The international break came at a very fortunate time. Not just for Spurs, who had several injured players able to rest up for a week, but for me too. A busy schedule at work has prevented me from thinking about football much, let alone blogging about it. I missed England’s 0-0 stalemate with Germany but caught most of the 0-0 draw with Brazil on TV. Our youth did okay. Captained by Dier in both matches. I have a feeling he’ll retain the armband.
And now we come to the first North London Derby of this Season, at the Emirates tomorrow. As usual, the media are writing their pre-NLD fare, comparing Arsenal and Spurs. For a while now, their two themes have been (i) Arsenal are in decline but (ii) Spurs face problems.
The morning before Spurs beat Arsenal 2-0 at WHL last April, Jonathan Liew wrote in the Sunday Telegraph about “Why Tottenham are years behind Arsenal in the battle for supremacy”. Liew is a decent young journalist. His article used sources such as Forbes, Deloitte and Swiss Ramble. I wrote about it in my Post 6 (“Price Tag”).
Liew’s argument was that, in the end, money talks. He writes, “the economics of football dictate that while a team like Tottenham or Leicester can fleetingly defy gravity, eventually things shake out.” (Sunday Telegraph, 30th April 2017, Sport, p5).
Yesterday, in the Guardian, another decent young journalist, Jonathan Wilson, wrote an article entitled “The gulf between Arsenal and Tottenham is big and getting bigger.” But his angle was different to Liew’s. His point is that Spurs have overtaken Arsenal already.
He was focusing on football not money; contrasting our players, academy, manager, acumen, and the mood at our club, with Arsenal’s mismanagement and drift, with the anger at the Emirates over the past few years.
But Wilson ends his article in a similar vein to Liew’s. He predicts problems for Spurs. All essentially due to money.
Problems will come for Tottenham, new stadium or not. They cannot keep paying players so much less than their rivals. Walker will not be the only key player to see opportunities elsewhere. Pochettino, too, may be lured away. It’s still not entirely clear how much the move to a new stadium will restrict finances. It’s entirely possible that in a decade, football will be wondering how Tottenham spurned this immense opportunity. Existence on the mezzanine just below the elite is never easy, the transition to becoming part of the elite all but impossible.
But at least there is a plan. At least there is a possible golden future. Four and a half miles away there is merely drift. Tottenham may not yet be the club Arsenal could have been, but Arsenal are the club Tottenham don’t want to become.
The Guardian, 16 November 2017
What’s most interesting to me is the shift in tone over the past six months. The naïve certainty of Liew last April to the uncertain future posited by Wilson. Of course, they’re only two journalists writing in two different publications but I do sense a hint of a media mood swing. Is it just possible that … ?
Meanwhile, I’m halfway through ‘Brave New World’ (Post 40). It’s an excellent read for any Spurs fan. Thoroughly recommended and far more illuminating about our manager, our chairman and our future prospects than any number of newspaper articles, (albeit Wilson’s is one of the better ones).