Its 1980s week in the Cutter as we devote a whole seven days to looking back to an era of tight shorts, Mitre footballs and bone-dry pitches. Tomorrow we pay tribute to the man who best defined the decade – from his perm to the faint odour of Brut to the scorch marks on his arm from his Superstars spill – the incomparable Kevin Keegan. Later in the week we list the 20 Greatest 1980s Moments and there’s plenty more nostalgia and good stuff thrown into the mix too.

Today we doff our cap to the forgotten maestros – the creative midfielders who debunk the myth that in our recent past the centre-circle was crammed with leg-biters and workhorses. We run our country’s football heritage down too much sometimes and whilst its true that the early nineties was a nadir for the English game – our national engine-run was devoid of any style or panache and was instead staffed by Carlton Palmer and David Batty – the era that preceded that could easily rival today for skill and artistry. Premier League propaganda would have us believe that the likes of Modric and Silva – foreign magicians forging their craft down the middle rather than being foisted out of harms way on the touchline – are an entirely modern phenomenon. Not true. The eighties was blessed with Muhren and Ardiles and many others, and more pertinently still, we weren’t short of English flair either. It wasn’t just Glenn Hoddle.

Ricky Hill

Hill was only the fourth black player to ever wear the England jersey though the measly three caps did a great disservice to a terrific ball-player. For thirteen years he owned the Kenilworth Road pitch – plastic or grass is irrelevant when you float over it as he did – showing the public the energetic, stylish brand of football that would be commonplace in the future. Ahead of his time was Ricky and today his value would be up there in the gobsmacking amounts.

Micky Hazard

Looking like a cross between Paul Nicholas and Leo Sayer and sounding like a character who Del Boy would buy a suitcase full of dodgy gear from Micky Hazard lit up the Lane and the Bridge throughout the entire decade. Though actually a Wearsider, not a Cockney, he will forever be a legend around London town. Two years ago – at the age of forty-nine – Hazard returned to action, creaking his once-silky joints for Dunton Green in the Sevenoaks League and is still playing there today. He presumably doesn’t get around the pitch much but check out the flick for Hoddle’s strike below. You never lose that.

Steve Williams

An elegant centre-mid woefully under-appreciated nationally with just six caps in a career that took in Southampton and Arsenal. At the Dell in particular, surrounded by such class acts as Keegan, Armstrong, and Channon, the Romford boy was in his element, knowing that his sublime vision would not go to waste. Tall and slender in frame he was the 1980s Michael Carrick. Only better.

Gordon Cowans

Cowans was one of the very few Brits who plied their trade abroad and one of the fewer still who succeeded. Was a pivotal figure in Aston Villa’s surreal (looking back now at least) title win and subsequent European Cup triumph he was a pass-master, forever linking up play with intelligent vision and flair. Unsurprisingly his fine football brain led him down the coaching path where he was first team coach under Houllier at Villa Park.

Johnny Method

Okay so the balding virtuoso was Dutch but who cares when it gives us an excuse to showcase one of the most awesome free-kicks ever taken on an English field.

John Wark

It’s quite a stretch to suggest that the moustached Scot is forgotten – he remains an Ipswich, Liverpool and Scotland legend and will always be fondly remembered for a hilariously wooden speaking role in Escape To Victory – but in comparison to his immense ability and astounding achievements there is little doubt that Wark is criminally under-appreciated with hindsight. A magnificent goal-scoring midfielder (with a better than one-in-three strike-rate at Portman Road alone) it is the Cutter’s serious belief – and this is some statement – that Wark is the most under-rated post-war British footballer.