Arsenal v Spurs? As Jimmy Greaves Said, There’s Only Ever One Winner

John Pickford (@theN5er on twitter) has put this short piece together for me on the status of Arsenal and Tottenham, as witnessed by one of Spurs’ greatest legends, Jimmy Greaves.

*     *     *     *

Tottenham are forever in Arsenal’s shadow, that’s the boast we hear most often from the Islington faithful but you don’t need to just believe me: let’s hear what their former favourite and scoring legend Jimmy Greaves has got to say.

In 1994 when George Graham’s Arsenal clinched the Cup Winners Cup in Copenhagen. Greavsie was complimentary, saying:

“I’m not going to win many friends at Spurs by saying Arsenal are my idea of a football club. In many ways the perfect club.”

He went on:

“Many of the principles that have been the hallmark of successful football through the years were refined at Arsenal. It pains me to say it but Bill Nicholson borrowed freely from his rivals when he was putting together his great Spurs side.”

If that wasn’t enough, in 1998 after Arsenal won the first of Arsène Wenger’s Doubles, Jimmy had this to say:

“Arsenal have class. I remember when I was at Spurs, the Arsenal players would arrive for matches in their navy blazers with the gold gun emblem sewn into their pockets and grey slacks. We couldn’t match their ground with that beautiful main entrance, marble halls and spiral staircase. Even in 1961 when we won the Double, we were never as big a club as Arsenal.”

In 2007 he was again considering Tottenham’s poor form at the time and he said:

In the early 1960s, Spurs had a great manager and a great team. But they have never been a great club. Even when we had Bill Nicholson as manager and the likes of Dave Mackay, Cliff Jones, Danny Blanchflower and myself, Spurs still lived in the shadow of Arsenal.

So there you have it Tottenham fans. Don’t bother with the shades today because whatever happens you’ll be forever in our shadow. Greavsie knew it and, deep down, so do you.


Twitter: @P_h_i_1
And John’s Twitter: @theN5er


19 thoughts on “Arsenal v Spurs? As Jimmy Greaves Said, There’s Only Ever One Winner

  1. True, but unless your current crop of under-achieving gooners don’t improve quickly, the only shadow Arsenal FC will be casting this year is on relegation strugglers like QPR

  2. Jimmy Greaves was a great player, but always an individualist rather than a team player, and he used to infuriate me on ‘Saint and Greavsie’ by frequently having a go at Spurs, while all the other ex-pro pundits were fiercely loyal to their old clubs (usually Liverpool or Arsenal) – he was even pleased when Spurs lost the 1987 FA Cup final because Coventry were managed by his old Chelsea mate Peter Sillett! I can live with Arsenal’s dominance of the past twenty-odd years (because the facts speak for themselves), but please don’t re-write history to suit your prejudices; Spurs were the best-supported London club throughout the 1950s and ’60s, our double side of ’61 was watched by average crowds, home and away, league and cup, of 55,000, while yours of ’71 only managed a home average of 42,000, and even in 1982, our home average was 36,000 against Arsenal’s 25,000. Yes, Highbury was a beautiful ground (but held an all-time 1st Division low crowd of 4,000 in 1966!), and so is the Emirates, but a club is more than its ground and its embroidered blazers, and Arsenal will never shake off the fact that it owes its existence to a convicted crook (Henry Norris), who cheated the club into the top flight at the expense of Spurs – it will always be the cuckoo in the North London football nest.

    • haha still bitter about Norris, sick as your parrot weren’t you? ps did Phil ever tell you that you weren’t even a London club at the time?

    • superb response…The Gooners have never legally been in the top flight so all their success since 1920 is false LOL….I think our average crowds in 1960/61 at home were over 60,000 too..COYS

  3. Well Greavsie is a Tottenham Legend, you also know he has had his problems, the main of them being alcohol. Alcoholicks do suffer memory problems and self pitty. Now all that aside, Tottenham dont always win, we dont win at any cost: references to Man utd, when winning easy to watch when behind, very dirty, Stoke city always dirty, many would say worst team ever in the Premier,. Under George (give us bob) graham Arsenal were the same, that money gave Arsenal the Bank role to pay the Mercinenaries we love more money, end of, in a little nut shell. but when i think of Tottenham and think of Hoddle, Ardiles, Ricky Villa, the goal against City, Flying Chris Waddle, Paul (He’s not going to shoot from there is he?, he is, MY WORD WHAT A GOAL) Gascoigne, You remember that. ive got to give Klinsmen and Sherringham a shout. The list goes on, so when you say Shadow, NA, not at White Hart Lane, you must be mistaken,
    besides we know who we are and i know you know what Arsenal are? and each and every Arsenal suporter you know what you are? IT’s the fist word that came to your head. LET THE GAME BEGIN

  4. But Shane the really important thing is that our supporters can spell , ALCOHOLICKS . Both spelling and winning titles aren’t You’re strong point .

  5. Do your research properly sunshine. Greaves wasn’t at Spurs during 60-61, and therefore never won the double. He joined the club the following season. Were you that desperate to have a pop that you couldn’t even take 2 minutes to check your facts?

      • Fair play Phil, l make it I owe you a fiver as I bet we’d never find a scum fan that would figure that one.. You do however owe me a tenner as I extracted mentions of Norris and Gazza’s semi final goal.. The vermin are nothing but predictable!

  6. Not related to this particular post but would appreciate your thoughts. Clearly there is at least £50m cash to spend. (May cash balances risen £118m in last 6 years)

    What will Arsenal do with the cash?

    Repay debt – which I know they don’t intend to do
    Invest in fixed assets – which will be minimal at best
    Start paying dividends/management fees – would lead to a fan revolt unless we win champions league or premier league by some miracle.
    Reduce ticket prices – LOL

    If I was Mr Gazidas I would Invest c. £50m on two players in addition to replacing any other players sold in future (ideally under 26 year olds that can be resold to achieve breakeven worst case). The board are ‘confident’ team can already get champions league so with addition of 2 high quality players champions league would be ‘GUARANTEED’. Going further in competitions would protect/increase income streams. Reputationally would help board appease fans (stakeholders) and make us more attractive to the next ‘Henry’.

    The reality is it appears the board are going to continue frugile spending policy (spending just enough to get 4th place) in the hope that FFP comes in which will lower transfer fees & wages. and then when Arsenal finally do win a trophy Stan will pay a huge dividend and the spare cash we have been hoarding will disappear. (And of course FFP gives an excuse to increase ticket prices.)

    Problem is City & Chelsea will legally protest and FFP could be dragged out for years.

  7. Arsenal and Spurs are both Big Clubs (though Arsenal is Bigger) . And apart from both being Big Clubs, they have something else in common: the fans of each live in the past – because neither of the two rank in the top tier of PL clubs anymore, nor seem likely to in the near future. Sad, really – because it makes the games between us hardly more than local tribal spats, insignificant when it comes to the major conquests. Arsenal’s fall from grace seems more tragic because it is so recent – seven years, is it? – whereas Spurs have been more less out of contention for major prizes for decades. Hence the outcome of the two annual local tribal spats (always crucial to Spurs self-esteem) has become of equal importance to Arsenal fans now. Once winning these games mattered to us mostly only insofar as it helped win us a trophy. Yeah, we have the bragging rights right now, but who – apart from our near neighbours and ourselves – gives a damn?

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