Tottenham Hotspur

Arsenal vs. Tottenham: Spurs and Gunners Fans Both Showing to Be Too Touchy

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04:  The injured Theo Walcott of Arsenal smiles to himself after making a
2-0 gesture to the Tottenham fans as he is stretchered off the pitch during the Budweiser FA Cup third round match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on January 4, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Frank WagnerCorrespondent IJanuary 7, 2014

Like it or not, banter amongst rival fanbases is as much a part of football as the never-ending pursuit of putting that spherical thing into that rectangle made of three poles. Somehow, Tottenham and Arsenal supporters seem to have lost sight of this.

After an interesting FA Cup third-round clash between the two North London rivals, the focus of the two groups of supporters is not on the quite predictable win for the Gunners or where the two sides can improve in the January transfer window.

Instead, the talk centers around a few incidents that prove that the bulk of the supporters of each club are much more adept at dishing it out than taking it in.

The issues started late in Saturday's match, when Arsenal attacker Theo Walcott went down with an injury in the corner of the pitch where Tottenham's away support was situated.

While being stretchered off by the Gunners' training staff, Walcott was showered by coins tossed by many foolish (and probably judgment-impaired) Spurs supporters.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04:  The injured Theo Walcott of Arsenal makes a 2-0 gesture to the Tottenham fans as he is stretchered off the pitch during the Budweiser FA Cup third round match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on Janu
Clive Rose/Getty Images

With a wry smile on his face, Walcott handled the situation just about as well as he possibly could: He mimed "2-0," the score in favor of Arsenal at that point (and at full time), to the opposing fans.

Incredibly, some Tottenham supporters feigned offense at this bit of player-fan interaction.

Sure, no one wants salt rubbed into the wound of their club losing, especially when it comes against a rival, but one should easily be able to see the lighter side of this jest.

Quite rightly, Arsenal fans responded by taking shots at these overly sensitive Tottenham supporters.

When the dust settled on Monday, though, Walcott's injury turned out to be much more serious than initially anticipated, and Spurs supporters took to social media to use the Gunner forward's upcoming six-month absence (via BBC) to mock his actions on Saturday.

Ironically, Gunners fans responded with the same sort of petulance their rivals had shown days earlier, claiming that these fans at White Hart Lane were being callous in celebrating a player suffering a serious injury.

Just look at this from self-proclaimed Gunner spokesman Piers Morgan:

Memo to Spurs fans mocking Walcott's injury... I understand. If I was a Spurs fan, I'd be sad, bitter and twisted too.

— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 6, 2014

Now, it is true that these tongue-in-cheek responses to Walcott's jibe did come after news broke of an injury.

However, it's not as though these Spurs supporters were wishing for an injury to an opponent, as a small group of Gooners did a few years ago in chants directed at Emmanuel Adebayor that centered around the possibility of the Togolese striker getting shot in the tragic bus shooting of his international side at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.

In fact, it is arguable whether they even celebrated the injury at all or merely got in some ribbing in response to the ribbing already received.

Taking offense to these jokes, as silly as they are, is just as silly as many of the Spurs supporters' reactions to Walcott's original jibe.

Even though it's been quite lopsided over the past few decades, the North London derby is still one of the best and one of the most heated rivalries in all of football, and it's made this way by the fans.

But seriously, let's have a little common sense and not lose our humor.

 

 

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