05 February 2015

Riposte to various Spuds, Spurs, and other 'taters

Dear the Spurs,

I am dearly sorry for the angst and anguish I created in my previous post, the one in which I tried but failed to explain that my animus against your club had little if anything to do with geography, history, success or failure, or much else, for that matter, beyond the random misdoings of a Yank perhaps more ignorant than your correspondent of those matters. I've spent a good amount of time in the George Mitchell role, alternately defending and explaining one side's grievances to the other to little avail. I tried to bridge the gap, mocking myself in the process, in the hope that I might prove that at least one Gooner if not more didn't subscribe to the petty tribalism that infects this rivalry. It seems to have failed, so my only rational response must consist of an over-the-top, knee-jerk reaction.


On the advice of one frequent commenter, I should point out upfront that a fair amount of what follows is tongue-in-cheek and not to be taken seriously. Maybe that's a mistake in the midst of a rivalry that is so fervent that all logic and ration are thrown by the wayside. By the time a person manages to mention the words "Spud" and "Gooner", I have to assume that emotions have taken over and there's no point in pointing to facts or evidence (which may be a Good Thing™ considering how many of those facts and how much of that evidence leads us to the southern edges of North London). Then again, maybe this is all offered in a much-more straightforward fashion. I can't be expected to keep track, can I?

In my previous post, I professed admiration for a club that so regularly challenged a club with a much-bigger stadium (almost twice as big) on the notion that it's harder for a club to compete when its stadium—and its revenue—are so much smaller than its rivals'. I tried to transcend the tribal animosity of this rivalry, and maybe I failed. Maybe the fault is mine, or maybe the fault is in the depths of the rivalry itself—it might be so deep as to elude any attempt at addressing it. It does hearken back to almost a century ago, after all, and is steeped in decade after decade of Arsenalian success and Tottenhamian failure. Sorry to bring this all up, but the olive branch I extended was slapped away, and rudely at that, and so it comes to this.

You haven't won silverware worth its weight since 1991. In that time, Arsenal have won first-division honours four times. We've won the FA Cup six times. Looking further down the list, we've won the League Cup once and the Community Shield six times. We were perhaps a red-card away from winning a Champions League (this is the competition that the best of the best vie for, by the way), while you haven't caught a whiff of the Europa League final since 1984. We'll leave aside some of the more-inglorious moments in which you've come up short against Arsenal.

I know full-well that I should mind my P's and Q's ahead of a match in which the winner could rise as high as third place, not to mention the bragging rights. After all, our talisman—Alexis—has been ruled out, depriving us of much-needed goals, assists, chances, and, for lack of a better word, moxie. In his absence, I do hope that the likes of Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, and Olivier Giroud will prove more than serviceable, if only to prove to Lloris and Vertonghen, among others, that they chose the wrong end of North London.

As a Yank, I do owe a debt of gratitude to Tottenham for offering a chance to the likes of Keller, Dempsey, and Friedel to prove that we occasionally know what it's all about. At the risking of sounding heretical, I would actually enjoy seeing Tottenham finish in the top four—as long as you're still below us. Displacing Chelsea, Man City, or Man U would go a long, long way towards reaching some kind of détente between us. In recent transfer-windows, y'all may have spent like drunken sailors (to which drunken sailors might object) to overtake us only to again finish fifth but still behind us. It's not very club that can lose its talismanic scorer only to finish just as well as it did with him—but then again, we seem to have done you one better on that account as well.

As we gird our loins for Saturday's clash, let's not make too much of this post or of the result. I'm but one of who knows many keyboard-warriors whose opinion matters little in the broader clash, and the outcome of the clash itself might mean more for the symbolic and emotional portents than it does for the strategic. Should Arsenal win, it was nothing less than destiny. Should Tottenham win, well, it might amount to little more than an intriguing plot-twist. Something about winning battles but losing wars.

What say you, Gooners? Yesterday's post inspired a legion of Spuds to comment. Can you do the same?