Unlike the rest of last year’s top seven, Tottenham have signed no one. Why’s that?

by Tony Attwood

If you are a regular Untold reader you’ll know that we run the Arsenal Transfer Index which tracks all the players Arsenal are tipped to be signing this summer.   The latest edition  showed  70 players tipped to come to Arsenal, and 19 said to be leaving.  For comparison last season the final index at the end of August found articles showing every player on the books was going, and 114 were arriving.  We actually signed three.

This season we’ve added a rolling index of the players that have actually been signed so far by the seven top clubs from last season

It is of course early days as yet but the current figures show

  • Arsenal: 2
  • Chelsea: 2
  • Manchester City: 2
  • Manchester United: 1
  • Liverpool: 2
  • Tottenham: 0
  • Everton: 7

Now the reason for this chart was the argument that Arsenal are always far too slow in signing players and that (by implication) everyone else was always ahead of the game.  Indeed Charlie Nicholas has already made that point again this summer.(!)   I am not convinced by that at all, and of course we all know that the key point is the squad you end up with at the end of August.

But I wondered about Tottenham.  No signings (at least none according to the source that I have been using).  So I went and had a look on the NewsNow feed for Tottenham to see what they have been saying.

There are indeed transfer stories there: in the last hour as I write this there have been these…

That is six stories in the last hour – on the Arsenal site there were ten about Arsenal.  Of course  that is not to say Tottenham rumour mongers are not active.  It is just one sample for one hour on a Saturday morning.

In the last six hours there have been 79 stories on the Arsenal News Now site while for Tottenham the number is 51 – which suggests that just this morning, Tottenham news is running at 65% of Arsenal news.

This perhaps is what we would expect given the hysteria that the Commentariat whip up around Arsenal, and all the crisis talks that always surround Arsenal.  Also Arsenal’s coming second in 2015/16 was seen by most of the Commentariat as an abject failure, while Tottenham coming in the runner’s up spot last season was seen by many as a triumph to be celebrated.

And let’s be fair, their achievement reflected in goal difference alone was spectacular with the most goals scored and fewest conceded.  But Chelsea were seven points ahead of Tottenham, and Chelsea is once again buying.   And to give all the comparisons, Arsenal were ten points behind the winners of the league the season before in that highly criticised second place.  So not a huge difference in achievements, but a mega difference in reactions to it.

So are Tottenham right to take it easy in the market?   In one sense yes, because as I argued at the start, I don’t buy into the issue of the need to get all the transfers wrapped up early.  It’s good for the training process, but I think it is hard to achieve especially if the sellers are playing hardball.

However one of the articles on the NewsNow list “Tottenham Hotspur: Improving squad depth is the key to winning the Premier League” is reminiscent of what we see 20 times a day on the Arsenal article list (it starts “If Spurs want to win the Premier League, they have to spend their money better than they did last summer”).  So maybe the discussion is starting.

There are articles about possible transfers in, and about predatory clubs circling around Tottenham players but there is none of the over the top hype that one sees all the time on the Arsenal article list.  I think I’ll need to review a few more lists of articles for other clubs to start to understand why, but that is certainly as I see it this morning.

So do Tottenham need new players?  Is everything perfect?  Is the squad depth perfect?  Are they plotting the perfect amazing transfer deal of the type Arsenal used to do, when we regularly joked that Mr Wenger’s next signing will be of an unknown left footed Peruvian goalkeeper who he will convert to the greatest right winger the club has ever seen.  That is certainly how it used to seem when the failed winger we’d never heard of called Terry Enry came along and looked pretty lost for the first seven games or so.

If Tottenham have got that sort of scouting going on, then by the end of the window they’ll have turned the numbers around, but I wonder about two things.

First, as you will know if you are a regular reader, I’ve wondered a lot about Tottenham’s finances going forward.  The cost of the stadium, originally noted as being the same as Arsenal’s although without the bonus of as much valuable land to sell off for housing, has more than doubled and extra bank loans have been sought.   Maybe that will not restrict Tottenham’s transfer policy as it did Arsenal’s for all those years, but if not, it would be good to know why and how.  It’s going to be a pretty clever trick if it is pulled off, and a model for aspiring clubs without governmental, Russian or Chinese owners.

Second Tottenham have the move to Wembley, and thus far their results at Wembley have not been very good.

Season Team Result Competition
2008/09 Man Utd Lost on penalties League Cup
2009/10 Portsmouth Lost 2-0 FA Cup
2011/12 Chelsea Lost 5-1 FA Cup
2014/15 Chelsea Lost 2-0 League Cup
2016/17 Monaco Lost 2-1 Champions League
2016/17 Bayer Leverkusen Lost 1-0 Champions League
2016/17 CSKA Moscow Won 3-1 Champions League
2016/17 Gent Drew 2-2 Europa League
2016/17 Chelesa Lost 2-4 FA Cup

Of course this might well be a fluke – one of those odd runs that just goes wrong, a bit like Arsenal’s run last season of 12 games with just four wins.

Date Game Result Competition
31 Jan 2017 Arsenal v Watford Lost 2-1 Premier League
04 Feb 2017 Chelsea v Arsenal Lost 3-1 Premier League
11 Feb 2017 Arsenal v Hull City Won 2-0 Premier League
15 Feb 2017 Bayern München v Arsenal Lost 5-1 Champions League
20 Feb 2017 Sutton United v Arsenal Won 2-0 FA Cup
04 Mar 2017 Liverpool v Arsenal Lost 3-1 Premier League
07 Mar 2017 Arsenal v Bayern München Lost 5-1 Champions League
11 Mar 2017 Arsenal v Lincoln City Won 5-0 FA Cup
18 Mar 2017 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal Lost 3-1 Premier League
02 Apr 2017 Arsenal v Manchester City Drew 2-2 Premier League
05 Apr 2017 Arsenal v West Ham United Won 3-0 Premier League
10 Apr 2017 Crystal Palace v Arsenal Lost 3-0 Premier League

Arsenal came out of that awful run, as you will recall, through the simple expedient of changing the format of the defence and going to five at the back.  But to do that Arsenal had a large squad – a full 25 players in the permitted “25” and four under 21s who could step up.

Tottenham however registered a squad of just 20 players last season.  Of course that can’t be knocked – they came second in the league and we came fifth.  But having a lower number does mean a certain degree of hopefulness that none of the key players get seriously injured and all will retain their quality (and it is not just Arsenal players who occasionally seem to lose it over the summer).

So I’m really not trying to write a “let’s knock Tottenham” article – and of course I will never hide from the fact that we have published some of those in the past – it is part of running a football blog.  But this time I am puzzled.  Puzzled by the lack of activity, and puzzled by the lack of concern at the activity.

Last summer Tottenham spent around £71 million and brought in…

Player(s) Age Moving from Transfer fee
Central Midfield
Defensive Midfield
Left Wing

 Since I wasn’t keeping a chart of when the transfers were done last season I don’t know if they were early or late.  But it will be interesting to see what they do, and what impact it will have.

And of course there is always the possibility that they simply don’t need anyone at all.  Let the rest of the league spend their millions of pounds – Tottenham are in fine shape.  It is possible – although that Wembley pitch would worry me – just as it did in the two seasons we played our European games there.

Recent Posts

Untold Social

If you are made redundant or are threatened with redundancy, you must read this first

Beware the phone caller who asks “Have you had a car accident that wasn’t your fault?”

Arsenal History


61 Replies to “Unlike the rest of last year’s top seven, Tottenham have signed no one. Why’s that?”

  1. Decent article from the knobs support! Just look at the injuries that Spurs endured last season and you’ll see why they have all the faith in the squad they have, when healthy.

  2. A well balanced and well researched article Tony. Spurs have some excellent young players coming through the ranks with 3/4 on the cusp of the premier squad. This of course bodes well for 2/3 years time. Walker is the only likely senior departure whose position is already more than covered. It is the bench that needs more experience but I don’t expect marquee signings; 20-23 year old players with Prem’ experience are likely to come in. Kane missed many games last season but Son and Delli still came in with 20+ goals each and of course Kane still got the golden boot. A back up striker and centre back are still needed and this young team are only going to get stronger mentally and more dynamic as a collective. Wembley will be an issue next season but if Spurs achieve top 4 and a trophy I will be quite happy.
    2018/19 season with a new stadium and a huge increase in sponsorship and gate and TV income will increase expectations dramatically and yes I think Spurs could then win the Pemershi League .

  3. Think the Wembley pitch worries Tottenham as well, didn’t they unsuccessfully apply to have its size reduced?
    I would imagine they may be waiting to see if any of their players get poached/unsettled, or offers made they cannot refuse.
    But even if they don’t sign anyone, don’t expect a peep out of the media

  4. I hope Spurs fans don’t see this as a ‘lets knock Tottenham’ article, but rather see it for what it is, and perhaps come here with some enlightening opinions, rather than the obvious ‘keep your nose out of our business’ type of thing.

    Obviously being Arsenal fans we see all the negative stuff we get written about us and maybe we do get it a bit out of proportion.

    Well this is a chance for spurs fans to enlighten us, and perhaps point us in the direction of all the ‘negative’ stuff being written about them for there lack of activity in the transfer market, because as sure as eggs are eggs we would be getting pelters if we had done nothing at this stage, even if it is only the 8th of July.

    Maybe they think they don’t need any signings ?

    Maybe they think they can go one better and win the PL with there current squad ?

    Maybe they take a pragmatic view, in that they realise that with their current situation as it is, financial prudence is inevitable ?

    Whatever happens this Summer one thing I know for sure is that the media wont be urging Spurs fans to hold up ‘Pochettino out’ banners, or pay for aeroplanes to be flown over the stadium, even if they don’t buy a sole this summer.

  5. That was one of the most thoughtful and well written football articles that I have read in months. Scary that it came from a Gooner, but credit where it’s due – nice work.

  6. Just to clarify it was the media (does that include Arsenal fan TV) that urged fans to fly planes with banners and encouraged the Arsene out banners in the stadium? Interesting. As for Spurs, we seem to be looking at squad players. We have the best defense a frightening attack a good first 11 but lack quality in depth. Lack of early activity isn’t unusual, Levy likes to act late in the transfer window.

  7. Spurs fan here. We are in dire need of a winger to step up the game. But lack funds. Levy generally relies on money coming in from unnecessary players going out, but unlike other seasons the squad this season is thin, and almost every player is important. So Poch won’t sell anyone. I wouldn’t mind accepting a 60m for Walker though, because it would be day light robbery and that position is well covered. So basically, we are not buying because we are cheap not because we are playing it smart or anything. But I dlnt mind this model of relying on players coming in from the academy. I can see Onomah and Edwards stepping up.

  8. Spurspad – yes it was Arsenal TV and what we call the aaa (the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal – there’s an article on them, see the Pages list on the left column) that did that sort of thing. There is a major split in Arsenal support between the realists and the people who think that just because we are Arsenal we deserve to win everything.

  9. T Woodward: appreciate your comments – we can all be realistic and serious on occasion, it is just that football is so bloody emotional most of the time.

  10. The football365 website has a good article on that.
    Spurs have a settled first 11, so what they are looking is young, hungry with potential players who will be happy to bide their time.
    Their need is therefore slightly different than the rest of the top 6. Consolidation and depth are more important than first eleven quality.
    Also with their financial restrictions including wage restraint, they know that they cannot go for top players. Real Madrid, both Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Bayern, Juventus, PSG and even Arsenal could just blow them out of the water if they tried to compete for the same player.
    I still think that they are taking a risk, as last season they quite early gave up on the champions’ league. Wembley could have a negative effect on their future prospect. If players realise that Spurs is stagnating and that even new well established international have slim chance to make the first eleven, then new players may be more reluctant to go there. In France, between N’Jie, N’Koudou, Sissoko, Spurs is starting to have a reputation as a graveyard of career. Loris tried to convince Lemar, but Lemar then talked to Sissoko and despite their interest there is now absolutely no chance of him signing for them.

  11. Fair play to you, it is a well written and well balanced article without the taste of hate normally expected from your fans.
    We do need to improve in a few areas, Dembele needs a long term replacement as he struggles to play a full 90 twice a week. An attacking midfielder, right back if Walker leaves and a new CB if Wimmer goes.
    That’s about as much as we are likely to go for this year.
    Can’t see Jansen leaving even after a very average first year.
    Leaving the club will be Sissoko (fingers crossed) and the ones mentioned above.
    Spurs have a strong, youthful and hungry core of players who play for Mopo as much as they do Spurs and in there you find the key to out medium term success or failure, if we lose
    Mauricio the Messiah then a number of key players will flow.
    Levy needs to give the man anything he wants in order to keep him happy and keep him at the club.
    If we can do that then the same steady incremental improvements we have seen over the last 2 years will continue.
    Spurs simply cannot spend 50m on a player so the windows bargains will have to be waited upon with patience and belief that for once Sir Daniel will do the right thing. COYS!

  12. Simon – just one thing – you should see some of the things Tottenham fans send to us. It isn’t Arsenal fans who are filed with bile and Tottenham fans who are saints, nor is it Tottenham fans who are filled with bile and Arsenal fans who are saints. We’re all regular people who happen to support different teams, and football tends to attract hatred.

  13. Valentin don’t know where you got the Lemar info re conversations with Loris and Sissoko (weren’t Arsenal odds on to sign him a week or so ago why did he choose not to go to the Emirates?) I think that comment about Spurs being a graveyard is unfair as Sissoko was very poor at Newcastle N’jie did not do well on loan in France last season, and N’koudou wasn’t Premier League ready and may get more minutes this year.

  14. A club on which we should write an article is Manchester City.
    Who will be their club and home grown players?
    I could see them having issue filling their premiership quota.
    Clichy, Hart, Delph, Ineacho will leave this summer, so only leave Stones and Sterling.
    I hope that they have a lot of youngsters from their academy ready to step up. Without them, I could see them having a worse season than the one that just finished. A few bad injuries to key players and that would be curtain.
    With Mourinho at their helm, Manchester United could have the same issue in a couple years. Most of their youngsters are leaving and signing for another club. They don’t want to sign an extension and hope for a first team chance being given a chance by The Special One. In a couple of years that check book manager could destroy the fabric of that club.

  15. Yep spurs just need to cover a depth of squad issue. Many poor stories about who we might buy but i guarantee it wont be silva from sporting. Not sure who us behind that recurring story. 60 million for walker would be nice as we are covered. Get rid of sissoko, bring in ross barkley as i am a big fan of his and it will open up more jousting for playing time.
    In all honesty if we bring in no one and also lost walker i think we would be ok. I believe our squad is just getting better plus we have even more talented youngsters coming through that i would like to see given a chance.
    As long as we do not lose mauricio we should keep progressing, he is most definetely the key to our future success hopefuly.

  16. First thing to say is that Spurs already have some really good players and some very promising ones coming through (Winks last season a good example). They also currently have limited finances compared to clubs like Arsenal, they punch above their weight. So any transfer has to be affordable, the player has to be as good as the players they already have and must also not block the route into the first team of any youngster the manager thinks will make the grade. That’s actually a long list of requirements. I would also imagine that after the Sissoko fiasco the club will be more cautious this time around. There’s also the question about how effective all this transfer activity actually is. In Germany sure, Bayern buy everybody else’s best players and win the title every year. It doesn’t work like that over here, if it did Leicester could never have become champions.

  17. Tony

    “…yes it was Arsenal TV and what we call the aaa (the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal – there’s an article on them, see the Pages list on the left column) that did that sort of thing.”

    As true as that is I don’t think you can overstate the effect the media have had in creating the ‘aaa’ types and inducing this mind set of ‘entitlement’ of which you speak. To my mind without the constant stirrings of the media the aaa types may never of existed, at least not to the dramatically negative extent to which they have.


    “Madrid, both Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Bayern, Juventus, PSG and even Arsenal could just blow them out of the water if they tried to compete for the same player.”

    We had this problem for 10 years and didn’t get cut an inch of slack. I would suggest that even now, when it comes to competing in the transfer market with Chelsea, Man city and United, we still, to use your term, get blown out of the water.

  18. @Spursspad,
    you might be right in your assessment of the players who did not do that well at Spurs, but for players it is a job and a career.
    Before the Friendly between France and England, Lloris was asked by French reporters about the fact that Spurs were interested by Lemar. He confirmed that he tried to convince him.
    Sissoko also confirmed that he wants out of Spurs, but nobody was willing to buy him for 30 millions.
    Those facts were well documented in French media.
    Didier Deschamps even commented on that. Any move is a risk, but not moving could also be a risk even if it tends to be lower. He namechecked some players in the French squad. He thought that Ousmane Dembélé was moving too early to Dortmund but he was superb for them and had a lot of minutes. On the other hand, he expected Sissoko to explode this season and he barely featured.
    For a French speaking player perspective, three players went to Spurs and had bad experience. Nobody with a chance to make their own country World Cup squad next June will take the risk. That is the narrative that is presented to them. Go to Spurs and run the risk of missing the World Cup. That maybe simplistic, but since when most players and agents do complex?

  19. Spurs fan here. Really good article. Levy polarises opinion just like it seems Wenger now does at Arsenal. He has a strategy and that does not include big money for lots of marquee signings. But if you look at the Spurs biggest signings (over 20m) they’ve been disasters, Sissoko, Lamela, Soldado. Only Son has justified the fee. I think our strategy will be based on Wengers original one, productive academy, buy young talent and improve it. Team ethos. The financial constraints and being burned by the big purchases will drive that. Let’s be honest, that strategy served Wenger and Arsenal pretty well. I hope it will us too!

  20. jod

    The use of Leicester City as an example in any argument regarding the winning of the title is dubious at the best of times.

    It was a freak occurrence, and there where numerous reasons for it that have been highlighted on here on numerous occasions. For example:

    The amount of penalties they got.

    The lack of injuries, and miraculous recovery times for those that did get injured.

    The leniency shown to there ‘muscular’ approach to defending.

    Prior to the late, every title since Arsenals last one has gone to either Man Utd, Man City, or Chelsea.

    It’s no coincidence that they are by quite some distance the biggest net spenders on transfers over the period between Arsenal and Leicester’s successes.

  21. Nitram

    Is “a freak occurrence” another way of saying lets pretend it never happened ? There’s a big difference between something being unusual and something being impossible.

    My point about the effectiveness of the spending is the return you get for your money. If United, Chelsea and City have to share the titles while in Germany Bayern win them all then clearly the Germans are getting far more bang for their buck. Add to that the fact that despite spending far less than Arsenal (particularly on wages) Spurs have not only caught the Gunners but overtaken them and you have to ask the question of what you get for your money.

  22. There’s no mystery as to why Spurs have yet to make any signings. Nothing juicy to get Arsenal fans excited, at least. It’s simply a combination of a couple of comparatively mundane factors.

    First and foremost, it’s because Spurs already have a good and settled squad that has already proved itself to be among the best in the country. Improving on that isn’t so easy. Spurs aren’t going to find a Dele Alli every summer who can be plucked from the lower leagues and hit the ground running in the Premier League. So that means having to compete for the best players against clubs with far greater resources. Spurs can be interested in the likes of Lemar all they like but the reality is that they will only get a genuine chance of landing him once the richer clubs (who offer twice the wages) have already conducted all their business. So that means that Spurs often have to bide their time. Everton, by way of contrast, could act quickly because the players that they targeted were not also targeted by the richer clubs. As good as their business appears to have been, I’m not sure that any of their signings would have been coveted by the top six clubs.

    Secondly, there’s Daniel Levy. Spurs’ transfer deals tend to drag on because he negotiates the last ounce of life out of pretty much every deal Spurs are involved in. It’s no mere accident that Spurs are among the clubs most known for concluding last minute deals.

  23. lack of activity from spurs in the transfer market is somewhat complicated. here’s what I think

    first, spurs eleven squad is a lot more settled relative to the rest of top 6.

    any striker coming in to spurs know they’ve got Kane(23) ahead of them. next eriksen(24) and alli(21) both pretty much undropable. then Son(24). Son is the most vulnerable attacking player to be dropped to the bench, but when you just think that he scored 23 goals + 6 assists last season and the feeling he can only get better, its kinda hard.

    what spurs need is a real world class player like robben or bale or even dani alves. but players like these are out of spurs reach. but there’s some rumor of brahimi to spurs.

    in central midfield wanyama and dembele are solid. probly too solid. I think its spurs main weak point. someone like xhaka or carrick is needed to play probing passes from deep. Dier is spurs best player in this role but I think his natural position is defender. there is rumor of kovacic. really hope spurs get him.

    spurs defense looks set. walker might leave, but thats ok. it’ll make for an opening to improve the squad with a new player.

    overall I dnt expect much transfer activity. what spurs need is a world class signing. or kane, eriksen, alli, son to hit new highs and become truly world class.

    There is no point in signing players just for squad depth if they are not as good as the first team. Poch will have learnt from janssen, sissoko transfer

    btw. I think lacazette is quality. arsenal should try to keep sanchez. And instead of chasing likes of mbappe and lemar. go instead for william carvalho and bonucii/ van dijk (totally blindside liverpool. hahaha). Pepe was a free transfer.

    next season will be crazy. cant wait. Although playing at wembley might affect spurs, its no excuse.

  24. The Myth that Spurs wage is very small compared to Arsenal has been exposed as that just a myth. Yes Arsenal wage bill is bigger than Spurs but not in the proportion that are quite often branded.
    Arsenal wage bill always include staff and academy players. Spurs do not.
    That does not detract to the validity of your point on the effectiveness of recruitment. The problem is to make that advantage permanent. After a while other teams just catch up or they just buy out their success.
    That is exactly why Arsenal build their stadium and why Spurs is building theirs now.
    Right now until the stadium is built, the most important men at Spurs are Mauriccio Pochettino and the recruitment/scout cell.

    the Bundesliga is not a good case to compare. Because of the way the league is organised, clubs with larger commercial arm are at a much bigger advantage than others. In the premiership, the TV revenues are so important, they dwarf all the other revenues. That is why even third tier clubs are able to compete for the top players against top German, Spanish, Italian, French clubs. If your commercial revenues represent 20% of your total revenues, increasing them by 20% only increase your total revenu by 4%. If they represent 50%, that translate in a 10 % increase. Bayern Munchen AKA FC Hollywod is so far ahead of any other clubs, their revenu allow them to buy their title. Also the restriction on ownership means that they will never have to face a billionaire plaything. The closest they will be to face a team with extra money and commercial rm as strong as them is RB Leipzig. But even them have constraint that mean that they cannot buy Lukaka, Matic, and others. In fact they cannot even stop one of their best player to be tempted by Liverpool.

  25. Super well balanced read, it reminds me on a blog Arsenal Opinion that sadly vanished

  26. As to the new Spurs stadium, this is obviously one of your hobby horses, Tony – always grasping for evidence that it will imminently plunge Spurs into financial crisis. I guess I don’t blame you for trying!

    But the comparison to Arsenal that you repeatedly employ isn’t entirely valid. Sure, Spurs won’t have nearly as much development property to sell*. But then, they won’t have nearly as much to build either. And it’s not even certain that Spurs will build it themselves or, instead, seek a partner to contribute construction costs, with Spurs having contributed the land with planning permission. Nor will Spurs have to build a new £60m waste and recycling plant for their local council. More pertinently, Arsenal’s income in the final year before they moved into the Emirates was £135m. Spurs’ income in the final year before they move into the new WHL will be nudging £350m. And once Spurs have moved into the new stadium, it will be a bigger money earner than the Emirates was when it first saw use. Partly because Spurs’ naming rights deal (aided by the NFL partnership) will be far more lucrative than the original £3m per annum (once shirt sponsorship is deducted) naming rights deal that Arsenal signed with Emirates. And partly because, with its retractable pitch, the new WHL will be considerably more versatile.

    You shouldn’t get too hung up on this £800m figure, either. The cost leaked into the public domain varies wildly depending upon the desired effect. The £800m figure first came to light in a letter from Levy to various authorities. Its purpose was to stress just how much Spurs were doing to regenerate the local area and how little, by comparison, Haringey, TfL etc were doing. Naturally, then, it suited Levy’s purpose to spin costs to their maximum. The truth is that the £800m figure will include most, if not all, of the Northumberland Development Project. Furthermore, it includes sunk costs – for land acquisition and planning. I’d estimate that these sunk costs amount to more than £150.

    Lastly, we shouldn’t forget that when Arsenal sought funding for their new stadium, the base rate of interest was in the region of 4.5%. It is now at 0.25%. Even a likely rise to 0.5% in the near future would still see a far more favourable borrowing environment for Spurs than existed for Arsenal.

    * Notwithstanding that, as a consequence of global economic crisis from 2008 on, Arsenal profited to nothing like the degree that they had hoped.

  27. Above should of course read, “…..I’d estimate that these sunk costs amount to more than £150 million”!

  28. A couple of further points on the article and on subsequent comments:

    – Before last August’s last minute brain fart to spend £30m on Moussa Sissoko, Spurs had actually made a small net profit on player trading over the previous six years. So the club is very well used to operating within a strict budget. So any austerity imposed by the new stadium debt will, at most, mean business as usual.

    – You’re all furiously riding one of your other favourite hobby horses – the perceived persecution your club suffers at the hands of the media. Seriously, fellas, get over it. You’re becoming worse than Liverpool fans with your victim mentality! Every club gets it in the neck. You notice it when it happens to Arsenal because you predominantly tend to read Arsenal stories. Go figure. But there is no agenda other than to sell papers / advertising / air time etc. The media will always attack where a club is perceived to be weakest and where they can stir up the biggest reaction. Arsenal therefore get it in the neck about transfers because a significant proportion of Arsenal fans are perennially highly vociferous in their criticism of the club (and Wenger) for dithering and / or lacking ambition in the transfer market. Spurs, by contrast, get it in the neck by being labelled as bottlers or as a selling club (with countless stories doing the rounds of Spurs players imminently to be sold). It’s just what the media does. Don’t bite.

    – People talk all sorts of nonsense about Spurs’ record at Wembley. The truth is that, for the most part, Spurs have played quality teams there (Chelsea, mostly!). That is predominantly why they have a poor record. Of course, they won’t be able to recreate the atmosphere at White Hart Lane and it will be nigh on impossible to match last season’s home form. But as Peter Cheyne said above, top four should be achievable and would be seen as a decent result in the circumstances. By the way, I don’t believe the story that Spurs sought to have the Wembley pitch reduced to the same size as the old WHL pitch. From what I understand, they asked for it to be very slightly reduced to the standard UEFA recommended size and that that request has been granted.

  29. Great article. Ironically the best Spurs related article I’ve read in a very long time, and I spend worrying amounts of time reading the things. Top work. In theme with this North London bridge building, Lacazette looks like he’s going to be scary dangerous next season.

  30. Arsenal were on the top of their game when the new stadium was planned and once the financial restrictions kicked in for Arsenal, almost every big club started offering higher salaries to our Invincibles which really unsettled our players (media played a big part in this).
    Wenger saw this and to his credit was managing through this as best as he could have, but whenever we were going really well one of the following would happen
    1. Even after playing fairly Some horrendous referring would rob us of points, If we tried to be strong and get a little rough the referee would immediately give foul/caution/sendoff against Arsenal, so we were expected to not foul any one yet let go anything that comes our way
    2. Several penalties not given for clear fouls, yet penalties were been manufactured against us for slightest of contact.
    3. If some of our player is on the rise, he would be gifted a career threatening injury.

    All of the above points is significant hit to confidence and severely hampers one’s playing ability

    Every team has poor patches so does Arsenal but Arsenal has hits purple patch they are stopped in their tracks if they are close to any major silverware.

    Compare this to spurs
    There are no such vultures circling spurs squad, media never reports them in bad light. If we had been in their place there would already have been stories of Kane, Del Ali etc departures.

    Besides why do they need large squad
    1. Their defensive players never get early yellow to slow them down, even if they have got one they can be rest assured it would be followed by another yellow.
    2. None of their are given red cards for last two season, so they always have near perfect squad for selection.
    3. None of their players are targeted, hell try to rough them up a little and its yellow/red card
    4. Whenever they are in need they get a penalty

    Besides, all of the above points are significant confidence booster.

    Who is to say we won’t be robbed again this coming season.

  31. I know this won’t go down well with the visiting readers but in my opinion Poch is fully aware that his players slightly over achieved last season. Not by loads in as much as they’re individual players warranted 4th or 5th place, However they did that because they were brimming with confidence which resulted in them playing a bit above their level consistently and pulled out a few wins that they really shouldn’t have got. Again, that’s not to say said players would never play at that level, but this confidence made it much more consistent (hence the league position but no silverware).
    So Poch really doesn’t want to meddle with the squad much I case he affects the confidence level.
    Add to this the clubs preference for buying potential at a price that won’t break the bank if it fails (and makes the bank when it really succeeds), together with the world view that PL teams must pay treble to buy their players, and this is a very difficult window for Poch. So they’ll have some targets but don’t want to rush in to seem too eager.
    Finally, the club want all the money they can hold onto for the stadium. They know they will have to spend but a silly bid for Walker or Sissoko would make life so much easier for them. If that doesn’t happen then they may have to entertain silly money bids for others like Dier, but they’re hoping they won’t have to go down that road.
    Summary, Poch doesn’t want much to change, the club don’t want to pay too much (so they aren’t rushing in) and they want to know what’s definately going out before deciding where to spend their money on the incoming… Much like most non-sugar daddy teams then!

  32. Fair comments from the Spurs fans, much appreciated.

    But I don’t agree with this comment ‘Spurs have not only caught the Gunners but overtaken them and you have to ask the question of what you get for your money’. The current Spurs squad is an excellent team not denying that but one need to remember that Arsenal had a lot of distractions off the field such as manager’s contract, players contracts, and the protest from a section of the fanbase. In addition, last season Arsenal’s weakest link was left back, opponents know it and exploit it comfortably. AW recognized this and had bought in a new player for it, so I don’t think Arsenal will leak as many goals this season. However, I think opponents will attack the right back position this season. Also, Arsenal had a new player in midfield who took a while to adjust to the PL, now that he seemed settled, the midfield will be stronger. I will be surprise if Spurs end up ahead of Arsenal come end of the season, just my opinion as an Arsenal fan.

  33. Swapneel – I sincerely hope you have a ready and plentiful supply of tin foil hats.

  34. jod

    “Add to that the fact that despite spending far less than Arsenal (particularly on wages) Spurs have not only caught the Gunners but overtaken them and you have to ask the question of what you get for your money.”

    And you base that on what? One season? Another highly speculative statement.

    In season 2015/2016 we finished above Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea despite spending far less than them over the preceding 10 years. Did that mean Arsenal had, to paraphrase you ‘not only caught them, but overtaken them’ ? Hardly.

    As with Leicester winning the PL for one season, Arsenal finishing above City, Utd and Chelsea for one season hardly proves anything in the long term.

    I don’t understand what point you are trying to make.

    Yes Spurs do really well on a very meagre net spend. I have no issue at all saying that. But you have still only won one League cup in 10 years.

    For 10 years our net spend was less than Spurs, in fact for 10 years it was a POSITIVE net spend, and on the back of that we won nothing. But despite that, similar to how you think you are doing well on what you spend, I thought, as did a lot of us here on UA, we did well on what we had to spend, but as I say, we got no credit at all.

    Personally I think Spurs do pretty well on what they spend (net) and finishing 2nd is definitely punching above there weight. But lets be honest here, to do that Spurs virtually threw away all the cup competitions, going out of all of them at a pretty early stage.

    Poch, rightly or wrongly put all his eggs in one basket and it nearly paid off, But it didn’t in the end did it? Because you won nothing again, and that is what we kept getting told is what matters.

  35. JimB

    You surely must have plenty in surplus, it would be great if you could spare a few premier league referees to help them shield from mike riley

  36. Jim B, agree with you, most fans think there is a media agenda against them.
    If you are right about exaggerated reporting on reducing the Wembley pitch size, would say Tottenham are also in his case, victims of unfair media reporting, because that issue was pretty widely reported.
    As for comparisons with Liverpool fans, cannot speak for them, but on the whole, the assets of their ex players now in punditry back the club and team to the hilt, in stark contrast to many of our exes.
    But with our manager, the agenda has been real and personal, right from day one when he saw down the media in challenging them to level with him on horrendous and untrue charges they were implying on him. Mud sticks. Wenger faced them , against advice from his board, the media backed down. But yes, our divided fanbase lends itself to the club getting a pasting from the media, especially with truly pathetic anti Wenger gestures like planes with banners
    I am quite sure , if say Eddie Howe was our manager, we would get a much easier ride from the media.

  37. Andy Mac

    Great comment.

    Adding to what you said you also have to take in to account what I said about the cup competitions.

    Spurs pretty much threw in the towel on all of them, and that allowed them to focus entirely on the PL.

    Plus it seams they really do have a World Class striker in the shape of Kane. Should he have another great season I see Spurs getting another windfall from one of the big European Clubs next Summer.

    How they spend that, if they even do, will determine where they go over the next few years.

    No Signings?

    Playing at Wembley?

    Everyone wising up to how good Spurs can be?

    Champions League football?

    Could all conspire to give Spurs a much much tougher season than last season. Personally I cannot see Spurs making the top 4 next season. Just a personal opinion but that’s how I see it.

    Only time will tell.

  38. Mandy Dodd

    “Jim B, agree with you, most fans think there is a media agenda against them.”

    Yes this is true, and many a fan has come here and said this, including JimB before.

    I asked him to produce evidence to show the same level of abuse thrown at any other club from there own fans and ex players and he palpably failed to do so.

  39. Nitram, they did get to the FA Cup Semi Final, so it wasn’t quite everything they threw the towel in on.
    Whilst it’s too early to say for certain as we don’t know what their squad will be, I do tend to agree that they won’t be top 4 next season. The move to Wembley is going to be very difficult for them. Their players will feel like every game is an away game and when shit happens in that situation it’s difficult to feel the “We’re at home” feeling that players need to break a sequence.
    I’m not sure all their support realise how difficult it’ll be.

  40. Mandy Dodd – agreed. The slanderous treatment of Wenger re that story was unforgivable. I never join in with the related song that some Spurs fans still occasionally sing at him. Banter’s cool. Schadenfreude’s only natural. But there’s a line, and that song crosses it.

    Swapneel – serious question…..how old are you? I only ask because you are presenting yourself, perhaps unwittingly, as a pre-teen. Grow a pair and stop being the whiniest whiner in all of Whinedom.

    Nitram – I declined to accede to your demand for evidence that there is no more of a media agenda against Arsenal than there is against Spurs (or any other club for that matter) for two very simple reasons. The first is that it is not something that can be measured. Judging such articles is a matter of opinion, not fact. Even if it were possible, it would require the researcher to find, collate, judge and compare every single article, radio slot, TV segment or commentary about the two clubs over a period considered sufficient to present a balanced report – at least five years, I’d say, but maybe as many as twenty in order to determine the respective response to each club in both good times and bad. That would entail months, if not years, of tedious and painstaking trawling through hundreds of thousands – nay, millions – of articles and other media (if they are even still accessible). Thus I come to my second reason for not obliging you – I simply can’t be arsed. If you wish to fritter away your life doing the research yourself, be my guest.

    If you now consequently wish to take, as you previously have, my stance as proof that you are right and that Arsenal are indeed especially persecuted by the media, then you are merely indulging in the logical fallacy, ad ignorantiam – aka argument from ignorance. To which, suffice to say that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.

  41. Andy Mack, Polo – good comments. Can’t argue with either of you. Spurs will do very well to come even close to performing as well in the Premier League next season as they did last. And no matter that we finally finished above an Arsenal team managed by Wenger, it’s nonsense to claim that we have overtaken them more generally. We still have some considerable way to go before we could ever – if we could ever – claim such a thing. Spurs fans can only hope that we continue to improve and move in the right direction. Nevertheless, if I look back to 2004 when your Invincibles finished no less than 45 points above our near relegation battlers (bottlers?!), it is a marvel to me that the two clubs are now as close on the pitch as they are – and have been for the most of the past 7-8 years. I, along with many other lifelong Spurs sufferers, feared that we had lost touch forever.

    And while each and every gooner might have revelled in Spurs’ continued decline and the widening of that gap, I suspect that for a few, a small part of them would secretly have lamented the permanent loss of a genuine rivalry. It’s good that the north London derby is once again a meaningful fixture.

  42. On my reading the comments of the Spurs fans on this article subject. i think they have tried in their defence of the set polices and agendas of their club and the actions taken by Daniel Levy and Mauricio Pochettino which have relatively worked well for Spurs in recent seasons. My credit to the duo for their management foresight and their acumen.

    However, on the gauge of performance success on the field of play in the Premier League last season, would Spurs had truly finished 2nd to Arsenal 5th in the table if the Pgmol appointed referees for the PL matches had strictly compiled with the rules and the order of engagement which governed their profession in their referring job in the PL last season? If that had been strictly abided to by the Pgmol referee officials last season, I don’t think Spurs would have finished above Arsenal last season. For, some of the points the Pgmol referees had deliberately cost Arsenal were added to Arsenal final points total, and some of the points the Pgmol referees had illegally made Spurs to gained were deducted from Spurs final points total, definitely, Spurs wouldn’t had finished above Arsenal last season. I think the Pgmol referees assassinated St Totteringham’s day last season deliberately.

  43. @Spurspad,
    It was announced today that Jean Kevin Augustin a PSG prospect has just signed with RB Leipzig despite Spurs offering him more money. He thought that he was going to get less opportunity there.
    There you have it. Getting a reputation as a difficult club to succeed is easy to get, but changing perception to a more positive light can take time.
    Chelsea is now having the same problem, but by throwing huge salary, they still can overcome any reticence. In France most decent agents are now recommending French prospects to avoid Chelsea. You will sign for them, being loaned for the next four years, then sold at profit without having played for them.

  44. As a relative latecomer to this long rivalry (began following AFC in 2005)– I want to say how insightful this thread of comments has been today.
    First a thanks to Tony for stepping out on the ledge in writing it– and a thanks for the thoughtful commentary on both sides!


  45. Sorry, this off topic to Tottenham.

    Earlier Jonkers decided to move on. His position in the Arsenal Youth system was open.

    I suppose Arsenal was advertising for a replacement in some way.

    How did Per decide that he wanted to manage the Academy? How did he apply for the job? (Oh, by the way Arsene I would be interested in managing the Academy; as he is walking off the practice field next to Wenger?)


    In terms of Tottenham’s success (which is on topic to this thread), and trying to be devils advocate, I will suggest that Tottenham found some way to get on the good side of the incompetent 😈 Mike Riley’s PGMO. I’ve no idea what that might require.

    They found some way to get more positive decisions than the average. How do they continue to do so?

    If their “good run” of PGMO decisions is a statistical aberration, what happens when it ends?

  46. JimB
    Is that so ? How do you explain no red cards for spurs for over 2 years.
    How does that compare to Arsenal, getting red carded for fouls which spurs make yet seem to escape even yellow card.

    How much penalties have spurs been awarded ? Compare that to many blatant penalties not given in Arsenal’s favor.

    May be you should get your eyes checked up , oh and if it’s not the eyes but you are blinded by media and pundits? You already know how to protect yourself from that
    What was that tin foil hats?

  47. JimB

    “I declined to accede to your demand for evidence that there is no more of a media agenda against Arsenal than there is against Spurs (or any other club for that matter) for two very simple reasons.”

    Now that is pathetic.

    Firstly it’s not a demand it’s a request, and a very reasonable one I would of thought.

    Secondly, without evidence it’s just opinion. Yours v mine, and that gets us nowhere.

    But really when all’s said and done, it’s because there is no evidence to support what you say , but there is tons of it to support what I say, that leads you to conclude that evidence is irrelevant.

    The truth is, it is actually pretty easy to find ‘evidence’ if you want to, that’s assuming it’s there in the first place of course.

    Just Google.

    Ian Wright criticises Arsenal or Wenger.

    You get flooded by articles.

    Do the same for Stewart Robson, Paul Merson, Henry, the list goes on.

    Then try non Arsenal players such as Jamie Carragher, Roy Keane, Phil Neville, Graham Souness, Gary Lineker, Gary Neville (although he can be quite complementary too on occasions).

    It goes on and on.

    Of course every Club gets criticised at times but nobody, I repeat nobody, gets the relentless abuse that Wenger, as an individual gets, and Arsenal as a Club gets.

    The last time we had this debate I posted links to a few articles. You, sad to say, just disappeared.

    Why did you do that? Well it’s pretty obvious. You cant find the evidence to support what you say, so now your answer is that evidence doesn’t count.

    If that is so, we really are in trouble.

    Durham on Talkshite has, or a least had, a daily segment dedicated solely to criticising Arsenal.

    Name me one other Club that was so despised as to illicit that level of hatred?

    Over the years we’ve been labelled by the media as ‘Lucky’ Arsenal (70’s). Boring Arsenal (80’s).

    Honestly, to dispute the fact Arsenal get an unfair, disproportionately critical press, way beyond anything any other, often much less successful Cub gets, is ridiculous.

    Even the fans I know of other Clubs concede we get ridiculously bad press. They think our fans(the aaa’s as we call them) are laughable. At work it is the Arsenal fans that don’t stop moaning. Honestly it’s embarrassing.

    But hey, you carry on believing what you want.

  48. Nitram
    09/07/2017 at 9:06 am

    Good post.

    The cry ‘Lucky Arsenal’ started in the Herbert Chapman days when after 10-15 minutes of nothing but defending we luckily broke away and scored. We were ‘lucky’ It wasn’t a tactical play as Arsenal managers don’t do ‘tactics’!

    The fact that we had the plays that could play this type of game and were the best was ignored as is to

  49. JimB,

    I personnally do not ‘hate’ not even ‘dislike’ the Spurs. Just they are adversaries of Arsenal and I’d rather we beat them.
    But thats it.

    I was impressed by last season and have been by Poschetino.

    However your statement :

    – You’re all furiously riding one of your other favourite hobby horses – the perceived persecution your club suffers at the hands of the media.

    Is not ok.

    Just read the press and the blogettas. AW and AFC are getting hit again and again under the label that they, as usual, do not act in the transfer market, do not purchase, let their players go, etc etc.

    When, if you consider the last seasons, is not even fake news, it is just a blatant lie.

    If like Poschetino AW had so far gotten NO new player, I cannot imagine what we’d be hearing.

    Today, any idiot can have his picture published front page or be seen live worldwide on TV if he shows some banner saying things like Wenger Out. So they latch on to that and do it, and we see lots of them because idiots is something the world has an unlimited supply of. I mean, if as they pretend a ticket to the Emirates is such an expensive thing and the games so awful, why in the world do they bother paying for a team they hate and games they do not enjoy ?!?! They do it for the chance to be seen.

    If the media were to start the same thing with Poschetino or Klopp or any other coach, it would give the same results because there are always idiots who want ther 15 seconds of fame they believe they deserve. And these are not fans like you and me. Just idiots whose dream come true would be to be part of big brother or any other such garbage TV program.

    The issue is that it makes for systematic talking points, it corrodes the atmosphere, it makes it toxic and reading the interviews of players and coach at the end of the year, it does have an effect on the team, on the end result. So this is just sabotage, nothing less.

    As far as I am concerned I just wish Tottenham well, I believe they will have to sort out issues and have strong winds against them (yet as it was stated, their borrowing rate is almost 10 times cheaper that what AFC had to pay, which makes the success AW and AFC managed the more impressive – yet they get not credit for it). But on the ‘football’ side, I much rather like their actual game then that of MU, City or Chelsky, as much as I like the fact that their youngsters are getting good training and real chance in the first team.

  50. Sometimes I wonder how people manage to make it through the day. It’s such a struggle being an Arsenal supporter.

  51. @ Leon, your comment made me laugh ( in a good way). I have no idea how I make it through the day with all the negativity surround Arsenal, most media post are Arsenal is in some sort of ‘crisis’. I guess only the thought of UA keeps me insane.

    Banter aside, I think most of us here have our daily life to contend with either work, kids, or wife. Football is just a pass time.

    @JimB, I really appreciate your thoughtful comments, it’s great to read another fans fair perspective. To be honest I don’t care whether people are an Arsenal fan or another club fan, as long as they love football that’s all that matter. Rivalry should be just entertainment.

  52. Leon/Polo

    I for one manage to make it through the day quite happily thank you very much.

    I, like most people in life, have times when the ‘real World’ is very tough, traumatic even, and that’s where the ‘real’ issues of life really lie.

    But as a rule life just trundles on. That is probably true for most of us.

    But outside of that ‘real World’, where family, friends and work, take centre stage, it is football, and more specifically my beloved Arsenal, that occupy a lot of my time.

    It’s an isolated World, a World apart from that ‘Real’ one, but it is important to me, within it’s context, non the less.

    And within it’s context I will support them, and defend them, to hilt, where I see fit.

    I to that end I think the abuse we get is totally out of context to what we deserve.

    To say otherwise is to be in complete denial of what we read and hear in the media on a day to day basis.

    Anyone who says otherwise is wrong, it’s as simple as that. And if they think they are not wrong they should produce evidence rather than say evidence is irrelevant, which is a pathetic cop out to be honest.

  53. @Polo @Nitram @JimB

    I can’t say this is statistically relevant– but may serve allegorically to the topic of ‘AFC and bad press’.

    As a stateside Gooner? I rely on media for all of my news with the exception of what I see during televised matches.
    I monitor the NewsNow Arsenal feed to get a quick gauge of the media’s perspective on any bit of club news.
    Been doing this for years now.

    This Spring it became unbearable to read through the manifest of echo chamber sites.
    I decided to begin using NewsNow’s ‘Hide Publication’ feature for sites who seemed to be ‘negative-only’ by nature.
    Also decided– that whenever I determined a site had latched onto a negative Arsenal ‘theme’by sourcing one of the NewsNow ‘Hidden’ sites– I would hide that site too.
    (There were several that seemed to spring up from nowhere too.)

    I kept a site ‘unhidden’ even if their report might be negative toward AFC– if done within a factual context. To mean not solely based on derogatory opinion.
    (And there was ample criticism due from January-through-March.)

    While I’ve ‘unhidden’ about 6 or 7 since the FA Cup?
    I still have SIXTY-TWO (62) sites and blogs still ‘hidden’ for their conduct since January.

    Hope this bit of info adds to this conversation.


  54. I do find those numbers interesting – especially as I have been fighting for 3 years to get the Arsenal History site listed on News Now (they finally got there last week) and find all these pop up sites turning up without any difficulty. It completely bemuses me what is going on – unless of course the pop up sites are sending in 20 applications a week in the hope that one will get through.

  55. jw1

    “This Spring it became unbearable to read through the manifest of echo chamber sites.”

    This is what I mean.

    Given we have won 3 FA cups and 2 Community shields, as well a finishing 4th 3rd and 2nd in the PL, all within the last 4 years, to get media traffic so appallingly critical of us as to be ‘unbearable’ is simply ridiculous.

    It’s because of this that despite paying fortunes for SKY Sports and BT Sports I watch nothing but actual matches.

    I don’t watch the build up, the half time or full time analysis. I only watch soccer Saturday from 3pm and then with the volume down. I don’t watch any of the ‘magazine’ type programs or anything which involves a hack. Put simply I probably watch less than 1% of what I pay for and this is entirely down to the fact that what is broadcast regarding Arsenal FC and Arsene Wenger is virtually entirely negative.

    They seem to have an endless supply of ex Arsenal and non Arsenal players willing to criticise every aspect of Arsenal FC, and of course Wenger in particular.

    That’s without the copious amounts of hacks who constantly criticise our very existence.

    Yes yes, I know EVERY club gets criticised, and so should Arsenal at times.

    But what we have here is anutterly disproportionate and concerted effort to undermine everything about our Club.


    The cost of tickets

    The poor entertainment value

    The greedy board

    The tight manager.

    The manager that doesn’t do tactics

    The manager that panics in the transfer market

    The manager that is too slow in the transfer market

    The manager that holds his players hostage (fabregas for one)

    The team that has no leaders

    The team that get bullied

    The dirty team

    The cheating team

    The team that tries to walk it in

    The players that are nicking a living

    The players that don’t care

    The players not fit to wear the shirt

    The list of criticisms is endless.

    All I keep asking is for someone to show me another team that gets that sort of endless criticism on a day to day, almost hour to hour basis, and I will concede it’s just me.

    Until that time I will stick with my view that we get a massively disproportionate amount of abuse compared to everyone else.

  56. In US politics there is a perspective that when an effort or opinion comes from a genuine populist perspective– from the ‘folks at the bottom’?
    It has long (for decades) been known as a ‘grassroots’ effort or organization.

    Much more recently (a decade perhaps)– when one established political party, group, or media outlet– creates another mouthpiece to disseminate its’ ideas– this is conversely, and with negative connotation, known as an ‘astroturf’ or artificial group or effort. Aligned to spew propaganda, with little effort or infrastructure.

    I could likely– from my list of ‘hidden’ NewsNow publications point to at least six (6) that were new to the feed since last January.


    (PS– Tony, just saw the first ‘The History of Arsenal’ post on NewsNow!)

Comments are closed.