Tottenham have reason to be concerned about how supporters behaviour is seen overseas



By Tony Attwood

It is quite widely accepted that increasingly, clubs are dependent upon income from overseas to help buy more players and meet FFP requirements when so doing.  Hence the overseas tours, and websites dedicated to reaching out to fans around the world.

And that is also why the negative publicity Tottenham H has been getting in the past few days might just have been noticed by the club a little bit more than one might expect.

For many organisations, a spot of negative publicity (such as that generated by Tottenham’s own supporters supporting the opposition in the last match) is to be regretted but can be quickly overcome by the organisation putting out some positive advertising which points attention in a different direction.

But although supporters of an English Premier League club from other countries do buy into the club they support, and all that surrounds it, they generally don’t have the depth of feeling for the club’s history that English supporters have.  So Tottenham Hotspur supporters from France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium etc etc know that Arsenal are Tottenham’s rivals, but they don’t necessarily get the depth of feeling between the two clubs, because they don’t know the history in as much detail as we do, and have little chance to feel the animosity of some, directly.

Thus they might know that Arsenal are historically much more successful than Tottenham, but again not really get the depth of the feeling that comes from that history, which in the early days took the two clubs down very different paths.

They certainly won’t know that Tottenham worked hard to block Arsenal’s move from Plumstead to Highbury, or that after Tottenham’s attitude changed Arsenal on the other hand supported Tottenham’s move to join the Football League, which they did not do until 15 years after Arsenal joined.

Which perhaps is why the issue of some Tottenham fans supporting the opposition at a home game has caused quite a stir in Europe.  In Europe the most common debating point about supporters is how far they will take their support of their team.  The notion of a set of supporters turning against their own team and wanting it to lose while not completely unknown, is normally a very small-scale affair, and hardly reported. 

In Europe they are also used to protests against a manager – especially one seen as being “not fit to lead the club” but here we saw Ange Postecoglou getting really angry with Tottenham supporters who were supporting the opposition.

Indeed as Postecoglou is reported as saying after the match, “Unfortunately, over the last 48 hours, I noticed that the foundations were very fragile.”

Of course such a set of developments won’t affect attendances – the stadium is undoubtedly already sold out in terms of season tickets for next season.  But although that is what we primarily notice in England, overseas there are different perceptions, and overseas is where the extra money comes from – especially with Tottenham now having lost any chance of playing in the Champions League from next autumn.

What overseas countries that buy TV rights look for is passion – but passion as they understand it, which means eternally supporting one’s team no matter what.

Of course there’s nothing Tottenham can do about the behaviour of their supporters and equally of course I can’t judge what Arsenal supporters would do if the positions were reversed, but then equally of course, they are not.

Arsenal have won the league 13 times and have been in the 1st division since the league was extended in 1919.  Tottenham have had regular (if brief) sojourns into the second tier over the decades, the most recent being 1977/8.

They have won the top division twice, which is the same as Preston North End, Derby County, Burnley and Portsmouth.   And not quite as good as the likes of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds United, Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers who have each won the league three times.

I might be wrong, but as far as I know, even when it comes to the FA Cup, Tottenham have been less successful than Arsenal, winning the cup eight times, the last being in 1991.  Arsenal’s last win in 2020 took that total up to 14.

So for all the proclamations of the new stadium having beer pumped up from below, and other such extraordinary feats of technology, the issue of some of their own fans feeling that supporting a Tottenham defeat in order to thwart Arsenal is more important than supporting their own team, does say quite a lot.

And that’s not going unnoticed.  Nor is the league table, with Tottenham having 18 fewer goals scored, 33 goals more conceded, a resultant GD that is 51 goals lower than Arsenal’s and 23 fewer points than Arsenal.  Indeed I get the impression from friends overseas that their linguistic equivalent of “laughing stock” is being used increasingly about our noisy neighbours.

Which as anyone who like myself works in marketing, will tell, does make promotional and advertising activity rather difficult.

10 Replies to “Tottenham have reason to be concerned about how supporters behaviour is seen overseas”

  1. Yes in Belgium it is mentioned in the media and looked upon with eyes open wide in disbelief….

  2. well, my take is that what we are seeing is a club in disarray like Arsenal were when ownership issues were affecting the whole club.

    Sp*rs had a period with stability and did get some results alas no trophy to show for. Now they lost the stability in the sports side of the organisation and their owner had his troubles with justice and is not the owner anymore, etc etc….

    In Africa, they say : the rotting of the fish starts by the head.

    Glad that at Arsenal we’ve got the ownership issues settled and we are seeing results of an organisation run professionnaly and with long term returns as a goal.

    No idea what will happen to our neighbours, and fact is I don’t much care. But stability is the last thing they look like they’ll have.

    So their problem.

  3. It is interesting to note that the last time the Spuds won the league is closer to 1899 than 2024 and that is a firkin long time ago

  4. Nice try. I’m sure you didn’t think about our ‘reputation around the world’ the other night when you were all supporting us, cos you all know deep down that you would have done exactly the same thing if that horrible situation was reversed. By the way, history is what it is, 21 years, 52 years, whatever, they’re just numbers, both long ago. Although, as you were talking recent history, I thought it strange to notice there was no mention of us finishing above you for 6 of the last 8 seasons.
    Don’t worry, you can always try again next year – good luck with that, what’s another year eh. Oh and I really hope those bitter, salty tears dry up soon. Much love

  5. @Ben,

    interesting….looks like he knows stuff we don’t…

    OT : fascinating how the Manure owners so far are not getting much flak for their neglect of the worlds richest club. Needed a leaky roof for the so-called press to start opening its eyes about the total mismanagement and financial mismanagement of more then a decade.
    And it’s not like they had some shareholder fight going on like Arsenal had for quite a few years. No. But I remember all the crap about Arsenal back then and still now. I just can’t stop thinking about how the so-called press just does not talk about reality but about it’s agenda : Manure, Sp*rs, Pool, City115, PGMOL are the goldilock darlings who can do no wrong and can be . as for Arsenal and a few others I guess it is always open season.

  6. Yd – there is one line in your comment that I found most interesting: “cos you all know deep down that you would have done exactly the same thing”.
    The suggestion that you know what I am thinking “deep down” is one that I have read a number of times from Tottenham supporters, and I find it really odd. How can you even begin to think you know what I am thinking when we haven’t even been in the same room together, let alone had a converation. It seems to me a very, very strange belief.

  7. @Yd,

    visibly you read what fits your agenda. Many times has the fact Sp*rs ended up in front of us mentionned her in the past 8 years.
    Then again, yes, we’ve had a couple of St Totteringham days lately.

    As for our thinking, let me give you the baseline : your stadium is incredible, a technological masterpiece. The double lawn feature is amazing.

    Your PR people did a good job making all and sundry believe you are the richest club in the world and have no debt.

    As for your operation, the management is in shambles, your owner or ex-owner if anyone wants to believe his familly now owning his shares don’t listen to him, is a convicted fraudster, your manager said loudly how much he despised some fans’ attitude.

    Mr Arteta stated that for him, a player of his team MUST be able and wanting to play 50, 60 games a season, as Messi, Maradona, Neymar, Levandowski have done.

    Mr Postecoglu stated in an interview he did not want players who expected to play CL, said he was happy with just EL. So his expectation of Sp*rs ceiling is definitely not the same as Mr Arteta’s of Gunners ceiling. Guess we are seeing 2 ends of the same road and 2 totally different clubs with far apart expectations.

    Had Mr Arteta been saying that, the shitstorm would have been neverending. The Sp*rs manager saying it was visibly not even a statement of intent…just a reality that had sunk in.

    So, yeah, I’d rather be happy and celebrating about our Gunners having challenged Cit115 down to the wire then for having lost a game to them. The more so that – if I remember right – they ended up with something like one shot on goal and Haaland, the galactic viking pretty much did not touch the ball.

    But being a laughing stock outside of England – or not even that – a total non subject is not going to make people adhere and fans from other places don’t have father-takes-son-to-the-game or loved-Ferguson-or-Wenger-2-decades-of-successes-so-I-stick-to-the-team-i-learned-to-love ties to a team : they just buy another shirt and switch channels.

    And tilting the bleeding will take a long time, 2 or 3 Harry kanes at the same time and stability at the manager position.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *