Presenting a champions league final without champions – and without comment

By Sir Hardly Anyone

Of course Liverpool v Tottenham will not be the first Champions League final involving a club that is not a champion in their own country.

Indeed I am not sure if there haven’t been Champions Leagues finals in which neither club involved is a champion either in the season of the final, or the qualifying season – the season before.   Quite probably there have although I can’t think of any (but I am sure I can be corrected on this).

But looking at the records I don’t think that there has ever been a Champions League final wherein it is quite so long since EITHER of the teams were champions.

And yet despite this, the media is still continuing calling it “The Champions League”.

The first thing to note I guess is that neither Tottenham nor Liverpool have EVER (and I mean that – not ever) won the Premier League.   Now I know that if you meander around Google you will find the question “Who won most Premier League titles?” and there you will see Liverpool in second position with 18 titles – but of course it is nonsense.  A typical piece of misinformation.  I don’t know who put it up, but it is just silly.

The premier league started in 1992/3 and Liverpool last won the top division in England in 1990.  Two years before the PL started.  In short, and not to put too fine a point on it, they have never won the premier league.   (Arsenal incidentally have won it three times, but we are not boasting.)

So Liverpool is entering the Champions League having never ever won the Premier League.

But well, such things happens, so let us take a look at their valient opponents – a team particularly well known for having glasses of beer that fill from the bottom upwards, and which, if one fiddles with the magnetic whatnot, then empty themselves all over one.  And very droll it is too.

Right, Tottenham From the Bottom (as they might be called) have won the League twice, in 1951 and 1961.   And yes that is not a misprint.  Twice it is.  The last time they won it was something like 58 years ago.  That might be 57 or 59 I ran out of fingers while counting but it is something like that.

So Liverpool were champions 29 years ago, and have never won the Premier League.  And Tottenham were champions something like 58 years ago and have never won the Premier League.   And they are playing in the Champions League final.  Which is odd.

But not unexpected, because before the season began Untold made a bunch of predictions as to who would win various leagues.  It read

  • England: Manchester City
  • Spain: Barcelona
  • Scotland: Celtic
  • Italy: Juventus
  • Germany: Bayern Munich
  • France: PSG

Not a Liverpool nor a Totteham in sight.

But then having made the predictions, Andrew came along with a fascinating article in which he explained why such predictions could be made by looking at the aggregated player values for the teams we had chosen.

So what happened?

Here are the details of who actually won the league

  • England: Manchester City won the league
  • Spain: Barcelona are 11 points clear with one game to play
  • Scotland: Celtic are six points clear with one game to play
  • Italy: Juventus are 13 points clear with one game in hand
  • Germany: Bayern Munich are 2 points clear of Dortmund with one game to go.
  • France: PSG won the league by 16 points

So without any particular skill or insight we got at least five, and possibly six of our predictions right.  And as you can see there is not a Tottenham or a Liverpool in sight.  Just as there hasn’t been since the start of the Champions League.

Of course Tottenham and Liverpool supporters may argue that it is not there fault, since it could have been called the League of Clubs who Might or Might Not have won their League.  But it wasn’t.  It was called the Champions League.  And it will be contested by clubs who won their titles 29 and 58 years ago.

So what might it be called?  The Old Timers League?   That might do it.  I’ll go for that.

Of course to be fair, because if I am not, some supporters of other clubs might write in and say that their club has won the league in its many forms more times than Arsenal, I ought to say how many times various clubs have won the league.  Here we go…

Manchester United have won the league 20 times.   Liverpool have won it 18 times.  Arsenal have won it 13 times.  No one else has won it 10 or more times.  Tottenham have won it twice.

Looking at other big clubs, Manchester City have won the title six times – the same as Sunderland and Chelsea, and remain (as far as I know) the only club ever to have won the title one season and then been relegated the next.  Tottenham, with their two titles, are sitting alongside the mighty Preston, Derby, Burnley and Portsmouth.  Although Preston last won the title 119 years ago when there were just 12 clubs in the league.

Of course it might be argued that this league winning stuff is all very well, but shouldn’t we also take note of the FA Cup?   I am not sure it is relevant here, but just in case, here is a list of the top FA Cup winners…

Club Wins First final won Last final won
Arsenal 13 1930 2017
Manchester United 12 1909 2016
Chelsea 8 1970 2018
Tottenham Hotspur 8 1901 1991
Liverpool 7 1965 2006
Aston Villa 7 1887 1957

It’s a funny old thing this “Champions” league malarky.  And yes of course I wish we were in it next season, and I still hope we might be by beating Chelsea in our last game – so I am not trying to hide my feelings on this.  Just to point out that sometimes Champions have not been champions for a year or two.   Or 58.  Although that might be 57.

43 Replies to “Presenting a champions league final without champions – and without comment”

  1. Haha

    1. Just how bitter are you?
    2. Your mid table team last won the PL 14 years ago, are you suggesting you shouldn’t be allowed to enter?


  2. Wow sour grapes.

    If that’s how you view it then you won’t mind not playing in it next season or any of seasons after this one? As Arsenal are as likely to win the league as say Tottenham!

    Not sure why it’s called a league as it is a cup competition, but that aside you don’t need to be the best team over say 14 games. Just the luckiest.

  3. Try not to be too bitter?

    It’s the format of the competition and Spurs and Liverpool have had to beat the best teams in Europe to get there

    Arsenal weren’t champions when you played in your solitary UCL final

    I suppose it doesn’t matter what I say anyway, as you boys need to make yourselves feel better by talking about the glorious past….go ahead then

  4. I don’t quite see Arsenal as mid-table as I look at the PL table – one point behind Tottenham I think, last time I checked. And I don’t think there is anything in the article about not being allowed to enter. Perhaps you were reading something else.

  5. Well, well, well………Tottenham qualify for the Champions League final and, all of a sudden, Untold finds it necessary to choose this moment to question, or at least mock, both the premise and the naming of the competition. Could anything be more predictable?

    Lest we forget, Arsenal was an integral member of the elitist G14 group of football clubs that strong-armed UEFA into creating the Champions League in the first instance. It was a move specifically designed to consolidate the hegemony of those few clubs and to widen the financial (and therefore footballing) gap between them and all other clubs. For years, Arsenal enjoyed the riches that the Champions League brought them – both directly and indirectly. Even if they weren’t winning much, the club was comfortable in the knowledge that they remained a part of that elite group, enjoying a huge financial advantage over the also rans as a consequence of finishing second, third or fourth. No complaints about the Champions League then. Nor, I suspect, would there have been any complaints or scornful harrumphs from Untold if, having finished second the previous year, Arsenal had won the Champions League final in 2006.

    Having been one of the prime instigators and beneficiaries of the Champions League over the past 20 years, Arsenal and Arsenal fans can have no complaints as to its premise and qualifying rules now. To behave otherwise would be brazen hypocrisy. It now matters not how long ago any club last won its domestic title. It matters only that they met the qualifying rules of the competition. Liverpool did. Tottenham did. Whether or not the old European Cup should ever have been consigned to history is altogether another discussion. The Champions League genie was let out of the bottle two decades ago. It can’t now be put back in just because you disapprove of the clubs who have made it to this year’s final.

  6. …didn’t think you would have the cojones to publish my post. Spineless, just like your wretched team.

  7. Champions of Europe , but never in the EPL . Maybe the powers that are will downgrade it to Champions League Qualifiers Winners .

    So who would you like to win it ?
    A team that has already won the CL before ,but last won the (old) First division 30 years ago ? When only 2 substitutes could be used .

    Or the other crap team , that has never won it before , and last won the first division title nearly sixty years ago ? 15 years after WW2 , and a full five years before substitutions were allowed in the English League ? And when those real heavy ,water absorbing leather balls were being used .

    The Millennials or the Generation Xers ?

  8. As I said, bitter.

    I can assure you that Spurs fans, Liverpool fans, and fans of every team in the country are proud and love their clubs just as much as you do no matter the history

    I think we’re glad, that we have a future to look forward to though, we may lose the final, but these sorts of posts from Arsenal fans smack of jealousy, desperation and a real lack of class

    Have a word

  9. I don’t think Arsenal have been mid table for 40 or 50 years. WHY ARE YOU SO STUPID ??

  10. my comment was directed at the moron…
    Elliot Lowy
    15/05/2019 at 7:59 am

  11. Who mentioned 40-50 years?

    Who gives a toss about “history” past the last 3-4 years?

    Keep talking about history it makes you feel better

    I care about now…

  12. And I think that is the problem. History gives a sense of perspective – but as we have found so many times, a sense of perspective cannot be taught.

  13. I think it might be helpful if you read the rules relating to publication of comments on this site before accusing anyone of anything.

  14. Thank you to the many Tottenham supporters who have written in this morning with comments. I am sorry if your comment has not appeared – and to understand why it might be helpful if you have a look at the rules of publication that are on this site.

    To try and be fair I am working my way through the comments that the automatic system has removed to see if there are some that should be published, but I’ve also got to continue working so I may not be able to get to all of them.

    While even abusive commentaries do help take us up the rankings (which I am always grateful for) I really can’t see why some correspondents can be surprised if after having called myself (or in some cases all Arsenal supporters) a set of obscene names, you might expect me to publish such comments. After all, I don’t think there were any obscenities within the piece itself.

    But of course, we all make our own value judgements about how discourse should be carried on.

  15. Do you feel better for patting yourself on the back?
    Is it a little hypocritical to condemn non champions playing in the champions league yet accept your poor team playing in the PREMIER league.
    Let’s face it, arsenal are far from Premier.
    Also how often did you complain about the champions league when you qualified from 2nd/3rd/4th?
    Oh yeah, you didnt, it was ok for arsenal but not for liverpool or spurs.
    Grow up!

  16. Arsenal got to the final when they qualified for the UCL by finishing second in the league the year before. Doubt you’d be complaining if you actually managed to not bottle that final.

    Not that this final has any relevance to Arsenal fans, maybe you should concentrate some energy in supporting your own club.

  17. I think perhaps the frustration from us Spurs fans is that whatever we do, there’s always someone around to tell us that it’s not quite good enough. When we had our years of mid-table mediocrity in the 90s (and beyond) we were told that we couldn’t hold on to our best players, as they wanted to be in the top four clubs and playing in the Champions League. When we qualified for the Europa league we were told that it was a meaningless “tin-pot” competition. The last few years when we’ve improved and been in the Champions League, we’ve had people tell us that we’ll lose all of our good players (and our manager) because we don’t pay the going rate for wages. And now this article suggests that we’re somehow not worthy of being in the competition (or final). A few years ago Chelsea fans sang a song that they’re Champions of Europe, and we would never sing that song. I bet a few of them are getting a bit nervous now….

  18. Let us not be too hard on Spurs. After all, we were pleased to use WHL throughout WW2 for our home games.

  19. HAHA, this article is utterly pathetic. Arsene Emery is not the saviour you all thought he was and as you’ve had your best league season including a 22 game unbeaten streak. Spurs managed to lose 13, yes, you heard correctly, 13 games, predominantly playing most league games away from home, yet still finish above you. And your 1 solitary final appearance in over 20 seasons in the CL, best it only took us 5, now you’re trying to belittle the completion that has made you a laughing stock. Bitter, so bitter and we Spurs fans continue to laugh at your obsession with us. Pathetic, even from a Woolwich fan, Your fellow gooners must be cringing reading this nonesense.

  20. Now this one is rather amusing. Writing to Untold Arsenal saying “Emery is not the saviour you all thought he was” can really only be described as, well, what’s the word, “droll” perhaps. I like the ” obsession with us.” bit too. You should see just how many Tottenham supporters have responded.

  21. Indeed Rob I think that is it. And of course us Arsenal fans have the same frustrations. We were having a spot of fun, just as you can at our expense. It is just sad that so many people are getting so angry.

  22. ” maybe you should concentrate some energy in supporting your own club.” – well yes I think on this site we do. Our banner on display at Arsenal Stadium, paid for by readers of this site, says quite a bit of its own accord about what we have done – and of course that is only a fraction of the effort we’ve put in.

  23. The whole concept of Champions League has a flaw in its name. It hasn’t been a Champions League since 1997-98, the first season they let runners-up from the best leagues to compete in. Newcastle United were the first English club to participate in Champions League, thanks to that three goal margin in the goal-difference to Arsenal. After a pure robbery by Urs Meier, a Swiss referee, in Zagreb when he failed to send Asprilla off for an elbow in Dario Šimić’s head, Newcastle got into the group with Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven and Dynamo Kyiv. Asprilla – who shouldn’t have been on the pitch at the first place – scored a hat-trick against Barcelona on the opening night. Newcastle haven’t won the league since 1926-27 – 92 years ago, a few days after Tony had came up with an idea for Untold Arsenal – which means their record can speak to Spurs record like: “Young child, when I was your age…”

    In fact, if we take a look at 21 CL finals that have been played since they let non-champions in the competition:

    2018 – Real Madrid entered the competition as the reigning champions of both Spain and Europe
    2017 – Juventus entered the competition as the reigning champions of Italy, Real Madrid entered the competition as the reigning champions of Europe
    2016 – neither Real Madrid nor Atletico Madrid entered the competition as the reigning champions of Spain
    2015 – Juventus entered the competition as the reigning champions of Italy
    2014 – neither Real Madrid nor Atletico Madrid entered the competition as the reigning champions of Spain
    2013 – Borussia Dortmund entered the competition as the reigning champions of Germany
    2012 – neither Chelsea nor Bayern entered the competition of their respective countries
    2011 – Barcelona entered the competition as the reigning champions of Spain
    2010 – Inter entered the competition as the reigning champions of Italy
    2009 – Manchester United entered the competition as the reigning champions of both England and Europe
    2008 – Manchester United entered the competition as the reigning champions of England
    2007 – neither Milan nor Liverpool entered the competition as the reigning champions of their respective countries
    2006 – Barcelona entered the competition as the reigning champions of Spain
    2005 – Milan entered the competition as the reigning champions of Italy
    2004 – Porto entered the competition as the reigning champions of Portugal
    2003 – Juventus entered the competition as the reigning champions of Italy
    2002 – Real Madrid entered the competition as the reigning champions of Spain (Bayer Leverkusen played the final despite never being crowned as the champions of Germany)
    2001 – Bayern entered the competition as the reigning champions of Germany
    2000 – neither Real Madrid nor Valencia entered the competition as the reigning champions of Spain
    1999 – neither Manchester United nor Bayern entered the competition as the reigning champions of their respective countries
    1998 – both Real Madrid and Juventus entered the competition as the reigning champions of their respective countries

    we will notice that only once – in the first Champions League under new rules – both sides that reached the final had entered the competition as the champions and if we stretch it to teams that had entered the competition as the reigning champions of Europe (just like it was when only champions were allowed to participate), only two finals between Real Madrid and Juventus (1998 and 2017 respectively) comply with the name “Champions League”.

    In SIX occasions neither club had qualified for the competition by winning the league/Champions League. Remember that famous Manchester United v Bayern game at Nou Camp? Well, it would have never happened if only champions of countries and Europe had been allowed.

    Sadly, Champions League is all about money. For self-sustaining clubs like Arsenal, it’s a necessary evil needed to stay on the same floor with oil-rich/owner funded clubs.

  24. Sad and pathetic little man. You’ve had a whole season to write something positive about your own club. ut because we’ve outdone you yet again, spending fuck all in a rented accommodation with no preseason you still feel the need to comment on us hahahahahahah

  25. Keep them coming THFC. The fact that you feel that there is a need to write to Untold says more about you than about me.
    Yes Tottenham ended up above Arsenal, I know, I’ve run the league table on the site. And it was by a huge amount wasn’t it. What was it now? Oh let me see. One point.
    Yes I think you should celebrate that just as we celebrate a little when Arsenal come above Tottenham. And yes if you think it is really important you can write about it here. But it seems a bit of a strange thing to do – writing to what you call a “pathetic little man”. do you often write to pathetic little men?

  26. Brilliantly done Sir Hardly. I’m off tomorrow for a week’s fishing. If it’s as easy for me to get bites as it was for you I’ll be well happy 🙂

  27. And for their probably despising of AFC, Tottenham Hotspur did not apply to their North London giants club side neighbours – Arsenal, to play their home matches in Arsenal’s Stadium, the Emirates when their New White Hart Lane Stadium was under construction. But instead apply to the FA to use their Wembley Stadium to play all their home matches for which the FA gave them the approval. And Tottenham played all their home matches at Wembley for 2 consecutive season’s campaign but one I think they played at the MK Don’s Stadium.

    Do us Gooners know the reason for Tottenham preference to use Wembley to play their home matches but not the Emirates Stadium while their NWHL Stadium was under construction? It’s because Tottenham hierarchies don’t want to financially enriched Arsenal by paying the rent money they paid to the FA to Arsenal if they had played their home matches at the Emirates Stadium and not at Wembley where they had played them. Hmmm. wise Spurs.

    I think UEFA should henceforth as from next season’s campaign rename the current Champions League competition as, ‘The Top Four Clubs League’. TTFCL. This is because the now so-called UCL has long stopped been the competition for the Champions of the European Leagues that they used to be. But for the top four clubs of the top European Leagues. Uefa hierarchies had for the love to enrich themselves by making more money had opened up the old European Cup competition to include 3 more clubs from their different top Leagues to play in European Cup renamed the UCL. This is other than the one single club in the top European Premiere Leagues who finished as Champions by topping the League tables at the end of League season to win the League title.

    For the love to further enrich themselves, both UEFA and FIFA have proposed 2 new competitions at Europe and world levels to take effect soon and they will be known as 1. a kind of a new League 2nd to the Europa League in status. And 2. The expanding of the World Cup participating nations by Fifa from the current 36 nations to 48 nations. Whao! Money Money Money Money making by Uefa and Fifa at the cost of over footballing by the players.

  28. Amazing the number of Spurs fans looking at this site. I suppose that follows years of anguish and envy and now they are doing better can’t get out of the habit. Hope us Arsenal supporters do not get like them during this better spell for them. I wouldn’t dream of going onto one of their sites and there are even allegedly Arsenal supporting sites I would never revisit either.
    Personally I preferred the original set up of the European Cup in which the winners were true champions having won the qualifying competition the season before. That is why Celtic’s and Man Utd’s wins in those days were so celebrated and revered all these years later, as were the Real Madrid’s winning the first five finals. The old UEFA and Cup Winners cup were good competitions as well. Although Arsenal came so frustratingly close in 2006 I still had that feeling it wasn’t the same great achievment as before the change as it was not of the same grandeur. I realise I am probably in a minority in this way of thinking but there you are. Money rules of course.

  29. The amount of Spurs fans commenting is a bit silly. This is an Arsenal blog that writes pro-Arsenal articles and pro-Arsenal content often bashes Spurs. It will be thus forever and nothing will stop it.

    If you want to read pro-Spurs and anti-Arsenal content, read – I dunno – literally any sports rag for the last 15 years.

    That’s enough surely? I’ve been reading about this impending power shift for half my life. I have heard our stadium move deemed a grave mistake and Spurs’ as a masterstroke though it cost 700 million more to build. Spurs have had their egoes felated through all kinds of upheaval whilst Arsenal were pilloried through endless top four finishes, a record number of cup wins, a CL final, and an unbeaten season. We could do the treble and the mass media will find a way to celebrate Spurs.

    I don’t see how you lot can be offended by a not serious article from a non-traditional media source when every mainstream media outlet is giving you all the praise you want, need and deserve.

    All this but god forbid a site dedicated to your rival team makes a joke at your expense.

  30. I think you touched a nerve Tony, and what’s more a very raw nerve.


  31. As all you Untolders know I am a staunch Spud. It hurts so much that you Gooners were the last team to win at our beloved White Hart Lane undefeated through the whole season.

    Now we have to try something to wash away that humiliation with bottom filling containers to dispense our beers into.

  32. This is a really provocative article which has done little to encourage sensible debate (quite the reverse in fact). The Champions League is what it is (good or otherwise) and if & when we make another final I’m sure Tony will have a more benevolent attitude.
    For my part I’m looking forward to a final between two worthy sides who contributed towards the most thrilling semis I can remember.

  33. To all Spurs fans commenting here;

    Read the name of the author of the article that offends you so much. He’s not quite so serious as you lot is he?
    We’re Arsenal Supporters here and I’d venture to say almost all read and/or comment on Arsenal Blogs.
    Go back to Spurs blogs (if they exist) and have a rage there.
    Chill the fuck out!

  34. I only wish that Tony allows (and posts)some more of the choicer delusional rantings from them , that he ,in all probability held back to protect our sanity !

    If there is enough of it , why not post it as an article as the accumulated wisdom of a certain part of north London .

    I for one could do with a few more laughs .

  35. There is of course the game Arsenal played at Wembley where 4 or 5 players were offside, then a penalty is awarded and a draw is the result meaning 2 points less to Arsenal and 1 point added to Spurs. Because the officiating was not good quality or even decent quality, that kind of result means that Spurs finish 1 point higher and Arsenal 2 lower than they should have. We can only wish that VAR will be applied fairly as then this would have changed the penalty to a non-event. But I don’t see us here moaning about that, so just be glad that Spurs received their helping hand to keep them in the top 4. We cost our own position with the silly penalty to Brighton, but that is the way PGMO operates.
    Sometimes it is better to accept what happened and not to be too sensitive when someone has a laugh at your expense. So enjoy it and bring on a FAIRLY applied VAR in the next season….

  36. @Tony I know you will say the article was written a bit tongue in cheek and was meant to be humorous, but remember that may just be the case on the other side when accusing the media of being anti-arsenal. Yeah you’d say we’re an arsenal site we like to poke fun at spurs, true. But when you’re a nobody fan you’d probably like to poke fun at everybody.

  37. Wow Tony thanks for that article It made our neighbors to surface. So seriously they follow our discussion . Thanks Tony and the team for work well done So that our neighbours are concernd.

  38. Frankly, more power to the spuds and Liverpool, the fact that only EPL teams are in the CL final and Europa final respectively seems to mean the rumours, that the EPL is among the most competitive and challenging league in Europe, may be true. I really don’t care a whit whether Liverpool or the spuds win or lose, they both deserve to be in the final, as do Chelsea and the Arsenal in theirs. Here it what I actually take away from the fact that 4 EPL teams are competing for Europe’s highest honours;

    a) The quality and fairness of European officiating appears to be far superior to what the EPL provides,

    b) English teams can hold their own against ANY European competition and win,

    c) Brexit may have a far greater impact on British Football than originally predicted,

    d) Foreign ownership of EPL Clubs seems to have had a positive effect on their performances in Europe,

    e) Foreign managers clearly have a distinct advantage over British managers when it comes to EPL clubs,

    f) the fact that at least 2 top clubs had a shout at winning the EPL all season long confirms the balance and competitiveness of the EPL. The European leagues appears , for the most part, to be 1 or 2 team hegemonies….not good for Football in their leagues and not good for it worldwide.

    g) Following on the last point attendances at many of the European leagues is dropping as their seasons’ have become too predictable!

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