John Wark, in action with Nottingham Forest’s Stuart Gray, is the cover star of Shoot, previewing cup Semi-Finals in both England and Scotland, as title chasing Ipswich Town face Manchester City at Villa Park.
The editorial, calls for a change in the structure of English football, claiming there are too many games (there were 42 games in England’s top flight that season) as the national team is struggling as a result of players being too tired.
Shoot previews both FA Cup Semi-Finals, making the bold prediction that the final will be Wolves v Ipswich. The final, was Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City. They also predict that it would be an Old Firm Scottish Cup Final. They were half right, as it was Rangers v Dundee United.
Andy Gray has a column in this edition, focusing on Scotland’s recent World Cup Qualifier against Northern Ireland (which finished 1-1), complaining about the defending for Northern Ireland’s goal, and stating that Scotland were confident of getting a good result in the return game in Belfast (It finished 0-0)
He states that Scotland were happy with two wins and two draws, but had expected the two wins to be at home rather than away.
He also previews the FA Cup Semi-Finals, unsurprisingly predicting his Wolves team would beat Spurs, and that Ipswich would beat Man City. He’s got a future in the punditry game, that boy.
In news, Arsenal are battling with Inter Milan, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Hamburg for Michel Platini, set to leave St Etienne at the end of the season, and TV Commentator Martin Tyler has a book about the history of the FA Cup Final ahead of this year’s game, the 100th FA Cup Final.
For just £1.60 plus P and P, you could have a framed portrait of the 1981 Aston Villa team. To be fair, they did win the league that season.
There is a double page poster of all four FA Cup Quarter-Finals, and the goals which decided them.
Derek Johnstone and Danny McGrain take it in turns to do a Scottish football column for Shoot, and it was Johnstone’s turn, hoping for an Old Firm Scottish Cup Final, so that Rangers could get the chance to avenge their defeat to Celtic in the 1980 final.
There is then a double page poster of the Home Nations (England in a friendly v Spain, Scotland v Northern Ireland and Turkey v Wales World Cup Qualfiers) and Republic of Ireland (v Belgium) internationals. Shoot describes Wales as “The best placed Home Nation to reach the finals”
As it turned out, Wales were the only home nation not to reach the 1982 World Cup finals.
Rotheram United, battling for promotion to the Second Division, get a full page profile, focusing on the success of their young manager, Ian Porterfield, with a team poster overleaf.
After 14 years without the league title, there wasn’t much cheer for Manchester United supporters in 1981, but they did win one trophy that year …….. Shoot’s Best Programme of all England’s top flight clubs.
In 1981, a copy of United Review cost 20p, had 24 pages and only 1 page of adverts.
Meanwhile, Shoot does a feature on promising youngsters at West Bromwich Albion dubbed “Atkinson’s Angels” featuring Remi Moses and Bryan Robson. Within six months, Robson, Moses and Atkinson would all have left Albion for Manchester United.
On the back page, there is a profile of Brighton star Steve Foster, pictured with trademark headband, where he reveals his favourite singers are Paul McCartney, George Benson and Dennis Waterman.