British Home Championship

The British Home Championship[a] was an annual football competition contested between the United Kingdom's four national teams: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (the last of whom competed as Ireland for most of the competition's history). Starting during the 1883–84 season, it is the oldest international football tournament and it was contested until the 1983–84 season, when it was abolished after 100 years.

British Home Championship
Trophy British International Championship
Founded1884
Abolished1984
RegionBritish Isles
Number of teams4
Last champions Northern Ireland (1983–84)
Most successful team(s) England (54 titles)

Overview

By the early 1880s, the development of football in the United Kingdom was gathering pace and the four national football teams of the UK were playing regular friendlies against each other, with nearly every team playing all the others annually. At the time, the football associations of each Home Nation (The Football Association (England), the Scottish Football Association, the Football Association of Wales and the Irish Football Association) had slightly different rules for football, and when matches were played the rules of whoever was the home team were used. While this solution was workable, it was hardly ideal. To remedy this, the four associations met in Manchester on 6 December 1882 and agreed on one uniform set of worldwide rules. They also established the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to approve changes to the rules (a task that it still performs).

The new rules meant that formal international competitions could now easily be devised. Thus, at the same meeting, the associations formalised the annual friendlies and the British Home Championship – the world's first international football competition – was born.

The Championship was held every football season, starting with the 1883–84 season (the first ever match seeing eventual winners Scotland beat Ireland 5–0 away on 24 January 1884). The dates of the fixtures varied, but they tended to bunch towards the end of the season (sometimes the entire competition was held in a few days at the end of the season), except between the World Wars, when some fixtures were played before Christmas. The rise of other international competitions, especially the World Cup and European Championships, meant that the British Home Championship lost a lot of its prestige as the years went on.

However, the new international tournaments meant that the Championship took on added importance in certain years. The 1949–50 and 1953–54 Championships doubled up as qualifying groups for the 1950 and 1954 World Cups respectively and the results of the 1966–67 and 1967–68 Championships were used to determine who went forward to the second qualifying round of Euro '68.

The British Home Championship was discontinued after the 1983–84 competition. There were a number of reasons for the tournament's demise, including it being overshadowed by the World Cup and European Championships, falling attendances at all but the England v Scotland games, fixture congestion, the rise of hooliganism, the Troubles in Northern Ireland (civil unrest led to the 1980–81 competition being abandoned), and England's desire to play against 'stronger' teams. The fate of the competition was settled when the (English) Football Association, swiftly followed by the Scottish Football Association, announced in 1983 that they would not be entering after the 1983–84 Championship. The British Home Championship trophy remains the property of the Irish FA, as Northern Ireland were the most recent champions.

The Championship was replaced by the smaller Rous Cup, which involved just England, Scotland and, in later years, an invited guest team from South America. That competition, however, ended after just five years.

Since then, there have been many proposals to resurrect the British Home Championship, with advocates pointing to rising attendances and a significant downturn in football-related violence. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations are keen on the idea, but the English association are less enthusiastic, claiming that they agree in principle, but that fixture congestion makes a revived tournament impractical.

Therefore, the Scottish Football Association, the Football Association of Wales and the Irish Football Association, with the Republic of Ireland's Football Association of Ireland, pressed ahead and organised a tournament similar to the British Home Championship. The Nations Cup, between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, was launched in Dublin in 2011. It was discontinued after one tournament because of poor attendance.[1]

Format and rules

Each team played every other team once (making for a total of three matches per team and six matches in total). Generally, each team played either one or two matches at home and the remainder away, with home advantage between two teams alternating each year (so if England played Scotland at home one year, they played them away the next).

A team received two points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. From these points, a league table was constructed and whoever was top at the end of the competition was declared the winner. If two or more teams were equal on points, that position in the league table was shared (as was the Championship if it occurred between the top teams). In 1956, all four teams finished level on points and for the only time the Championship was shared four ways. From the 1978–79 Championship onwards, however, goal difference (total goals scored minus total goals conceded) was used to differentiate between teams level on points. If goal difference could still not separate them, then total goals scored was used.

Notable moments

1902: Tragedy at Ibrox

The Scotland v England match of 5 April 1902 became known as the Ibrox Disaster of 1902. The match took place at Ibrox Park (now Ibrox Stadium) in Glasgow. During the first half, a section of the terracing in the overcrowded West Stand collapsed, killing 26 and injuring over 500. Play was stopped, but was restarted after 20 minutes, with most of the crowd not knowing what had happened. The match was later declared void and replayed at Villa Park, Birmingham.

1950: World Cup qualification

The 1950 British Home Championship was used as a qualification group for the 1950 FIFA World Cup, with the teams finishing both first and second qualifying. England and Scotland were guaranteed the top two places and World Cup qualification with one match to go, when the Scottish Football Association declared that it would only go to the 1950 World Cup if they were the British champions. Scotland played England at Hampden Park on 15 April in the final game and lost 1–0 to a goal by Chelsea's Roy Bentley. Scotland finished second and withdrew from what would have been their first-ever World Cup appearance.

1967: Scotland become 'Unofficial World Champions'

The 1966–67 British Home Championship was the first since England's victory at the World Cup 1966. Naturally, England were favourites for the Championship title. In the end, the outcome of the entire Championship rested on the final game: England v Scotland at Wembley Stadium in London on 15 April. If England won or drew, they would win the Championship; if Scotland won, they would triumph. Scotland beat the World Cup winners 3–2. The match was followed by a large, but relatively harmless, pitch invasion by the jubilant Scottish fans, who were quick to waggishly declare Scotland the 'World Champions', as the game was England's first defeat since winning the World Cup. The Scots' joke ultimately led to the conception of the Unofficial Football World Championships.

1977: Wembley pitch invasion

Again, the 1976–77 Championship came down to the final game between England and Scotland at Wembley on 4 June. Scotland won the game 2–1, making them champions. As in 1967, a pitch invasion by the overjoyed Scottish fans followed, but this time extensive damage ensued: the pitch was ripped up (although it was going to be relaid after the game) and taken back to Scotland in small pieces to be laid in back gardens, along with one of the broken crossbars.[2]

1981: the unfinished Championship

The Troubles in Northern Ireland had affected the British Home Championship before, with things turning so hostile that Northern Ireland often had to play their 'home' games in Liverpool or Glasgow. The entire 1980–81 Championship was held in May 1981, which coincided with a large amount of civil unrest in Northern Ireland surrounding the hunger strike in the Maze Prison. Northern Ireland's two home matches, against England and Wales, were not moved, so both teams refused to travel to Belfast to play. As not all the matches were completed, that year's competition was declared void with no winner; only Scotland completed all their matches. It was the only time in the Championship's history, apart from during World War I and World War II, that it was not awarded.

1984: the final Championship

The Home Championships came to an end, with England and Scotland announcing that the 1983–84 British Home Championship would be their last. They cited waning interest in the games, crowded international fixture lists and a sharp rise in hooliganism for their decision. The final match of the Championship was held at Hampden Park between Scotland and England in which the winners of the game would win the final Championship. The match ended in a 1–1 draw, allowing Northern Ireland to win the Championship on goal difference after all the teams ended on three points each; Wales came second on goals scored.

List of winners

Year Champions Second Third Fourth
1883–84  Scotland  England  Wales  Ireland
1884–85  Scotland  England  Wales  Ireland
1885–86  Scotland /  England  Wales  Ireland
1886–87  Scotland  England  Ireland  Wales
1887–88  England  Scotland  Wales  Ireland
1888–89  Scotland  England  Wales  Ireland
1889–90  England /  Scotland  Wales  Ireland
1890–91  England  Scotland  Ireland  Wales
1891–92  England  Scotland  Ireland /  Wales
1892–93  England  Scotland  Ireland  Wales
1893–94  Scotland  England  Wales  Ireland
1894–95  England  Wales /  Scotland  Ireland
1895–96  Scotland  England  Wales  Ireland
1896–97  Scotland  England  Ireland  Wales
1897–98  England  Scotland  Ireland  Wales
1898–99  England  Scotland  Ireland  Wales
1899–1900  Scotland  Wales /  England  Ireland
1900–01  England  Scotland  Wales  Ireland
1901–02  Scotland  England  Ireland  Wales
1902–03  England /  Ireland /  Scotland  Wales
1903–04  England  Ireland  Scotland /  Wales
1904–05  England  Wales  Scotland /  Ireland
1905–06  England /  Scotland  Wales  Ireland
1906–07  Wales  England  Scotland  Ireland
1907–08  England /  Scotland  Ireland  Wales
1908–09  England  Wales  Scotland  Ireland
1909–10  Scotland  England /  Ireland  Wales
1910–11  England  Scotland  Wales  Ireland
1911–12  England /  Scotland  Ireland  Wales
1912–13  England  Scotland /  Wales  Ireland
1913–14  Ireland  Scotland  England  Wales
1914–19 Not held due to the First World War
1919–20  Wales  Scotland /  England  Ireland
1920–21  Scotland  Wales /  England  Ireland
1921–22  Scotland  Wales /  England  Ireland
1922–23  Scotland  England  Ireland  Wales
1923–24  Wales  Scotland  Ireland  England
1924–25  Scotland  England  Wales /  Ireland
1925–26  Scotland  Ireland  Wales  England
1926–27  Scotland /  England  Wales /  Ireland
1927–28  Wales  Ireland  Scotland  England
1928–29  Scotland  England  Wales /  Ireland
1929–30  England  Scotland  Ireland  Wales
1930–31  England /  Scotland  Wales  Ireland
1931–32  England  Scotland  Ireland  Wales
1932–33  Wales  Scotland  England  Ireland
1933–34  Wales  England  Ireland  Scotland
1934–35  England /  Scotland  Wales /  Ireland
1935–36  Scotland  Wales /  England  Ireland
1936–37  Wales  Scotland  England  Ireland
1937–38  England  Scotland /  Ireland  Wales
1938–39  England /  Wales /  Scotland  Ireland
1939–45 Not held due to the Second World War
(1945–46
unofficial)
 Scotland  Ireland /  England /  Wales
1946–47  England  Ireland  Scotland /  Wales
1947–48  England  Wales  Ireland  Scotland
1948–49  Scotland  England  Wales  Ireland
1949–50  England  Scotland  Wales /  Ireland
1950–51  Scotland  England  Wales  Ireland
1951–52  Wales /  England  Scotland  Ireland
1952–53  Scotland /  England  Wales /  Ireland
1953–54  England  Scotland  Ireland  Wales
1954–55  England  Scotland  Wales  Ireland
1955–56  England /  Scotland /  Wales /  Ireland
1956–57  England  Scotland  Wales /  Northern Ireland
1957–58  England /  Northern Ireland  Scotland /  Wales
1958–59  Northern Ireland /  England  Scotland  Wales
1959–60  Scotland /  England /  Wales  Northern Ireland
1960–61  England  Wales  Scotland  Northern Ireland
1961–62  Scotland  Wales  England  Northern Ireland
1962–63  Scotland  England  Wales  Northern Ireland
1963–64  England /  Scotland /  Northern Ireland  Wales
1964–65  England  Wales  Scotland  Northern Ireland
1965–66  England  Northern Ireland  Scotland  Wales
1966–67  Scotland  England  Wales  Northern Ireland
1967–68  England  Scotland  Wales /  Northern Ireland
1968–69  England  Scotland  Northern Ireland  Wales
1969–70  England /  Wales /  Scotland  Northern Ireland
1970–71  England  Northern Ireland  Wales  Scotland
1971–72  Scotland /  England  Northern Ireland  Wales
1972–73  England  Northern Ireland  Scotland  Wales
1973–74  Scotland /  England  Wales /  Northern Ireland
1974–75  England  Scotland  Northern Ireland  Wales
1975–76  Scotland  England  Wales  Northern Ireland
1976–77  Scotland  Wales  England  Northern Ireland
1977–78  England  Wales  Scotland  Northern Ireland
1978–79  England  Wales  Scotland  Northern Ireland
1979–80  Northern Ireland  England  Wales  Scotland
1980–81 Abandoned due to civil unrest in Northern Ireland
1981–82  England  Scotland  Wales  Northern Ireland
1982–83  England  Scotland  Northern Ireland  Wales
1983–84  Northern Ireland  Wales  England  Scotland
  • Where teams finished in a joint position, the level teams are listed in order of better/best goal difference

Total wins

Team Wins total Wins outright Shared wins
 England 54 34 20
 Scotland 41 24* 17
 Wales 12 7 5
 Ireland
 Northern Ireland
8 3 5

* Does not include the Home Victory Championship 1945–1946 & 1980–81 championship where Scotland was on top when tournament was cancelled because of Northern Ireland civil unrest.

See also

References

  1. ^ 4 Associations Tournament Announced for Dublin 2011 Football Association of Ireland, 18 September 2008
  2. ^ "Recalling Scotland's famous Wembley win in 1977". Mail Online. Retrieved 13 June 2017.

Notes

a. ^ Name of the Home Championship in the languages of participating countries:

  • Home International Championship, Home Internationals, British Championship
  • Irish: An Comórtas Idirnáisiúnta
  • Scots: Hame Internaitional Kemp
  • Scottish Gaelic: Farpais lìg eadar-nàiseanta
  • Welsh: Pencampwriaeth y Pedair Gwlad[1]

External links

  1. ^ http://www.s4c.cymru/sgorio/hanes/chwefror16/
1931–32 British Home Championship

The 1931–32 British Home Championship was a football tournament played between the British Home Nations during the 1931–32 football season. It was won by England, who succeeded in beating all three of their rivals during the course of the competition.

Scotland began the tournament with victory over Ireland in Glasgow, which was followed by a heavy English victory over Ireland in Belfast. England and Scotland, now favourites for the trophy, both played and beat Wales, England at home and Scotland in Wrexham, setting up a final decider at Wembley. In their consolation game Ireland secured third place with a strong victory over Wales who therefore lost all three of their matches. In the England/Scotland final, Scotland were outclassed by their opponents who ran out 3–0 winners to take the trophy for the third year in a row.

1946–47 British Home Championship

The 1946–47 British Home Championship was a football tournament played between the British Home Nations during the 1946–47 seasons, the first professional football seasons in Britain since the end of the Second World War. As seven seasons had passed without regular, organised, professional football, many of the players in the tournament were new to the international stage although a few old hands remained to steer the course of the competition. England were especially well endowed in this regard, with such greats as Stanley Matthews and Tommy Lawton returning to the fray.

Thanks to the efforts of these aging stars, England were able to win this first post-war competition, largely due to an opening 7–2 thrashing of Ireland. Wales were able to achieve a 3–1 victory over Scotland in their opener to move into second position. In the second round of matches, Ireland improved sufficiently to hold Scotland to a scoreless draw whilst England set up a commanding lead with a 3–0 defeat of Wales at home. In the final games, Ireland defeated Wales in a close match to take second place whilst England were held to a 1–1 draw by the Scots but nevertheless succeeded in claiming the trophy for themselves.

1956–57 British Home Championship

The 1956–57 British Home Championship was the final full championship before the Munich air disaster would kill senior members of all four squads mid-way through the following tournament. A close-fought competition between England and Scotland, the tournament also featured some very good performances from Wales and Ireland. For tournaments of the day, this was considered a low scoring affair, although the performances were consistently high.

England won the championship in a close final match, but after the first round all could have taken the trophy, Ireland holding England to a draw and the Scots doing likewise with the Welsh. In the second games, Wales were well beaten by England, but Scotland were forced to struggle to a 1–0 win over Ireland. In the final matches, any team could still have taken the trophy, but Wales and Ireland outplayed each other in their match and as a result drew 0–0, leaving the final game to be the decider between the English and the Scots. England triumphed eventually in a tough 2–1 win.

1960–61 British Home Championship

The 1960–61 British Home Championship international football tournament saw a series of high scoring games, with 40 goals scored in just six matches - a ratio of 6.66 goals per game. England took the British title after a final match at Wembley in which they put nine goals past Scotland, who returned with three of their own. Teams in this period frequently fielded as many as five strikers, hoping to outscore opponents rather than rely on heavy defence. This tactic paid dividends, particularly for England, whose haul of 19 included seven for Jimmy Greaves, whilst both Bobby Charlton and Bobby Smith each scored in each of England's three games.

England had begun the tournament well, winning 5–2 against Ireland in Belfast, whilst the Welsh beat a tough Scottish side at home. Welsh hopes of tournament success were disabused in their second match, where England took them apart 5–1, whilst the Irish were again on the reverse of a heavy defeat, losing 5–2 in Glasgow against Scotland. In the tournament's final games, Wales beat Ireland 5–1 to claim second spot, leading to England and Scotland's dramatic finale.

Players at the tournament included a medley of stars from the 1950s, and young players who would take the 1960s by storm. This line-up included Danny Blanchflower and Peter McParland for Ireland, Ivor Allchurch and John Charles for Wales, Denis Law and Dave Mackay for Scotland and an England team including Bobby Charlton, Johnny Haynes, Jimmy Greaves and Bobby Robson, some of whom would later win the 1966 FIFA World Cup.

1961–62 British Home Championship

The 1961–62 British Home Championship was a football competition played in the season preceding the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile, for which only England had qualified from the home nations. Although they were expected to do well in the World Cup, England suffered a poor home championship and were eventually dispatched from the World Cup by the eventual winner Brazil in the quarter finals.

The Home Championship began very well for Scotland, who in their first match scored a 6–1 defeat of Ireland in Belfast. England could not match this pace in their encounter with Wales who held them to a draw and became a contender for the title in the process. In the second game the Scots beat the Welsh 2–0 but England again failed to impress, again drawing 1–1 with the poor Irish. In the final matches, Wales beat Ireland comprehensively with Mel Charles taking all four goals and achieving second position, whilst England played Scotland knowing that only a win would get them the title. In the event, the impressive Scots ran out 2–0 winners, taking the championship and achieving a rare whitewash of the other three teams.

1962–63 British Home Championship

The 1962–63 British Home Championship football tournament came after disappointment for the home nations in the 1962 FIFA World Cup, for which only England qualified, only to be beaten 3–1 in the quarter-finals by eventual winners Brazil. The Home Championship was won by a Scottish team which dominated all their matches and whitewashed their opponents for the second year in a row as part of a period of temporary but pronounced dominance.

The Scots and English both started strongly, beating Wales and Ireland away respectively. This was followed with similar victories at home in the second fixture, England comprehensively outplaying Wales in a 4–0 win, whilst a Denis Law inspired Scotland hammered the Irish 5–1 with Law scoring four times. In the final games, Wales gained some points by beating Ireland, but the deciding match of the tournament was closely fought between England and Scotland at Wembley Stadium, from which Scotland emerged eventual 2–1 winners to claim the championship.

1965–66 British Home Championship

The 1965–66 British Home Championship was a cause of great excitement as it supplied spectators and commentators a view of England prior to their contesting the 1966 FIFA World Cup on home soil at which they were one of the favourites. None of the other Home Nations had qualified for the World Cup and so were determined to spoil England's preparation, leading to some very dramatic and heavily contested matches, particularly England's final game in Glasgow.

The England team began with a subdued goalless draw with the Welsh side whilst Ireland beat Scotland 3–2 in a close fought game at home. Both England and Scotland improved in their second games, England beating a tough Irish side at home 2–1, whilst the Scots put four goals past the struggling Welsh. Wales suffered further in their final match of the series, losing 1–4 at home to the Irish, who claimed a surprise second place in the tournament. England and Scotland then played a thrilling game in Glasgow, which England finally won 4–3 to take the title of British Champions, a title they would add to at the World Cup three months later.

1966–67 British Home Championship

The 1966–67 British Home Championship has remained famous in the memories of British Home Nations football fans ever since the dramatic climatic match at Wembley Stadium, where an unfancied Scottish team beat England on the same turf they had won the 1966 FIFA World Cup a year before. England had comfortably disposed of Wales and Ireland in the earlier matches, whilst Scotland had struggled, drawing with Wales and only just beating the Irish. In the final match however, the Scots outplayed their illustrious opponents who were effectively reduced to 10 men with Jack Charlton hobbling and no substitutes allowed claiming a 3–2 victory, thus resulting in some over-enthusiastic Scottish supporters claiming to be "world champions with many of them invading the pitch, digging up much of the turf and stealing the goal woodwork after the game. In contrast to later pitch invasions, this was non-violent and resulted in no significant police action. The "World Champions" idea has since taken more tangible form in the Unofficial Football World Championships.

The contest was also important as it formed the first half of the qualifying stages for the 1968 UEFA European Football Championship, a competition England would eventually qualify for in the following 1967–68 British Home Championship and reach the semi-finals, ultimately securing third position overall.

1967–68 British Home Championship

The 1967–68 British Home Championship football was the final stage of the 1968 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying for the Home Nations, and provided revenge for an England team smarting from a defeat on their home ground to the Scots just months after winning the 1966 FIFA World Cup which cost them the 1966–67 British Home Championship. The English victories against Wales and Ireland in the first two games meant that going into the final match they only required a draw, which they eventually achieved in a hard fought match, winning the tournament and the place in the European Championship. The Scots started badly against the unfancied Irish, losing in Belfast, and never recovered, scraping a win against Wales and needing a win against a dominant England team. The Irish were unable to capitalise on an excellent start, losing to England and Wales and coming fourth, whilst the Welsh managed a win against Ireland in their final game to scrape into joint third place after a terrible start.

1969–70 British Home Championship

The 1969–70 British Home Championship Home Nations international football tournament was a heavily contested series which contradicted the common view that it would be little more than a warm-up for the English team prior to the 1970 FIFA World Cup, at which they were to defend the title they had won on home soil four years earlier. They had won the two previous tournaments and were considered much stronger than the other three home nations, none of whom had qualified for the finals in Mexico. The English however struggled in their opening fixture, drawing with the Welsh away, and although they subsequently beat the Irish, were unable to overcome the Scots. Scotland had a good opening to the campaign, but drew their last two games, whilst Wales salvaged parity following a victory over Ireland in their final fixture. Since goal difference was not at this time used to determine position, England, Wales and Scotland shared the trophy. Had modern scoring techniques been in place, England would have won, followed by the Welsh and the Scots.

1974–75 British Home Championship

The 1974–75 British Home Championship was an international football tournament between the British Home Nations. It resulted in a resounding victory for an England team which was going through one of the worst periods of consistent play in their history. The tournament saw several draws, including two dramatic 2–2 ties for the Welsh team against England and Scotland and a goalless draw between England and Northern Ireland. The Scots had begun better, beating the Irish 3–0 in their second game and so entered the final match with a real chance of victory. The Welsh, like the English, had a 2 point advantage in their final match, but failed to capitalise on this, losing to Northern Ireland and ending in last place. The final game, between England and Scotland was in the end a one-sided affair, the English crushing the Scots in a 5–1 rout and winning the tournament.

1975–76 British Home Championship

The 1975–76 British Home Championship was a football tournament played between the British Home Nations at the end of the 1975–76 season. It resulted in an outright Scottish victory following a rare whitewash of all three opponents, including England in a tough final at home in Glasgow. Scotland again refused to travel to Northern Ireland and therefore gained an additional home match. The Scottish team of the middle of the 1970s was one of the best sides the nation has ever fielded, being the only British team to qualify for a major championships between 1971 and 1980. They began well, beating Wales, who also lost to England in the early exchanges. Both title contenders then inflicted heavy defeats on Northern Ireland and both went into the final match looking for a win, as a draw would result in a disappointing tie for first place. The match was full of incident, but the Scots eventually ran out 2–1 winners, taking the cup outright for the first time since the 1967 British Home Championship, when England were World Champions. The Welsh gained some consolation, defeating Northern Ireland in their final match to take third place.

1977–78 British Home Championship

The 1977–78 British Home Championship football competition between the British Home Nations was won by an England side smarting from their failure to qualify for the 1978 FIFA World Cup. Scotland again refused to travel to Northern Ireland and therefore gained an additional home match. The Scots, who had qualified for the World Cup and of whom much was expected following impressive form and a strong team in the months going into the finals performed particularly poorly in the Home Championship, foreshadowing their performance in Argentina a few months later. The English capitalised on a heavy victory over the Welsh in their first match and then won in their next two beating an already demoralised Scotland who had only managed to draw with the Welsh and Irish. The Welsh improved following their initial loss, beating the Irish and holding the Scots to a 1–1 draw in Glasgow to claim second place.

1980–81 British Home Championship

The 1980–81 British Home Championship was the only British Home Nations international football championship, other than the years of the First World War and Second World War, which was not completed and thus failed to produce a winner. As with the rugby union 1972 Five Nations Championship the cause of this cancellation was The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The championship was scheduled to be played in May 1981 after the end of the domestic season. On 5 May, however, the Provisional Irish Republican Army hunger strike leader Bobby Sands died in the Maze Prison, invoking a storm of protest and violence by republicans in Northern Ireland. Thus the English and Welsh FAs, whose teams were scheduled to travel to Windsor Park later in the month, declined to play, rendering the tournament incomplete and void.

Scotland were the only team to complete all their matches, including defeating Northern Ireland in Glasgow, and were in a strong position, having also beaten England. Wales had beaten Scotland and played a tame draw with England and so too would have claimed victory with a win or draw in Belfast. England had lost one and drawn one and were not in a challenging position, whilst Northern Ireland lost their only game. Five months later, in October 1981, Scotland were able to play a qualifying match for the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Northern Ireland without significant difficulties.

1981–82 British Home Championship

The 1981–82 British Home Championship between the British Home Nations was won by a dominant England football team which won all three of its matches as the tournament returned after being abandoned in 1981 due to civil disturbances in Northern Ireland. The championship was eagerly awaited because for the first time since 1958, three of the Home Nations were featuring in a World Cup; the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain and this was a chance to see them in competitive action before the World Cup began. The end-of-season format that had been used throughout the 1970s was dropped as it was felt three games in eight days was too intense at the end of a season and prior to a World Cup. The English began impressively with a heavy victory over Northern Ireland at home, followed by victory away in Wales. The Scots could only manage a draw with the disappointing Irish by contrast although they did beat Wales. The Welsh managed to salvage a result in their third game with a 3–0 defeat of Northern Ireland to claim third place. In the final deciding match in Glasgow, England edged victory through a Paul Mariner goal and thus claimed the championship. In the World Cup, Scotland were eliminated in the first round whilst England went out in the second round without losing a game. The unfancied Irish however provided a shock by beating hosts Spain and eliminating Yugoslavia in the first round before falling victim to the inspired French in round two.

1982–83 British Home Championship

The 1982–83 British Home Championship was the penultimate in the series of football tournaments between the British Home Nations which stretched back 99 years to 1884. In 1983 England and then Scotland announced their withdrawal from future competition after the 1984 competition with the arrangement of the Rous Cup between the two nations to eliminate Wales and Northern Ireland, who were seen as weaker opposition. The 1983 tournament was a tight contest, which England won with a final victory at home over Scotland following an opening victory over Wales and a draw in Belfast. The game at Wembley was played in midweek in an attempt to curb the large number of travelling Scottish supporters. The Scots came second with a win over Wales and a draw with Northern Ireland off-setting their final day defeat. The Welsh succumbed to goal difference as the points system then in use meant that the Irish, who had drawn twice and lost once without scoring themselves gained the same number of points for a smaller goal difference despite Wales' victory over them in their final game.

1983–84 British Home Championship

The 1983–84 British Home Championship was the 100th anniversary of the British Home Championship and the final football tournament between the Home Nations to be held, with both England and Scotland announcing their withdrawal from future competition, citing waning interest in the games, crowded international fixture lists and a sharp rise in hooliganism. Although the football competition was instituted in 1884, it was only the eighty-seventh tournament to be completed due to a five-year hiatus during World War I, a seven-year gap in World War II and the cancellation of the 1981 competition following threats of violence during The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The tournament was surprising in its outcome, as the favourites in England and Scotland played each other into a 1–1 draw in the final game, thus allowing Northern Ireland to claim victory on goal difference, with Wales second. This was only the third time in 87 tournaments that (Northern) Ireland were undisputed champions, and the only time goal difference was used to determine a champion. The trophy was permanently awarded to the Irish FA.

England–Scotland football rivalry

The England–Scotland football rivalry is a sports rivalry that exists between their respective national football teams. It is the oldest international fixture in the world, first played in 1872 at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow. The history of the British Isles has led to much rivalry between the nations in many forms, and the social and cultural effects of centuries of antagonism and conflict between the two has contributed to the intense nature of the sporting contests. Scottish nationalism has also been a factor in the Scots' desire to defeat England above all other rivals, with Scottish sports journalists traditionally referring to the English as the "Auld Enemy".The footballing rivalry has diminished somewhat since the late 1970s, particularly since the annual fixture stopped in 1989. For England, games against Germany and Argentina are now considered to be more important than the historic rivalry with Scotland.The BBC website has commented that the games "have represented all that is good and all that is bad about football since the fixture began," while The Guardian newspaper once reported that "for millions across both sides of the border the encounter represents a chance for the ultimate victory over the enemy." As of June 2017, the teams have played 114 matches; England have won 48, Scotland 41, and there have been 25 draws.

Walter Winterbottom

Sir Walter Winterbottom (31 March 1913 – 16 February 2002) was the first manager of the England football team (1946–1962) and FA Director of Coaching. He resigned from the FA in 1962 to become General Secretary of the Central Council of Physical Recreation (CCPR) and was appointed as the first Director of the Sports Council in 1965. He was knighted for his services to sport in 1978 when he retired. The Football Association marked the 100th anniversary of Winterbottom's birth by commissioning a bust which was unveiled by Roy Hodgson at St Georges Park on 23 April 2013 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of English football.

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