How different would the Arsenal world be now had this deal gone through, I wonder. Would our angst levels have been raised then? Certainly Arseweb was at the forefront of a campaign to change the policy of Carlton Television towards the club’s position in its live matches schedule.
Around this time Sky had attempted to buy Manchester United but were rebuffed by the regulators, their original £623m bid for the club accepted but deemed to be a conflict of interest with live football rights becoming increasingly more expensive to buy.
Arsenal did not appear to be too bothered by the failure to reach an agreement with Carlton. They jumped straight into bed with United News for some pillow talk but the loving whispers were not enough to see that deal concluded either.
These things always end in tears and Arsenal’s tie up with the television group did not have a happy ending. Carlton (through a merger with the shareholder Granada Media who acquired circa 5% of the club in 2000) bought the remainder of its 9.9% in the club in 2005. The shareholding ultimately found its way into the hands of KSE, their first tranche towards owning the majority of the club. So next time you are watching ITV1 (for this is whom Carlton now are), remember their part in the modern day Arsenal.