The 1980 League Cup Mix-up

On the 15th March 1980, Nottingham Forest played the Wolverhampton Wanderers (known more commonly as the Wolves). The match was played at Wembley Stadium. It was the final match of the 1979-80 Football League Cup, which was a competition between the 92 teams in the league. Nottingham Forest were League Cup and European Cup holders, and the obvious favorites to win the game. If they had won, they would have had a hat-trick, but sadly this was not to be.

Nottingham Forest wore their red and white kit and played well, and did create several opportunities throughout the game; but the goalkeeper for the Wolves, Paul Bradshaw was very effective and prevented these goals from happening. The Wolves’ kit was yellow and black.

During the second half, Wolves players John Richards and Willie Carr bundled a ball into the net after Shilton had flapped at a cross, but this was deemed to be a foul awarded against Wolves. The referee was David Richardson from Great Harwood.

Later, there was a terrible mix-up on the pitch, when a long ball upfield kicked by Peter Daniel caused real confusion between Forest’s defense Peter Shilton and David Needham. Shilton and Needham ended up colliding with one another, on the edge of the box, and as a result of this, in the 67th minute of the game, Andy Gray from Wolves managed a simple tap-in into the empty net, he scored a goal, giving Wolves the lead, and this became one of the easiest Wembley wins for them ever.

After the goal by Andy Gray Forest did try hard to equalize, but they were thwarted at every turn by the Wolves’ defense. Wolves very nearly scored another goal, when George Berry kicked the ball, but it hit the woodwork, rather than entered the net.

Peter Shilton, said as a result of the mix-up, “I blame myself entirely. I shouted for the ball, but in the roar of the crowd, David did not hear me, and Gray was left on his own.” The Wolves’ skipper at the time for the 1980 game was Emlyn Hughes and their home ground is the Molineux Stadium.

The Wolves claimed their second League Cup triumph. The cup was presented to their captain Emlyn Hughes by the then FA Chairman, Sir Harold Thompson. Hughes’ had won every major domestic honor throughout his football career.  Wolves’ manager was John Bramwell; other players who played well throughout this match were George Berry, Peter Daniel and Wolves’ man of the match Willie Carr, who played at Wembley five years to the day, that he made his Wolves debut.

Nottingham Forest did make a recovery from this and later won 3-1 at Dynamo Berlin (winning the quarter-final 3-2 on aggregate). Peter Shilton has the record for playing more games for England than anyone else, he now has an OBE. During his time at Nottingham Forest, he won many honors including the First Division championship, a UEFA Super Cup, the Football League Cup and 2 European Cups.