Arsenal’s Duplicity Exposed On This Day, 7th June 1989

You know that turning up to a meeting to find parties represented by lawyers is not a sign of a happy outcome. Had John Poynton stayed at the meeting, he would have no doubt found that Europe was not yet in Arsenal’s sights.

Restructuring the game domestically was the limit to that ambition as there was little appetite for a European League at the time with Uefa acceding to demands and setting about revamping the Champions Cup, rebranding it as The Champions League from 1992. At the time it was a league for champions rather than being a league and cup for champions, also-rans and clubs with a healthy ABC1 support base.

It is interesting to view the fortunes of the clubs involved. It was incredible foresight of the Coventry and Luton chairmen to walk out, the latter has walked out of the league whilst a succession of owners seem hellbent on taking the former down the same route.

But what of the so-called ‘Big Five’? Manchester United and Arsenal unarguably still remain. Tottenham keep popping in and out of the party, never hanging around for long, possibly finding it too elitist. Liverpool disappeared off to the back garden but everyone is still talking about them, such is their reputation.

Perhaps the most interesting are Chelsea and Everton. The words of dismissal offered by Jim Greenwood would slip easily from the mouth of Bruce Buck whilst given the financial woes at the moment, the Londoners proposals could quite easily come from Merseyside.

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