I have a lot of feeling for White Hart Lane – having watched my first ever football match in the Lane. It was Wood Green Town against Dulwich Hamlet at the only football ground that there has ever been in that long and winding road. (Forget the silly stories the popular press – only Wood Green have ever played in WHL.)
I’m quite interested in games at 748 Tottenham High Road too, and certainly the defeat in the old stadium in that unruly road against the “Tiny Totts” (as the local club is affectionately known in much of London), deserves a review. Arsenal had not previously lost to the “Folks Down the Lane” (as they are so often called) during the entire century – until last week. Clearly the officials and supporters of the “White Cock” saw this victory as a momentous occasion, for within seconds for the final “whistle” (to give the end of the game its colloquial term), they had rushed out a commemorative DVD and coffee “mug”. This is a major break with tradition for the High Road club who for years have shown a movie of their greatest triumphs prior to each home game, leading to the jolly and amusing chant among visiting spectators of
You won the league (you won the league)
In black and white (in black and white)
You won the league in black and white
to the melody of “When the Saints go Marching In” commemorating all the while to total lack of achievement by the Tottenham team who have only ever won the top league twice in over 100 years of trying. But never at White Hart Lane
Arsenal fans too have been known to commemorate great moments in the history of the Tiny Totts in the past, most notably rushing out tee-shirts reprinting the front and back page of the Sun which carried the story of one of the vast number of men who have been managers of the “Army” (as some Tottenham fans call themselves in a moment of rare irony),in recent years, having been arrested for kerb crawling at Kings Cross. (I think he now works for the BBC).
But this was an exception, for if Arsenal had the habit of rushing out a memento or memorabilia each time the Woolwich boys scored a victory over their less illustrious neighbours then most Arsenal fans would have needed to have house extensions built – at considerable cost to themselves. As it is, it has been reported that significant numbers of houses in the north of our fair capital city have become unstable, and some have even collapsed, as a result of Tottenham fans coming out of the woodwork. So to the game. Normally you expect a 5-1 victory to mean that the winning “team” had most of the play, most of the passes, and in fact most of everything. In this case it was not so.
- Arsenal made 499 passes, Tottenham 222 – the biggest difference ever seen in a top flight match!
- Arsenal had 64% of the possession, Tottenham 36% – an amazing statistic, and one that is unknown where the 64% team actually loses.
- Arsenal had 18 shots on target, Tottenham 12.
In short it was a freaky match – and one begins to wonder. Is Tottenham under its new management a freaky team? It may be – time will tell. Certainly they trotted out and were beaten 3-1 in their next match, while Arsenal sauntered to a 3-0 victory. We naturally wish the victors “good luck” in the final tie with CSKA Fulham.
Other reports you might enjoy:
The Stupidity Files: Tottenham Hotspur
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