Talkin’ bout your generation? Five great teams from the 1980s & 90s

Men’s faces everywhere have started sprouting facial hair, which can mean only one thing: Movember’s back.

This year, it’s all about Generation Moustache. And while members of ‘Gen Mo’ are setting out to change the face of men’s health, we’re saluting the football teams that changed the face of the beautiful game – in short, some of the greatest sides of their generation.

This week, Mirror Football’s John Cross highlights five great teams from the 1980s and 90s…

Liverpool, 1980s

Liverpool ruled English and European football during the 1980s, winning six league titles and two of their five European Cups. And the beauty of this great side is that while players came and went, and three managers sat in the Anfield hot seat, they managed to keep on winning while they evolved. Greats including Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Ian Rush and Alan Hansen played under acclaimed managers such as Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan. Liverpool swept all before them, with their victory over Roma in their own stadium in the 1984 European Cup final one of the many highlights.

Nottingham Forest, 1980

Brian Clough's all-conquering Forest just sneak in. Not because of a lack of ability, but because their second European Cup only just came at the turn of the decade – they retained the trophy in 1980. The reason this team stands out is because it is such an unlikely story for such an unlikely club. Clough took over at Forest in January 1975 when they were 13th in Division Two. Just to put that in context, they were in worse shape then than they are now. Within three seasons, Clough made them First Division champions and then they won back-to-back European Cups, beating Malmo and then Hamburg in the finals. It was a glorious era for English football in Europe. And Forest were one of the unlikely trailblazers.

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Everton, 1985-87

After years of living in the shadow of Liverpool's success, Everton stepped up to win the First Division title and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1985 and another league title two years later. It was Howard Kendall who transformed his own and Everton's fortunes. Having been on the brink of the sack, Kendall suddenly found a magical formula which helped them battle with – and temporarily eclipse – their great Merseyside rivals. The wonderful thing about this Everton team was their balance. Neville Southall in goal, a solid defence, a midfield including Trevor Steven, Kevin Sheedy and Paul Bracewell, and a potent strikeforce of Andy Gray and Graeme Sharp. Having seen all of the English teams of the 1980s, I reckon this was possibly the best starting XI of all.

AC Milan, 1994

This Milan team was arguably the best of the lot from both decades. And at the peak of their powers, they destroyed mighty Barcelona 4-0 in the 1994 European Cup final. Fabio Capello built a team that was defensively sound, outstanding in midfield, with Marcel Desailly and Demetrio Albertini, and featured two hot strikers in Dejan Savicevic and Daniele Massaro, both of whom were on target in that final. It was a demolition job on a Johan Cruyff-managed Barca side, which featured big names such as Romario, Pep Guardiola, Hristo Stoichkov and Ronald Koeman. The Catalan club simply couldn't live with AC Milan's mix of power, pressing and precision as Capello’s men produced perhaps the most comprehensive European victory of the two decades.

Manchester United, 1999

Under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United established themselves as the greatest team of the early Premier League era. But no one will forget their highlight, which was to win the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup Treble in 1999. Ferguson dominated English football with arguably the best of his many generations of United line-ups, including Schmeichel, Beckham, Scholes, Giggs, Keane, Cole, Yorke, Sheringham and Solskjaer. It had everything – defensive stability, midfield creativity and a wealth of attacking options. They looked down and out in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich but came back from the dead in stoppage-time to win in the most dramatic of fashions.

Do you agree with John Cross's five great teams of the 1980s and 90s? Read this week's article and let us know by Tweeting @ProstateUK with the hashtag #MenUnited. 

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