Games abroad: what is the real agenda?

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Maybe I’m reading too much into the whole sorry mess and have been quietly fuming about it for too long, but I’m beginning to believe those who think there’s more to the ‘39th step’ than meets the eye.

To me, it’s such a hair-brained and ill-thought through venture, and was announced so completely out the blue, that Sue Mott’s column in yesterday’s Telegraph got me thinking. Was this ‘39th’ step idea introduced to stave off something else – breakaway European League, the abandonment of collective rights? Is it the first salvo in a more bitter argument? I guess time will tell.

Whatever the truth, the idea as is stands is being shot down from all sides. The President of the Asian Football Confederation is against it, and his equivalent in North America is also very wary. Top that off with FIFA and UEFA discomfort, not to mention the strong opposition of the humble fan, and you’ve got a rough idea of the reality, rather than the PR-generated excitement coming out of the Premier League.

I’m still basking in the five-point cushion. Whatever the outcome of this season, it’s so nice to actually be involved in the title race. It was at this stage last season that we got knocked out of all three cups in eight days, leaving us with the fight for fourth only.

This is a much more fun place to be.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.