How Spurs closed the North London gap

by Alex McCarthy

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Following Saturdays victory for Spurs in the North-London derby, I decided to look at how both parties have made there way to this potential nuance of oppression for Harry Redknapp’s men.

Many would point to Redknapp’s loyalty to domestic origins, boasting nine Englishmen (excluding the injury-prone Jonathan Woodgate) in his 25-man squad, where as Arsenal can only name three. Yet is it quality over quantity that seen Wenger’s player judgement been world regarded the best in the business? When the England squad was announced for the friendly against Hungary in August, the Gunners were represented through Keiran Gibbs, Jack Wilshire and Theo Walcott, where as Tottenham’s solitary call-up was Michael Dawson.

Dig a little deeper and you see Tottenham isn’t the crèche of English football, in fact out of all the players named above, King is the only player to have come through the ranks at Spurs, when in fact Bentley was schooled at Arsenal (it’s worth mentioning Crouch actually begun his youth career with Tottenham where he didn’t make pro, before moving to Portsmouth).

What is noteworthy, in the three consecutive transfer windows that contained the Arshavin, Thomas Vermaelen and Nasri transfers, Arsenal recouped the money spent on all three, which was worth roughly £35m, by selling Emmanuel Adeybayor and Kolo Toure in one single window worth £39m – a trait Arsenal abide by, they have only ever spent more money than received in a window once since the opening of the Emirates Stadium in 2006. Tottenham haven’t managed to beat their expenditure once, not even with a sale of Dimitar Berbatov for £30m in 2008…mind you £16.5m on Darren bent certainly didn’t help.

The point is, Arsenal have a tried and trusted system that cannot be faulted. Many would argue Arsenal’s morals compromise the English games development, however when you think again of the players Arsenal have made and fill the Premier League for another outfit (Ashley Cole, Jermaine Pennant, Jerome Thomas, Steve Sidwell, Fabrice Muamba, Stuart Taylor) and even the Championship (Justin Hoyte, Jay Boothroyd, Leon Britton, James Harper, Matthew Connolly, Ryan Smith) Those were just off the top of my head. Spurs however sport the likes of Rohan Ricketts and Jonny Jackson among their graduates.

I truly commend Tottenham and their progressive steps in becoming a regular participant of Champions League football. It is unfair in many ways compare structures with one so unique as Wenger’s, not every man finds Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Fredrik Ljungberg, Kolo Toure, Marc Overmars for peanuts. The most expensive in this list is Henry at £10m…and we all know how good value that turned out to be.

The state of play in North-London is very interesting. Tottenham have made the first leap they needed by ascertaining fourth spot, but financially, methodically, structurally and most importantly competitively (despite the five trophy-less seasons) Arsenal still remain on top. How Much of Wenger’s legacy will be continued when he’s gone only time will tell, but with plans afoot for a new stadium for Spurs too, the gap IS closing.

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  • Ben McAleer

    A great read an it made interesting reading as a Spurs fan. The gap is closing yes but the gulf is still massive. Arsenal have consistently performed on a continental and a european stage whilst successfully balancing both since the turn of the millenium whereas Spurs are struggling to balance both at the moment. Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the old enemy was certainly one to remember yet, I feel that if Arsenal hadn’t taken their foot off the gas and Koscielny had put his guilt edged chance away, it would have been game, set and match for Arsenal again.

  • Jerard

    What a load of SOUR GRAPES? Arsenals on a heavy decline and I foresee the landslide much sooner rather than later….Wake up and smell the coffee!!!

  • Garth C

    “however when you think again of the (England) players Ar$en@l have made…” Ashley Cole was the only decent top level player in that list. Up until recently there hadn’t been an England player getting a run in the Ar$en@l first team for years. When competing in the Champions League Ar$en@l were an English club in name only. I’m all for mixing quality overseas players into the team but if the other top teams had followed this example England would have been drawing from the mid table well (no offence intended). For this reason I switch off when commentators laud the quality of Ar$en@ls passing game. Spurs have rightly won plaudits for their open free flowing football from many other managers whilst continuing to include a large number of home country players in the squad. There will be more than one reason to cheer Spurs winning the title.

  • Ossie

    Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Fredrik Ljungberg, Kolo Toure, Marc Overmars for peanuts.???

    Think all of them were well known (excluding Toure) and cost a lot at the time. Every manager in England was after Petit, Pires and Ljungberg at the time, Overmars had been around for a while and Henry had a bigf transfer to italy. Also Viera was AC Milans youngest ever captain. For everyone of these there is a Franny jeffers, Wiltord, Reyes etc.

    Bet you think he produced fabregas as well?

  • Alex

    Overmars had been lost for a while with crippling knee injuries which made him so accessible. Ljungberg was no more than 4 mil, and if Henry was bought for 10 mill in an age where christian vieri was going for 32 mil, and darren bent has gone for 16.5 mil since, that IS a bargain. Vieira may well have been the youngest ac milan skipper, that only lends creedance to wengers eye to capture him at a good price surly?

  • Equitas

    Too many holes in this article where the writer chooses to remember only what he wants to … reminds me of Arsene and his bouts of amnesia in post match questions : ) We’re gonna get ya : ))

  • Alex McCarthy

    ha. Wenger’s selective memory is common knowledge. It’s not about saying Wenger is great and Redknapp is poor, not at all. It’s more showing what Wenger has done to get Arsneal where they are, and crediting Redknapp for making similar but very different strides in a much shorter space of time. the result on Sat is what highlights it… It’s not a pro Arsenal or pro anyone article, what Wenger has done with Arsenal speaks for itself, I have no doubt Redknapp will be able to say the same over the next few seasons….

  • Ashley L

    i feel the article is generally a fair reflection on how things stand. spurs are undisputedly on the way up and look to have fairly sound foundations on which to build on, the main difference in the two clubs i would say is the assets from a business perspective, tottenham have lost a good decade on arsenal through dragging their heels at board level, not focusing on what they wish to achieve as a club. that being said i feel they are now moving in the right direction and once they sort out what they wish to do with regards to a new ground and ideally maintain champs league status, they will address their profitability and push on consistently. As for immediate success, i feel that’s asking a lot of harry’s great ability to manage a title win but not impossible. Wenger has revolutionised arsenal as a club and a brand, although trophieless for the past 5 seasons i feel it’s nothing short of moronic to suggest they’re on a rapid decline and that he has been nothing short of inspired with a lot of his transfers (every manager has their stinkers, even mourinho and fergie). But i suppose to summarise, you can provide as balanced argument as possible and some people will always argue. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion… it’s just some people’s opinions are shit.

  • Mystical Mike

    Sorry, but spurs and ‘arry oi oi who wants to a lovely rolls royce’ are getting just a little bit carried away as per usual. There’s no doubt the gap has closed dramatically, but until you have qualified for the champions league 10 seasons in a row and got out of every group stage then you will be on a par.

    You beat us fair and square, if we would have won that game we would have been 10 points clear, would u still be league contenders then? You’ve got to do it week in, week out, simple as, when was the last time spurs won 6 league games on the spin?

    Arsenal are 2 signings away from ruling Europe.

  • Robert Emery

    Hi Alex, I note you are a Newcastle fan.Great shame about Kazenga Lua Lua’s broken ankle.On loan at Brighton and pure class.Will he come back in March or will Chris not take the risk?
    Back to your article Liam has a world wide scouting role and has had for some years.Some of Arsenal’s overseas players come through the youth system but as he proves he will look at local talent and was watching a youngster in Southwick the other week.
    I note that a post has said’ Arsenal are 2 signings away from ruling Europe’. Not sure that they will make last 16! How a few days changes the prospective!

  • Alex

    Hello Robert, yes it is a great shame about Kazenga’s injury, he was flying there, as are Brighton! I see they’ve secured Chris Wood on lona from West Brom now, although only 18 he’s a real handful and will undoubtedly get goals. I’d like to think Kaz would go back there, spose you can never tell with injuries timewise and what not, just hope me makes a full recovery first and foremost! To be fair i agree with the comment about Arsenal only needing two signings, perhaps ruling Europe is a slight leap, but the qaulity in that team when all fit is there to see, a top keeper and a centre half like Cristian Zapata, and Arsenal have a new dimention of reliability.

  • Loz

    Great artice. As a spurs fan i am heavily anticipating spurs being a top contender for many chamions league spots in the future. I do belive that the gap between arsenal and Spurs has closed signifiantly and harry has done wonders with the team. However this is still the spurs that lost 5-4 to arsenal after loosing a massive lead (ouch). ANYTHING can happen in this beautiful game and even more so with a team as unrelyable as tottenham. I might like to meantion that Inter millan game which was a 1 in a million chance. There is up flukes as well as disasterous fails.

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