Ajax Taken To The Cleaners By Arsenal On This Day, 8th April 1970

A mixed day for English clubs in Europe. Arsenal took a decisive step to the Fairs Cup Final against Anderlecht – confounding the received wisdom of the day, the Belgians defeated Internazionale (not AC Milan as Geoffery Green proclaims in his report) 2 – 0 in Milan to retrieve a single goal deficit from the first leg in Brussels.

Ajax containing Suurbier, Krol, Hulshoff, Muhren, Keizer and of course, Cruyff were just a season or so away from dominating Europe which gives this win some perspective. They were a very good side about to transform into a great team.

Away from Arsenal, the misfortune of the English fell on Derby County. A joint commission of the Football Association and Football League found the club guilty of mismanagement and barred them from participating in the Fairs Cup for 1970-71, as well as playing friendlies against foreign sides.

Fundamentally, Derby fell foul of the strict rules in place at the time regarding player payments. The Captain’s Notes provided by Dave MacKay were paid for articles; he received ¬£2,000 for them which contravened the regulations. Surprisingly the FA held firm in their punishment with Derby not participating in Europe, reduced instead to thrashing Manchester United 4 – 1 in the final of The Watney Cup.

Supporters of numerous other clubs probably wish that the authorities had been as firm with owners subsequently.