It is 100 years almost to the day since the first Tottenham v Arsenal game

Which is why, in between everything else, I have been calling this, Tiny Totts week.

And in a sense this is the article I have been building up to all season.

I doubt that the Tinies even know the importance of this match in historical terms. They probably know it in hysterical terms but then, that’s what you get for being in Tottenham (and I know, I was brought up there).

The story is put around that the rivalry between the teeny weeny totts and us dates from 1913 when we moved onto their territory, or 1919 when we stole their position in the First Division.

Both stories are invented – conveniently put together by Very Tiny supporters to excuse the century of abject failure that is the hall mark of the Hotspurs since they first popped up in Division One of the Football League.

And because I get so utterly fed up with people not only listening to the Tott propaganda machine, but also then mindlessly repeating their boring and totally untrue gibberish, that I have put together a small number of articles over the past few months both here and on the history site “Making the Arsenal” (there’s links to them all at the end – if you read the lot you’ll be here all night – but at least you can’t say I ain’t done my homework squire.)

“Making the Arsenal” I should add, is not only the title of my most magnificent novel about 1910, it is also the title of a daily blog which covers the football in more detail than the book does.   And although it does not have the jolly banter of multiple personalities commenting upon Arsenal matters as this site does, it still can turn up a few interesting snippets.

Which is how the articles have developed.

So, anyway, it was 100 years ago this friday that the very small Tot types played Woolwich Arsenal in the league for the first time in Tottenham, which was in Middlesex (oh yes it was!).  Now I won’t tell you the result, because that will be covered on the day in the regular match report that “Making the Arsenal” web site carries.

But if you think this Wednesday’s match against the aliens is important, what with us winning the league and all, then you should know that the match 100 years ago this week was something else.

For it is no exaggeration (and by golly I really do mean NO EXAGGERATION) to say that upon the result of that match depended the very future of Woolwich Arsenal.

In case you have not been following the story – Woolwich Arsenal were in administration.  They were looking for a buyer.  And along had come Henry Norris, owner of Fulham FC.

Norris had the money to rescue Arsenal, but he was only interested in taking on a First Division team.  If Arsenal were relegated then he really didn’t want to lash out all the dosh.

Now what you have to recognise is that at this time there was only one first division club in London – and that was Chelsea who had bought their way into the league by having a ground, no team, no support, no nothing.   Tottenham at the time were in Middlesex (and I am totally indebted to the readership of Making the Arsenal blog for putting me right on this one) and Woolwich Arsenal were in Kent.

But apart from Bristol City the rest of the league was either in Birmingham or the far north, so suddenly the populous picked on Chelsea, Woolwich Arsenal and Tottenham H as the three local clubs, and from the off there was a “local” rivalry between them.  A bit like Ipswich playing Norwich today.  They are about 8 light years apart, but there’s nothing else around so they call it a derby.

And here’s the other funny thing that you won’t know unless you have been avidly reading the Making the Arsenal blog.  All three clubs were liable to be relegated from the first division that season.

So the first Tottenham v Woolwich Arsenal match in Tiny Tottland, played this week 100 years ago, was a biggie.  The crowd was over 35,000, and this one mattered.  Arsenal had just beaten Chelsea away in front of 40,000, and this one was as important.

I do hope you not only feel the sense of importance about Wednesday’s game but also about the history.  100 years since the first match, and we are playing it almost to the day.

So that’s why it is Tiny Totts Week.  There’ll be the usual previews coming up in the next 24 hours but in case you are utterly entranced with the overwhelming historic importance of this match, here’s some other stuff to read…



Tottenham Hotspur: The Middlesex club that tried to pretend it was part of London. The dark history

London clubs in crisis – but only two can go down.  The build up to the first game against Tottenham in the league.  Easter 1910

Arsenal’s fixed promotion. For 90 years Tottenham fans have been slagging off Arsenal’s achievements by telling the story that Arsenal somehow fixed their way into the First Division in 1919 through bribery and corruption.  Not only is the story untrue, but it is itself a clever deception put about by the clubs who really were guilty of match fixing.  Read the full story.

Why did Arsenal move to Highbury and not somewhere else? Tottenham Hotspur led a group of clubs in objecting to the move (even Birmingham clubs objected, which somehow lessened Tottenham’s case).  But Arsenal claimed that neither the League nor the FA rules covered the location of the ground.

The Day Tottenham H tried to buy Arsenal

Making the Arsenal: the almost daily blog of Arsenal 100 years ago:

Making the Arsenal – the book. It tells the story of 1910 and what happened to Woolwich Arsenal, through the eyes of a young Fleet Street reporter who not only covers Woolwich, but also gets distracted by stuff.  It is funny, witty, and the only history of the most important year in the history of the club, and quite why you haven’t read it is beyond me.  I mean here I am writing away into the small hours, doing everything I can to restore the history of Arsenal to its rightful position, and you can’t even buy the book, well, I mean….  (exit carried by men in white coats).

I need more and more.  Take me to the index of this magnificent web site.

13 Replies to “It is 100 years almost to the day since the first Tottenham v Arsenal game”

  1. We should all go on spursnews and start insulting those *******.I do fear they will raise their game after getting beaten by pompey, but if the legend RVP plays a part then he will only add insult to injury to those spuds who are still living in the 60s. Looking back the scum have quite a shit history after being successful only in the 60s.UP THE ARSENAL.

    SORRY very rare bit of editing of a comment by me at the stars. – Tony

  2. Mihir – sorry I am not with you here at all. The news from Lady Bracewell Smith seemed to me to be a reason to celebrate not worry.

    I know that the professional doom and gloom sites have said, “Oh Wenger will leave now there will be a takeover” but they always do that all the time – and indeed the people running those sites are indeed either supporters of one of our rivals or else have severe personality disorders.

    The simple point is that Lady BS has hired an incredibly expensive bunch of bankers to try and flog off the shares – an act which will be costing her a lot of dosh.

    That means she has failed to sell them to Stan K or to Alisher U so neither of them is going for the takeover. Good news.

    What’s more she will have offered them to other obvious buyers and they have turned her down so it is the open market.

    She has 15.9% of the shares I think, and no seat on the board (she was thrown out in Dec 08 – again from memory) and the shares don’t pay dividends. She wants around £11k per share, so for all that money you can have…

    A bit of paper.

    You have no power, no seat on the board. You don’t even have a season ticket. In fact I have more than the ultimate owner of those shares has: I have 2 season tickets, 2 blogs that people are kind enough to read, membership of AISA, and a willingness of Arsenal FC to publish a few of my pieces on their own Arsenal history site. The shareholder will get none of that.

    The shareholder can start the long and difficult task of trying to buy enough shares to trigger a bid, but even then it is highly unlikely

    a) that the buying of another 14% of shares to get to 30% will be possible
    b) that Stan K who works with the board would allow this to happen without a pre-emptive strike
    c) that anyone would sell if there were such a bid.

    This is great news because the most likely outcome is that the shares get split up between different owners.

    What would have been worrying would have been if the Lady BS shares had gone all to Mr Usmanov or to Mr Kronke. They haven’t – so we should have a dance.

  3. Please, please, please can we have the team coming out to a new tune? One for the d and g’s, maybe? Something by Queen maybe? The one that says “I want it all – and I want it now.” By the way, I jest.

  4. If it would have included a season ticket… I would have gone for it. 😉 If there would be a bank somewhere who will lend me this amount of money.

    More serious, what do you think of the rumour of a return of Dein ? Or is this just what it is.. rumours….

  5. How would Dein return? He sold all his shares to Usmanov – for less than Lady BS wants for them now. And he was

    a) against the building of the Ems
    b) against the policy of world wide scouting

    So where would he fit, and who would put up the money?

    And Gooneraside, there are discussions about the music going on. You will have noticed the experiment with “My Generation” (unless you take your seat at the very last moment), which gives a clue where we might be going.

  6. Would Usmanov pay Dein the money to get extra votes in shareholders meetings ? Together this could mean they would have +42 % and the others (the board) would have to bo unanimous in their decisions to counter them.
    They seem to have broken up their partnership but is this really the case ? I’m very suspicious at times.
    I hate international football but I also hate all those boardroom-shareholders backroom things.

  7. From what I had read, I assumed Lady Bracewell Smith hired the bankers to do exactly that. Play Usmanov and Kroenke against each other and make a killing on the sale.
    Thanks for putting a different perspective on this, Tony ( a more reassuring one, I would say!) although that still does not rule out a sale to either Red and White or Kroenke.
    If, as you say, the shares are being put on the open market, is the AST planning on increasing its stake? I would certainly hope that’s the case.
    In any case, I hope this sale results in a status quo such as the one that currently exists.

  8. I agree with Tony. The Investment Bankers will be charging a hefty fee for their services, at least 3-4%, perhaps even more. If her shares are worth approximately 60,000,000 (at 8,500 per share) then that means paying the investmank bank 2.5million for their services, and that is assuming you only get 8,500 per share. If Kroenke or Usmanov were interested in buying the shares then why wouldnt she just offer the shares to them and save 2.5million (and that is assuming just 4% fees, I used to work in the City and we used to charge 7-9%)?

    It seems likely that she offered the shares, Kroenke wouldnt go higher than 8,500 per share, Usmanov didnt want to buy the shares (they are useless to him without Fizman’s stake) and she was left holding the proverbial bag. So she has decided to offer them out to the market.

    Another thing to think about if you were wanting to buy the shares. Next month is the year anniversary of Kroenke buying shares for 8500 so he can then launch a takeover at that price per share. If the Directors and other small shareholders sell to Kroenke then he could get 51% without even needing Usmanov or Bracewell-Smith’s shares. So why on earth would anyone pay any more than 8500 per share now for a company that in a month may be valued at 8500 per share. That is just poor investment unless you were a long-term investor looking not for control but for value. And that kind of investor is one that is never bad to have.

  9. Has anyone any idea about Song ???? He didn’t get mentioned ? Hope he is back.

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