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An Anti-Tottenham Tottenham at WHL? It seems there is, and the manager’s annoyed.

By Tony Attwood

There have been times when I’ve thought that Arsenal was the only club which had an organised anti-club grouping within it – we named it the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal (AAA).

Now it seems Tottenham has its own version and they are making themselves heard at games.   Maybe it’s because thus far they ain’t scored many goals.  Maybe it’s just the style of play.  Maybe it is because they feel that having sold Bale they should have done something better with the money.  Maybe the AAA, having lost the battle at Arsenal, have tipped up at Tottenham.  Whatever the reasons or the situation, the Tottenham manager AVB has commented and seemingly criticised the fans.

The fact is that it was only two months ago that Arsenal had the same thing, with the endless endless lunatic criticism of the club, players, manager, directors and those of us who stood by the club, growing and growing.  The talk of tearing up and throwing away the season tickets was rampant once again, as it had been through the summer.  (But I suppose those desperate to want to watch the Arsenal play rummaged through all the dustbins and retrieved the plastic cards, cos there was hardly a spare seat in the house this weekend).

Anyway, back to Tottenham.  And I have to say their positive fans have my sympathy.  Having “supporters” in the ground who moan and jeer is a pain in the arse.  Or the tot.

A quick look at the league table shows the tottenham however.

Pd
W
D
L
F
A
GD
Pts
1
Arsenal
10
8
1
1
22
9
13
25
2
Chelsea
10
6
2
2
16
8
8
20
3
Liverpool
10
6
2
2
17
10
7
20
4
Tottenham
10
6
2
2
9
5
4
20
5
Man City
10
6
1
3
28
11
17
19
6
Southampton
10
5
4
1
11
4
7
19
7
Everton
10
5
4
1
14
10
4
19

Tottenham are in a Champions League spot, which is what they crave.  But they are scoring under a goal a game – a fate they share with the likes of Hull, Villa, WHU etc.

It seems to me it is a growing issue – supporters are increasingly getting influenced by journalists and blog writers for whom nothing is real other than the last game.  Every game by one of the larger teams should be not just won, but won easily, and when not it is simply not acceptable.

Drew’s comment after the league cup game that people given the chance to see Arsenal for once because the season tickets didn’t cover the game, were moaning from very early on, reminds us that moaning and being negative is the new mode of support.  They thought they were doing the right thing.

So in this regard Tottenham is in a similar position to Arsenal, and to Man U, and Chelsea (remember that Champs League home defeat?) and…   Winning everything has become a minimum requirement.

Some while ago I did a piece on the Arsenal History blog looking into the origin of the Arsenal supporters who moan all the time, and the earliest piece I could find commenting on it cited what turned out to be Herbert Chapman’s last FA Cup game – the defeat to Walsall.   After that, it was suggested, there was no leeway given.

Now because the journalists and bloggers repeat and repeat theagreed  mantra of the day, matters are worse.  You know the club is playing shit football because the blogs tell you so again and again and again.  So you have to join in and criticise.  (Indeed the fact that we are called is Untold is largely because our positive message was previously not being heard very clearly).

But was Mr Villas-Boas right to have a bash at his own clubs supporters after the Hull game – a game they won?  It seemed a strange thing to do, to me, not least because I can’t remember Mr Wenger ever doing that.  Or George Graham.

The problem is that the booing and negativity does have a impact.  For me it is one of the five key factors that influences how games go.  There’s the quality of the players on each side, the referee and whether he has been bought, the tactics of each side, luck and the fans.  We saw that at the Ems with the demise of Gervinho who had an excellent African tournament, and is now playing superbly since he left the Ems, but knew that one slip, one false pass and he would be booed and jeered by Arsenal fans.

Did it do us any good?   Of course not.  We lost a talented player who otherwise would be in the squad now.   It’s why the people who boo and demand total gratification were named the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal – because that is what they are.  They have been far more effective than any opposition fans at holding Arsenal back.

The problem for Arsenal and Tottenham is that many lesser teams follow the old Bolton ploy of parking not just the bus in front of the goal, but the whole multi-story car park.   On top of this they use every tactic imaginable from rotational fouling to endless timewasting.

But Arsenal, Tottenham and other teams need to be able to deal with that – and indeed that is what Arsenal under Mr Wenger have been doing these years since Henry left – working on a new system to overcome the tactics of the lesser teams.   As I suggested in the last article, we are now seeing the fruits of this exploration with Rotational Football, that system of endlessly changing players around in a midfield/attack of five or six players.

And it really has taken this long to find the players who can do this.  Tottenham’s problem, it seems to me on the outside, is that the sale of Bale and the influx of all the new players means they are still focussed on getting the team to play together, rather than on the much more sophisticated issue of rotational football.

In this analysis what the anti supporters do is slow down the reform.  Because they are only interested in simplistic statements and this week’s result, they do not allow for a long-term revolution and so everything takes longer.

Beating down “park the car park” opposition is not simple.  Yes a total genius player like Henry could do it, but better to have a genius trilogy of Bergkamp, Henry and Pirès to do it.  And putting such a formation together takes time.   That we have now got it in Ozil, Cazorla and Ramsey is why we can beat teams like Liverpool who come to take us on, and lesser teams who come to defend.

The problem for the Tottenham manager, it seems to me, is not that what he says is untrue – it clearly isn’t.   Booing hurts your own team.  But rather that it sounds weak and feeble to admit it.  The players are paid more each week than we earn in a year, so how dare they be influenced by something as trivial as jeering.   But they are influenced and so they get worse – yet such an admission is itself a cause for jeering and laughter.

In this world, teams can play better away, because away support is always more noisy, because the aim is to be heard by the home fans main end.  It has always been thus.  I remember a midweek match in the last century against Sheffield United when they played at a three sided stadium (that’s how long ago) and we lost 5-0 or 5-1.  Once it was clear Arsenal were going nowhere, our entire effort in the away end was to sing loud enough to show the opposition that irrespective of the results, we were there, standing by our team.  Nothing else mattered.

But when Mr AVB said that, “at home it’s difficult. It is like it drags the ball into our goal instead of the opponent’s goal. It is something that is felt within the group, a feeling that invades fixtures like this,” he is not saying anything that really encourages the supporters to be more supportive.

However there is one thing that Tottenham have on their side, which Arsenal never had.  When the AAA got going the press loved it, fed them the lines they should say, and reported every word, whether it was the 3% minority making a fuss at the AGM, or the unintelligible “We want our Arsenal back” campaign outside the ground.  One plonker stands up with a “spend some fucking money” sign behind Mr Wenger, and he’s on national TV all night long.

The press have praised Villas-Boas in the way they criticise Wenger.  They have commended him for his honesty and ability to speak out.  As for the suggestion he also made that a major part of the problem is playing on Sundays, that seems to be pushing the logic a bit far, but by and large the press even let that one go.

The fact is that the anti-club supporter sitting with his computer and moaning all the time, is where we are.  You get out of it by building a team that is different, which invents a new style, has a new approach, and which plays so excitingly that you can’t but shout with joy and enthusiasm.  If Mr AVB continues to lambast his own supporters, and relies on the press for support, then he might just find that at Tottenham, unlike at Arsenal, managers are a removable commodity.

———————

The books…

29 comments to An Anti-Tottenham Tottenham at WHL? It seems there is, and the manager’s annoyed.

  • Mandy Dodd

    doubt if todays game will have done much to placate the antispuds. It will take time for that team to gel, Wenger himself is clearly wary of too much change in too short a time,and though the Spuds are doing ok, they are not setting the world alight with their play. They have had a lot of recent changes. But, for those stating, and perhaps with reason, we need more strikers….well, they have what 3 or 4 but a MF nowhere near as creative as ours, and does it show! Seems like they need penalties to win games. I think they will improve on the creative side as the season goes on…unless AVB is trying to build a Chelsea. But you are right to cite the broadly sympathetic media…can you imagine if Wenger had spent near £30m on a kid who speaks no English and cannot really get into the team

  • colario

    I believe the daily printed newspaper is a dying animal. The industry has to have news that is not found electronically. That is difficult to come by.

    One way for a newspaper to resolve the problem is by trying to hold on to its readership by ‘creating news’. Something that might be a quick read here on the net is blown out of all proportions in order to keep the reader interest thus and buying the paper.

    Then of course there is the British press’s determination to destroy all things bright and beautiful.

    It has become popular to ‘down’ Arsenal because as we haven’t won a gong for awhile we are an easy ‘bash’. I believe we will continue to be ‘ an easy bash until we have won the Champions League cup at least twice.

    I was surprise to learn that AVB had publicly critised the home fans.

    Tottenham fans I would think are in pain at the moment having lost Bale as they see it they lost their leader into winning gongs, of being first and no longer also runs.

    The loss of Bale must have been a great blow to AVB and for all we know destroyed his plans to bring ‘glory’ to the fans.

    He was given the cash to buy in players and he has done that- a whole team of them.

    As we who are long term fans understand rebuilding a team takes time and we have the patience for this.

    However, the media be it TV, radio, press or internet blog professional see here a weakness an opportunity to proclaim their authority and deride Spurs for their lack of instant success and stir up the rebellion and the fickle fans flies with them.

  • jambug

    Excelent piece Tony.

    As I have said on here time and time again it is the media and there agenda that sets tones and in the long term effects everything from the way a crowd behaves, a player/team performs, to how a ref handles a game.

    Take fergie. He could say the most ridiculous things but the media will give any old tosh he speaks much unwarrented credibility by labaling it ‘clever mind games’. Yet should anyone answer back, Benetez for example, and they are either ‘whingeing’ or ‘biting’.

    He would claim the PL was going soft when he wanted his team to get away with kicking a team off the park. I give you the day they mugged the invisibles. Yet when he wanted Ronaldo protected he claimed the skilled players don’t get enough protection and guess what, the media lapped it up giving his arguements there full backing. The referees duely followed suit.

    Yet as we all know if Wenger had come out with that he would of been told to ‘man up’, your just a bunch of whingeing foreigners or conversly when it suited it was pointed out what a dirty thug Vieira was.

    As you say Tony if Wenger had come out with what AVB did they would of slaughtered him.

  • jambug

    ‘Invincibles’ obviously. Freudian slip or what. Oh well !!!

  • jambug

    I think all teams have these numpties that are never happy unless they win every game by a cricket score, and every trophy thats up for grabs.

    It’s just that it’s only ours that the media latch on to. As you say, by pointing out the man in the crowd with the banner. Turning up the volumn at the end of a defeat to highlight the minority booing. (The same minority that boo at O/T, Anfield or WHL, but in there case it’s conveniently overlooked and certainly not highlighted). Or by finding the whingeing numpty outside the ground who proffesses to speak for all of us when he claims “wenger doesn’t know what he’s doing” or “Wenger out”.

    We all have these idiots it’s just ours are highlighted so much more than anyone elses in an attempt to start up a band wagon. Alas such is human nature that far far to many seem prepared to jump on.

  • colario

    Someone on Talk Sport ‘ Arsenal are on top by 5 points and they deserve to be there. To me they are just a team of midfielders, they have got no width.’

  • jambug

    @colario

    Someone on untold ‘Arsenal are on top by 5 points and they deserve to be there. To me Talksport are just a bunch of wankers, they have got no brains’

  • bjtgooner

    Good article Tony.

    While the AAA have calmed down a bit we do have the odd (sometimes very odd) lunatic posting on this site. But overall I feel the AAA are just waiting for a suitable opportunity to crawl back out of the sewer to restart their campaign once again. Lets not forget the AAA had and have a dedicated strategy designed to radically change the managerial structure at Arsenal – they will try to come back – lets hope the results finally bury them.

    I don’t know much about the ATT, but they would have more to complain about had the Spuds not been gifted 6 points from three strange penalties this season.

  • Stuart

    BJT,
    All it will take is one loss for them to come out of the sewer and say “I told you so, never mind we have won 8 and drawn 1 of the last 9 games, that is irrelevant”.

  • Pat

    Very thorough analysis Tony.

    Arsene Wenger had to deal with this negativity for a long time. He knew it was harming the play and the players – and the results, of course. But he had to find a way to deal with it without further alienating the fans and without giving the media yet another stick to beat him with.

    Things he says now show how he knew players were being affected. He did try to point it out at the time too, but a lot more subtly than AVB has.

    The fans at Tottenham are also probably cross because they have been deprived of their chants. Whatever the rights and wrongs of that, it had become part of their tradition. I wonder how they will react to being criticised by the manager?

    From an Arsenal fan’s point of view, it is exciting that the atmosphere at home matches has improved so much. As Arsene Wenger says, it was the team that needed to inspire the fans. Now they do. Long live Rotational Football!

    It’s certainly getting harder for a red member like me to get tickets. I’ll be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to try and get one for Hull. It’s good, though, it shows more people want to see the team. Positive vibes will drown out the negative!

  • Pat

    By the way, it looks like Mihir Bose resigned as BBC sports editor in 2009 for personal reasons. The BBC sports editor now is called David Bond. I don’t know what team he supports.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Just been watching today’s MOTD and beginning to conclude Verthongen is a serial cheat a worthy successor to bale on that front. A strong boy but if you touch him he hits the deck. hope the media may highlight this in the way they have with other players but then again ….media….spurs….

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yes knew mr Bose no longer there but like you know nothing of his successor. Met Bose once a really nice guy on my first and only impression but as I say a real spud who really does not like us!

  • I watched the boring match simply to see the result and if we will maintain our 5 POINT LEAD 😀 , how on earth sigurdsson is better than eriksen and lamela I do not know but that is what AVB did and brought him on the pitch. After his jibe at fans dont know how another boring match will be received by their home support.

  • elkieno

    Good article Tony.
    Our fans are people and people are everywhere!
    All I hope for is that we play our best all year long, we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot and let the other fans of other clubs deal with their issues for a change.
    Just leave us alone to our own devices, dont even think about us please.
    COYG!

  • Armin

    I believe it is due complexity of “supporters phenomenon” and different reasons why we support clubs. I wont say any group is less or more supportive. Just fact is that some of us support clubs for our own reasons and feel happy or sad in our own world, while some do it to feel as part of group opposed to other group. Question is are you happy when your club winning for your self and good of your club, or because it gives you unique opportunity to feel dominant over others.
    Don’t get me wrong, I wont say any of those groups are not genuine supporter, just difference is in what moves them to support and how they feel about it.
    I believe “second group” is more exposed to “being unhappy” with own club, as they need club to do well to satisfy their need for feeling of dominance and satisfying ego. And I see nothing wrong with it again,its how things works. So the second group is also more exposed to wounds made by “public opinion” as in their view that’s is measure of greatness of club.
    And looking from that point Tottenham failed this season, they were ecstatic seeing all those players being bought while we had no one to come, having huge list of “superior reinforcements”, so their spirit was high. And now they hit bottom after they sow 100 millions spent of “scoring muscles” being able to produce only 8 goals.

  • ARSENAL 13

    I’ve read/heard elsewhere…..ARSENAL were given too much space by Liverpool. I dont agree. As Tony claims here, a new system of football being deployed by Mr Wenger, the rotational football. Liverpool players dint have a clue, which player to track, which to cover, when to stay put….
    Our rotation was so efficient, Liverpool dint stand a chance to get tight on our players. Even the Ramsey goal….Toure was in two minds, to track Girouds run or to close down Ramsey……

  • Sammy The Snake

    Sign of the times, Tony!

  • jambug

    Arsenal 13

    Re Ramseys goal. I thought exactly the same. Toure just didn’t know what to do.

    Well he does now. Don’t, at any price, give Ramsey time and space around the box.

    As a point of interest I would suggest letting Giroud run off the back of you into the box is not the wisest choice either !!

    Oh well, you pays your money you makes your choice !!

  • bob

    “But, for those stating, and perhaps with reason, we need more strikers….well, they have what 3 or 4 but a MF nowhere near as creative as ours…”
    Mandy,
    And the “perhaps with reason” is that Nick the not too quick is the backup to Giroud, if he is injured at some time. Or is that ruled out for the sake of this argument. The only choice is not what we have now Vs warehousing 3-4 not-integrated strikers.

  • Mick

    @Bob
    I have read on a few different sites that Benzema is a done deal for a January transfer to us. Good news if true, we shall see in due course.

  • jambug

    Brickfields

    You can shove as many of these types of articles as you want under the noses of the AAA types and it will not change a thing. Why?

    Because so many are brain washed by the constant ridicule and critisism thrown at them by the media.

    I can lay you a pound to a pinch of s**t that today, Talkshite will still be critising and deriding us all day.

    I very rarely listen to that crap and when I do I usually regret it within 5 minutes.

    The hypocrisy they exhibited at times is simply mind numbing. In the close season they had a phone in about how the obscene money being payed to, and for, players is priceing the common man out of the game. And who did they flag up as the biggest culprits? Yep, Arsenal.

    Not 2 days later they had a phone in dismissing Arsenal as a ‘has been’ Club because they wont spend big money on players.

    Honestly you couldn’t make it up. But they do !!!

    And I didn’t listen to the post match phone-ins but again I will lay a level bet we still got very little, if any credit for Saturdays win.

    logical, fair minded, thoughtful articles like the one highlighted are ignored by the rank and file gutter press as nothing.

    Yes fans are fickle, ours more than most, but against a backdrop of the vitrial, spite, and constant negative propaganda, thrown at us, day in, day out, it’s hardly surprising.

    Thank God this site shows that not everyone is taken in by it all.

    Long live my new found haven of football sanity in a World of football insanity, UNTOLD !!!!

  • Mick

    @jambug
    The pratt Durham said this evening that the reason we are doing well this season is because Wenger has at last taken notice of what he has been telling him to do for ages and buy some big name players. So now you know, our success is all down to Durham.

  • colario

    Mick

    His other team is Peterborough (Managed by a son of Ferguson.) who were thrashed at home by Leyton Orient on Saturday. May be he should apply his expertise at Peterborough because he is sure out off his league in the EPL!

  • jambug

    @Mick

    As has been pointed out many times, we seemed to be doing quite well without Ozil.

    To me what Ozil has done more than anything has changed how we are persieved from outside. A staement of intent if you like.

    On the footballing side, as much as Ozil is World Class and obviously it’s magnificent to have him, I beieve there are a few things far more instramental to our improvement than Ozils arrival, some of which go back to the start of 2013.

    Firstly, we’ve got a ballanced and settled back 4.

    Secondly, even before Flamini we had started to protect the back 4 better. IE defending much better as a team.

    Thirdly, Giourod has settled in to become a top top player.

    Fourthly, Ramsey. If we’d payed 50 Million for him nobdy would be quistioning it.

    I believe all 4 of those things have contributed more to our improvement since the start of the year than Ozils arrival. As I see it we’ve just continued off this season where we left off last.

    So thanks Durham but your advice hasn’t made that much difference anyway. Prick !!

  • Stuart

    Jambug
    5th – continuity & familiarisation. There have been no wholesale changes meaning the team are starting this season more cohesively than they finished the last.

  • jambug

    @Stuart

    Indeed. Ozil is just a piece, all be it, a brilliant piece, of a jigsaw that is coming together very nicely.

    Once our injuries come back our squad is awesome. (it’s pretty good at the moment). Quite the opposite to the general line taken by our ignorant media.

  • jambug

    Has anyone seen the piece Durhams written in the Mail today?

    Didn’t read it but you just have to read the comments to see what an absolute prick he’s made of himself.

    I understand he thinks we should sign Hart on loan in January.

    He is being totally derided by 100% of the replies.

    If ever there was proof that he is just a complete troll who writes/speaks with the sole intent of creating ‘hits’ or ‘calls’ then this is it.

    Well at least I hope so for his sake otherwise he’s even more of a numpty than I thought and I would of sworn that wasn’t possible.