English clubs were still banned from competing in European competitions following the
Heysel Stadium disaster.
Liverpool overhauled a greatly improved
Aston Villa side to win their 18th league championship trophy and their fifth major trophy in as many seasons under
Kenny Dalglish's management. To date, this remains their last league title.
Gary Lineker's arrival at
Tottenham Hotspur saw the
North Londoners occupy third place after a season of improvement.
Luton Town stayed up on goal difference at the expense of
Sheffield Wednesday's relegation, while
Charlton's four-year spell in the First Division came to an end at the beginning of May.
Millwall were rooted to the bottom of the division despite briefly topping the league in September.
Leeds United finally returned to the top flight after an eight-year exile, as
Howard Wilkinson's side lifted the Second Division championship trophy thanks to a superior goal difference over runners-up
Swindon Town won the Second Division playoff final but
Sunderland were promoted instead on away goals after the Swindon board admitted a series of financial irregularities. Swindon were initially relegated to the Third Division and replaced by Tranmere because Swindon began financial irregularities before competing in the playoffs, the division's losing Play-Off finalists, but this decision was later reversed on appeal and it allowed Swindon to finish 4th in one division and Tranmere to finish 4th in the other division.
Stoke City and
Bradford City occupied the
The city of
Bristol was celebrating after
Rovers were crowned champions and
City finished runners-up in the Third Division to gain promotion. The third promotion spot was secured by playoff winners
Notts County, who beat
Tranmere Rovers at Wembley.
Walsall suffered a second successive relegation and would be joined in the Fourth Division the following season by
Cardiff City and
Exeter City were crowned Fourth Division champions and went up to the Third Division along with runners-up
Grimsby Town, third-placed
Southend United and playoff winners
Cambridge United. Newly promoted
Maidstone United almost ended their first league season with success, but their promotion hopes were ended by playoff failure.
Colchester United were relegated from the league and replaced by Conference champions
Darlington, who regained their league status just one season after losing it.
Cup competitions and Charity Shield
FA Cup 1989–90
Full Members Cup 1989–90,
Football League Trophy 1989–90, and
1989 Charity Shield
Alex Ferguson silenced the critics who attacked him for a lack of progress in the league by guiding Manchester United to a 1–0 replay victory over
Crystal Palace in the
FA Cup final, which was achieved after a 3–3 draw. The pivotal game in his side's season had been in the televised third round tie at
Nottingham Forest, when a
Mark Robins goal gave relegation-threatened United a surprise win and triggered improved times for the club. They won the cup despite not playing a home game along the way, and was Ferguson's first major trophy as United's manager.
The season produced arguably the most memorable combination of FA Cup semi-finals in history, as
Crystal Palace surprisingly beat
Liverpool 4–3 just a couple of hours before
Manchester United and
Oldham Athletic fought out a 3–3 draw, with United going on to win the replay 2–1.
Nottingham Forest retained their League Cup by beating
Oldham Athletic 1–0 at
Middlesbrough 1–0 in the final of the
Full Members Cup. It was the first of three Wembley finals between the pair in the 1990s.
The season marked the beginning of the regular trend for clubs to leave their homes of many years and head for purpose built new stadia, following the bold move to
Glanford Park by
Scunthorpe United in 1988.
Chester City brought the curtain down on their many years at
Fellows Park and
Sealand Road respectively (both with games against
Rotherham United). Walsall moved to the
Bescot Stadium, while Chester began a groundshare with
Macclesfield Town at
Moss Rose until their
new stadium was completed.
Wycombe Wanderers and
Yeovil Town relocated to
Adams Park and
Huish Park respectively.