When Arsenal first played Tottenham

Take Me To Post Comment Form

If you ask a football fan to name the first time Arsenal played Tottenham at Wembley, they might say the 1991 FA Cup semi-final. Alas, they would be incorrect. The two teams met in the inaugural Wembley International Tournament three years earlier. It was only a friendly but for Arsenal fans it proved the perfect appetiser for the 1988-89 season.

The match almost didn’t see the light of day. Indeed, the whole tournament was under threat despite event organisers announcing it to the world in June 1988. The FA threw a spanner in the works immediately, fearful that a tournament involving Arsenal, Tottenham, Bayern Munich and Milan would be a green light for hooligans to drag English football through the gutter once more.

Their concerns were understandable. Widespread violence at Euro 88 http://www.coyotesofficialauthenticshop.com/Jeremy_Roenick_Jersey_Adidas had hardly helped the chances of English clubs being invited back into European club competitions. “The emergency committee considers the English hooligans who disgraced football and the country in West Germany quite capable of attacking German and Italian supporters in a gesture of defiance,” said the FA.

Wembley chief executive David Griffiths was unimpressed by the FA’s intervention. “I’m astounded by their attitude. How can we ever test the water over the hooligan problem if they don’t give is Womens T.J. Ward Jersey a chance? Quincy Wilson Jersey How can we ever get back into Europe?” After weeks of negotiations and threats of legal action, the FA finally backed down. But there were conditions to be met. Arsenal and Tottenham would be allocated 20,000 tickets each, with another 20,000 being sold at the Wembley Box Office; there would be no tickets sold in Europe; and the tournament would be played in front of a maximum 60,000 Antoine Bethea Jersey all-seated crowd.

Attendances were surprisingly low, with only 30,486 and 27,364 people turning up on the two days. Admittedly Bayern were not the force they once were, but with the two North London clubs involved, Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten in the Milan squad just a few weeks after their triumph for Holland at Euro 88 and reasonably priced tickets for two matches in a day, the organisers were disappointed not to attract bigger crowds.

Pre-season tournaments were commonplace on the continent, but the concept was a bit alien to English supporters at the time. The tournament format was also a bit odd. Arsenal played Tottenham at 1.30pm on the Saturday, with Milan v Munich following at 3.30pm. The winner of each game played the loser of the other on the Sunday and the team with the most points, or better goal difference, was awarded the £60,000 prize.

Arsenal manager George Graham was delighted at the chance to pit his side against European opposition on the Sunday. “It represents a tremendous opportunity for my young players to taste world-class opposition,” Graham said. It also allowed him a chance to integrate some players. Alan Smith (£750,000), Kevin Richardson (£225,000), Lee Dixon (£400,000), Brian Marwood (£600,000) and Steve Bould (£390,000) had all been signed in the previous 12 month and Graham was hoping to mould them and his exciting group of youngsters into title winners.

One youngster under the spotlight was 20-year-old Paul Merson. After missing out on signing Kerry Dixon and Tony Cottee, Graham turned to the gifted Merson to form a partnership with Smith. Merson had impressed on a pre-season tour of Sweden and Graham was adamant that he was up to the task. “I certainly believe we can save £2m if we have a player at the club already who can score the goals. It would have been nice to get http://www.usasoccershops.com/geoff-cameron-world-cup-jersey Cottee but now I am going to give Merson the opportunity. It’s a big step for him but he has got so much natural ability.”

Tottenham, meanwhile, were in a state of transition. Where Graham mainly searched for bargains and internal solutions, Terry Venables opened the chequebook. After signing Paul Stewart for a club record £1.7m, Venables then snapped up Paul Gascoigne for a British record of £2m. With their new training facilities at Mill Hill and increased season ticket sales there was a buzz around the club, but Venables was urging caution.


Latest Activity: Feb 11, 2018 at 1:01 AM

Bookmark and Share
Forward This Blog
Print Blog
More Blogs by xiaolan
Send xiaolan a Message
Report Abuse

Blog has been viewed (107) times.

Log In to post comments.

Previous blog entries by xiaolan
in a way I am still in shock
May 19, 2018
Arsène Wenger is finishing his breakfast in the Paris hotel where he has been coming for years Dean Lowry Jersey and where the staff would not dream of addressing him in any other way than Monsieur Wenger, pronounced in hushed tones that convey the respect in which this grand man ...
Read More »
Alexander-Arnold and Cahill among final 23
May 18, 2018
The uncapped Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has been included in England’s squad for the summer’s World Cup after Gareth Southgate revealed a youthful 23-man party “which we can be excited about” for the tournament in Russia. The 19-year-old joins a squad with only 11 previous appearances at the finals and ...
Read More »
Josimar charms the world at Mexico 86
May 17, 2018
In the summer of 1964, England took part in the Little World Cup in Brazil. It was a simple four-team league involving Portugal, Argentina and the hosts. England finished joint-bottom with Portugal. In their first match they were plugged 5-1 by Brazil in Rio. They commiserated with a night on ...
Read More »
losing key to England door
May 16, 2018
Jack Wilshere and Joe Hart appear to be the early casualties of Gareth Southgate’s Tre Boston Jersey England planning – two relatively young players who would have imagined an international future at the last World Cup. Wilshere got a chance in Brazil only once England had been eliminated, whereas Hart ...
Read More »
Gareth Southgate gives England players
May 16, 2018
Gareth Southgate will have his full squad available for only one pre‑World Cup friendly, against Costa Rica in Leeds on 7 June, with the England manager determined his players should have a week off after the domestic season Southgate submitted a 35-man provisional squad to Fifa on Monday and will ...
Read More »
[View More Blogs...]

Powered by
Morris Technology