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Arsenal v Tottenham: looking at the history of Tottenham’s trophies

By Bulldog Drummond

Yesterday we did some of the heavy statistics comparing Arsenal and Tottenham.  So let’s go to the other extreme and look at the sort of story that can emerge when one just says things because, that’s just about all one can do.

For this approach of course it is always a good idea to have a look at the Daily Mirror.  And now we have The Mirror announcing that according to Jamie Carragher, neither Tottenham nor Arsenal can call themselves part of the Big Six because both of the clubs “have managers who have much to prove.”

Now I have never come across any manager of a large club talk about the Big Six – it is a journalistic invention used, as most such things are, to cover the fact that the commentator has no idea what on earth is going on anywhere outside the Toppled Bollard (favoured watering hole of the journalistically down trodden).

Which raises the issue, “what does Big Six actually mean?”

Certainly it doesn’t have anything to do with winning trophies.  Unless you call being a runner-up a trophy.  And I am not sure that is right.  I mean, if fourth is not a trophy, why is being a runner-up?

Trying hard not to embarrass Tottenham too much (after all they can boast beer glasses that fill from the bottom up, and that is something to be proud of) we might perhaps restrict our review to the 21st century.

In this century we find Tottenham’s trophy and near trophy record to be

Season Trophy Finishing point
2001-02 Football League Cup Runner-up
2007-08 Football League Cup Winner
2008-09 Football League Cup Runner-up
2014-15 Football League Cup Runner-up
2016-17 Premier League Runner-up
2018-19 Champions League Runner-up
2020-21 Football League Cup Runner-up

So across 21 seasons they have won one trophy and been runner-up six times.  And yes, two of those runners up spots have been in important competitions – the Champions League and the Premier League.

Let’s try Arsenal over the same time.  I normally take the Community Shield out, so I will do that again, but if you were wondering there were four or five or those as well (sorry I lost count).

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Season Trophy Finishing Point
2000-01 Premier League Runner-up
2000-01 FA Cup Runner-up
2001-02 Premier League Champion
2001-02 FA Cup Winner
2002-03 Premier League Runner-up
2002-03 FA Cup Winner
2003-04 Premier League Champion
2004-05 Premier League Runner-up
2004-05 FA Cup Winner
2005-06 Champions League Runner-up
2006-07 Football League Cup Runner-up
2010-11 Football League Cup Runner-up
2013-14 FA Cup Winner
2014-15 FA Cup Winner
2015-16 Premier League Runner-up
2016-17 FA Cup Winner
2017-18 Football League Cup Runner-up
2018-19 UEFA Europa League Runner-up
2019-20 FA Cup Winner

So this century we have nine trophies (to Tottenham’s one) and ten running up spots.

Of course I know that nine trophies in 21 years is not the sort of rate that Manchester City and Chelsea can now run at because of their investments from the Arab and Russian worlds respectively.  But I would still say that nine trophies in 21 years is better than a kick in the teeth.

But could it be that we are out of Europe now that counts?  Well, I am not sure there would be consistency there because Chelsea missed out after coming 10th in 2016. And Liverpool came 8th in 2012.  And Man U came seventh in 2017.

But nonetheless, the Mirror tells us that “Arteta came under pressure after an awful start to the campaign followed last season’s failure to qualify for Europe,”  and it quotes Carragher as saying the question for “both teams is how long they will be in the wilderness in terms of winning titles.”

Well, if that is the measure of “top six” let’s see who is in the top six.

  • Manchester City: Last time winners – 2021.  Last time runners’ up 2020
  • Liverpool: Last time winners – 2020.  Last time runners up 2019
  • Chelsea: Last time winners: 2017.  Last time runners’ up 2011.
  • Manchester United: Last time winners: 2013.  Last time runners’ up 2018.
  • Arsenal: Last time winners: 2004.  Last time runners up 2016.
  • Tottenham: Never won the Premier League.  Last time runners’ up 2017.

Of course Carragher can say what he likes, but in reality Big Six is just a Sky TV invention for the six clubs that get the biggest TV audiences.  They want to put these six on TV as much as they can because they sell more advertising that way, and so justified it by creating the title “Big Six”.  It has nothing to do with trophies of anything else.

You could also measure success by league titles.  If so you get the total of

  • Manchester United 20
  • Liverpool 19
  • Arsenal 13
  • Everton 9
  • Aston Villa 7
  • Manchester City 7
  • Sunderland 6
  • Chelsea 6

Even doing that still doesn’t get Tottenham into the table.  And the TV stations are not going to start putting Sunderland, Everton and Aston Villa on TV a lot more because they have won six or seven titles, mostly in the ancient times when England was joined to Europe by a land bridge.

Mind you, even if we go back to the start, Tottenham have only won the league twice along with Preston, Derby, Burnley and Portsmouth, so maybe including Tottenham in the big six is actually pushing it a bit now I come to think of it.

Next: the teams.

The media’s take 

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