Let’s hope the league game between Arsenal and Norwich this week is half as eventful as their match at Highbury in 1989

By Steven Pye for That 1980s Sports Blog

Freedom, joy and love may have been filling the air as the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, but there was not much of this goodwill in evidence on English football pitches. Players brawled at a League Cup game between Wimbledon and West Ham, and a league match between Crystal Palace and Tottenham. Paul McGrath was fined £8,500 for criticising his former manager Alex Ferguson in a newspaper article. York manager John Bird was arrested after a confrontation with Scarborough boss Ray McHale.

And, before all that, a league game between Arsenal and Norwich at Highbury on 4 November 1989 ended with police on the pitch. The afternoon had begun with the players of both clubs applauding David O’Leary on to the pitch. Collecting a commemorative vase and a shirt with No 622 on the back, O’Leary acknowledged the adulation of the players and fans as he broke George Armstrong’s appearance record for Arsenal. Yet the pleasantries ended there; throughout the match, Arsenal’s record breaker would be involved in a running battle with Norwich striker Malcolm Allen.

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