Arsenal FC: 10 Reasons to Hate Tottenham on Derby Day
Ever since Arsenal moved north of the River Thames in 1913, and especially after they were promoted under extremely shadowy circumstances in six years later, the two clubs—and their fans—have detested each other with a fury hardly known in professional sports.
And if such a strong rivalry can continue for so long, there certainly must be something beneath the surface driving it. Even though I have not been an Arsenal supporter all my life, I cannot help but feel overcome with emotion when coming upon a Spurs fan in the street. There's just something in the water.
There are so many reasons to hate Tottenham, it is hard to list only ten. But, in order to allow you to finish reading before the derby is actually played, I have whittled it down to the best ten, in no particular order.
This is all in good fun, though, so try to save the abusive comments for another forum.
Enjoy, and keep the faith Gooners. At least we'll always be better than our noisy North London neighbors.
Update: Being as confident as I am of a derby win for Arsenal, I have accepted a challenge from Sean Babcock where, if Spurs win, I will write a slideshow with 5 reasons why I am switching my allegiances to Tottenham, and if the Gunners, win, Mr. Babcock will do the opposite slideshow. This should be interesting...
They Think They're Better Than Arsenal
Every year, there is a new batch of swagger coming from the far less successful team in North London about how weak Arsenal are, and how their beloved Spurs are finally ready to overtake them.
And somehow, every season they turn out to be dead wrong. Every season for the last 22 years, in fact.
If you can't actually back up all the talk and boasting, perhaps it's time to just shut up. Either resign yourself to being the less successful team in the rivalry, or only talk when there's something to talk about.
This season, despite Arsenal's less-than-ideal start to the season, Spurs sit just two points ahead of the Gunners, and can be overtaken with a defeat in the derby.
Nothing better than a decisive win to quiet the neighbors. Well, until the next meeting, at least.
Besides, Spurs supporters are just generally obnoxious, and are scientifically proven to be less fun than Arsenal supporters. While Arsenal fans are usually the fun people at parties and generally likable, Spurs fans are like "that weird guy" who no one wants to get too close to.
These are facts.
One Champions League Appearance Does Not Make You Successful
Last season, Tottenham made their first Champions League appearance in their entire history. This season, Arsenal are making their 15th consecutive appearance in the most prestigious club competition in the world.
See the difference?
Predictably, Spurs fans boasted about how their first Champions League appearance showed that they were on the rise, and about to overtake Arsenal for good.
Predictably, they were wrong.
Indeed, this is a classic case of wildly misplaced optimism. But the Universe realigned itself, and a truly big club in Real Madrid knocked them out conclusively.
I hope Harry Redknapp is enjoying the Europa League this season.
Speaking of Redknapp, he is one of the main reasons I personally cannot stand Tottenham, as he leads the aforementioned group of wildly overconfident Spurs supporters, despite having achieved no lasting success, present or past.
In his first spell at Portsmouth, he was barely able to keep his team from relegation when he was expected to get them promoted. At West Ham United, he made a series of spectacularly poor signings, which eventually got him fired with one game remaining in the 2000-2001 season.
And finally, at Southampton, Redknapp quit the club after getting relegated from the Premier League and falling out with the director, as he had done several times previously.
Now, with Redknapp's perceived success at Tottenham and his English nationality, he is being tipped as a successor to Fabio Capello. While I feel sorry for England, the less I am forced to listen to this clown, the better.
It is honestly one of the silliest crests in all of world sport. Tottenham's ridiculous football with a cockerel standing on it just made me laugh when I first laid eyes upon it.
Obviously, that is not the impression that the crest of a professional sports team should give someone. But because Harry Hotspur, the person after whom the club is named, led a business which fought cockerels with spurs on their ankles, world football fans have been treated to this recurring joke for over a century.
Admittedly, it is an odd reason to hate a club, but it's just sort of the icing on the cake.
Both for the humanitarian and aesthetic reasons, the cockerel on the crest and the golden one on the top of White Hart Lane simply undermine the credibility of the club.
During Tottenham's loss at the Santiago Bernabeu last season to Real Madrid, in which Spurs' new striker Emmanuel Adebayor scored two goals for the Spaniards, the English fans were found to be chanting against Adebayor with racial undertones.
Clearly, there is no greater low than this. While I am certainly not claiming that such despicable activity represents Spurs fans as a whole, the mere fact that this subculture exists makes Spurs a much easier club to dislike.
Speaking of which...
Tottenham Were Founded by Schoolboys
Arsenal were founded by a group of workers at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich who had to scrap a few pence together to buy a football and used donated jerseys. Tottenham, on the other hand, was founded by a bunch of grammar school children.
Oh, and part of their name comes from a Shakespeare character, Harry Hotspur.
So, if you could be rooting for some working-class, hardscrabble workingmen, or a group of children, which would you choose?
For me, the choice is quite clear. The grown men would probably be better footballers anyway.
This reason hardly needs any explanation.
After one good season with Arsenal, Adebayor decided his talents were too great for the red and white, and needed to secure his moneybags from Manchester City.
And when he scored a goal against the Gunners for City, he ran the length of the pitch to taunt the travelling supporters, followed by stomping on Robin van Persie's ankle.
So, even if for no other reason, root against Tottenham because of Emmanuel Adebayor's involvement in the match. There are hardly more compelling reasons for a neutral to root for Spurs' failure, but for an Arsenal supporter especially, it is a reason to get more pumped up than usual.
Ah yes, Roman Abromavich's favorite footballer. Much like the Cesc Fabregas saga, Luka Modric is a midfielder who desperately wants out of his club. Except for one thing: Modric is all about the money.
While Fabregas wanted to leave to be with his friends and near his home, his Croat colleague is more interested in getting as much cash out of Abromavich's deep pockets as possible.
Much like former Arsenal flash-in-the-pan Samir Nasri, Modric is electing to take the easy route of making loads of money and playing with other players who make loads of money in order to win trophies, rather than working hard for them and taking more accountability.
Rooting for someone of that mindset to fail is not a very difficult thing to do.
It Was 1919, Get over It
Though it was over 92 years ago, a good deal of the animosity that fuels this rivalry stems from the dubious promotion of Arsenal over Tottenham to the First Division in 1919.
The Gunners had finished fifth to Spurs' third, and normally the latter would have been promoted. But, under somewhat dubious circumstances, the head of the FA recommended Arsenal be promoted, and Tottenham were defeated by a vote of 18 votes to eight.
Admittedly, there was probably some measure of shady backroom business done before the vote. And I certainly understood where Spurs fans come from when they resented this injustice—92 years ago.
But both teams have been in the first division for decades (Arsenal have ironically not been relegated since this shady promotion) and it is time that we all put this matter to bed. A victory for that promoted team would certainly help to resolve it.
This Is Our Town Now
The main reason that this rivalry exists in the first place is the geographic proximity of the two clubs. Ever since Arsenal moved north of the river to Highbury in 1913, each club is practically in the other's backyard.
Somehow, one team has managed to make much more of their location in the Northern part of one of the most significant cities in the world.
It's fair to say that with all of their success, especially in the last 15 seasons, Arsenal are the preeminent London team, and certainly the preeminent North London team. Much like the relationship between Manchester United and Manchester City, there is one team that consistently outperforms the other.
And, barring the purchase of Tottenham by an Emirati oil Sheikh, it looks as if the balance of power in London will stay in favor of Arsenal.
After 98 years, it's time that Tottenham and their fans get used to being the noisy neighbors.
Now, after you've read ten slides of anti-Tottenham ranting, check out this great piece from my Tottenham-loving colleague, Sean Babcock, who is no doubt fuming at my article as I am at his.
Unfortunately, Mr. Babcock is starved for footballing success, and positively reeks of the other side of North London. But his writing talent makes up for it (mostly), and we are both Americans tragically separated from our two enemy clubs, so greatly I respect his devotion.