Part of the fun of being an Arsenal fan is to take the mickey out of Tottenham fans. And vice versa, of course, but we have had far more laughs at their expense in recent years – in fact in most of our lifetimes – than they have had at ours.
I like a bit of banter with the Totts, so occasionally I deliberately include the word ‘Spurs’ in a blog title, so it appears in their NewsNow feeds. Then they come flooding in like a tidal wave of bad grammar and deluded opinion. To be fair there are some you can hold a decent friendly conversation with, but many of those who want to leave comments on Arsenal blogs are not that sort.
I reposted a couple of old mickey-taking pieces just before the recent NLD, and here are a few of my favourite responses.
“Why not bid for Messi cos you have as much chance of getting him than Di Maria and Ozil?”
Ha ha – maybe in January, thanks for the tip!
“Most of your reader (sic) already believe that Tottenham are gonna be challenging not only 4th spot, but the Title!”
I think not, my friend, but keep dreaming.
“i like the way this gooner is chatting about history when we are in the present and this is one sign that the scums are getting scared about tomorrow when we smack 3-0 come on you spurs and look at the difference between the squads and spurs have a better team than u lot who is your best player theo and your best signing this year is players u had before well done loll come one on u spurs”
That guy never takes a breath. A rare talent.
“You forget to mention in your history lesson, that Arsenal are the only club in English league history to get promoted to the top tier by finishing fifth in the second tier, oh I forgot to mention that they handed over a cheque to the league to promote Arsenal over the team who should have rightfully been promoted. And just to cheer you up there is one player coming to North London this window, Fabio Coentrao.”
1. I think you’ll find that several teams have finished fifth and then been promoted via the play offs in recent years.
2. Where is your evidence of bribery? If you knew anything about history you’d know that other clubs being caught match-fixing made it easier for Arsenal to be promoted.
3. Fabio who? That is nothing like the spelling of Ozil.
“Lmao well i’m glad you think arsenal are better than spurs, all the more painful when you get your arse kicked. All the history is nice but moving forward as a squad I know which team i’ll rather support and it’s not the one managed by an accountant”
Support who you like mate, but I hope you enjoyed having your arse kicked.
“This is quite sad. Do you not think anyone could find just as many reasons for Spurs being better than Arsenal? Sorry? How many European trophies is that?”
Go on then, find some reasons why Spurs could be considered by a logical rational person to be ‘better’ than Arsenal. More European trophies, that’s one – well done. Anything else? Do let me know.
“You have nothing else to write about. Deflect from the misery. It’s only going to get worse for you on Sunday. I’m looking forward to Wenger’s excuses. Who’s he going to blame this time for his abject failure. And what can you do about it? Absolutely nothing”
No point commenting on that one, history has already done it for me.
“The one reason why Spurs are better than Arsenal is that Arsenal are always looking backwards whilst Spurs aways (sic) look forwards”
Apart from the three decades you spent looking back at the glorious boys of ’61.
“get a life gooners, step aside for the next 5 years lol”
“Nice history lesson. But what has that to do with this and the following few seasons?”
“I see arsenal in the same league as Aston Villa, Everton, as fighting for the crumbs. Times they are a changing”
“Spurs are the Now….your (sic) the yesteryear”
Now the thing about all those last four comments is that they’re all overlooking the obvious fact that money talks in football, and there is only so far you can go without it. They have seen their team improve over the last few seasons, while Arsenal have – relatively speaking – struggled. Arsenal’s struggle has of course managed to always keep them one place above Spurs so far, but the closeness just gives them hope. One day they will finish above Arsenal, there is no doubt about that. But unless something else changes, it’s not going to be every season, or even most seasons.
They think the momentum is with them, but really it’s not. The momentum is always with the clubs who have the most money. And a combination of factors over the last 25 years or so have meant that Arsenal are in the rich elite of English football.
A successful period under George Graham and further success under Arsène Wenger gave the impetus to build a new stadium at the right time: just as the money was really rolling in for the biggest clubs. As soon as the additional money from the Premier League came on stream the richest clubs opened more of a gap between themselves and the rest, and started to become ‘too big to fail’. It’s now inconceivable that the likes of Man Utd and Arsenal can be relegated, they just generate too much money. The oilies in their current state can’t go down either, but their current state is less set in stone than the big two of the late nineties and early years of the 2000s.
Below those dominant clubs are a clutch who are also pretty much safe, but will equally always struggle to top the league – and this includes Spurs.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Spurs can never have one or two great seasons where everything comes together for them and the richer clubs don’t live up to expectations, whether through bad Board decisions, bad management or just plain bad luck. A lot of football results are down to luck – how else would Wigan win the FA Cup – but you can’t rely on luck all the time, and it tends to largely even out over a 38 game season. Spurs might also have a brilliant manager, better than those at the richer clubs, but managers can only make a certain amount of difference. The best known study of this reckons on average a manager can only make 15 per cent of difference. That’s less than luck.
If Ferguson or Wenger managed West Ham, would they have won the league recently? Almost certainly not. Even if they managed Everton, would Everton have won it? Again, almost certainly not. That in itself indicates why Man Utd have employed David Moyes: the Utd Board clearly think Moyes had done the best he could at Everton, given the resources, despite winning nothing. Despite being nowhere near winning the Premier League. Rather than pay £10m a year to Pep they’ll pay a fifth of it to Moyes. Surely that’s an admission that the money to buy and pay players is far more of a factor?
So in current circumstances Spurs might have the odd great season and finish above Arsenal. But until their income is on a par with Arsenal’s it’s going to take a lot of bad management at Arsenal to let Spurs spend much time above us. Maybe Spurs will build a new stadium and attract 60,000 fans a week to it. Maybe they’ll then really challenge Arsenal and even the Mancs and oilies. Maybe. But until then it’ll be a struggle, and if they’re lucky a great season here and there. Sorry Spurs fans, that’s just the way it is.