Do you remember Simod and the Simod Cup? My brother Adrian does.
Simod were an Italian sportswear manufacturer, but with none of the style or class of Fila or Diadora in the 1980s. They made really, really terrible trainers that your mother would buy for you if she didn’t love you and wanted you to be bullied.
Their name could be seen pitchside on advertising hoardings during the arse-end of the 80s – you know, the time of hooliganism, Hillsborough and Maggie trying to enforce her crazy ID card scheme for football fans. Not worn, not loved and not missed, Simod did, however, sponsor the English Full Members Cup competition from 1987-89 – otherwise known as the Simod Cup.
The competition was created when English clubs were banned from European competition post-Heysel, as an additional cup competition for clubs in the top two divisions(but not the teams that would have qualified for Europe in 1985–86, as these played in the Super Cup instead). This gave teams something to play for besides the FA and League Cups, and another way for cash-strapped clubs to generate revenue when football attendances were declining and those fans that did still go to games stood on crumbling terraces or sat in decrepit, death trap stands (Valley Parade being a tragic example).
The Simod cup games took place between 1986 and 1989, before the name changed to the Zenith Data Systems Cup (from 1989 to 1992).
Get Reading describes Reading’s Simod Cup triumph from the 27th March 1988, when Reading FC won at Wembley Stadium, beating Luton in the final 4-1:
“The achievement of [Ian] Branfoot’s Royals side 25 years ago to this day, was, quite simply, remarkable.
“The ultimate David vs Goliath. Little old Reading versus then giants Luton Town was a mismatch of the highest proportions.
“Branfoot’s Reading had beaten QPR 3-1, Oxford 1-0, Nottingham Forest 2-1 (aet), Bradford City by the same score and Coventry City on penalties after a 1-1 stalemate.
“In their history, Royals have won just once at Wembley.
“Their 4-1 victory over Luton Town probably ranks as one of the club’s greatest ever days.”
Nottingham Forest under Brain Clough famously won the trophy in 1989, beating Everton 4-3 after extra time (sorry Adrian).
The True Ball blog describes the game.
“For Clough, and his Nottingham Forest side the Simod Cup was to be a cup they would win twice, beating Everton in 1989 4-3 not long after the semi-final game against Liverpool best remembered now for the disaster when the Leppings Lane End of the Hillsborough ground saw a crush that killed 96 people. That first Simod Cup win in 1989 was part of a double won that year, when they also won the League Cup. They had been on for a Cup treble, but in the replayed fixture against Liverpool in the FA Cup they were beaten 3-1 and Jonathan Wilson described the game for Forest as ‘an uncomfortable occasion on which, as pretty much every player has acknowledged, they felt like intruders on someone else’s grief.’”
“A cup born of necessity in the darkest days of English football, it was last played for at the end of the 1992 season and Forest’s victory over Southampton in extra-time also ensured that it was Clough’s last piece of silverware as a manager.”
- Barcelona, Brian Clough, Gary Pallister and Chris Waddle are all featured in new book Northern Conquest (dailymail.co.uk)
- A rush to watch Brian Clough’s first match (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
- Ronnie Fenton: Footballer who went on to become Brian Clough’s right-hand man (independent.co.uk)
- Pat Hilton seals Clough’s first win as Brighton boss (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
- Everton in the 80s – Everton begin preparation for the arrival of Clough’s Forest (stdomingos.com)
- Could Brian Clough’s wisdom be about to make its long-overdue debut at international level? (footballfancast.com)
- Gunter satisfied with Royals progress (getreading.co.uk)