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…
TINY TOTTS WEEK
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: www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk
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.
- Arsenal v the team that will present a giant toothbrush to our captain
- Arsenal squad for Europa League game
- The abuse of female footballers is appalling, but there is a wider context
- Why Arsenal v Glimt might be tougher than the game against Tottenham
- Is the team that passes the most, the team that gets the best results?