender Craig Short and out of reach of Cherry. It was celebrated in true consolation style, with little more than a handshake and a trot back to the centre circle with the game already up. But at least it gave those travelling Seagulls supporters something to cheer about. Just shy of half the 59,940 in attendance at Wembley were pleased with that last-minute strike.

91POF Trophy

There it was, the final whistle blew and Notts County were promoted back up to the top Division. Two goals from Tommy Johnson and a third from Dave Regis were the difference, with Wilkins adding no more than a personal highlight at the end. It was the black and white stripes who climbed the Wembley stairs up to the Royal Box to receive their trophy. Commentator Brian Moore crowned the moment; “Out of the Second Division and into the First by way of a Play Off victory at Wembley this season. Phil Turner raises the trophy, Notts County are back in the First Division.” Congratulations to the club and Neil Warnock, who was interviewed more traditionally by Gary Newbon to close the programme in the dressing room, followed by goalscorer Tommy Johnson. Brighton were so close but fell at the final hurdle. The top Division suddenly seemed a long way away again now.