Arsenal, ruling North London. What does it mean?

By Walter Broeckx

As a non local Londoner I am different from local Gooners. Not in my support for Arsenal but in the way I look at the rivalry with the fans in white.

I do admit that when talking with other fans from other clubs you get a general feeling about the club in particular. So I do have a few supporters from other clubs in the PL that I talk with on a regular basic. I have a second hand Chelsea fan that sent my son a text message when Özil opened the score against Everton in December saying: come on, and now on your way to the title. I said ‘second hand’ as he is in no way as fanatical about Chelsea as I am about Arsenal.

It’s just that one of his best friends at work is an Englishman who supports Chelsea and so he became a bit supportive. But he has a bit of a soft spot for Arsenal down deep inside.

I know a West Ham supporter whom I have great conversations with and who would love to see the back of Fat Sam. When I told him earlier this season when West Ham had a bad spell and things looked bleak, that I wouldn’t mind them staying up, he replied that he could completely understand me as that would give Arsenal at least 6 points each season.

And so I do have on occasion some talks with Tottenham supporters in Belgium. Some of my referee friends support Tottenham. The only reason being that this was one of the few clubs they could travel to see in general and buy a ticket before the match. Something that has been impossible at Arsenal for… well… since Wenger?

When Arsenal does well and I go to the training sessions and I wear an Arsenal shirt or something red they grumble at me in the way friends do. And when by accident I put a white shirt on to train they ask me if I swapped teams. And then I reply saying that I wanted to feel how it feels to wear a losers colour. All rather kind and amusing.

I can understand that however when you live in London you look at it differently. When you live in each other’s back garden you can get wound up more than I do at my occasional meetings with other supporters – and mostly not in person. So maybe there will be much more hatred between Arsenal supporters and Tottenham supporters than I can imagine.

But from being a Gooner for more than 30 years now I have learned about most of what is important for Arsenal and for our supporters. And being above the neighbours is important. I know it isn’t a real trophy in the silverware version. But it just is very important. And I admit that whenever I look at the league table and when Tottenham is in front of us I feel unhappy about it. I try to skip that name. However looking at a league table with Arsenal in front of Tottenham is a table I can look at for hours. And since that is mostly the case and has been over the last 19 years I always stare at them. And think: That is your place. This is where you belong. In our shadow.

In a way I feel a bit for Tottenham supporters. I don’t hate them, as apart from their team choice they seem ok, the ones I know are. But each year the media tell them what a fabulous team they have, what an amazing smart person they have as their manager (for half a season usually) and what a smart man that Mr. Levy is. And how well they have spent the f*cking money.

Last summer was no different. They bought this, they bought that, they bought left, they bought right, they bought up and down… £100m, the Bale out money was spent and now it would all happen.

The media was dead sure that not only Arsenal would drop out of the top 4 places (still not 100% sure to stay there but close) and Tottenham would get in front of us. I think most thought that we were going to end up where Manchester United will be ending this season.

And yet for the 19th time in a row since Wenger took over Arsenal has done better than Tottenham. Just imagine for a frightening moment that you happened to be a Tottenham supporter. Just imagine how this must feel. Year in, year out being told you will beat them this time and then at the end or even before the end of the season you find yourself looking up at Arsenal once again.

And even when having to work with no budget and with our hands tied behind our back we still managed to finish above them. How frustrating that must be?

And yet we have a part of our own supporters who will never stop moaning and grumbling about Arsenal and their failures. They feel nothing when we secure 4th place. While all the time during the season shouting that if we drop out of CL football the manager has to be sacked. If it isn’t important then why would we have to sack him if we finished 5th or 6th? Either it is important to finish in the top 4 or it isn’t.

Those successive top 4 finishes are also something rather amazing. I know mathematically it isn’t over yet but we have things in our own hands and we just must finish the job. Some see it as no achievement at all. While other teams and their supporters would give an arm and a leg to even be in 4th place just for one season. And we…or some of our fans… shrug it off as if it is nothing.

I don’t want to give too much credit to journalists. I think you know I don’t like most of them but to finish this article I would like to use the words of John Cross from the Mirror this time. As for once I can agree with the things he wrote after our win against Newcastle: “And Arsenal fans would do well to remember many clubs would see consistency as a mark of success rather than frustration.

I agree with you on this, Mr. Cross. Finishing above Tottenham each season, getting in the top 4 and in the CL each season. Nobody has done better in England than Arsenal over the last 17 years/19 years. Even in the last “barren years”.

And one final note. In the last 3 seasons it was always Koscielny who scored a vital goal on the day we could celebrate St. Totteringhamsday.  I think this deserves a special mention for Sir Laurent of  St. Totteringham. Wel done Kos!

The books

47 Replies to “Arsenal, ruling North London. What does it mean?”

  1. I used to get on OK with Spurs supporters to the extent that we’d support local parks team (Highgate Redwing) together or sometimes make the trip up to see Finchley FC, but the shame of finishing below them was unbearable. I’m old fashioned enough to have always supported British teams in European competitions and celebrated Spurs success with my friends. They’ll probably at some time soon become the team their supporters think they deserve, by which time we’ll be hopefully be out of sight. I couldn’t face the shame of finishing below them again.

  2. I agree Walter, one really needs to live in that area to understand the true rivalry. rest all is just banter.

  3. On the topic of Tottenham..according to De Boer, they are the sleeping giants..we have been warned!! Next year they will challenge for the title!!

  4. I have to agree with you, it does really look good to see Arsenal above spuds in the table, a little secret, i sometimes go to the table just to see this, a little sad i know, but hey, i’m old enough to be not too concerned (give a damm) anymore.

    We are going to expand that area to rule over very soon now, i know.

  5. Reminds me of the stupid cartoon with bip bip always in front and never caught up by a dump coyote who won’t never give up. How should we celebrate the 20th next year?

  6. Is there a name for ManUtd too. Like St tooteringhams day. If there isnt, why not start now.St Elephantines day

  7. Finishing above Spurs and securing a top four spot are not trophies. We all know that.

    But they are important, and they are worth celebrating for different reasons.

    Finishing above Spurs is important for the ‘feel good’ factor alone. Bragging rights and all that. There are other reasons, such as 2 fingers to the media, but it’s really just about bragging rights.

    Top four is important for many reasons, not least financial, but possibly equal to this is the ability it gives you to attract and retain players. Obviously that’s been hard enough as it is, what with our transfer budget limitations and difficulties maintaining a title challenge.

    It doesn’t bare thinking about as to where we could of fallen to if we hadn’t maintained our top 4 status.

    To underestimate the importance of this achievement is ignorance in the extreme.

    But worse still, to suggest that the odd FA Cup, or God forbid league Cup, would of been a preferable or better achievement is frankly ridiculous.

    NB: As for this 4th spot is a ‘Trophy’ thing. I believe by using the word ‘Trophy’ Wenger made a rod for his own back.

    We all know 4th isn’t a Trophy, but that doesn’t mean that it less important than one. In fact, as I sad above, securing 4th spot has been and probably still is, a bigger achievement and certainly more important than either of the domestic cups. Trophy was probably just not the best choice of words to describe it’s importance.

  8. Arsenal 13
    I don’t think we finish ahead of United often enough to have a day named for the occasion, but maybe there’s a bit of a power shift happening. I don’t get St Elephantine. What would that mean?

  9. Regarding 4th place as a trophy, it is the PL equivalent of being promoted – i.e. qualifying to play in a higher League the following season. Burnley fans seemed pretty happy at finishing 2nd in the Championship! In fact, I recall play-off winners (so, effectively 3rd place) actually DO get a trophy!

    Far too many of our fans take CL qualification for granted (and – to be honest – 4th place isn’t qualification as it requires a play-off. Our victories in these seem to be taken for granted too). The experience of playing on Spursdays (or not at all) would be quite humiliating for all of us I feel.

  10. This site has recently brought us an unexpected entertainment of squabbling partners. Now that same sex marriages are allowed, @Jambug & @Rupert Cook are like an argumentative married couple in a very pro Arsenal house.

    @jambug In the English language there is a verb ‘to have’. Please use it. The phrase ‘where we could of fallen to if ‘ should be ‘where we could have fallen to if ‘. The word of is not an adverb and does not describe fallen. If you were writing about things that have fallen, the story would be of fallen things. End of lesson. This is to ensure our youth learn English correctly (even if they don’t know how to kick a ball).

    I have no issues with @Walters grammer or spelling, as English is probably his third language and he makes himself understood.

  11. @jambug, has Mr Wenger ever mentioned it as a trophy? I dont remember that. May be I missed it entirely.

    BUT When asked about his priorities, he said
    1. League title.
    2. Champions League title.
    3. Top 4 finish(ie qualifying for CL).
    4. FA cup.
    5. League cup.
    I think media made a mockery of this by using 4th place trophy.

    @Jax. Meaning of the word elephantine suits ManUtd. Large, they are a big club. Clumsy/awkward, their supporters are….

  12. The article comparing Giroud and Henry’s second years has made the front page of

  13. @Arsenal 13,
    Arsene’s order of priority is spot on for any right-minded Arsenal supporter.
    And it reflects the teams he selects for the various games.

  14. @Menace

    I’m sorry my English is not up to scratch but as I was diagnosed as dyslexic in my youth I don’t think I do too bad.

    End of Lessen. This is to ensure our youth learn some manners and don’t all turn into condescending twats. (even if they cant kick a ball of course) 🙂


    To be honest with you I never heard it myself either. I assumed, probably very foolishly on reflection, that because it WAS used as a stick to bash Wenger with so often he must of used the term ‘Trophy’ at some time.

    But I agree completely with Wengers priorities, and as you suggest, it probably is just the Media being there normal shity selves.

  15. I see from the Daily Mail website (linked in case any of you were wondering…) that some outfit called Arsenal Anon (supported by BSM) are planning a demo against Kroenke/ticket prices before the game on Sunday.

    I acknowledge AFC ticket prices are high (I pay them, and have to regularly try to justify to Mrs P) – but not the highest as Anon seem to think – but the Directors do NOT take money out of the club, so how else are we supposed to buy/pay the players to compete?

    A real pity that what should be a really good day out may be tainted, however slightly.

    Meanwhile, I continue to wait for news on my cup final ticket…

  16. B*llox. Didn’t get one… my birthday the day before as well!

    So, on the offchance, please consider this a beg! Sorry Tony/Walter. A little bit emotional.

  17. I really dont have any feelings one way or another about Spurs. They are just rivals.
    As long as we play our lovely style of football, beating them is a bonus of course.

    I read that there will be fans protesting over the ticket increase at the next home game. Do others think this is bad or causing trouble against the club ?

  18. Why don’t they go and protest down the Kings road.

    It’s largely thanks to the Chavs that the cost of football has shot into the stratosphere.

    These people make me sick. ‘spend the f*****g money’ they scream.

    Oh, but as long as it’s not my money of course.

  19. ALL that matters is get in the top 4 each and every season so that we can,and will, compete with the best in Europe.

    Anything else,(trophies) is a bonus.

    Get real…………what a brilliant season this has been; again!!!!!

  20. Dyslexia is not just a single “problem”. To me, it is nominally a problem with scrambling. Some people scramble input, some scramble output, and some scramble both. The “ordinary” dyslexia seems to be more involved with “text”, and what can be scrambled is the order of letters, or the orientation of letter (reflected and/or rotated). Many dyslexics benefit from being able to associate an image with every word. A problem is, not every word is imageable. There are some related problems, which I think get grouped under the title dyscalclia (or something to that effect). This tends to be a numbers oriented problem. As you might expect, scrambling numbers is involved. But things like being able to keep track of directions (like north) also gets involved.

    Dyslexics can have unusual abilities in terms of perception, many can view a problem from angles difficult or impossible to attain from where they are positioned.

  21. Menace.

    This is not an English exam.

    People from various Nations and varying levels of education visit this site and don’t need lessons from the likes of you as to what standard of grimmer they should or shouldn’t be able to achieve.

    If you want to take a condescending attitude towards the likes of me, who don’t happen to attain the standards you set, then expect a bit of stick.

    Surely there’s enough to discuss, banter, even row about, without picking holes in peoples Grammar, punctuation, spelling, typos etc.

    It’s a bit unnecessary and below the belt don’t you think?

    If I offended you by calling you a ‘twat’ I’m sorry.

  22. @ Gord & Menace
    And while you’re on the spelling/dyslexia problem, please give lessons to those who insist on spelling lose and losing with a double oo ie loose and loosing. That might be expected from the spuds but not from those gooners whose first language is English.

  23. My lad got a ticket in the ballot, I didn’t. Who wants to go to a final on their own? I get that the allocation was small, but surely AFC must know that people want to go together.

  24. @Dave,

    1 of the 3 on our application got lucky, so yes! Although I would be very happy to go to a final on my own…

  25. There are lots of problem words, English as a first language or not. I tend to make typos, from typing fairly fast, and thinking at a slightly different speed.

    There are words that sound alike:

    You pointed out words that are spelled similar:

    There are words for spelling experts with word processors:

    How about making words plural? Lots of times we add ‘s’:

    Other languages, repeat a word to indicate plural:
    Thanh thanh

    Of course, we have to have self-plural words.

    And differently plural words:

  26. Gord

    I find language as fascinating as I find it perplexing.

    I wish I could spell better, had better Grammar, blah blah blah but I haven’t. God knows where I’d be without spell check.

    But as I say, this isn’t an English exam and being pulled up for it is a bit cheap, especially when it’s something you’ve struggled with all your life.

  27. Jambug, I could have skipped grades 4 and 10, except for English. And it is my first language.

    While word processors are getting some abilities with grammatical analysis (LanguageTool used to be the only one for OpenOffice, there is a newer one as well now), the old program in this is “diction” from the Documenters Workbench of UNIX. Diction usually comes with a program called style, which will give you estimates of how complex your writing is. I don’t know if there are native versions of style and diction for Windows (or whatever OS you run), but both style and diction should run under Cygwin on Windows. And they should be available on OS X, Linux, ….

  28. Maybe finishing fourth is great for some of you but I know which gives me more pleasure, a cup final. And nearly all the fans walking away from Wembley after beating Wigan agreed. I always want us to finish as high as possible but I don’t feel excessively elated claiming fourth spot, not like I do when the team wins a cup.

    The CL is just a version of the old UEFA Cup with group stages. A bloated version. Nobody celebrated qualifying for that over an FA Cup victory. The CL has ruined domestic football, only the champions should be battling it out for the CL, otherwise change the bloody name to something like the CAARC (Champions And Also Rans Cup).

    I actually hate Chelsea more than Spurs. They are loathsome with an owner steeped in his own people’s blood. Everything about them screams classless.

    As for finishing above Spurs, because we do it so often it doesn’t seem like much of a triumph, just an inevitable habit.

  29. Always marry a woman, with small palms. It will make your dick feel and look, much bigger!

    Slogan on a boy’s T-shirt:
    Please tell your boobs, not to stare at my eyes.

    The irony of a blow job, is that even if you have her at your feet, she’s got you, by the balls!

  30. The importance of UNITY, explained at its best.
    Question:- “What did one leg of a woman, tell the other?”
    Answer:- “UNITED, we are saved. Divided, we are fucked”.

    Old Proverb: A smile is a curve, that makes everything straight.
    New Proverb: Boobs are curves, that make some things, super straight!

    All those who proclaim, that dog is man’s best friend, have evidently not played, with a pussy.

  31. Given the rivalry with the Spuds it is always good to have bragging rights.

    But more importantly every year the “Ruler of North London” resurfaces as a challenge. that challenge is not initiated by Arsenal, but rather by Spurs supporters, media, some Spurs employees and by the AAA who look for any yardstick to use against our club. To successfully defend our position against such a challenge thus becomes important.

    To progress further and achieve a top 4 finish, while not a trophy, does bring benefits in the form of cash, status and attractiveness to top players. So it is very worthwhile.

    We have a very good team & barring injuries & ref bias we would have finished higher than our present position. As I have posted previously, this squad, while very good, is not quite the finished article & my hope is that this summer additions will be made which move us closer to that finished product.

  32. “an owner steeped in his own people’s blood”
    Please explain this reference.

  33. I have a journo friend who works for the Mirror, Walter. He tells me John Cross is actually a Gooner!

  34. Local Cups are not worth as much as 4th place in the EPL. CL pays for all the wages and infrastructure. It is also the shop window for quality footballers to advertise. It is also a magnet to attract ambitious players.

    Cups only hold enough champagne for those that drink in the team.

    For the fan a cup is success visibility; for the media it’s a GREAT BIG CORK to shut their arses up.

  35. @brickfields Like the small palms joke. Do you have any words of wisdom for these FA types that allocate one chair for 3 bums?

    It does seem utterly stupid to issue 1 ticket to a duo or threesome. The ballot should be adjusted to cater for singles & then duos. The groups should have a special allocation in another ballot. It is a shame that what should be joyous becomes depressive because the FA want to grease palms.

  36. @menace I think we all know the FA are a bunch of money grabbing idiots, along with FIFA, UEFA et al. I really thought AFC would have more sense than that though. What if you’re a parent with two kids and you get two tickets? “OK Billy you can come but little Johnny can’t”. Total bollocks.

  37. Rupert Cook.

    It is a myth that the fans celebrate gaining 4th spot like a ‘Trophy’.

    Of course it doesn’t have the same instant gratification and elation that a Cup final Triumph has.

    But it is a fact, whether you like it or not, that CL qualification is the more important achievement.

    Whatever the people said walking out of the ground about 2/3 months ago we had a vote on here, CL or FA Cup, (I think you voted) and it was at least 4 to 1 in favour of the CL.

    A cup is fantastic. But it is living I the past if you think it still holds the same importance it did 15, even 10 years ago.

    As sad as it may be for some, the CL has become all consuming, and is for the elite Clubs AND players, an absolute must.

  38. Good game at the chavski stadium. Madrid have a monopoly on the final. The chavs got a lesson in positive football.

    Now let’s see what the media have to say about their boy Jose.

    No ticket for me but hey! I’m a gooner and the cup is something we know we can win. I’ll watch at home with a few beers.

  39. Tony,

    Well said. Laurent Kosielny might be discriminated by the English media, peers and the FA but St LauKos Totteringham Day will always be in my heart. Im going to the distance to say that he is the best CB in Arsenal’s history behind Tony Adams in terms of talent alone. A real humble guy and what a player!

  40. Michael Ram
    I don’t think McLintock, Bould, Keown & Campbell would agree.

  41. Laurent Lord Totteringham!

    About grammar and spelling – not only do we have contributors who have other languages as their first language, but we have contributors who may not have the advantage of an English degree or even an English A level or an English GCSE. Do we really want them to feel bad by picking holes in their grammar and spelling? I think we should try and be tolerant.

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