The sheer terror of Tottenham

By Gf60

There are no games in the season that fill me with more terror than the Spuds. It’s 90 minutes of having a pulse rate way too high for an old fart, bitten fingernails, and nervous twitches…and that’s when we’re a few goals up.

Yes it has been 10 years almost to the week since the scrawny chickens raised more than a croak in the league against us. Our record since 1999…10 wins, 8 draws 0 defeats. But every year the tension gets higher. Every year, the thought that they could fluke a winning goal against us, or even worse a winning own goal, with their supporters carrying on as though they’ve just won the World Cup, the European Cup and Aunt Gladys’ tea cup, is sufficient to give any Gooner the horrors.

And that’s the biggest problem. Their supporters just have no class. It’s not a question of 3 points…or the loss thereof that fills me with terror. It’s the spuds rattling on ad nauseum that they are North London’s finest.

They do that regardless without even beating us; St Totteringham’s day being a mere unfortunate fluke; the absence of a championship at the slough of despond for 48 years, a mere oversight. Of course we know it’s all bollocks but they still believe that wishing it to happen will make it happen. They are so pathetic.

They still get more pleasure from us being beaten by anybody in preference to their side actually winning a game. Which probably explains why they’re such a miserable shower…they get little in the way of happiness.

My first exposure to a derby probably explains my antipathy to most spud supporters (although many old friends are spuds!). Funny I’ve never disliked the side as such and used to visit regularly when we were away and they were playing some good football back in the 50s and 60s.

It was 1950, I was 8 years old. My gran, a spud I fear to say, had lost the battle for my allegiance 2 years earlier when I was taken to see my first game at Highbury, and decided that my Christmas present should be a seat next to her on the 23rd December.

Equipped with rattle and scarf I was in my element up until the moment that I realised that we’d lost 1-0. Then the tears came. As did the whispered comment from the spiv type sitting next to me, “That’s yer Christmas present yer little Arsenal shit.”

Now I’d never heard the word before and gran hadn’t heard the comment so nothing was said until I got home and asked Mum what a “shit” was. I got a clip around the ear and the warning that I’d get no Christmas presents this year or any other year if I ever said that word again. And the final blow…”no more watching football for you if that’s the sort of language you learn.”

That spud took out about 10 months out of my supporting programme and might explain partly my ethos that “If it’s bad for the spuds, it’s good for Gooners”

Having said that there is a big BUT. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I for one object to the fact that the Chel$kis and Manchester F***** United have taken the spuds previous pride of place in the jeering/taunting stakes. It’s not really our fault, the spuds have been more deserving of sympathy, a pat on the head and “There, there, there” than a good gloat.

They are the real oppo, always have been, always should be. Please may they never screw up another season like 1977/78 and get relegated… because a season without “the terror”, is so terribly boring. But it goes without saying that should the impossible ever happen… we screw up, St Tott’s day does not occur and we’ve been beaten by the spuds… it will be next century already so I can just roll in my grave.



Copies of the new Arsenal book MAKING THE ARSENAL are expected from the printers today and we should start despatching advance orders on monday.  If you haven’t caught up with it yet, take a look at And just to celebrate we’re going to give the Woolwich Arsenal site a makeover too.

14 Replies to “The sheer terror of Tottenham”

  1. The thins is this mate,

    That team was, is, and never will be a better club than Arsenal in EVERY aspect. They could play some good football but we played great football and win things. They always say it’s a good year to break into the top whatever, but the fact is even with all their spending and the so called good manager, they’re going nowhere. With Wenger we Arsenal fans always have something somewhere to be excited and look forward about, while winning and ACTUALLY finishing in the real top part of the table along the way. Enough said about them……miserable lot

    “I can never accept that we must change our style to win. Trophies are important, but so too is the style in which you play the game. I disagree with the argument that good football can’t win trophies. We are desperate to please the fans with success, but we also want to make them happy with the way we play.”
    Sorry to be off topic but I love this quote from our captain. Anyone who say winning ugly is the only way can suck it…..we’ll win the Arsenal way….

  2. You outrank me by about 6 years then, Gf60.

    Great stuff, although I do not remember those days in the 50s & 60s as being quite so hate filled as the 80s onwards.

    I get the impression that they hate us about 50% more than we hate them. Personally I would prefer going back to good old partisan banter humour than most of the venom spouted now.

    There was huge partisanship. My Grandpa was a Spurs fan (I cannot call him a Spud) but reading between the lines my Dad must have been a bit of a glory hunter because very fortunately he was very much a Gunner unable to associate himself with the long years the Tinys spent in the 2nd division.

    Those early years it would have been much easier to have been a Spud. Bill Nicholson’s early ’60s team, to be honest, was one of the all time great teams to watch.

    Fortunately, we have always been the better club (that gap widens by the year) and since the end of the ’60s much the superior team, so I am so grateful that the right choice came my way & that I stuck at it, assisted to this day by some wonderful friends, to see out those early years.

    There have been some great games, to be fair the Spuds normally (but not always) come to play, & 4-4 is not an uncommon scoreline. I remember at least 4 in my time.

    My favourite the 4-0 at Highbury 1967. George Graham’s wedding day playing against his best man Terry Venables, to start our slow assent to total domination over them.

    Long may it continue but I do not believe in gloating, because there is much truth in the saying “what goes around comes around”.

  3. I hope and pray that the day never comes when the spuds ever gloat over us. May they never acquire the ability to beat us. I doubt if my heart can stand it.

  4. The day that emotions run high is the derby day. As not being from London this game should mean as much as let us say Arsenal-Portsmouth. But when you start supporting the Arsenal you get stuck in the rivalry between the clubs.
    Nothing you can do about it. I even don’t know any spurs fan in person so I can not say that they ever did me someting wrong but even over here we hate them as much as a rat in the kitchen.
    So tomorrow will be the most nerv wrecking day of the season untill the final whistle. Comon you gunners dont let us down.

  5. don’t be over confident & under-estimate spur. still don’t know the line-up, if have diaby (getting involve in defence), eboue (lot of running but no delivery), prepare for the worst even spur don’t have defoe, lennon, modric. They still have gd players.
    Quite recently, spur lost 2-1 to WHU, the last game of the season in very suspicious “food poisoning” incident, end up 5th in the table.

  6. There’s a piece in the Guardian today about Arsenal Tottenham matches which repeats the usual Tottenham reinterpretation of history saying that Arsenal fixed their way into the first division in 1919.

    I’ve written a longish reply to this insult on their site, but if you find it more convenient, I have also reprinted it on That site actually has a new look which makes it more akin to this site – and a very old badge on the top.

  7. Tony – unfortunately the “fixing” angle just sounds so much better for us Arsenal fans. I do not like the explanation that we got into the top-flight by fair means as that explanation doesnt piss off Spurs fans anywhere near as much as the thought that we somehow bought or bribed our way in. The whole “fixing” angle sounds so much better, so much sneakier, so much more tragic for Spurs, which is of course what we all laugh at. I find the “true” explanation quite boring, and completely at odds with so many other “tales” of Arsenal in those days, as we fought our way to the top (such as Herbert Champman’s infamous transfer deal conducted over whiskey and, for HC, water).

    I for one will continue to propogate the “fixing” tale simply because I know how much it annoys Spurs fans and how great it makes Arsenal look.

  8. Tony
    Re Guardian article. Now I’m more confused than terrified…thanks for taking my mind off 20 hours time (not that it will help ulcers,fingers bitten to knuckles and dry rot meeting rising damp)

    Please see and explain Division 2…apparently only corrected in 1975? What system was in place in the early 1900’s…even I’m not old enough to remember.

    Hopefully I’ll be able to celebrate with lots of Merlot tomorrow. As too much wine may not be good at my advanced age, I only drink on days starting with a ‘T’…today, tomorrow, Tuesday, Thursday, Thaturday and Thunday.

  9. Gf60 – if you divide the number of goals scored by the number of goals let in you get one answer. If you divide the number of goals let in by the number of goals scored, you get another answer.

    I am at work and can’t look it up, but in a recent article on I went into this, and used as a source a book which in its preamble thanks the Football League for access to its official league tables year by year which it reproduces. It shows Arsenal as 6th.

    Sorry – must dash – but the article was just a couple of days ago, and it carries the whole story.

  10. The copies of MAKING THE ARSENAL have just arrived in our warehouse.

    I can’t tell you how excited I am. Over a year’s work and finally here it is, and believe me it looks great. Many books I have written I’ve felt that they could have been so much better had I had more time. This time, I finally feel I got it right.

    The book is dedicated to my dearest Arsenal friend, with whom I travelled to uncountable numbers of Arsenal matches, and who tragically died of leukaemia a few years back.

    I am hoping tomorrow before the game to hand over a copy to his son. It will be a moving moment.

    Sorry – I know this is a totally personal thing, but I just felt the need to share it with everyone who so kindly contributes to our discussions, and who has made this site all that it is.


  11. Back in 96th I was liaison officer in Bosnian Army working with UK SFOR (peace keepers here). War was just ended and country was in mess. Somehow guys (Brits) I worked with found that I am Arsenal fan and invited me to watch game together. I was happy because it was my first game to see after war started. I didn’t even realize it could be “trap” as it was. When I show up, room was filed with guys in white shirts, tv was on, and it was just half hour to game.
    It was …. most humiliating moments in my life, I was provoked in so many ways. They laughed at me, funny foreigner, supporting club in foreign country. They said they would even understand if I support some other team, but “boring boring Arsenal”. I was siting beside fridge, and every time someone get up to take bear, said something to me “your manager MR UNKNOWN will send you where you deserve NOWHERE”, and so on and on.
    Than game started…. Most of you know what happened on that game, and that final result was 3-1. It was November 24th, if I remember well.
    No one said word to me, they were lost in their own pain… That day Arsene Wenger became my hero for restoring my pride, my own pride.

  12. Tony, I think that we, well I am, gratefull that you share this with us.
    Those things is what football and being a football fan is all about in my eyes.
    The bond between people, even over the border from live and death. Friendships that are never forgotten between sometimes so very different persons. I can understand what you mean as I have witnessed such a friendship untill one suddenly died. The remaining partner of one of the most odd couples in football fans friendship still always tells me about it and about the friendship between those two persons who were seperated by some 35 years of age but and from different gender. He even gets emotional when telling about it even now and the other person died some 25 years ago.
    So I really hope his son enjoys the book, as we all will do when we get it.

  13. Armin. What a lovely introduction with DB’s goal to round it off. I think that goal rates in Arsenal’s Top 50 goals. Bliss. Mind you Tony Adams goal a few minutes earlier, was also very special. As are all goals …especially those against the spuds.

  14. As far as I know there are very few Spuds fans in my country – those who are are those who supported them in the 60s and early 70s when the won a few crap trophies .I don’t have to remind you that they last won the league in 1961.And they cannot claim to play beautiful football anymore -not for the last dozen years anyway.My worst moment was the FA cup semifinal in 1991 where we lost 3-1.We should have done the double that year.Last year’s 4-4 was the next worst result.Come on boys – do us proud !

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