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Why All Arsenal Fans Are Secretly In Love With Tottenham

by Andrew Woods
1 April 2011 23 Comments

Whoever you support Arsenal or Spurs, Manchester United and Liverpool or even Norwich and Ipswich, the truth is all of us secretly love our arch rivals.

Whoever you support Arsenal or Spurs, Manchester United and Liverpool or even Norwich and Ipswich, the truth is all of us secretly love our arch rivals.

You think I’m mad, right? Love your arch rivals? Even just a little bit? Of course you don’t. They are wrong, and you are right, and that’s just way things are. If you could press a giant red button and turn everything and everyone associated with that club into cottage cheese, you would. If you could peel back the Tupperware lid on a deadly airborne virus that would infect every single one of them, you would. You really hate them. Well… I doubt that.

If God is only divine in direct contrast to Him and South of Heaven serves only to validate the better ecclesiastical postcode, then what is Norwich City (my club) without Ipswich? I’m not entirely sure. I love my club and the numerous pointless experiences we’ve shared (peppered with some fleeting joy), but somehow Norwich aren’t enough on their own. It pains me to type this, but if I really, genuinely hated Ipswich then I wouldn’t want them around. So, does that mean that some small part of me… likes them?

If you truly hate your local rivals, and most of us would profess to a toxic, virtually uncontainable hatred, then how strong is it? Are we secretly fond of them. If not, and I’m sure you’re a man who wouldn’t confess to this treason, then where does the punishment you crave for your foes end? At what point would you end the fight? After a couple of short hard punches on the nose part? Not sated until you’ve unleashed a haymaker that knocks him clean out of his loafers? Or is it a full-on shooing? Let’s test this hate of yours.

Let’s say, you’re an Arsenal fan. Just the sight of a lilywhite shirt with the proud chicken sitting atop the ball is enough to make you want to do some damage. Glenn Hoddle appears on your TV set lifting the ball over Pat Jennings and you want to stick your slipper straight through the plasma. Each time, they somehow manage to tilt the pool table in Europe, so that every European ‘giant’ miscues, you can’t even bear to look at a newspaper. You loathe the club to its tiniest atoms, and even the hateful sub atoms that make those up, until your hate searches deeper and deeper until there’s something so small you’re actually hating sub micro particles (do they exist?). Even Brian Cox’s rock and roll telescope can’t see what you’re hating anymore. You really hate Tottenham Hotspur.

So, if you really hate [insert your team’s name] what do you actually wish for the brutes? Mediocrity? Relegation? Obliteration? What’s the deal? Here are your weapons, choose one. Now, you’re really having to think about this. Mediocrity is not a bad choice. If your beloved club can constantly rise up stronger than its sickly, pale foe, then that’s cool. You can wave the silverware in their jealous spotty faces and whip them each time in the derby. But that’s not really, that hateful an option is it? Plus, they will win the odd derby and you’ve got to actually win some things to wave about. You’re wishing underachievement on them. You can do better than that. You hate them.

But there’s still this small merciful part of me that spares them the most serious of the punishments. I want their tiny little hearts to beat. To live.

Relegation? Of course those sunny Saturday afternoons, as the scores filter in, are to be cherished as the scum finally enter the trap door. The buzz lasts all summer. You look at their fixture lists and imagine them scootling down motorways to half-filled stadiums as you get the superior menu with the nice bread rolls. But how long does the relegation curse last? And how long, before you start to face the double-edged truth? You want them to come back up so you can play them again, and yet that, by its very nature, includes a day of fun for them, by dint of sealing promotion. If you prefer for them to stay down, then you can look forward to no more derby days. Hmmm.

But you hate them right? So, you’re quite happy to never play them again. The war has been won, and you’ve got the medals. You’re quite prepared to never play them again, and you hate them so much, why not go the whole hog and select the obliteration package. Wait until the scarves decorate the chained gate, the liquidators having happily gone about their business, and then drink a frothy pint to their actual demise. Their annihilation.

They’re gone. That’s it. No more derby days, no more gloating, no more hate. Nothing. Where their disgusting spawning ground once stood, is now an apartment block called Orchard Heights and the only reminders of their existence are photographic. Hopefully one day even the photos and j-pegs will somehow get lost and there’ll be nothing left. Do you want this? Hats off if you do, but what happens after that?

You start looking for another villain in this soap opera of yours, don’t you? The Arsenal fan suddenly becomes convinced that the West Ham have been laughing at his mother and calling her names and so… the cycle begins again. If you push this to its logical conclusion then you will end up, as you win war after war, being the only club left in an apocalyptic landscape. All your foes are now simply dust in the wind, cow skulls on the road to nowhere. Happy now?

There’s something about Ipswich I love. Now, don’t get me wrong I truly hate them, but I definitely love to hate them. Without Them, my feelings toward my club lack an edge. Without the Town (and it is just a town by the way) we have no one to hate us back. We need them. Walking into their ground makes me feel sick. I hate horses largely because of their association with the Suffolk punch. Ipswich have always been in the crosshairs. But there’s still this small merciful part of me that spares them the most serious of the punishments. I want their tiny little hearts to beat. To live.

Our history is intrinsically linked to theirs. Some of our greatest victories were against Them and some of our most miserable experiences were at their hands. They were not earth-shattering events for the rest of the country, but they were nuclear to us. They have given. Us. Something.

There was a local TV news report last summer of a charity match between some Ipswich old boys and a senior Norwich eleven and although it was good to see how my heroes had aged, it was an Ipswich player that had me transfixed. It was just a fleeting glimpse of John Wark pulling up a blue stocking whilst joking with the Norwich players. Once the walking physical embodiment of evil, Wark was now a gentle old man, laughing with my boys and for a fleeting moment, some neck hairs went up. He’s alright.

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

Joe 11:29 am, 1-Apr-2011

All you say makes sense. As an Arsenal, I have never thought Spurs were real rivals. They were just a noisy neighbour, because we've been beating them for so long it did not matter to us anymore. United were our rivals early nineties becuase we were going toe to toe for the title. Lately Spurs have done well against us and that sparked that rivalry even more. Do we want them to do well? no. do we want them to go out of business? No.

Keith Wildman 12:23 pm, 1-Apr-2011

About time there was something about Arsenal on here.

Beach_Bum 2:07 pm, 1-Apr-2011

I am 76 and when I was a boy the Arsenal ground was bombed during the war and in 1946 -7 we watched Arsenal and Spurs play at WHL.My father was an Arsenal supporter.My uncle and cousins supported Spurs.I was won over and Spurs became my team.It would have been unjust in those days to call Arsenal the name they acquired a few years later(boring Arsenal) for they had the ever present dynamic centre half Lesley Compton and the best inside forward I had ever seen (Jimmy Logie) until I watched Jimmy Greaves.But my family are from Wood Green and I became a Spurs fan.I have watched the team that did the double and performed in Europe. For me Arsenal never had the glamour that Spurs have had.I wish 'The gunners' well and hope they perform in such a way that they are second in the league as long as Spurs are first.After all I am from North London.

darren 2:26 pm, 1-Apr-2011

Having one arch rival club is a bit like the ex-missus. She might of took you to the cleaners but the world wouldn't be the same if she wasn't there. It's just nice to be more successful than her.

Bloomers 2:41 pm, 1-Apr-2011

As a Liverpool fan, I remember being at Villa Park for the last game of 93/94 – on the same day, Everton were fighting relegation. At half time they were 2-0 to Wimbledon at home and going down. There was plenty of debate over whether we should want Everton to go down, considering it would deprive us of the derby. As I recall, opinion was split. Everton stayed up and no one I was with seemed to be devastated by that. Where would we be without our rivals?

Mr Worthicles 3:04 pm, 1-Apr-2011

You've got a point here. As a Sunderland fan, I missed those barcode barstewards when they were doon doon in Divison Two (it's not the Championship). This season there's been a sense of purpose again. Not that we've taken advantage of it, typically. But if someone gave me a penalty kick to win the World Cup for Sunderland and cause Newcastle United to go bust forever, I'd still want to stick it in the onion bag. I dream about such things every night.

Brian 3:38 pm, 1-Apr-2011

look at the date. I think you have been had

Tewkesbury Caravan Club 4:08 pm, 1-Apr-2011

English Zenith Data Systems Cup 1990-1991, Southern Semi-Final: Norwich City 2 Ipswich Town 0. In football terms noteworthy only for the ease with which an established top-tier club cantered to victory over a hopelessly outclassed and ill-equipped second division outfit. But what i'll always remember about that evening was the 8500+ fans our country cousins felt compelled to bring to what they had billed as their biggest match in years. While i, as a norwich fan, had all but forgotten about their existence, their fans wanted us, and needed us, bad. real bad. I think they were in awe of us that night. A touch embarrassing so it was.

Jeff Maysh 4:16 pm, 1-Apr-2011

Very funny article. Made me think about sitting on The Shelf at WHL...all we sing is "We hate Arsenal, and we hate Arsenal," and "Stand up! If you hate Arsenal!" Even when we're playing Villa, or, er, Milan. If you did one of those Google word clouds of words sung at White Hart Lane, you'd find we sing about Arsenal more than any other club. Even Spurs! Yes, I do hate the Scum, and 'Joe' you're a 'Gooner' not 'an Arsenal', but all I wish is for them realise they're not the big club they think they still are.

Pete 4:43 pm, 1-Apr-2011

Joe you be an Arsenal if you want. I remember when Gooner meant something different, before the club tried to copywrite the word. You could most definitely be an Arsenal fan without being a Gooner.

Dan Botten 4:48 pm, 1-Apr-2011

Norwich is a city full of cunts.

Mike Walker 4:57 pm, 1-Apr-2011

I have nothing but loathing for that blue team in East Anglar. I had, like the prodigal, returned to Nodge to turn them into the erratic mid-table Division One outfit of yore when those jokers came along and in one game smacked five past us. FIVE! Cheek! I damn well resigned shortly afterwards, a broken man. I will never forgive them. Cheers, Mike. Never. Go. Back.

Joe 11:08 pm, 1-Apr-2011

Jeff Maysh. You'll have to do better to make us realise we are not the biggest club in London. If you match us with trophies and do something about that ground of yours (Leave Stratford alone)then I shall say hats off to you. You have to earn it. In the mean time you just have to admit Arsenal are better than Spurs in every department, something for you guys to aim at. I admitted in my early post that you have done well lately but still not enough as we are still above you in the table. I’m not boasting it is just a fact of life.

Ben Reigate 5:12 pm, 3-Apr-2011

Good stuff this. I'll always hate Ipshit, the cunts, but when we get promoted at Portaloo Road later this month, it'll still be slightly disappointing not to see their obnoxious faces staring back at me from the fixture list when it's released in June.

BristolBlue 6:29 pm, 3-Apr-2011

Roy Keane's first home match in charge of the 'Pride of Anglia' coincided with the Budgies 'must win at Charlton and hope Barnsley lose else relegation' scenario. The euphoria of enjoying our new dawn (hmmmm.....) was mixed with regular updates reporting goal-after-goal being conceeded by our second rate neighbours. I had wanted either i) relegation caused by a last minute own goal or dodgy referee decision, or ii) results to go in their favour and two more east anglian derby days to look forward to. Walked away feeling quite annoyed that any professional team could give in so meekly. Fair play to them for the season they are having. Here's hoping for last day disappointment followed by dramatic play-off heartache in the semis. See you on April 21st, and again next year...

Tom Jones 6:39 pm, 3-Apr-2011

I hope Norwich City goes bankrupt and disappears. They are a bunch of inbreeds.

Jimm Leaf 1:17 pm, 4-Apr-2011

In my experience Spurs and Arsenal fans are all mates, working together, living side by side and sharing the same pubs..How can they be rivals? if you want a proper rivalry look no further than Oxford/Swindon

Rory 6:02 pm, 4-Apr-2011

April 1st maybe, but more than a grain of truth in all that. Good read, and funny. PS Budgies - always a mistake to gloat too early, pride comes before the fall - off your perches flat onto your faces on the mucky bottom of the cage that's Carrot Road

Riccardo 11:01 pm, 4-Apr-2011

It's an interesting one. I guess we (Palace) have 3 rivals. Brighton (for the old school boys that remember punch-ups in the park with them, Thermos flasks and Pan's people), Millwall (as they are absolute scum - demographic not as important in the hatred stakes) and Charlton (Caravan club nobody's that the 'younger' Palace fans dislike most). Personally with Brighton I think they are quite amusing. Living near the town centre during their dismal days playing at Gillingham's Preistfield ground I remember never seeing a Brighton clad bloke, or indeed a hanging kit in a car, in 6 years. Loyal supporters ? Bit of a nothing club really. Though, I'm thinking their support might have swelled a little this season... Millwall - I could quite happily seem them relegated to Division 4 (to go on Worthy's logic) and laugh my head off. Charlton...well, utter gash and again would love to seem them do nothing for a long time...oh wait.... Anyway - I guess I wouldn't want to see any of them go bust. We were nearly there last season and wouldn't want to wish it on anyone...even our 'beloved' rivals.

SirChristian 6:13 pm, 24-Jul-2011

As an arsenal supporter I have no problems with Spurs as a club but some of there fans are mugs! I'm sure it's the same for Spurs fans too, it's generally some annoying tosser that just won't shut up and takes it too far. As for wishing Spurs harm, I wouldn't want that, I enjoy having them about and let's face at least there doing it properly unlike half of the disillusioned north and there £35 million Andy Carrol purchases which will "win them the league". I must say though if I could wipe one bunch of cunts from the universe it would be those manc twats united and there continued easy prem wins with the old boys net work that is currently afflicting our beloved game. I would happily see Ferguson have his titles stripped from him for match fixing

Charlie Pridmo 4:51 pm, 25-Jul-2011

Who ever wrote this article is chatting the most shit I've ever heard. You wrote this purely trying to get views.

Ricky 4:20 pm, 27-Jul-2011

I'd agree to a point. I'm a Spurs fan and I don't want Arsenal relegated. I don't want them in Europe or title challenging, maybe in a cup final which they lose (E.g League cup against Birmingham last year, HILARIOUS) But my personal hatred of Man Utd and Middlesborough their a different story. I'd LOVE to see Man Utd fall into a pit of bankruptsy and dispair. Middlesborough I don't hate to that point but I'd like to see them come up so Steve Gibson can tell me how good his club his and how is youngsters are the next stars of this country (Wheater, Downing, Johnson etc.) when they clearly arent.

Jesus 2:45 pm, 10-Dec-2012

Aww great milestone!!! Love the tiger mom conemmt! Was just reading your last post too. Sorry to hear that about your experience with the ectopic pregnancy. Lovely that you chose the name Nathaniel. Lucky you getting so spoiled on mother's day too : )

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