Arsenal FC: 10 Reasons Why Gunners Fans Hate Tottenham
The North London Derby is one of the most fierce and historically significant rivalries in all of sports. For almost all of the last century, one successful and one unsuccessful team have coexisted in mutual hatred north of the River Thames.
For such a fierce rivalry to exist for so long, there must be a powerful force driving it below the surface. Even for an American Arsenal supporter such as myself, the thought of Tottenham Hotspur causes my blood pressure to rise to dangerous levels.
There are numerous reasons why Gooners hate Spurs supporters. In the wake of the 5-2 hammering of our noisy neighbors, I shall try to whittle the list down to a mere 10, in no particular order.
Harry Redknapp is one of the main reasons I personally cannot stand Tottenham. He is always extremely confident about his side, despite having no lasting record of success.
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 the 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 character 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.
For 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 as a formidable force.
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, what has supposedly been Spurs' best team since 1961 has suffered three consecutive league defeats, and now is barely above red-hot Arsenal in the table by a single point.
St. Totteringham's Day might come a bit later this year than usual, but it will be even sweeter when it arrives.
The Club Was Founded by Schoolboys
A very simple reason why Gunners fans loathe Tottenham is the fact of the club's rather odd origins.
Spurs were founded by grammar school children, and the name "Hotspur" is taken from the name of a Shakespeare character named Harry Hotspur, as is the club crest.
Those are quite inauspicious beginnings, considering that Arsenal was proudly founded by hardscrabble workers in the Royal Arsenal of Woolwich who had to scrap a few pence together and get some donated shirts to start a football team.
Which origin would you prefer?
I am willing to bet all the money that David Danskin used to purchase Arsenal's first football that the grown men were better footballers.
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.
It is plain to see why Gooners despise the Togolese man who once was revered around the Emirates. The fact that he has taken his mercenary talents to Tottenham just invites them to heap more hatred on their neighbors.
Arsenal and Tottenham have a long an illustrious history of players swapping sides, and very successful players have become villains on either side of the divide.
Goalkeeper Pat Jennings, for example, racked up over 300 appearances for both teams, while Sol Campbell followed in Jennings' footsteps by moving from Spurs to Arsenal and forever earning the tag of "Judas" from Tottenham's supporters.
More recently, William Gallas and the aforementioned Emmanuel Adebayor have moved in the opposite direction, and are therefore pariahs in the red half of North London.
There are few things that get fans more fired up than trying to beat an old player who has betrayed the team whose shirt he once wore.
Champions League Cockiness
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.
With Tottenham's dramatic recent loss of form, it is entirely possible that Arsenal and Chelsea could bounce Spurs out of the top four once again.
A very simple reason for the animosity between supporters of the two clubs is the simple factor of their geographic proximity.
For the past 99 years, Arsenal and Tottenham have been separated by only a handful of miles, and a natural rivalry developed between two teams that suddenly became so close to each other.
Plus, back in 1913, when Arsenal made the move north of the River Thames, Spurs felt quite angry that Woolwich Arsenal was invading their territory. They are probably fuming that they have never been able to reclaim what they lost so many decades ago.
No matter how successful or poor either club becomes in the future, their closeness will ensure that a spirited rivalry is always in place.
They Still Can't Get over 1919
Though it was over 93 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—93 years ago.
But both teams have been in the first division for decades, and Arsenal have ironically not been relegated since this shady promotion.
Tottenham Can't Accept That They're the Noisy Neighbors
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. Tottenham cannot hope to rival 15 years of Champions League football on the trot, several League titles and countless trophies.
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 Sheikh, it looks as if the balance of power in London will stay in favor of Arsenal.
After 99 years, it's time that Tottenham and their fans get used to being the noisy neighbors.