Why Spurs will never catch Arsenal

by Paul Connolly

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

This Saturday will see yet another episode in the most predictable saga of recent years – Tottenham Hotspur’s epic doomed-to-failure struggle to overtake or even just catch up with their north London rivals Arsenal, which has been running longer than Coronation Street and is about half as exciting.

This week’s news that Spurs’ proposed plans for the Olympic Stadium have been dismissed by the head of UK Athletics, Ed Warner, as ‘completely unacceptable’, only goes to emphasise that there’s a right way to approach a task and a Spurs way.

Not only has chairman Daniel Levy angered fans by trying to uproot the club even though his local MP has helped him get planning permission to redevelop White Hart Lane, he messed up the proposal as well.

By refusing to allow the running track to stay in place after the games are over Spurs have more or less handed the ground to West Ham. Why be so intransigent? Why be so short-sighted, especially as Spurs’ fans continue to insist that the club needs a bigger stadium? (Statistics actually suggest otherwise: this season White Hart Lane has been, on average, 98.4% full.)

On the pitch, at least, Spurs are having one of their best periods for years, probably since the mid-Eighties. Even if their manager Harry Redknapp employs arguably dubious tactics in the transfer market (and enjoys the bafflingly unquestioning adoration of the media) and their fans seem to have a sense of entitlement out of all proportions to reality, players like Peter Crouch, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale continue to play football that’s easy on the eye – you really cannot argue with their performance against Inter Milan recently.

But there’s a persistent whiff of Seventies surburban desperation that pervades the air at the club, a sense that this season might represent not the first step up the ladder to glory but the top of the ladder itself. This could well be as good as it gets, especially if Manchester City get their claws into the top four this campaign.

By messing up their bid for the Olympic Stadium, Spurs may well have ensured that they will never catch Arsenal and are condemned to forever remain a second-tier club.

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  • http://yahoo Terry B

    Are you related to Billy ? He’s a comedian as well. Whether or not you are a pratt.

  • sam

    there’s a 4ok season ticket waiting list at spurs

  • SteveP

    Ohh shut the fcuk up mate.

    Nothing worth reading on here and you’ve completely discredited this site with your jibberish. There’s a right way to post a thread and then there’s your way.

  • Big Fish

    There’s no “forever” where football is concerned. Everyone knows the Olympic bid was put out there to pressurise on Haringey council. And the 98.4% attendance is down to away clubs not filling their allocation. Yes, Spurs are still lagging behind, but who knows where we’ll all be in 3, 4, or 5 years time. Mr Connolly, you really should be able to do better (bit like your beloved Arsenal, who haven’t won a thing for… how long now?)

  • Billy Theyid

    “Statistics actually suggest otherwise: this season White Hart Lane has been, on average, 98.4% full”

    Thi point is redundant.

    100% stadium utilisation is reliant on the away supporters taking up their entire allocation. If, for instance, Blackburn Rovers fail to sell their allocation then Spurs can’t achieve 100%.

    All the while Spurs continue to sell out 100% of the home sections, and maintain a large season ticket waiting list then they are losing out on revenue by not relocating to a larger stadium and accommodating more fans.

  • THFC1882

    Well, that was informative. Surely you did not get paid for writing such drivel. If it had been about our terrible record at the home of our nearest rivals, I might have swallowed it but basing your story about the Olympic Stadium (where no genuine Spurs fan wants to go) turns it into rubbish.
    Stick to the day job

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Mystical Mike

    hilarious, Mr Connolly is actually a Man City fan.

  • Bobby

    How many Champions League have you lot qualified for? And that will be over very soon. You’ve done well, but everyone knows you’re pushing well above your weight.

    You’ll soon be mid table challenging the likes of Stoke City

  • http://www.ojao.com larry ojays

    with west ham playing in the lower division nest seaseon,how do u think they will be able to fill half the capacity of olmpic stadium?

  • anonymong

    Where does that 98.4% stat come from? Does it take into account away allocations not being filled? Why would we have such a massive season ticket waiting list if we cant fill our ground?

    Saying Spurs will never catch Arsenal is like saying that Arsenal will always have Arsene Wenger or someone of his quality in charge. Which is just plain impossible. Bruce Rioch anyone? This also pressumes that Spurs would never ever find another vissionary manager or that Spurs would always waste money on ineffective signings.

    When the financial fair play rules come in suddenly Chelsea and Man City wont be subbed by their owners to the same extent. This will close the gap between them and the chasing pack. I’ll bring the transfer prices backs to sane levels as well.

  • Sirled

    UKA have condemned our bid, guess what they represent athletics, so they are hardly going to the Irish jig over the prospect of no running track .
    They ultimately have very little say as to what happens to the olympic stadium! I have it on very good authority a lot depends on the success of our 2018 bid, if the World cup comes to England, Tottenham will get the site providing London with 2 great stadia one in the east and one in the west.
    If the 2018 bid fails West Ham will get the stadium and Spurs will push on with the NPP. all this will be decided unofficially by early December!!!

  • john maslen

    what on earth is Seventies suburban desperation when it is at home?

  • David

    I have to say as a Spurs fan I find this very offensive. How on earth can you suggest that there is a feeling that we have reached the top of the ladder as we continue to progress at a frankly ridiculous rate? And your assumption that not getting the Olympic stadium is the end of our opportunity to get a new stadium is either ill informed or wilfully ignorant. I’m not saying we’re close to catching Arsenal yet but in the sixties if you’d have told fans that Arsenal would once dominate Spurs in this manner it would have been laughed off. Can you really see that far in the future. I read a lot of blogs, some designed to deliberately offend, some just stupid but there is something about this particular one that has forced me to respond. You are either just trying to cause controversy, which means you are no better than the scumsuckers that write for drivel like the Daily Mail or you’re just stupid. I think it may be a bit of both, Whatever it is, mind your own business. Apparently you support Man City. Shouldn’t you be more concerned with the fact that you’ve had to sacrifice all of your proud tradition and all the good will that most football fans used to have for just so you can mount a flimsy challenge for fourth spot? We might not get there again, but we did it the right way.

  • http://google.net EngNor

    The only reason the goon squatters never complained about relocation is that they are used to homes with wheels on them.

    The future is bright, the future is lilywhite.


  • http://dexysden Sammy

    Have you even done any research for this article? Because by reading it it seems like you are just making up statistics and facts off the top of your head. I wasn’t alive in the 60’s, but I heard Spurs were the best team around back then (miles ahead of Arsenal). So if you had any footballing knowledge what so ever, then you would realise that Wenger will eventually retire, and that football doesnt stay the same for all eternity.

  • Vic

    Sadly, the first half of your first paragraph has a ring of truth. Spurs do continue to struggle to match their North London rivals and ManU, Liverpool and Chelski for that matter.
    The rest of your article is ill informed twaddle.

  • http://twitter.com/monkeyhotel Luke McGee

    Well, I was going to write something about this game tomorrow, not sure I can do it now considering the backlash!

  • Billy the Yid

    I don’t see why with have to measure ourselves against Arsenal. As a Spurs supporter I want to see us winning trophies like the FA Cup and League Cup, and eventually challenging and winning the Premier League. It’s not about Arsenal at all. Forget Arsenal, they’ve gone five years without having anything to should about, they have problems of their own.

  • Ioan

    Four. Ty. Thou. Sand. on the season ticket waiting list. The PAID season ticket waiting list. 40,000. Fourty-Thousand.

    You couldn’t really be more wrong, could you?

  • Stoney

    What a load of crap! You´re either a Gooner, or just having a bad (hair?) day… Get a life!

  • Billy the Yid

    Arsenal: 60,000 fans yet their as quiet as church mice FACT

  • Eh?

    What a load of rubbish

    Spurs have a huge waiting list for season ticket holders

    Mr Athletics will have no say in who takes over the Olympic stadium

    The main crux of your article is based on fail, you should be ashamed of yourself for publishing something in public, which basically shows you up as being terrible at research, and having little to no understanding of any of the politics behind football

  • Wicky

    Bobby, you moron, if you’re going to issue and insult try and get it right. The terms ‘punching above your weight’ not ‘pushing…’ As when a boxer moves to a higher weight division that he’s not good enough for.

  • Next bust to Woolwich!

    The author really has his claws out on this one,I personally love the antipathy that pervades this article.I laugh because the boy is upset with everything our club stands for in much the same way I despise everything about his club and he also should be glad about that,we incur the wrath of people like this because we are a big club.He knows it as we all do,and him stating all this in pseudo journalism only emphasises the fact.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Mystical Mike

    @Woolwich the author is a City fan, not a Gooner.

    Which brings me to my next question

    Which club is bigger – City or Spurs?

  • Never Say Never

    I guess Mr Paul Connolly must have also say something like “Lehman will never collapse” just three years ago.

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