Why Man United and Arsenal were deducted points 30 years ago

Why Man United and Arsenal were deducted points 30 years ago after Everton’s sanction from the Premier League

  • Everton became the latest English top-flight side to have points taken away
  • But Man United and Arsenal were once punished for a mass brawl at Old Trafford
  • Southgate’s loyalty to his players is an issue and a weakness – It’s All Kicking Off

Everton became just the sixth club in English top-flight history to have points deducted after they were stripped of 10-points for breaching profitability and sustainability regulations.

The Toffees exceeded the £250m permitted loss over three years and have been punished by the Premier League with a deduction that places them into the relegation zone.

The club have declared they will appeal the decision, but it’s not the first time a team has had points taken away, with Manchester United and Arsenal once famously facing the wrath of the league body.

However, the two giants of English football weren’t docked points for breaching financial rules, instead it was an on pitch brawl that prompted the most severe disciplinary measure.

United and Arsenal were reprimanded by the Football Association after a mass fight broke out between both sets of players during the Division One clash taking place at Old Trafford on October 20, 1990.

Manchester United and Arsenal were both deducted points after a brawl at Old Trafford in 1990

21 players were involved in the melee and both teams were docked points as a result

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Nigel Winterburn’s crunching tackle on United full-back Dennis Irwin midway through the second half sparked a memorable brawl that ended up involving 21 players in total.

Irwin was backed up by his team-mate Brian McClair, while Winterburn was supported by Anders Limpar before a mass melee then broke out.

Players from both sides stormed into the ensuing fray with some attempting to calm the situation while others only added to the chaos, while both sets of supporters watched on.

Every United player was involved in the moment of madness, while Gunners goalkeeper David Seaman was the only visiting player not involved.

Cards were dished out as a result of the fight but later punishment would follow in the form of a points deduction and a £50,000 fine for both teams.

However, surprisingly no red card was shown in the since labelled ‘Battle of Old Trafford’.

Arsenal had two points taken away from their league total, while United were docked a single digit for their involvement.

However, it was Sunderland who faced the first points deduction a century previous when they fielded an unregistered player and had two-points struck off the record.


Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United side had one point taken away from their league tally for the fight

Players from both sides grabbed and pushed one another during the huge fight at Old Trafford

Arsenal were deducted two-points after Nigel Winterburn’s tackle ignited the fight

Another north-east team also had points deducted when Middlesbrough became the first Premier League team to face punishment after they failed to fulfil a fixture in the 1996/97 season.

They were deducted three points for failing to fulfil a fixture against Blackburn.

Portsmouth were then stripped of nine points – one less than Everton – in March 2010 after they entered administration.

Meanwhile, Tottenham were hit with a 12-point deduction for historic financial irregularities prior to the start of the 1994/95 season, but this was later revoked.


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