St. Totteringham’s Day
St. Totteringham’s Day 2015
Belated wishes to you all for a special day that has occurred for 19 consecutive years: the day when Spurs cannot catch Arsenal in the league table. There are varying reports of when the concept was first mooted but it appears to be a creation of the early 21st century. It seems to me that it was always more important to beat Spurs whenever possible than to finish ahead of them in the table: winning the title and losing both matches to Spurs would be a nightmare.
The reality of the Arsenal – Spurs rivalry is that, as far as honours are concerned, it is no contest. Spurs haven’t won the league since 1960-61, part of the first Double season of the 20th century, while their last FA Cup was in 1990-91. Spurs have won one trophy since the Premier League era began and that is the 2007-2008 League Cup. They have been hampered in recent years by the financial limitations of White Hart Lane but at least that is set to change over the next few years as a new stadium is constructed.
St. Totteringham’s Day is a product of modern media, which doesn’t make it any less relevant until the next season when Spurs finish ahead of the Gunners. It hasn’t happened since Gerry Francis was managing Spurs and ten managers plus six spells under caretakers have been in the Spurs hotseat since that season. The last Arsenal manager to finish behind Spurs was George Graham and 18 months after he was fired Arsene Wenger took the helm and has been there ever since.
I have a difficult time really disliking Spurs supporters given how little they have had to cheer for over the last twenty years. They aren’t a bunch of newbies eager to join a successful club and their fan base hasn’t magically grown during a period of success simply because they haven’t had one in the mass market era. The Spurs of the early 80’s with Hoddle & Ardilles deserved a big audience as they played some beautiful football, much nicer than Arsenal played in that era, but times were different and when football began growing in the Premier League era Spurs were somewhat behind the top clubs.
I’d rather beat a good Spurs squad than a bad one and I’d rather Arsenal finish a place ahead of them in the table than by ten places because I want Spurs supporters to believe until it is over. Beating Spurs by 4 goals or making an epic comeback is all right but nothing beats a tight match with chances at both ends and an Arsenal win. St. Totteringham’s Day came too early this season, someday I want it to be for the title on the final day at White Hart Lane and then it will mean something.