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…