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Victory Through Harmony
By Tony Attwood
In the papers this morning the Lord Coe (he of running, Olympics and the Conservative Party) announced that “it would be very difficult for us to be taken seriously in the corridors of world sport and arguably beyond,” if the Tiny Totts are allowed to trash the olympic running track down in the east end.
It is, I guess, not a feeling shared in north London, where the chant “North London is ours” has really caught on and got quite a few resonating choruses during the course of the match against Wigan.
Every other site in the multiverse reviewing the game will speak of Robin, not to mention Batman, but this is Untold, and here we do things differently. And so I would like to begin with the contribution of the stewards to this match before returning to Lord Coe and his little tantrum.
If you are not familiar with the Ems let me explain. The area reserved for visiting support is in the lower tier occupying a corner area. It can be expanded or reduced according to demand. Next Sunday it will expand to the whole of the south bank lower. This week it was at its smallest, as Wigan is a club with only limited support. (I make no criticism of that – quite honestly I think it is a miracle that a club that has such limited support in its home town – Wigan is a rugby town – can host an EPL club at all. The fullest of credit must go to the owner for using the traditional benefactor finance model just to keep the club alive. In such a situation I have no argument with benefactors at all).
Anyway, this situation meant that even with the away zone reduced to its smallest, there were not enough people to occupy even 20% of the region, and in fact for the first time at the Ems away stewards outnumbered the away support.
Seeing this situation the stewards did something rather odd. They arranged themselves into an art work – a pretty pattern of orange in a row of seats from pitch level up. But more, each steward then spread his/her arms wide along the back of each seat to make a set of T shapes one above the other.
To their right (of left looking as I do diagonally across the pitch) there was the little gang of Wiganians (if that is the correct noun) some of whom sat and watched and others who got up and wandered around, wondering if the next seat might offer that slightly better view, or if a row higher could actually encourage the team on a little more.
So it was, as if the away section were replaced by an unmoving sea wall, while to their right an eternally moving cascade of people ebbed and flowed sometimes drifting towards it, sometimes away.
And then came the goal, and that suddenly broke the unmoving wall. For the stewards did not just stand – but they deconstructed, surrounding Wiganestas (another attempt at the noun), and much pushing and shoving took place.
How could this be in such a calm and peaceful sea? (note the internal rhyme). Well, it seems that a few of the Wiganetas cheered Robin’s first goal (scored at their end on the southern shores of the Emirates) and that sent the stewards into a lather of discontent. Oh how they flowed! Oh how they moved! But oh what the hell were they thinking about? There were about 100 Wiggles there, and 250 stewards. So what if the supporters’ contribution to the day was to jump up and down a bit and keep warm when their team let in a goal. Have the stewards never heard of postmodernist irony?
It was both amusing and shameful, and the explanation by the stewards that these were Arsenal fans who had sneaked into the Wiganitized zone was hogwash. Art should be art, and not mucked about with, even if the art is made up of stewards and football fans.
Anyway, as I mention at the start, North London is Ours, is now the chant of choice of the discerning Arsenal supporter, and as a North Londoner born and bred (although I now live out of the city) I applaud this chant utterly. Which means I too want the Tiny Totts to win the Olympic running track bid, and move to the east end. That trip is about 8 miles (not as I said outside the Auld Triangle where I was holding court before the game, 15 miles. Sorry Kevin, you were right to raise a question at that).
Now 8 miles can be a bit tricky for a motorist of limited vision (I speak of course of Tottenham fans) and it is true they might get lost en route. But still I think some of them ought to be able to make it there if they try very hard and leave early enough.
But Lord Coe (until recently a member of parliament for a pat of Cornwall which is actually 300 miles from Stratford) thinks that letting the Tinies loose in Stratford is a Bad Thing. “It’d be very difficult for us to be taken seriously in the corridors of world sport and arguably beyond,” sayeth the Lord.
Now I must admit, “Arguably beyond” is an interesting place – the gateway to other realities and alternative dimensions, and it is one that Tottenham H have inhabited for a long old time. Indeed it is even further away than Cornwall. And now I know where all those runners are heading for as they rather pointlessly run round and around and around. They are looking for the exit – the way out of the corridors of world sport, a way out of the Arguably Beyond in which they are eternally trapped. You can hear their moans if you listen carefully in the middle of the night (although that might just be six big Spaniards who have each strained their back trying to pick up Harry Redknapp’s wallet in a Madrid Street).
Lord Coe, sir, your lordship, your highness, your Cornwallianess, east London is not your normal stamping ground. You know a thing or two about the House of Lords at Westminster. You might even have been to Cornwall once or twice. But really, your eminence, your gratuitousness, you know as much about where the Tiny Totts ought to play as Wigan knew about scoring yesterday. They had two shots, neither on target. We had lots. Hence my headline.
Lord Coe, let your Tottenham go. Stewards, stop mucking around with a handful of Wiggies who have made the long and hopeless journey. Both actions ill become your station and I want no more of this. North London is Ours.