BY STEVE MITCHELL
LIVERPOOL SIGN OFF WITH RECORD POINTS HAUL:
First Division champions Liverpool ended their 1978-79 campaign with a record points tally, after another impeccable display at Elland Road on Thursday. A 3-0 win over Leeds United took their total haul to 68 for the season â€“ the highest in the leagueâ€™s 90â€“year history.
On top of this, their goal difference of plus 69 is another all-time record and having smashed in 85 goals this term, they have collected Â£50,000 from a national newspaper for averaging two goals a game.
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Their football has been sublime this season; the only black spots coming at Goodison Park in the Merseyside derby, Highbury, Ashton Gate and Villa Park and when most teams would have considered taking their foot off the gas with the title safely secured, Liverpool put on another five-star show in West Yorkshire in front of a vast army of travelling support.
It took 19 minutes for the champions to go in front, David Johnson, playing probably his finest game in a red shirt, latching on to the rebound after Terry McDermottâ€™s effort had been blocked. Graeme Souness then had a goal disallowed for offside, but just a few minutes later, Jimmy Case hit the jackpot (quite literally), smashing home the perfect drive to bring up goal 84 and that 50 grand pay-out.
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Football Writers Player of the Year, Kenny Dalglish, was outstanding once again as he confirmed his title as the best player in England right now. Manager of the Year, Bob Paisley, could afford to sit back and admire his teamâ€™s attacking verve as they left the home side chasing shadows for much of the evening.
When Johnson got his second five minutes from time (and his sideâ€™s 85th of the campaign) in a move which typified Liverpoolâ€™s season, it was time to start looking forward to 1979-80, where the priority will surely be to recapture their European crown.
MILLION POUND MAN FRANCIS FIRES FOREST TO SECOND PLACE:
Britainâ€™s most expensive footballer, Trevor Francis, scored the only goal of the game at The Hawthorns last night as Nottingham Forest pipped West Bromwich Albion to the runners-up spot. Albion have been in pole-position for much of the campaign, but Monday nightâ€™s defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, where Ricky Villa got the only goal of the game, allowed the departing champions to pip them in the final game of the campaign after they won at Leeds on Tuesday.
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Brian Cloughâ€™s men will now get themselves ready for their European Cup Final date with Malmo in Munichâ€™s Olympic Stadium on May 30; Albion meanwhile, can be proud of their achievements this term and will take their place in the UEFA Cup once again next season.
FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP:
Just two days after winning the FA Cup in dramatic style at Wembley, Arsenalâ€™s domestic campaign came to an end with a 1-1 draw against bottom side Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Malcolm Macdonald was on target for the Gunners, Tommy Langley replying for the home side, who have collected just 20 points this season.
Chelsea then headed north on Wednesday to face beaten Cup finalists Manchester United at Old Trafford. Steve Coppell got Unitedâ€™s goal in a 1-1 draw, Gary Johnson replying for the visitors.
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There were two home defeats in the space of two days for Leeds United, who finish fifth, but which will good enough for European football next season. Trevor Cherry got their goal on Tuesday but visitors Nottingham Forest took advantage of West Bromâ€™s defeat just 24 hours earlier, thanks to a goal from Gary Mills and a rare own-goal from John Hawley.
Finally, Aston Villa ended on a winning note after a 3-2 win over Manchester City at Maine Road on Tuesday. Alex Cropley, Dennis Mortimer and John Deehan got the goals for the visitors, a brace from Cityâ€™s Polish star Kazimierz Deyna proving just a consolation.
MONDAY MAY 14:
Chelsea1-1 Arsenal (Langley; Macdonald)
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 W.B.A (Villa)
TUESDAY MAY 15:
Leeds United 1-2 Nottingham Forest (Cherry; Mills, Hawley o.g)
Manchester City 2-3 Aston Villa (Deyna 2; Cropley, Mortimer, Deehan)
WEDNESDAY MAY 16:
Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea (Coppell; Johnson) (FULL MATCH PROGRAMME BELOW)
THURSDAY MAY 17:
Leeds United 0-3 Liverpool (Johnson 2, Case)
FRIDAY MAY 18:
W.B.A 0-1 Nottingham Forest (Francis)
FinalÂ table for 1978-79 season
|3||West Bromwich Albion||42||24||11||7||72||35||37||59|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||42||6||13||23||45||73||-28||25|
FIRST DIVISION TOP GOALSCORERS:
Frank Worthington (Bolton Wanderers) 24
Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool) 21
Ally Brown (W.B.A) 18
Frank Stapleton (Arsenal) 17
David Johnson (Liverpool) 16
THE 1978-79 SEASON CONCLUDES ON MAY 30, WHEN NOTTINGHAM FOREST TAKE ON MALMO IN THE EUROPEAN CUP FINAL IN MUNICH. BE SURE TO CHECK OUT STEVE MITCHELLâ€™S FINAL REVIEW, INCLUDING MEMORIES FROM FANS WHO WERE THERE, HERE ON THE FOOTBALL PINK AND FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @barafundler