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July 2021

Our neighbours down the road


Don McMahon

It will be possible to take this article as an insult and a disloyalty to the Arsenal.  It is possible to shrug it off as the ravings of a senile senior citizen.  I hope however you will understand the motives behind this opus.

What started my train of thought was that watching the season progress and the trials and tribulations of both north London clubs, it struck me how the Totts seemed to mirror Arsenal’s struggles and achievements over the last few years.

One has to admit that they have come a long way since the days of Ramos and are now among the challengers for a place in the top 4 almost every season since 2011. That said, it is a credit to their pride and belief in their potential to rival the big money clubs despite the following:

1) They have, imho, survived one of the worst managers in the EPL (who shall remain unnamed) whose dog seemed more intelligent and certainly more literate than him. His record of sinking otherwise viable clubs leaves a string of ruined and insoluble shells littering his errant career path. He is a sheep in wolf’s clothing and a clown hiding behind a jester’s mask.

2) Their rather ageing and definitely undersized stadium at WHL, offers them little in the line of financial support unlike the Emirates does for the Arsenal.  Granted permission to build a new stadium in 2011 the talk on the club’s own website page on the new ground has not been updated since September 2012 when they talked quite a bit about building a supermarket.  Unable or unwilling at the moment to build a new home, as Arsenal did, the Spuds are, for the moment, stuck with their unpromising grounds despite their best efforts to obtain the Olympic stadium.  And yet, their football remains effective and their desire to achieve, unaltered.

3) This season in particular, they have been accused of being a one-man team (sounds familiar?) and indeed have depended on Bale’s impressive performances to keep them in games and to earn them crucial victories. That said, they have ground out wins, (even when he is not on form), over the last few seasons.  That is a sign of a balanced team. Their ability to maintain or recover  their winning rhythm is a credit to their perseverance and self-belief.

4) AVB has done at WHL, what he was not allowed to do at Chelsea. He has them playing good football, defending well and nipping key wins when needed. As far as I can see, their illiterate, former manager does not hold a candle to AVB’s skills and managerial nous. Their style of play reminds me a great deal of Arsenal’s, both when they are on their game and also when they are not. Their manager seems to know when to substitute and how to line up against tough opposition, an essential expertise needed to remain in the top 4.

5) Their fans seem to have the same complaints about so-called ¨deadwood¨ as we do, but their wage structure is less generous than Arsenal’s.  Yet they are neck and neck with us in the race to the top 4 and a CL place. This is, of course , where the two clubs part ways, as Wenger has kept us in the CL for 17 years, while the Totts have only been in the CL a total of twice over that same period. As well, their fortunes have been far less stable than ours and they even flirted with relegation a few times since Wenger came to the Arsenal. But it is a sign of a strong club when they are able to rise from the ashes and perform as well as they have over the last few seasons.

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Basically, I will never be a Spuds afficianado, for any number of reasons, but the most glaring differences between our two clubs are far too egregious for me to ever contemplate becoming an admirer:

a) Their fans’ occasional lack of class and dignity, and their skewed misinterpretation of football history, especially when it comes to the Arsenal, is certainly an issue for me.   (Please do see the link if you want to bring up 1919).

b) Having Adebayor and to a lesser extent, Gallas, in their side is reason enough to hold them in disdain and entertain serious doubts about their sanity.  (Although to be fair Adebayor is scoring at the moment, and players and managers have moved both ways between the clubs over the years).

c) A chicken balancing on a basketball is a far less inspiring and monumentally more mundane than the Arsenal’s artillery when it comes to a club standard.

d) The yellow media’s infatuation with the unlikely prospects of a ¨power-shift¨ in North London is so monotonous as to warrant  an intense dislike of their ridiculous ¨heroes¨ , regardless of how well they actually do.

e) There is only room for one North London Football Empire and that has, is, and probably always will be the Arsenal…any other pretender must prove beyond a measure of a doubt that they have earned the honour…..and that is far from happening, regardless of the outcome of this season’s race to the CL.

Therefore, while I respect and appreciate our opponents down the Seven Sisters Road,  my DNA is Arsenal forever.

PS: Today’s anniversary on the Arsenal History Site –  16 May 1910: Rumours circulate that Tottenham and Chelsea and Rangers FC are trying to buy all or part of Woolwich Arsenal FC.  Rangers do actually buy some shares.  How Rangers FC came to own part of Arsenal – and what they did with it


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13 comments to Our neighbours down the road

  • Bob

    Spuds have actually been in the champions league, just once! Small correction 🙂

  • GoonerDog

    I was going to stop reading once I read the word ‘opus’and to be honest I wish I did. What a load of old shite!

    Accusing Spurs fans of lacking class and dignity hidden within an article that in itself is devoid of the same class and dignity you accuse others of lacking. We as Arsenal fans should be better than that.

  • Justus

    A most strange article by an Arsenal fan. I am not sure AVB has done well, not as well as the Twitcher actually and AVB has this ridiculously silly voice. Spuds try so hard to show they are a top club but their record does not stand up at all. Once in CL, once only have they won the league. One could argue that they have never been above us since they became a London club in 1995. Even so, our main objective each season is to finish above them. We might even let them win every 20 years or so!

  • steve

    I think any talk of them and us, should be held back until after the final whistle on Sunday. Then we can discuss the what’s and whyfores of the season and what it means to both clubs

  • bob

    full disclosure:
    I’m NOT the Bob who leads off the commentary on this article.

  • elkieno

    I agree it’s best to talk bout them after the last game, not before it.
    One more game till its all over, next season should be Good though!

  • what a boss!

    I agree Tottenham are punching above their financial weight with Chelsea and Arsenal this season .. and the last couple, and I too like AVB’s style of football.

    That said, I feel Wenger has guided Arsenal superbly through the times of the mega-rich owners, and Arsenal are set to once more pull away from their poorer cousin.

  • what a boss!

    i mean neighbour, not cousin!

  • Stuart

    Are you sure you don’t have a split personality Bob and Bob?

  • colario

    Lets not forgot when spuds were flying we were flailing. Lets not forget supporting a football club/team is madness/ a disease/ a drug over dose from which we are too weak to extract ourselves from. In this we are the same as spud supporters.

    Those who enjoy watching/playing but do not attach themselves to a club/team think we are mad and they are right we are.
    We get nothing from supporting a big team/ club while it make millions.

    Come 6pm Sunday our pain may be unbelievable our agony and humiliation will last for at least one season. We might be just another Sunday team!

    Lets never laugh at the spuds supporters because one goal could make their position ours. The horror of it!

  • Rupert Cook

    I can understand Spuds being aggrieved at not getting a place in the first division after the Great War especially as we did despite finishing fifth. Tony said that such an occurrence is not unusual citing Barrow and other teams as examples but they are hardly comparable as that was for election into the League.

    Having said all that it seems that there is inconclusive proof of underhand practices by Norris and co. and all this happened nearly 100 years ago, isn’t it time Spuds got over it?

    I wouldn’t be publishing articles of this type until after sunday.

    Anyway the team has done remarkably well to put itself back into contention for the CL, it would be a bloody disappointment if we slip up on the last day.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I will say one thing for the Tottenham supporters they do enjoy their victories. Too often, I hear on this board and others whinging AFTER we have won a game…that we played poorly, that the other team played poorly, that we only win when there is no pressure, that we only win when there is pressure. Arsene Wenger is the architect of his own demise in that the expectations for this club are impossible to match. The decades of poor performances allow our neighbours to enjoy each win because they know it may be orphaned for a good time to come. We, well we….just whinge.

  • weedonald

    GoonerDog…..the article was meant as a respectful, if tongue-in-cheek appraisal and eulogy on both Clubs’ respective seasons. If you choose to take it too much to heart….fine, but don’t try and shoot the messenger. Your opinion sounds a bit like you NOt being better than that!

    It may be a bit premature to write this post but I felt that giving credit where credit is due was appropriate at the time…and regardless of what happens tomorrow, I will stand by my contention that we have more similarities than differences with them.

    Thanks for the responses……and here’s hoping tomorrow we get the job done!