Last seasons derby match at the Emirates proved to be pivotal. Had we won the match, we'd have probably continued on with our march to consolidating 3rd spot and travelling the London Underground would not be littered with constant reminders of our implosion. Instead the day served to illustrate that not all was well and that tactically we lacked any shrewdness and astuteness and invited Arsenal to rejuvenate a season that some of their fans had already given up on, leaving long before half time.

The game was a catalyst. It sent them one way and us in the opposite direction.

Dear broken children of Woolwich

Dear broken children of Woolwich,

How many times do we have to do this? You can't disappear for 12 months then reappear kitted out in clown costume and holding foam pie, posting gloating comments on the blog and expect us to not sit up and take notice of your laughable efforts. Here I am, pointing and laughing, what more can I do as you gave up all your other rights thanks to the worm like qualities you possess, incapable of straight up discussion unless you believe yourselves to be in a position that is protected from any come-backs, crawling out of the dirt and multiplying no matter how many times you get cut up. In fact you don't do straight up discussion full stop. You just shout sound-bites and la la la la las with fingers in ear-holes.

Graciousness is not a virtue you are blessed with is it? You lot are known to be the worst ilk of supporters in the country. You need to concentrate less on the gloating and more on how to support your own. You know what I'm referring to. Empty seats when it's not going your way. Bin bags. 'Manager Out' banners. Laughable really calling us deluded when the reality is you lot can't accept it. Free yourselves from the weighty prison of your over inflated egos. You think other clubs outside the collapsing Sky Sports Top Four era are of no consequence because they failed to suckle at one of the available t*ts on Murdochs bosom?

I keep telling you, I don't care for visiting Arsenal forums and blogs. I don't post on any rival forums or blogs. It's you lot that frequent this place, persistently letting us know you're out there. It's you telling us 'you don't care, it's no big deal' finishing above Spurs and yet you do nothing but talk it up and celebrate like a plucky team that done good changing your perceptions to suit the moment so you wont lose face. In hiding for over a year without your riotous banter, absent and lost and then we have the pleasure of your company again. Internet connection back up?

I remember the last viral attack from your hordes. Gloats about playing the Brummies at Wembley. A cup that traditionally meant nothing to you suddenly meant the world although you all played it cool and nonchalantly like it didn't actually matter. You lost that game. None of you could be found in the aftermath. I saw you on tv though, crying over that Mickey Mouse cup. Was the irony too much for you to share with us? Oh the lonely lonely nights.

You don't care about us? You care alright, you care. You care about us more than you care about yourself. Without us you have nothing. It's funny that - Chelsea, West Ham. They also have nothing to do with us geographically and yet they're forever humping our legs too. Seems for a club that nobody cares about everyone seems to care about making sure we know how much they don't care. Ooh, brain melt.

What's that? I'm doing the same now by obsessing about you, ranting away like a maniac punching the keyboard with rabid disdain? Not quite. I'm enjoying this. I'm enjoying proving my point. It's because I know you'll be back on this blog reading this because you wont be able to stay away, holding up your laminated cheat sheet of quick fire retorts, unable to stop yourself from posting a comment. You're reading this right now, aren't you? Tut tut, you lose. Go on, hit the comments.

So how brave of you to return and gloat. The same display of bravery we witness when you throw your dummy out the pram if things are not going well on the pitch. The same display of bravery it takes to purchase bin bags to cover empty seats where your equally brave brethren decide not to turn up altogether because...well, I don't know why exactly? Perhaps you all believe you're entitled to something because you simply believe you're entitled to it? From league titles to the Carling Cup to now finishing above Spurs. Have we caught up or have you fallen down? Who cares? No matter where you stand nobody can escape your stench. No one else in the country could give a **** about you so your desperation holds no bounds as you attempt to scratch your names in the Lilywhite surface.

We're accountable all of the time and not when we choose to be. Do we gloat? Don't all supporters gloat? But we're there to take it on the chin when thrown back at our face. It does however get tiresome if there's no one there to throw it back at again what with the constant sabbaticals you lot are inclined to taking. Mind the gap? Yep. Make sure you point us in the direction of the trophy cabinet where the 'Finishing above Tottenham' Cup will proudly sit. Once upon a time you had a bit more weight in your punch. All feels a little ticklish nowadays.

We're aspiring. You're perspiring.

We are reaching out. You are holding on.

Forever in your shadow? What shadow is that? The one casted down by your insecurities and necessity to validate your existence by crawling out of your swamp to beg for attention? You could win the title for 20 successive years and it still wouldn't make a blind bit of difference to anything. You're still a soulless, franchised entity of sh*t. You don't have an identity.

No, hold on, my mistake. You do have traditions and you do have an identity. It belongs to the man who turned up at your blank canvas of a club and proceeded to paint a self-portrait that covered every nuance of his mind creating clone hybrids from supporters to players. Arsenal is Arsene Wenger, Arsene Wenger is Arsenal. A fitting replacement for Nick Hornby and prior to that the ex-Tottenham player whose head sat pretty in your marble halls. You're not a football club, not really, you're just an extension of Wenger's ego. Which is illustrated by the characteristics and the non-existent personalities of the supporters; unimaginative, self-satisfying megalomaniacs in ghastly red who only care when they're winning, completely devoid of wearing ones heart on sleeve without prejudice and without shame. Your hearts sit in your inside pocket then get stapled on at appropriate moments when you like to show off, removed and taken out of sight when you don't want anyone to know what team you 'support'.

You're like nomadic ants, nesting under stones and logs and in cracks in rocks, all identical and unspectacular, all following each other without diversity and without soul. More specifically, you are the species of small ant, Temnothorax albipennis, which abandons established nests at the first sign of any threats. Running away to settle somewhere new, with one single queen laying the eggs with a workforce of non-breeding females leaving the nest to forage and collect building materials. You are ants. Living under rocks. A collective that do as they're told and told what to think.

What did you have before your queen? A clock and Liam Brady.

Not forgetting porn dealers, drunks, coke-heads, a bent manager, bland boring nondescript football, results counting more than entertainment. Does the past 10 or so years erase the previous 100 or so? Even your double side from the 70s is more famous for winning at White Hart Lane than it is for its brand of football and impact on the English game.

Don't pretend you don't know because you do. Deep deep down, you can see it. You know of your birthplace you know where you came from. You know you've gone out of existence and changed your name, more than once. You know you're a franchise, a business created from the death of another and squatting in north London purely for financial gain on a foundation of bribes, lies and fabrications. It's Gillespie Road. It's transparent. We can all see through the paint work. It was all done purely to take advantage of the masses of support available in that part of London. That part of London being the north part, although let's not pretend or forget your owner didn't first attempt to merge you with Fulham, at the time, a far bigger club with a far nicer stadium.

Think about that for a second. First choice, merger with Fulham. I can't be the only person laughing out loud. What's wrong with you? What's wrong with Woolwich? Are you ashamed of your own home? Why would you be so ashamed? What kind of **** is ashamed of their own personal history, their own home where they were born? Perhaps I'm being a little harsh, it's not your fault you're all broken. You're all dirty and broken.

Deep deep down, you're all so conflicted and confused which is why you struggle so much with the more emotive side of football. Because you know had that south London club not run away and aborted its dead foetus outside of SE18 you'd all be Spurs fans now.

You. Yes you.

No matter what you say, what you have to show, no one wants to be you. You're forever in your own shadow of self-hatred.


Tommy Tottenham

Their empire of dust needs to be swept under the carpet

There is no doubting that we need to finish above Arsenal to truly crow about the shift in power under the brooding North London sky. But you need to be insane (or own a red and white shirt) to disagree that one cycle is coming to its end and another continues to blossom.

One of the finest testaments to the Redknapp era at Spurs is the fact that in recent years we have the better record over our old enemy. In head to heads, we tend to best them. The fear, the crippling self-doubt...doesn’t exist any more. For too many years we lacked the quality and the authority to stamp Lilywhite across the NLD and sheer plucky effort was never enough as we were brushed aside time and time again. The dominance of the monopoly crumbled and everyone up top degraded a little. Arsenal have gone from super human to mere mortals whilst we have anchored ourselves to the upper tier without yet consolidating, but with every chance of doing so.

Wenger and his sorry lot are akin to Superman when he agrees to sacrifice his powers. Except you can’t see them getting their powers back (unlike in the movie), what with Arsene building a Fortress of Solitude out of Kryptonite. They’ve lost their best players. They tend to lose their best players almost by default these days. You expect them to replace the lost souls with new Gods but they dither and end up with decent players but of the ilk you expect seasoned top eight sides to sign. It’s a sign of the times, they’re in transition and they are struggling to adapt to morality. They look beatable. They look like they have mistakes and lapses of concentration in them all the time.

This is not an obituary. They still possess quality, but in a twisted way they are more alike to us in terms of how we shaped up a few seasons back. Couple of star players in amongst the ordinary, fancy football flattering to deceive. They show glimpses of belief and desire but it's almost at the expense of really having to push for it, rather than oozing with ease.

Our 2-1 win more or less paints the same picture as described above. Reactions from their support further illustrating how different things truly are at this moment in time. Did Arsenal play well at the Lane? Apparently so. They nicked possession by a couple of %. But if this was Arsenal playing well (bossing it) how come I hardly remember Friedel having to shot-stop? Szczesny on the other hand? More to the point, if this was Arsenal playing well, how can a Spurs side that hardly asserted themselves still be so comfortable in victory? You could point to Redknapp and claim he started the wrong midfield and that had we played three centrally to combat their three man midfield then Arsenal would not have enjoyed so much time on the ball.

They had efforts. They missed a sitter. They struggled to find cutting edge. We had less time on the ball, failed to dictate tempo but on the counter we were too good for their disorganised defence to handle. When Redknapp made the tactical switch and brought on Sandro it was game over. I’ll wager we’d have won easily if he had started. We’d have suffocated their trio and allowed the likes of Bale to run riot. From the heart of a defensive stronghold there would have been offensive riches to behold. Sandro and Parker in the middle means less of the running back for the more creative of our players.

In an ironic role-reversal, they matched us (we're meant to have the better players, right?) and at the start of the second half bettered us. And yet in the end our quality was superior. The likes of Parker, King and Walker excelling. Defoe worked his socks off. Okay, so Ade was subdued and Modric not as influentially. But Bale was menacing in the second half and Sandro consolidated.

A better Arsenal side with some of those long gone players strutting their stuff would have (might have) punished us. Speaks volumes that we can start the wrong formation and yet still work our way to three points. It’s not that we didn’t play well, it’s just that we should have been set up to be far stronger from the start. We have the depth now. We got away with it because they’re the ones now punching above their weight, trying to play a particular way when lacking the players to do so. We have that little bit more in the way of desire and belief than they do.

When Walker scored, I was obviously euphoric but there was a voice in my head that said, “Well that was expected, wasn’t it?”. What bizarro universe is this that I suddenly find myself living in?

New Spurs. Don’t have to play well to beat Arsenal. I like that.




Was it handball? Top of arm? Apex? I’m going to be completely biased and say it was majestically controlled and not blatantly ‘handball’ in the traditional way. This was hardly a Henry moment. Arsenal should have complained about it with more vigour but they don’t even seem to have that in them these days.


Talking of Rafa. He loves giving it to the scum. It's like having a Dutch version of Jenas.


Ade. Obviously had a Robbie Keane moment when one on one and thought too much about the moment rather than instinctively scoring then concerning himself about whether to celebrate or not.


As for Jack Wilshere and his tweets:

"Van der Vaart should be sent off! He celebrated with the fans? I'm sure that is a yellow?"

“Remember one thing.....Form is temporary and class is permanent!”

Let’s humour him. Rafa did not jump into the stands. If anything the fans moved towards the player. He then moved back. Absolutely nothing to see here other than someone passionately celebrating a goal in a massive game. If Jack was to ever score in a NLD, I look forward to him shaking hands with his team-mates and briskly walking back to the centre-circle.

As for his form/class comment? I’ll remember one thing Jack, your desperation.


The vile chanting. The way the media are banging on about it, anybody would think this only ever happens when Spurs play Arsenal.


Remember how most of us felt post-transfer window closure? We wanted more than what we got. What we’ve got is four wins out of four with Parker and Adebayor. Probably worthy of another article, so I'll just say sorry. I was (along with a few) proved wrong about Parker. I'm okay with that.


12 points. 6 games. Both Manc sides played along with Liverpool and Arsenal. Just Chelsea left. Next nine games look winnable. This being Tottenham it’s the games we should be winning where we end up dropping points. But retaining confidence and positivity...we’re accomplished these days away from home and our form at the Lane remains strong (we don’t lose too many). The season is about to kick off for us.


Clive Allen. Knight him.


Favourites v Underdogs

I've seen quite a few of us referencing the fact we are being perceived as favourites in the North London Derby. That's both the media and the fans believing Spurs have it done and dusted on paper and that it should easily translate on the field of play. I'd agree that our midfield is superior to theirs. I'd also cite the fact their defence plays out to the tune of the Keystone Cops.

They still possess quality (RvP) of the match-winning ilk. But so do we, in abundance, and we are on a roll (three wins on the trot). And we're at home. But then the self-doubt (it never goes away) gently reminds us that we don't tend to do well when expected to do well. We do better when we have less pressure weighing us down. Also, in a NLD, form goes out the window and effort can sometimes match the stronger opposition. Although in our case, that still meant no win against the old enemy for many years. Until recently.

It's almost role reversal this. Arsenal are Tottenham in red and white, whilst Tottenham are the Tottenham we have worked so had to become after 15 years in the wilderness. But still prone to the odd lapse. Major differences? We strengthened in the summer and retained our top players. They lost their top players and signed less than glamorous replacements. You can see why they are regarded as underdogs. They choke more than we do.

Still, there's hardly anything between both sides these days, except perhaps for Wenger and his experience at the very top level and the fact his side have always been at that level, even when others have suggested a 'crisis' or transition.

On paper? We should win. On the field of play? Honestly? I'll be very shocked if Arsenal can show their past seasoned focus and intensity (and desire) considering their form and their fragmented team, punctured with the ordinary and average in amongst the class. I'll be disappointed if we are the ones to choke and allow them to best us. We have the more settled side. They're the ones who stand before us depleted. And yet the positivity is still not embraced.

Teams can always punch above their weight. We've done it many times in the past. Not to dismiss or write off Arsenal, but a pulsating powerful show of strength and unity in our midfield will consume theirs and allow our front-line to punish their back four. My only concern is RvP. Take him out of the equation and it will be the first time in my life-time that my heart will not dance to the beat of nerves. He'll play, which means there are no underdogs or favourites in this game. Not matter how you choose to use paper to prove a point.

There's simply a team that wants it more than the other. I'm obviously going to claim that team is the team in Lilywhite. I hope the players wearing the shirt believe in the shirt as much as we do.

Embrace the positivity. Prove we're the favourites, prove we're the top dogs and let them bask in the indignity as the plucky underdog that tries ever so hard and gets nothing. Life is harsh. We've been at the end of it so many times in the past. It's time to give some of it back.



Winners of John Crace's 'Vertigo' (original article here): Matt and @betambeau88 - congrats. Email me (use the contact form) your name and address.



I was sent this article (taken from the football365 mailbox section) by an Arsenal fan in peace asking the question the quoted article poses: 'Is it possible that hatred for Man City and Chelsea could ever supersede that of a local rival?'

It struck a chord with him (for reasons apparent in how Chelsea have affected Arsenal in recent years). Does it struck a chord with us? Well obviously it will do - 'Bitter' as we are at the apparent simplicity of being able to compete consistently with the aid of money money money. Sure Chelsea have toned down their spending in comparison to City who are still in a transition and will obviously seek consolidation in the next year or two.

The rest of us (that copyrighted bitterness aside) know that you can hardly compete with a club regardless of the club's unquestionable status prior to winning the lottery if said club are spending the money. They will always sign the better players. It's an easier choice for any prospective signings.

You spend = you show ambition. Relentless and unquestionable and practically unanswerable in terms of said ambition because you can attract any one simply because you are moving in the right direction. Up. it breeds hype and confidence and results.

Let's not be naive about it. A project is always going to best a club that doesn't have the clout on the negotiating table. We're not in the CL, we can't compete wage wise, therefore...see ya. That's very much a broad overview, but if you take a look at some of the signings made by City if we had attempted to step in and compete with them we'd have been brushed aside. You hope the nature of their progression retains an air of instability due to the ego and manner of the foundations being built.

You hope.

They didn't falter last season. Unspectacular and at times with fear to attack, but they got the points. Had we been perhaps more focused, little club Spurs would have taken a further step in breaking the mould and attracting players because of qualification to that compeition.

Personally think Wenger has been cany in the past with their (Arsenal) ability to compete with wages and his shrewd transfer policy, but arguable he has suffered and they are continuing to do so (they appear to be feeding City players at the moment). Although remaining very much competitive, they are not as comfortable as they wish to be.

Here's the article in question:

Jumping on the back of Philip Brady's mail this morning, is it possible that hatred for Man City and Chelsea could ever supersede that of a local rival?

As a youngish Gooner, I waited for 10 years as Arsenal strove to become as good as Manchester United. This was a club that was signing the right players, brining in new dietary and training doctrine, breaking even, not doing a Leeds, recognizing its origins and traditions and gaining momentum through footballing success. We were playing catch up with a club that had had its ups and downs but learnt from its history and overcame its challenges. Man Utd employed and stood by a brilliant manager and had become a formidable machine through its own series successes both on and off the field. A fair fight ensued, one which culminated in Arsenal deservedly becoming United's major challengers towards the end of the 90s and early Naughties and winning in a couple of doubles along the way. So, the future was exciting- 10 years of excellent work by Wenger and Dein et al. had started to pay off and it was time to move to a new stadium and cement our place as a serious contender for years to come.

Then BAM. Chelsea.

Out of nowhere, an overspending, underachieving, upper-mid table outfit gets the deal of a lifetime and subsequently blow Arsenal out of the water.

A comfortable period of transition to the new stadium that we had earned had now become unsustainable as Chelsea bought their way to success in the space of 2 seasons. 10 years earlier and there would have been no Champions League place to soften the blow either.

Now to our North London neighbours.

Through a catalogue of errors with management, player investment and board decisions, Liverpool rightly drop out of the top four. The players, team selections and tactics were all wrong and Liverpool got what they deserved.

No Champions League football. Tottenham, waiting in the wings and the natural heirs to fourth place move up and take their rightful place. Whilst not setting the world on fire, this was where they had deserved to be. For two seasons they had outperformed Liverpool and had earned the right to represent the Premiership in the Champions League. There or there abouts for the past 5 seasons, this was finally a great moment for London and a great moment for Tottenham.

Enter Manchester City.

A pre-packaged sugar daddy's dream club with a shiny, modern new stadium basically handed to them, City became the wealthiest club in the world after a handshake and (no doubt) a few backhanders. Greedily lusting after the Sheikhs millions and having already having made a mockery of the fit and proper persons test with the Shinawatra debacle, they were allowed to prostitute themselves out again and, this time, they made sure it was done properly. Tottenham's second season of outperforming the outgoing member of the big four was lost. Manchester City waltz in and take the glory of Champions League football thus augmenting their ability to sign top quality players (the wages weren't enough at one point) and essentially stealing Tottenham's European revenue stream to boot.

As a Gooner with as much hatred for Chelsea as for anybody else answer me this Tottenham fans- Can you ever hate City as much as you hate Arsenal?

I guess the hate/hate relationship with Arsenal will always remain strong(er) by virtue of history. But there's a hatred that is birthed out of annoyance of the likes of City simply because they are attracting players thanks to their wealth rather than anything else (although I get it, because of their wealth they 'compete' and because of that they are a better option. Cruel cruel world).

Their fans (City) have had it bad in recent years with their yo-yo existence and mis-management so its fantasy football for them to be in this current position of financial power. A club in the shadows can now compete with their dominating neighbour. Why shouldn't they enjoy it? I guess they have a right. Although that underlining arrogance based on luck is what pulls most of us back from patting them on the back.

Clubs like Spurs, we've spent millions but we've done so within our own means. Actually wasted a few million in the process of attempting to climb into the top tier. If we were suddenly 'blessed' with untold riches and able to offer any wage to top top players then power would probably shift back to us if we competed for CL football. Two billionaire clubs become three and so on. Then the power is with the players who can pick and choose based on CL football and which club wishes to pay that extra 100k to claim the signature.

Fair Play Rules might control the insanity (loopholes permitting). Fact is, football is driven by money and immediate feasting on the hunger players have for top tier football. We'll only survive if we consolidate by breaking back into the top four again (as underdogs) and remain there. We're on a knife edge. We can only improve and get stronger by plucking players that are out of scope with the richer teams. But (as witnessed) will always be susceptible to losing them if we can't quite get back into the 'big league'.

I guess I do hate the arrogance that oozes from the likes of City and Chelsea but then again, that same arrogance has always been strong with the Arsenal and Man Utd. Except both are now having to fight pound for pound season in and season out.

Until the state of flux the top tier is currently in is levelled out, we'll have to wait and see. Potential for another 'monopoly' to be birthed. Or perhaps a five/six way team battle royale. Hopefully the latter.

Ironically, if 'we' become part of 'it', we become part of the thing we love to hate. But the silver lining is that we do so without cutting corners. As much as I hate Arsenal for being Arsenal they've challenged without the necessity to lift a passing skirt up and blow their load on anything that moves.

Chelsea got themselves in a competitive position. They then consolidated thanks to the untold riches and attracted a manager who arrived because of said untold riches. City, same thing, but more spending and quite possibly still requiring a manager upgrade. We'll see.

That's modern football. Ah diddums and all that. But I still hate Arsenal more. It would be completely ungentlemanly for me not too and I would be quite disappointed if they hated on someone else more.