season was the 96th season of competitive football
won their first major trophy under Bob Paisley
by narrowly winning the league title after heated competition from Queens Park Rangers
. They also lifted the UEFA Cup
for the second time in their history. Dave Sexton
's QPR side failed to win their first-ever league title but still managed to finish in their highest ever position of runners-up and qualify for the UEFA Cup. Following QPR into Europe
were Tommy Docherty
's promising young Manchester United
side, David Mackay
's defending champions Derby County
and Jimmy Armfield
's Leeds United
Going down were Wolverhampton Wanderers, Burnley and Sheffield United.
Bertie Mee, 57, retired after ten years as manager of Arsenal. The highlights of his career had been the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup triumph of 1970 and the Double win 1971, but Arsenal had fallen behind the best in recent seasons and Mee handed over the reins to Terry Neill.
Three years after winning the FA Cup
, Bob Stokoe
finally won promotion to the top flight as Second Division champions. Bristol City
and West Bromwich Albion
occupied the two other promotion places. Oxford United
, York City
went down to the Third Division.
The division's biggest headline hitters were Southampton, who finished sixth in the league but surprised the footballing world by overcoming Manchester United to win the FA Cup.
won the Third Division title to reach the Second Division just four years after joining the league. Also going up to the Second Division were Cardiff City
, Colchester United
, Southend United
and Halifax Town
were relegated to the Fourth Division. Narrowly avoiding the drop were Sheffield Wednesday
, who a decade ago were one of the most feared sides in England
and during the interwar years had won the league championship and the FA Cup.
32-year-old Graham Taylor
achieved the first success of his managerial career by winning the Fourth Division title for Lincoln City
. He was linked with several job vacancies in the First and Second Divisions but surprised everyone by taking over at Elton John's Watford
, who were still in the Fourth Division. It was to be the start of a long and successful association with the Hornets for Taylor. Joining Lincoln in the Third Division were Northampton Town
and Tranmere Rovers
. 1975-76 had finally brought something positive after a decade of trauma for Northampton Town, which had been them slump from the First Division to the Fourth Division.
This year, the Football League voted in favour of the bottom four clubs in the Fourth Division and there were no departures or arrivals in the league for 1976-77.
Southampton pulled off one of the greatest upsets in the history of FA Cup finals when a Bobby Stokes
goal gave them victory over Manchester United at Wembley. A young United side, who had finished third in the First Division one year after winning promotion, were favourites to win the trophy as Southampton were an unfashionable Second Division side who had never won a major trophy in their history. But thanks to the efforts of manager Lawrie McMenemy
and the all important goal from Bobby Stokes, Southampton finally had a major trophy in their boardroom - and had also qualified for European competition (the Cup Winners Cup) for the first time in their history.
to claim the League Cup
, their first major trophy for six years. They are still waiting to end the trophy drought which began after this triumph.
- Bob Paisley won his first two trophies as Liverpool manager - the league championship and UEFA Cup - and he would pile up many more prizes over the next seven seasons.
- Lawrie McMenemy guided Southampton to their first major trophy and they did it in style by beating favourites Manchester United in the FA Cup final.
- Dave Sexton guided QPR to a club best finish of second in the league and came close to winning the league for a club who had never been in the top division until a few seasons earlier.
- Tommy Docherty built an exciting young side at Manchester United and a year after promotion back to the First Division they finished third in the league and reached the FA Cup final.
- Bob Stokoe finally got Sunderland into the First Division, three years after they won the FA Cup.
P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GA = Goal average; Pts = Points