I have a confession to make; a terrible, shameful confession. I was born in N1. Not an awful lot I could have done about it obviously, but I still feel the shame. Thankfully my Dad was an enlightened soul and supported THFC. As a kid he would escort me to the odd game with a season ticket borrowed from my wealthy uncle in Enfield. The same sadly, cannot be said for the rest of my family who, to a man, woman and child are staunch supporters of the Arse.

Once upon a time, pre-Wenger, that really didn’t matter, not when it was ‘Super Spurs’ providing the glamour ,verve and occasional FA Cup victory. Let’s face it all the Gooners were good for was boring the pants off opposing teams and winning the double. It was never about trophies, we could piously assert; it was all to do with aesthetics.

So when George Graham’s ‘boring boring Arsenal’ won the league, I knew I could hold my head high in the Green household, safe in the knowledge that I was keeping the flame alive for lovers of the beautiful game.

Now I don’t know whether it was coincidence, but the arrival of the myopic Frenchman happened at pretty much the same time as the gentrification of Islington. Seemingly overnight, the Balls Pond Road became desirable (okay I’m exaggerating a tad) while N17 remained resolutely downmarket. Life mirrored sport, as our stock plummeted and theirs soared.

And then there were the players; Bergkamp, Henry, Viera, Overmars, Petit…bought seemingly just to inflict maximum collateral damage on our beloved club. And who did we have in our ranks to vanquish this fearsome foe? Bunjevcevic, Rebrov, Doherty, Berti and…Nielsen. ..It was like pitting a Maserati against Del Boy’s three wheeler; there was only going to be one winner.

As the years passed and we suffered more false dawns than a cockerel with a crack habit, the antagonism from N1 evaporated, to be replaced by something far worse; they started to patronise us. They knew they were infinitely better, they knew they were the artists and we the artisans. Deep down we knew it too, even if we refused to publicly acknowledge the fact.

These were the truly fallow years; while Arsenal played champagne football we had to be content with a dour Worthington Cup victory over Leicester City – orchestrated by gorgeous George Graham no less – before the failure of Hod the Messiah to guide us to the Promised Land. Gross, Santini, Graham; let’s face it, we couldn’t sink any lower.

And then suddenly with the appointment of big Tony, the pendulum started to swing back. Who can forget the ecstasy followed by the agony of 2005/2006 when we came within a poisoned pasta of breaking up the Premiership cartel? For the first time in aeons, I witnessed genuine fear in the eyes of Arsenal supporters, as man for man we finally looked their equals (the players not the supporters).

Par for the course, we somehow contrived to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by declaring that only a top four finish was good enough. Exit the man who had guided us to successive top five finishes. There was a depressing symmetry to the manner in which Jol was appointed and then discarded, but then PR has never been a strong point at the Lane.

And all the time my relatives revelled in the ongoing soap opera that is Tottenham Hotspur…

Now, post-Ramos, there are signs that the beast is stirring, but in true Tottenham style, we still seem to veer from the sublime to the goddamn awful in the space of 45 seconds never mind 45 minutes.

Let’s be honest here people, the tag line to this site sums up the mind set of Tottenham supporters perfectly: ‘The Spurs News Site That Expects the Worst and is Rarely Disappointed’.

In 2007, Lloyds Pharmacy conducted a survey of stress levels amongst Premiership fans. You won’t be shocked to hear that we came out on top. Along with Man City supporters, we must be the largest collection of masochists anywhere in the world. I wonder if the red and white faction of my family would have stuck with it through thick and thin the way I have over the past twenty odd years? Somehow I doubt it…

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26 COMMENTS

  1. “Thankfully my Dad was an enlightened soul and supported THFC…”

    No, he must have been deeply deluded and confused soul.

  2. My dad was an arsenal fan and used to torment me when I was a kid by singing, ‘arsenal, arsenal let’s have another one’, around the house. Oh my god! the memory is making me feel quite ill.

  3. Your dad must have been bullied at school. And the scares have made him his revenge on you. Can’t have 1 Spud in N1 so he signed you up. Were you ever bullied.

  4. Very entertaining true story, not many spurs fans would admit to, actually it all started a couple of seasons before Venger,we brought Dennis Bergkamp, you brought Chris Armstrong, there was only ever going to be one winner…..

  5. Quality post – I’m a gooner and over the last 5 years, with our lack of silverware, what helps me sleep at night is the realisation that it could be worse…..

    Still, perhaps we could do with some likewise supporters, then maybe there would be some atmosphere for once!

    Does it make it worse knowing you could have signed Arsene and Dennis B? Both of whom used to visit the Lane with the latter actually asking his agent to get Tottenham to sign him!

    Anyway, I know how you lot feel, I’m an England fan after all..

  6. This is a beautifully written story. I really enjoyed the clearity of expression, comedy etc. More Kudos to you!

    From an Arsenal supporter!!

  7. As an Arsenal fan I thought this a top article.

    I’d like to wish improving fortune upon you, but sadly I can’t!

  8. Funny write-up. You sound like young sensible man. There is still time to roll back the years and undo the mistake of your dad. No? Well I wish I could say good luck – but I cant.

  9. And I was born in N17 and saw the light in 1962 when I was 10. I have always preferred the colour red. There is always time for you to see sense. However, good luck with your dreams.

  10. I was born in Islington, and my dad is Le Arse, but we moved to near spurs ground when I was 8. Me mum and all my siblings and cousins on my mums side are spurs ,and the majority of my dads family are with Le Arse.I hate it when we loose against them, the bloody phone goes red hot.

  11. To be fair chaps you may be the mugs of North London (and you are) but anything better then that shit hole in the East and those cunts in Fulham.

    Up the Arse!

  12. Thanks for all the positive i.e.patronising feedback from our nasty neighbours I’ve never been so popular among Arsenal fans! Oh and by the way, the chap that posted the comment about all teams having ups and downs, let’s hope so ay?

  13. Paul.

    Fantastic piece once again. I think it was Mel Brooks who once said “[Gallows] Humor is just another defense against the universe.” You have my sympathies…..well, sort of….I think!

    NB. I suspect this is probably not the right setting to admit to being a Gooner from the south of the river but I will still rejoice in my decision to follow Arsenal over 40 years ago.

    Keep smiling 🙂

      • As you know Paul…..we’re honest businessmen. Make the payment high enough and I’m sure we’ll give it some thought.

        At which point I’d best make my excuses….

  14. Well, if it makes it any better (but I doubt it) I was brought up in Devonshire Hill Lane, very much a Tottenham person, but in an Arsenal supporting family. The earliest memories were of Tottenham winning the double with Arsenal trotting around for 17 years in mid-table and winning absolutely nothing. My dad took me to Highbury, so that is where my feelings lie.

    Of course we have been having a wonderful time since Wenger turned up – but it won’t have escaped your notice that there are loads of Arsenal “fans” calling for him to go, and demanding that the club spend £60m this summer, getting rid of the rubbish and bringing in proper players.

    If they get their way, the good times at Arsenal will end, (although many will argue that this happened at the end of the unbeaten season). For me, as a season ticket holder who runs one of the blogs, it is great – because I remember the 17 years of nothingness.

    I am just waiting for Ferguson to retire, and for Manchester IOU (as we tend to call them – not very funny, but well, you know) to go bust. Such an event wouldn’t do Tottenham any harm either.

    Tony
    (I know some sites don’t welcome supporters from the other side on – if so my apologies. Just a genuine bit of debate intended).

    • No mate – I’m loving the response from N1 – as a life-long Spurs fan/sufferer, I can’t quite get my head around the calls for Wenger to go. I say keep him. Here’s to another 5 trophy-free years for the Gooners!

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