What would we do without Spurs fans?
Although on the face of it Tottnumb supporters can be royal pains in the bum, Helen Trantum looks at why their existence actually enriches the lives of Gooners.
We all know one of them – the reprehensible Tottnumb fan who always thinks that this year is their year, that this year the tables will turn, that this year Tottnumb will finally finish above Arsenal*, that this year will be Different.
Yes, we all know one. I live with one.
*It’s their equivalent of a trophy, except that their drought is 19 years and counting.
Yet, it’s too easy to dismiss that deluded fan as annoying, stupid and downright pitiful (they do support Tottnumb after all).
But we hardly ever stop to consider the positive side to having a Tottnumb fan in your life.
I call it the ‘let’s all laugh at Tottnumb‘ factor.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE FANS
Every year, Tottenham fans the world over stir themselves into a frenzy in anticipation of the North London derbies – there is no bigger game in their season. You get the feeling that they would happily lose every other game that year, as long as they could beat us home and away.
Sure, we want to beat them, and beat them well, but how much of that is just because Spurs fans are so unbelievably annoying when they have hope and how much of it is because we know the result will be a “classic DVD“?
For us, the derbies are one of a number of big games, with Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd and various Champions League behemoths also featuring high up on our lists.
For Spurs, it’s just a sign of the small club mentality which prevails when there is nothing else to focus your energy on.
For them, it really is all about us, which makes it all the more amusing when we beat them, and their season’s ambitions are over for another year.
It’s good to laugh. Thanks Spurs!
IF WE BURN, YOU BURN WITH US
Anyone who watches Arsenal week in, week out will know that we have something of a trademark for making life as difficult as possible for ourselves.
A mixture of horrifying and unlucky defending seems to afflict us with great and equal regularity, with calamities building up to hand a point or three to the unlikeliest of opposition.
You would think we have a monopoly on it in fact.
One of the greatest things about having a Spurs fan in your life is that no matter how badly Arsenal have done, chances are Tottenham have done something equally or even more stupid.
Take 2012-13 as an example – after AVB’s infamous “negative spiral” comment.
Arsenal were seven points behind Spurs with just ten games to play. We won eight of those games, but also played out two potentially critical draws. Tottenham however were determined to show that anything we could do, they could do better, and lost two and drew three of those final ten games.
Or how about the season before whenTottenham were ten points clear going into the North London Derby and playing an Arsenal side desperately out of form, having twice lost to Sunderland, drawn with Bolton and been spanked by AC Milan in the same month.
Yet Tottenham absolutely capitulated in that game from 2-0 up to lose memorably lost 5-2, and their results immediately after that game saw them win just four of their remaining twelve games and draw a further four.
Arsenal were able to lose to the likes of QPR and Wigan as well as draw with Chelsea, Stoke and Norwich on their way to finishing 3rd above Spurs by a solitary point, and in doing so ensure that it would be the men in white who missed out on Champions League football. Again.
Somehow no matter how unhappy you are, if there’s someone who is worse off, it puts everything into perspective. Thanks Spurs.
Manchester City might buy some of our players directly from us, but Tottenham have a habit of buying those players a year or two later once they have somewhat fallen from grace.
What makes it more entertaining is that their fans then revel in those signings as if it somehow reflects badly on us that they want to sign a player who wasn’t good enough for us.
David Bentley is a classic example (I just looked him up – he’s 30. That’s scary!) – a player who ended up making a solitary senior league appearance for Arsenal despite much hype, and went on relatively unsuccessful loan spells to Norwich and Blackburn before signing permanently for the Rovers.
He spent two and a half years at Ewood Park before Tottenham came calling in 2008 for around £17m.
Arsenal’s policy of having sell-on clauses saw a reported £7m of that money coming straight into the Gunners’ coffers.
I hope that the fluke goal he scored against us was worth that £17m, as Tottenham ended up loaning him out to a number of clubs before being released in 2013. What a great signing.
Then there was William Gallas, deemed surplus to requirements at Arsenal following a rather abject failing in his leadership qualities.
This was the same player that threatened to score own goals against Chelsea, so determined was he to engineer a move away. Injury prone and critical of the club and some of the younger players in particular, Gallas was deemed more trouble than he was worth and Arsenal walked away from contract talks.
The following summer, he turned up at Tottenham, who he claimed had the potential to win the Premier League.
Three unsuccessful seasons and a thumping 5-2 defeat later, Gallas was released by Spurs. Another great signing.
Here at Daily Cannon, we already looked at Emmanuel Adebayor’s failure of a career following his departure from the Emirates, with unsuccessful spells at Man City, Real Madrid and Tottenham, as well as failed moves to QPR and West Ham in the last couple of days.
This is a player that Arsenal made look worth £25m to Man City. The same player whose wages City were prepared to pay huge chunks of while he was on loan just to get him off their books and in the shop window.
Spurs fans (and their Chief Executive apparently) thought ‘here’s a player we can use to wind up Arsenal’. Well, they presumably didn’t buy him for his footballing ability after all.
You can’t help but think they’ve never got over Sol Campbell.
Certainly he’s still a major song inspiration for them no matter who the opposition – I guess that’s what happens when you make a successful move to a rival.
I don’t remember too many songs about David Bentley at the Emirates over the years.
It’s always good to vindicate Arsenal’s decisions to cast off a player by proving they’re rubbish. It’s even better to laugh at Tottenham fans trying to wind you up over it. Thanks Spurs.
THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK
Of course it’s not just Gallas and AVB who, over the years have come out with some rather foolish comments.
While Arsenal provide new recruits with coaching on how to respond to the press and handle their social media attention, Tottenham appear to focus instead on training players to make ill-advised comments and proclamations.
If I had a pound for every Spurs player who has come out and declared that the “tide is changing” or that they “can win the league” then I would be rich indeed.
My all time favourite is the “negative spiral” comment – so much so that it’s the subject of a whole separate article – but there have been many to enjoy.
Perhaps Sandro’s “I’m not injured” tweet after he was left out of the Spurs squad to face Fulham in 2014, not only undermining manager, Tim Sherwood, but ensuring in the process that he would play just two further games for Tottenham before being offloaded to QPR.
Then there was Van der Vaart’s assertion midway through the 2011/12 season: “Can Arsenal finish above us? No. No chance. We’re better.”
In fact, it’s a consistent theme for Tottenham – benchmarking their seasons against us, and then failing to fulfil their lofty dreams. As @angryofN5 puts it – when will they ever learn?
It’s just more material for our amusement – and the players just egg the fans on to new levels of comedic declarations. Thanks Spurs.
FOREVER IN OUR SHADOW
In fact, Tottenham’s obsession with us is bordering on the ridiculous.
It’s easy to laugh off the “forever in our shadow” line as simply poking fun at our sensitive neighbours, but the truth is, it’s almost 20 years since they finished above Arsenal and it’s 54 years since they last won the league.
Every time they look hopefully up the table, there we are blocking out their light.
In recent years we’ve had to sit back as the club trudges through a period unable to spend enough to compete at the very top, perfectly coinciding with the arrival of the oil money to elevate two of Tottenham’s historic peers – Chel$ki and Man City – to the status of genuine contenders.
In that time, despite our major restrictions we’ve still managed to mount some serious challenges in the league before the lack of squad depth afforded by the bankrolled clubs finally kicked in.
Throughout those ‘glorious failures‘ there was still the silver lining of looking behind us at a team no closer than ever to finally breaking that 20 year duck to put it all into perspective.
Their only trophies in the last 24 years have come in a competition Arsenal take so seriously that we don’t even play our reserves – we play our youth team.
Not to mention the amazing roll call of teams that have rolled up at the White Hart Lane gates such as Dinamo Tbilisi, Tromso, Sheriff Tiraspol, Anzhi Makhachkala and Dnipro, compared to the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich who regularly grace the Emirates.
This club has had a long term plan, and one which we have been working diligently at for the last eight years.
It’s starting to come to fruition.
Last year we made our first major marquee signing in Ozil and instantly got back to winning ways with the FA Cup win, despite the team very much still being in transition.
We’re growing in stature, and our shadow is growing along with us.
Tottenham – and their fans – still seem in the dark on that one.