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Trading places: Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur

By Walter Broeckx

Sometimes lessons can be learnt from what happens to other teams. That is if one is interested in just more than ‘did we win anything this season?”. If not you can stop reading now. For those who like to see things in some perspective they can read on.

Arsenal supporters are so used to a finish in the top 4 in the Wenger era that we don’t even think about it any more. We talk about utter failure when we don’t win the league. And we don’t feel happy with qualifying for the Champions League any more. For me the day we get certainty over entering the CL is a good day. Not that I will be jumping around in my living room and open a bottle of champagne  but I do find it a moment to enjoy. We still are one of the better teams in England and in Europe.

So when last year Tottenham booked a place for the CL at the expense of Manchester Richy we wondered about the celebrations going on in that part of North London. The supporters celebrated as if they had just won the league. We stood there thinking: what’s the big deal?

But Tottenham had made it in to the CL and the fans were happy. And as we have seen so often the Tottenham fans suddenly dreamed of a lot more. They told us that they would take our place in the CL from now on. They would finish above us in the league. You know the dreams Tottenham supporters are having every year and every year they have to stare at the league table in the knowledge that it was nothing more than a dream and that in reality they remained in our shadow.

But this season would be the turning point. And when they won at the Emirates Arry even talked about winning the league. I still wonder what he had been drinking that day before he said those words. Because as things are standing for the moment Tottenham are looking at the possibility of even having no European football at all next season. No champions league is a certainty since Tuesday so the big money is already gone.   They might get the Europa spot – although Mr Redknapp said that he doesn’t want that.

The lack of a Champions League place will be a big financial blow for Tottenham and the risk that they have to sell their best players or the players that earn a lot of money is big. Bale leaving along with some other big earners will have an effect on their team next season. Arry said he didn’t know if there would be any money available for next season to buy new players. Cutting cost is likely the word the board of Tottenham will have to use this summer.

But after hailing Arry as the new messiah all season long the pundits cannot tear him down and admit how premature they have been shouting “hail Arry” this season. So in a remarkable attempt to still highlight the big achievement Tottenham and Arry had made last season they compare the way Tottenham are doing it compared to big moneys spenders. And then they name those big money spenders:  Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United. Take note: no mention of Arsenal amongst the big spender teams.

Just to say: hey look at who they have to compete with. You cannot expect Tottenham to fight against such teams who can spend and spend without restrictions. And again all praise goes to Arry for even achieving one year amongst the big boys in Europe.

And then look at the contrast how they are describing Arsenal. Failure is the word for Arsenal and this season. Failure for many years is what they say about Arsenal since they last won a trophy.

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First of all I would say that Arsenal has done 14 years in a row what Tottenham have done once in those years. And yet we are failure and Tottenham is the best thing ever happened to football.  But how can becoming a one year member of the big boys be that much better and being amongst the big boys all the time be a failure?

And how come that when they talk about the “failure of Arsenal” those journalists never take in account the fact we have to deal with the same teams who can spend money as if it is water in the sea? Why don’t they say: Hey look at Arsenal they have finished 14 years in the top 4 and in the last years they have to compete teams like City, United and Chelsea who can spend money. And hey look at Arsenal who have build a brand new stadium and still stayed in the top 4 despite having to pay a lot of money for that stadium and having to rebuild a complete new team in that period.

Hardly any of the pundits talks in this way about Arsenal. But when Tottenham is involved they show that they can have a broader look at things. So they are not really dumb as I have been thinking for many years. No they do know a bit more than just the score line on the field. But they just don’t want to use it when Arsenal is involved.

Because when writing about Tottenham and taking in account the fact that Tottenham has to compete with the big money plaything teams of billionaires who spend and spend is very correct.  I totally agree with them. It has been an incredible thing for Tottenham to reach the CL even if it was just for one year. I have no problem in admitting this. But then why don’t we get any recognition from them for doing this year after year after year after year?

Why don’t those pundits and journalist not admit that Arsenal with their youth policy, their new stadium to pay for and their small amount of money paid for transfers is doing miracles? Year in, year out qualifying for the CL. But we don’t get any recognition for this.

So maybe we could read the consolation articles dished out by the pundits and journalists for Tottenham these days and then we as Arsenal supporters can say: Whatever they have achieved in the last year, we have done better. Far, far better. And the Tottenham supporters can only dream of what we are doing year in, year out. I bet deep down inside they would trade with our record of the last “6 years without a trophy” for theirs with a one time CL experience and being with the big boys once in an instance.

I wonder how many Arsenal supporters would trade our past 6 years “of failure” with the last 6 years of Tottenham?

So despite of feeling bitter about our lost game at Stoke and the defeat to Villa we should take a look around us. And see that we have been competing for a long time. Okay, the final success was not reached but I think some 16 teams would love to trade places with us.

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42 comments to Trading places: Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur

  • Stevie E

    If I may add… to all the aaa out there, all you spoilt children who want the newest trainers and the latest games and the best phone – this is a list of all the clubs in England we are in the TOP FOUR of this list EVERY SEASON FOR 16 YEARS!!! I’m hoping this will give you some perspective on how well we are are doing and what a remarkable job AW is doing, not only to be one of the best, but to do it against a FA which is clearly doing it’s best to prevent us from being there. AAA, F**K YOU!!!!

  • Of course there is one other issue concerning Mr Redknapp – like Mr Ridsdale currently with bankrupt Plymouth and previously with Cardiff and Leeds, he is facing a court hearing.

    Mr Redknapp and Mr Ridsdale both deny any wrong doing, and as such as fully entitled to keep working in English football, because under our law they are innocent until proven guilty.

    Although it is noticeable that in most other areas of work, such people are suspended on full pay until the case is heard. But not it seems in football.

    We might compare the way Mr Redknapp and Mr Ridsdale have been treated by their clubs with the way Dave Jones, now manager of Cardiff was treated by Southampton.

    n June 1999 Jones was questioned by police over alleged sexual abuse at St George’s School in Merseyside,a home for children with educational and behavioural problems, where he had been employed as a care worker. He was subsequently charged on 27 September with nine offences against young boys of indecent assault and child cruelty. He denied all the allegations.

    Before the case was heard at Liverpool Crown Court in December 2000, Mr Jones was forced to leave Southampton who wanted nothing more to do with him.

    He stood trial on 21 charges. The Judge directed the jury during the fourth day of proceedings to return a formal not guilty verdict on four charges, recorded not guilty verdicts on the remaining 10 charges – all the rest having already been withdrawn. The Judge said to Mr Jones: “No wrongdoing whatsoever on your part has been established”.

    One of the key “victims” was later found to have fabricated their claim of abuse in Jones’ and other cases brought from Operation Care – the police investigation into child abuse – in order to win compensation.

    So, it seems to me Mr Jones was hounded from his job (and of course that is just my view from outside the case) while Mr Redknapp exercises his right to stay in football, while awaiting trial.

  • Exo

    Have you all been on drugs and not noticed that since Twitchybollox took over Tottenscum they have spent nearly £170 million on transfers so to say they got up with the big boys for a season without spending big is complete bullshit. Twitchy couldn’t give a f@ck about tottenham he’ll go when they say they’ve got no money left and leave them in financial ruin (no bad thing) just like he did at Southampton, Portsmouth, West Ham and now with the scumbags. He’ll leave them in tatters and say I got them into the top four with Champions league now give me the England job. Absolute C@nt

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Walter , in 40years of supporting the Gunners ,I cannot off hand recall any season where the Spuds did better than us .Well
    they did do the double 60 years ago !(Pssst- Arsenal have done the double 3 times since- but don’t shout it !)
    In today’s local ESPN sportscenter , the 2 commemtators were tounge-in-cheek explaining to the masses why it will be good for Spuds and Liverpuddle not to qualify for the Europa cup , thus saving themselves for a tilt for a top 4 finish next year.
    They also “stressed” that both are doing their best to screw up
    and don’t be suprised if the manager of the team that does not make it thank the Almighty for this “gift”.

  • steve.


    Ooops I think this was posted in the wrong place.

  • Stevie E

    @steve, if your rating of a supporter is based on how high in the league we finish, how do you rate all the teams who finished below us? You are a glory supporter and are not welcome, however man city are currently welcoming glory supporters with open arms.

  • robbo

    I have never understood why fans who crave for a trophy and voice their discontent are considered glory hunters and only the ones who support the team no matter where they finish are considered loyal fans. Why is it so wrong to want your team to win at all costs. I myself am a moderate fan who supports Wenger and the team in spite of their pathetic performance, and feel Wenger is still the best man for this post, but I do get frustrated when this team throws away fabulous build-ups year in year out. I would really love to see this divide amongst the 2 extreme set of fans end, and for all of us to get behind the team 100%, and at the same time making sure Wenger and his charges are held accountable for every gutless performance they put in for their 50k+ salaries/week..

  • ryangus 15

    I’m cocntent on finishing 4th. We had too many injuries throughout the season. We don’t spend big and yet we are in the top 4 every year. Yes we could have done better but I think we are missing one or two pieces to the puzzle.Chelsea had a sh!t season b4 they picked up Torres and Luisz.we are in a good position to win big next year

  • Olumyde

    Ooops – off topic posting.

  • TommieGun

    Actually, even if the Spuds win the treble 3 years in a row, offer their supporters free blowjobs from supermodels and a free meal @ the Fat Duck, I wouldn’t trade place with them.

  • Shard

    @Tommie Gun

    I would. And when the next year they win only the league I’d start chants of wanting the manager out for his failure and ruination he’s bringing to the club because of his stubbornness.

  • Wrenny

    I actually think you’re giving ‘Arry and the Tiny Totts far too much praise Walter. The Spuds have spent more on players in the last seven years than Liverpool or Man Utd, and almost TWICE as much as Arsenal. Only Chelsea and City have splurged harder. They’re not over achieving at all, they’ve just been massively under achieving for so long that it feels like it! 😀

    I couldn’t agree more with you on the pundits. When you see that they are indeed capable of praising a team that punches above its weight and be reasonable about what to expect, is when it becomes so clear what their constant hounding and criticism is about and it has nothing to do with football. It’s because Wenger is foreign, pure and simple. If any British manager was doing what Wenger is doing he would be (quite rightly) lauded as a simply phenomenal manager.

  • Wrenny

    That should be “their constant hounding and criticism of Arsenal and Wenger is about”.

  • Very droll Steve. Would you like to say something about the article now?

  • para

    Sorry – comment was nothing to do with the article

  • Dark Prince

    Cant believe the author and many others here are comparing ourselves to Tottenham…c’mon guys, are they whom against which we compete each year?? In that case, we should be comparing ourselves to West Ham as well.

    To be honest, i’ve not seen anyone here having the guts to compare ourselves to ManU or even Chelsea. It just shows how many cowards are there here…

  • Adam

    It is a bit misleading to compare ourselves with Spurs to try and make the point that things aren’t so bad after all. Tottenham and their serial failures should be of only mild interest and mirth to Arsenal supporters. If you really want a team to compare us with try Manchester United. Arsenal is not a holiday camp for pretty footballers. It is a professional football club competing in the world’s toughest league. Ferguson knows this and prepares his teams for it. Winning is his mantra not inconsequential comparisons.

  • Stevie E

    @para, my heart bleeds for you, having to support a team which doesn’t make you relax at 2-0. I’m not sure but I’m guessing your post was tongue in cheek? Please can all other teams in the pl please stop trying to score when arsenal are 2-0 up? I suppose its escaped your attention but the other teams in the TOP FLIGHT have players of top quality and the best we can do is try to stop then scoring. I’m sorry to say that we can’t always do that so you’ll have to either choose to support a team where the result isn’t guaranteed, or you can choose to live in the real world.

  • manny

    I read in the Daily Mail that we only have a £30 million budget which includes salaries for new players, transfer fees and new contracts for existing players – so Nasri is to be offered £80k for four years – thats £17 million gone. Trouble is that it is all so believable. Kroenke is just getting on the band wagon – make millions and millions from the fans and give nothing in return other than 4th place. I see absolutely nothing happening in the summer just little kids coming in and that arrogant fool waxing lyrical about squad and mental strength. Judging by the crowd yesterday its fair to say that no one has any faith in this ignorant clown anymore – lets hope to god he goes after sunday when we lose to Fulham.

  • manny

    wenger does not deserve the summer – he has had six years ! It just goes on and on giving this idiot chance after chance. I have said before he will do nothing in the summer and I will be proven correct – no Benzema, no Hazard, no Cahill or Sakho or Subotic. Just another cretin from the French league. The Wenger out crowd are getting bigger and bigger Arsene Al and I expect to welcome you at the beginning of the season 🙂

  • manny

    A lot of you guys are going on about the need to get rid of Eboue, Almunia, Denilson etc, as if that will solve the problem. These guys must go (Diaby too asap). But our problems are far deeper than them. It is the way we play and are coached. We have useless wingers (who arent even wingers) and we can’t defend. We play tippy tappy tosh and everyone has worked out how to play us. Next year unless these issues are addressed it doesnt matter if Lionel Messi arrives, we will drop back even further. This club have been raping its fans since the move and I am happy that the fans aren’t prepared to just bend down anymore.

  • manny

    Oh dear, another comment nothing to do with the article

  • WalterBroeckx

    Manny if you do already know and show some incredibele forsight could you give me the number sor the next lottery so I can win it.

  • GoonerVance

    Just to be clear – I am editing out those commentaries that are nothing to do wiith the article -as I said I would do in the previous post. Tony

  • RedGooner

    Hey Brickfield

    Brickfields Gunners
    May 16th, 2011 at 4:44 pm
    Walter , in 40years of supporting the Gunners ,I cannot off hand recall any season where the Spuds did better than us .Well
    they did do the double 60 years ago

    I had a pain in my ass when Ossie Ardilles and Ricardo Villa were playing for Sp*rs it felt much worse watching them win than this season feels Im not sure where you were when that was going on.
    I even disliked them more when Klinsman played for them his diving drove me mad for a talented player.

  • Mandy dodd

    D prince. I will compare us with Chelsea we won the same as they did without having the luxury of spending 75m in jan, we beat them the last time we played them, as we did utd. I would also compare us favourably with city given games between us this season.
    That aside, we know this team has to toughen up, if. Laundryender is correct in another thread this process may already have began.
    Spurs are not by any means anything approaching our yard stick but it is always good to hear how they just cannot get near us despite what they spend. This article provides context.
    Steve, with you on the aaa, guess they are entitled to opinions but many on these blogs seem to lack class, football knowledge, intelligence, perspective and I am sure breeding as well.
    Hope any aaa members that come on here that did boo the team were able to take pleasure in the fact they were booing the likes of jack, vp, cesc, chesney, and Ramsey who came back from a horrendous injury and scored the goal that beat utd. We really need such fans! They truly are the guardians of this clubs present and future, you know keeping things real and wenger and silent stan in check for the benefit of all of us lesser fans. Not a day goes by when I do not thank my lucky stars such people are acting in our names. Almost tempted to pick out a lucky member of the aaa and personally buy them a season ticket for that wonderful bunch down the road.

  • gooner80

    Arsenal only attract negative comments PERIOD.

    How comes everton who had a much smaller budget then rub a dud spud made it into the champions league do not get any praise, I hate Moyes but he has done a much better job, and done it consistently as wrenny mentioned rub a dud spud have spent a lot of money, who in their right mind gets rid of their best striker (BENT) and criticize him saying something like my old dear could have hit that one in the back of the net when he has stikers that have barely scored all season, Arry has spent loads of money and will hound chairmen for more and when they dont give it blame them for not spending enough.

    Im still waiting to hear gallas’ comments about why he left arsenal, he was going to explain all at the end of the season, and I get the feeling he was going to say something like he stood a better chance of winning something with spuds but Arry lies of promising him the world turned to be a pile of crap, and who else is the lying ba***rd after adebayor and if it wasnt for the fact man city wont sell to rivals I think they would have bagged him

  • Notoverthehill

    What a plonker the blogger must be who thinks Nasri has been playing for nothing, zilch, nada. Any mutt should be able to count that £80K x 52 x 4 must also be less what Nasri is earning at the moment.

    That is the problem with “false Friends”, unreliable, untrustworthy and disappear at the first hint of disappointment.

  • Pete

    One of my fave matches of the season – really – was when Man City visited and parked the bus. They were absolutely terrified of us – despite their mega millions. We didn’t win it, but the way they approach it certainly sticks in the memory! The other top teams do *not* like playing Arsenal in the slightest – I suspect that they think we’re the better side…

  • Well-endowed gooner

    Blackpool’s fighting against relegation. They have no European fixtures next season, no new stadium. They’d be happy just to stay in the Premier League.

    Or how about Notts County? Or Barnet? Or Sheffield FC?

    It’s all just a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

  • Stroller

    I think thst you can go back a lot more than 6 years to favourably compare Arsenal against the Totts. The ’87/88 League Cup semi against them was a turning point when we won over two legs despite them being favourites. Since then we have had the best of things most of the time statistically in both head-to-heads and league placings. Of course there have been exceptions most memorably the ‘Gazza’ semi and the 5 goal Carling Cup upset a few years ago. But league wise I can’t remember when they last finished ahead of us.

  • GoonerVance

    In case you didn’t notice, up until the FA Cup final, City have pretty much played every game with the park the bus tactic. A better example would have been when we visited Old Trafford last year, but that’s besides the point.

    “Parking the bus” is a tried and true method of shutting down our attack and taking advantage of our poor positioning on the counter. We’ve had this weakness for 4 or 5 years now. Barcelona receive similar treatment i.e. Inter in CL, Madrid in CL…

    Truth is “parking the bus” works and the only thing that beats this tactic is more quality on the pitch. BETTER PLAYERS IN THE SQUAD. Messi embarrassed Madrid’s defence. Obviously there’s only one Lionel Messi, but the fact remains we need better players in order to thwart these anti-football tactics.

  • GoonerVance

    “Blackpool’s fighting against relegation. They have no European fixtures next season, no new stadium. They’d be happy just to stay in the Premier League.

    Or how about Notts County? Or Barnet? Or Sheffield FC?

    It’s all just a matter of perspective, isn’t it?”

    Those teams aren’t the 5th highest revenue producing team in the world…The ARSENAL IS. A football club’s expectations are set by the amount of money that club generates or by how much is invested into said club. We are the 5th largest club in the world, we should not be compared to the NOtts/Barnets/Blackpools of the world. Tottenham is a fairer comparison seeing as they are in the top 15 in highest grossing clubs, but don’t give me this “Perspective” crap. Arsenal fans have the right perspective, it’s whether or not you think the stadium is a good enough excuse for us to have a 6 year run without trophies. I still keep the faith, but every now and then I take Lord Wenger’s name in vain.

  • tally

    absolutely right. we the fans ave to wake up and support out team thru thick and thin.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ RedGooner – I have to agree that Ossie was brilliant and have enjoyed watching him play ,as I have others like Peters , Chivers, Hoddle , Hazard ,Gazza and even Waddle but I have never
    coverted my neighbour’s players nor wished that I was supporting that lot .I will admit that they were the better ball
    playing team then but we used to get the better of them almost always.The most painful memory is that Fa cup SF loss in 1991.
    The 2 players that we nicked off them turned out to be great buys – Pat Jennings (70,000 Pounds- and imo the best Arsenal keeper ) and Sol Campbell ( free ).
    As for Villa , his FA cup goals against Man City were probably his only highlights.

  • Ram

    Great article, Walter!

    I love the Arsenal and Wenger’s brand of football. In my opinion, it is because of Wengerball that Arsenal now have fans all over the world.

    However, I do understand that some fans just want to win. But the way you achieve a win does, in fact, matter – it is because of this that I don’t support teams like ManU, Chelsea, or ManCity – they spend absurd amounts of money, but still don’t play football even remotely as attractive as ours.

    You can then argue that these teams spend money to win, but among the 3 teams I mentioned, it is only ManU that leave us in the dust (in terms of points in the league), we are currently four points behind Chelsea and two points above ManCity. Sure you can argue that City are sure/have a chance of snatching third from us, but they have spent hundreds of millions of pounds and for what? 3rd place. Same goes for Chelsea, who in the January transfer window alone, spent 70+ million just to finish second.

    I am of the opinion that our current crop of players are almost there – as embodied by Wilshere who has improved leaps and bounds in a span of one year, which begs the question – how good will he be next year? I was sickened by the booing that i heard (on the television) at the end of the Villa-Arsenal match. I’m from the Philippines and would give my left nut to watch even just one game in the emirates, to see RVP, Nasri, or Fab in person. I guess people just really don’t appreciate things that they have gotten used to. Fans who get the opportunity to watch their teams live, especially Arsenal fans who get to watch such exciting football in such an amazing stadium should really count their blessings.

    By the way, I totally agree with Wrenny regarding the reasons for the lack of praise Wenger receives from the media – definitely because he is foreign and not British.

  • Dark Prince

    Mandy Dodd- you cant campare City and Arsenal this year. City clearly had a successful year. Arsenal on the other hand look to be going down the drains. Just look back a decade ago, Arsenal were doing their double and City were playing in the championship. Now look whats happening…City are Fa Cup champions and have a chance to end up ahead of us into a automatic champions league qualification. And where are we? We have a team which lacks desire to win, our captain (who is also our best player) wants to leave, our fans are booing our players, our manager and also our Board.

    Now lets compare Arsenal and Chelsea.
    A decade back, Chelsea used to fight for a top 6 finish, had not tasted success for a long time. Today, they are consistently ending above us in the league, have won 5-6 trophies in the last 7 yrs, they are performing consistently well in uefa as well. They are the main contenders to the league title than Arsenal. You say they had to spend a fortune for this, but you fail to prove what they are doin wrong if they are spendin. Every big club spends to remain competitive. There’s no rule written on any stone that a team can win only if it has a youth policy. Thats stupid to think. The Board themselves shoved the youth policy down Wenger’s throat and now they as well as the fans are payin for it.

    Dont think we’re even in the same league of ManU that we can be even compared with them. Yes, we were in their league a decade back. But not now.

    Yes we beat ManU, Chelsea and City this year, but jus beating them doesn’t make us champions. Wolves beat ManU, Chelsea and Liverpool this season, does that mean they are a better team than them? No!!

    The league is decided by the most consistent team. And we have to admit, we were not even close to consistency.

  • Dark Prince

    To be more practical, i can only conclude one thing from Arsenal this season- we took a step forward but then took 2 steps backward.

  • Kanenas

    Leaving in an age that the media can shape reality in any way they want, its so refreshing to read articles like this that can cipher through the crap and make some good arguments. Unfortunately for us the mass media are far more powerful than a blog and can clearly influence people especially those that don’t even watch a game. I mean for heaven’s sake if they can shape reality in world economy and make people pay for bank errors imagine what they can do with football. (I hope this is not considered off-topic lol 🙂

  • Kanenas

    Leaving = Living 😛

  • Jas777

    Yes we finished in front of Tottenham again but we also finished behind Manchester United and Chelsea again and most likely behind Manchester City and looking to the future I think we will be finishing behind them again and again and again

  • The Blaze

    And Spurs were the highest spenders in the last 5 years, how about that? And still limited success.

    But then again, it isn’t Spurs that I am interested in beating. We don’t compete with Tottenham. The Emirates was build in order to compete with the likes of Manchester United. And we do. We just don’t win, which is unfortunate, but at least we’re competing with them for the last 15 years(?), which is a good thing.

    Spurs can move to East London for all I care. The noisy neighbours.