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June 2021

How you contemplate the possible end of the St Tots run depends on where you are placed.

By Tony Attwood

OK you are an Arsenal supporter and you know that the last time Tottenham finished up in the league above Arsenal was 1994/5.  If this happens again (which it will if Arsenal do not win on Sunday) then it might well seem a tragedy.

If you are a Tottenham supporter it will seem a joy to behold.

That season we played Tottenham for the second time on this day – 29 April.  It was a 1-1 draw at Highbury but made no difference to Tottenham finishing above us.  Wimbledon and QPR also finished above us.

But at that time there was no long run of one club dominating the other.  The previous season Arsenal came fourth and and Tottenham avoided relegation by just three points.

So runs this long are unusual.  Tottenham did finish above Arsenal for nine successive years from 1960, including of course 1961 when they won the league for the second, and thus far last, time.

However it is always tempting to see the “now” as everything, and to demand that the magnificent run since 1995 should continue forever.  But the reality is runs like this never continue forever.  The 49 came to an end.  The three successive league championships in the 1930s came to an end.   Also in that decade seven successive years of winning the league or the cup, or coming runners up in both, came to an end.  Three successive seasons of being runners up to Man U came to an end.

Thus even if with some amazing performances we do win our remaining matches, and Tottenham fall apart, so just as last season we beat them at the last gasp, at some time our run of St Tot’s days will end – that is simple reality.

It is indeed possible that Tottenham are entering a period of greatness – and if so, for a club with this much support it is long overdue.  Since 1991 their league record has been modest: they have finished outside the top 10 of the League on seven occasions and have been in the top four, three times.  Fourth may not be a trophy, but if you had been a Tottenham supporter since 1991 coming fourth quite a few times would have seemed the height of luxury.   True they won the league cup twice, however.

Everything therefore depends on which end of the tunnel you are standing at.   As Tottenham contemplate coming above us in the league after 21 years of trying, then this will be a great moment for wild celebration.   But if it does happen, let us not spoil their moment.  I mean, if we had had to wait 21 years to celebrate something (other than winning the league cup twice) I think we might jump up and down a bit.

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As it is, Arsenal still have a brighter future to look forward to than Tottenham.   Both clubs have owners who are not going to invest huge sums in the clubs to compete with Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester Utd, but results of late suggest that although money helps it is not everything.   However the biggest difference in the next few years is likely to be that Arsenal’s stadium is built and paid for and the club is settled.  Tottenham have a year at Wembley coming up and then the austerity period akin to Arsenal’s as they pay back the borrowing on a stadium which is costing twice as much as originally expected.

Of course it is possible that Tottenham will overcome such difficulties in a way that Arsenal did not do, and will show that it is possible to win the league (rather than come in the top four each season) while paying for a stadium.   But it should be remembered that the “not a trophy” of coming in the top four greatly helped Arsenal’s ability to repay the debt on the stadium, because it brought in the money gained from simply being in the group stages of the Champions League.   In this regard Tottenham’s position of late has not been that encouraging.

From 2009/10 to the current season Tottenham have had two seasons in the Champions League (once reaching the quarter finals and once going out in the group stage).  In the Europa they have got to the round of 16 once.

But for this season, and for this weekend, it would be foolish not to admit they are in the ascendancy.  While Arsenal has been stuttering Tottenham have won match after match…

Game Date Opposition Venue Result Pos
26 26.02.2017 Stoke City home W4-0 2
27 05.03.2017 Everton home W3-2 2
29 19.03.2017 Southampton home W2-1 2
30 01.04.2017 Burnley away W2-0 2
31 05.04.2017 Swansea City away W3-1 2
32 08.04.2017 Watford home W4-0 2
33 15.04.2017 Bournemouth home W4-0 2
34 26.04.2017 Crystal Palace away W1-0 2

And they have done this with the best home record in the league – which I think is rather interesting.  WHL is a difficult ground to play at this season, with its reduced capacity and building site feel.  While home games at Wembley have proven to be very disappointing, home games at WHL have proven to be winnable throughout – and it is interesting to note that five of these eight successive wins have all been at home.  Prior to that run Tottenham won one in four, in a run of games in which three of the four (the three not won) were away.

Grounds do affect clubs – as our analysis of what happens to clubs when they move, clearly showed.  It was just on a year ago when we published the analysis, and the figures of the 14 clubs that moved are truly shocking – especially for those in the top tier.   Eight of the clubs were relegated and four were promoted, one from the second tier, two from the third and one from the fourth.   One club won the top league after getting a new stadium, and that was Manchester City.  It took them nine years and they had the benefit of not having to pay for it.

Of course this is all speculation, as indeed are all match preview articles.  But from such considerations we can draw a few conclusions:

1: All runs (good or bad) end at some time or another.  It may be joyful or painful, but it happens.

2: Arsenal’s ability to remain in the top four after moving to a new stadium is a unique achievement.  It may be decried as irrelevant, but it is still unique.

3: Even with the help of having a stadium that is paid for by someone else (as with Man City, West Ham, and in a few years Chelsea) moving stadium is invariably a traumatic experience.

And we may make one speculation based on the huge difference in achievement between Tottenham at Wembley and Tottenham at WHL during the demolition process.  It probably has helped Tottenham.  Next year might be different.

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21 comments to How you contemplate the possible end of the St Tots run depends on where you are placed.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    From top to bottom they are thugs; there is little compensatory virtue in them. It says so much about the media that that team are their darlings.

  • Gord

    As I had mentioned in a comment a while ago, should Tottenham finish above Arsenal, I think it should be called:

    St. Mahgnirettot Day

  • Lover or football

    GoingGoingGooner, we all know the reason the media like Spurs at the moment is based on the number of English international players simple as, Paul Merson one of your own said the other day that he thought that Eirksen was one of the most under rated players in the prem.

    Why do you think that is ? could it be that he’s not English ? Terry Henry that played for your lot was a great player sadly he wasn’t the world’s greatest because he was not English.

    Spurs have no control over the media, but what they do have is a team that can now compete with the top clubs of which I in clued Aresnal, that should be something by both clubs as it should push each other on to better things.

    Finishing 4th & win an odd cup should not be the be all & end all of these two great club’s, & yes I’m a Spurs fan.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    This thugry Tottenham Hotspur team won’t finish in the table above Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal team this season even if referee Michael Oliver and his linesmen assist them tomorrow in their match officiating to achieve that, the Totts will still fail in their bid to pull that success.

    The 4th place top finish this season is still dicy to call as any of the 2 big 5 clubs save Arsenal who are still fighting to grab a ticket for the UCL competition next season will not lay their hands on a ticket save Chelsea who are looking to have booked a place in the competition already with their 78 points on the log.

    The League is yet to be won. An unlikely losing run collapse by Chelsea and the Totts in their next 5 PL games will gift the title to Arsenal on a platter if they have a 6 PL game winning run to end their PL campaign this season on 78 points to win the title on goals difference or on head to head against Chelsea. And 78 points or even 75 had won the title before I suppose. So, Arsenal winning the title and even the double this season is still a possibility on the cards. All that the Gunners need to do against the Totts at the Lane tomorrow is to beat them and wait to see if this possibility can miraculously become the possible if Chelsea lose to Everton in an early kickoff match which I believe they will lose.

  • Gwin

    @Samuel, that is a dream too far. Finishing below the tots is not a death sentence, but we need to make a statement at the lane on Sunday. We can do it COYG.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    @Gwin, agree, it’s not a death sentence for Arsenal, God forbids if we fail to win.. But still Arsenal MUST beat Spurs at their Lane home ground tomorrow before their partisan home supporters to cut short their rising hopes to finish above an Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal team for the first time in 21 years if the result of the match goes their way. And a beating of the Spuds could kick start into action of a Tottenham 5 games losing run starting with their home match against Arsenal that will once again see them finish behind us in the table. Gwin, have a belief and believe that Arsenal will beat the Totts tomorrow comes what may in the game.

  • Mandy Dodd

    One occasion in two decades in its own right represents a statistical blip , rather than as the ever eager media /WOB are proclaiming, a shift in the balance of power.
    Tottenham have experienced a very fair wind this season, we have not, for a number of reasons, some , but not all self inflicted.
    The challenge for Spurs will be keep key players and their manager , especially when expectations have been raised. And they will not be able to keep that highly suspicious run without red cards in the league going forever….we are told things even themselves out, if so, they can expect a glut of reds. That is, unless Fergie has given Poch a few hints on dealing with the refs during their dinner date
    I am convinced there will be changes at Arsenal soon…..perhaps , and hopefully not the manager, though this observer is far less certain he is staying than some. To me, everything points to him going, and I am bracing myself for a possible end of an era,but I’m just a pessimist!
    But even should Mr Wenger stay, I am pretty sure there will be changes put in place to smooth things over when he does go, and hopefully such changes will be with the aim of making the team and club stronger and more competitive.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    It has been recorded in all the antcient texts that gods and saints
    take a sabbatical every 21 years .
    So what is happening is a natural phenomenon . It is decreed . But very occasionally the gods, at lord Bacchus insistence imbube just a tad too much and all well plans go awry.
    Just a hint , this year was a again a bumper season and the grapes are in exuberance . And fermented .
    Cheers !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Men will be Men:

    Wife leaves a note on the fridge:
    “I have made all attempts. It’s not working.
    I can’t take it anymore. I am going to stay at my Mom’s place !! ”

    Husband opens the fridge, checks the beer bottle. Feels it is cold. He takes a few big gulps from the bottle. Feels it is chilled. Then says to himself, “What the hell is she talking about???

    The fridge is working fine!!”

  • blacksheep

    Brickfields, I tested the fridge joke on the wife. She didn’t get it. Make of that what you will I’m off for a beer…

  • Gwin

    @Samuel, I agree with you that beating the tots tomorrow is a priority but saying spurs are going to lose their next 5 games is a belief tending to the extreme. As much as I hate to admit it, spurs would finish above us for the first time in ages but their league position won’t still count in the grand scheme of things as they are going trophyless.
    GOYG, beat the tots tomorrow and make them wait.. …….

  • Gwin

    @Samuel, I agree with you that beating the tots tomorrow is a priority but saying spurs are going to lose their next 5 games is a belief tending to the extreme. As much as I hate to admit it, spurs would finish above us for the first time in ages but their league position won’t still count in the grand scheme of things as they are going trophyless.
    GOYG, beat the tots tomorrow and make them wait.. …….

  • Gord

    OT: Referees

    A manager of a team in Belize, has a writeup on a few issues including referee quality in “the” newspaper for Belize (apparently).

    I heard a blurb on CBC Radio, broadcasting something from the BBC? It was about womens football, and I believe womens football in Columbia? In any event, women play their matches before mens games, which I thought was quite a useful way to get more viewership.

  • Mubi

    I think moving stadia can be well handled as proven by clubs like bayern munich who maintained their level and juventus who started doing better after moving. Even a club like Southampton have done well. I think the main reason arsenal haven’t done well after our move have been the simultaneous rise of chelsea and Manchester city, and arsenals contentment to play 2nd fiddle while attaining champions league football

  • Pat

    A statistical blip – good one, Mandy. I laughed! Could well be.

    Even if last season was the last ever St Totteringham’s Day, and I don’t believe for a minute it will be, it was a memory to hold in the mind forever. I remember being in the stands in the first half surrounded by people spreading the news in disbelief.

    Going into the food area at half time to be met by crowds of men singing ‘It’s happened again!’ And then the second half and the final whistle. Fantastic!

    And there’s still the possibility that Spurs will collapse this season again. Who knows?

  • OlegYch

    if we pip spurs this time i promise to eat lasagna every day until my death

  • Polo

    If we beat the Spuds, they will do the typical Spursy thing and crumble. If we don’t well the little sister maybe starting to grow up. Anyway, it’s good for both team and football in general to finally have the two truely competing against each. COYG.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    blacksheep – 29/04/2017 at 7:06 pm – As newly marrieds , love does fog up the consciousness . Or she truly and really may be a keeper !
    Try it again after 25 years of marriage – and as a precaution ,it may be wise to use a helmet !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    But then again ,in all fairness , men too often focus on the wrong issues and their advice may seem a tad skewered or insensitive to some , but all so logically to men !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And strangely poor choices and advice seems to be rampant !

  • Southampton changed stadiums in 2001 while in the Premier League. By 2005 they were in the Championship, by 2009 they were in League One.