I have seen some worrying comments recently from Arsenal supporters suggesting that our team is starting to take on characteristics more commonly associated with the slum dwellers from down the road.
No, they are not suggesting that we have suddenly developed bad personal hygiene habits; or started dragging our knuckles along the ground; or begun recruiting players from the ape enclosure at London zoo.
Instead they point to our recent inconsistent form; our ability to look world beaters one day and carpet beaters the next; our capacity to lose in any given circumstance.
Do they have a point?
Are we becoming another Tottering Hospice?
No, no, never and no.
You know the old saying, form is temporary, but class is permanent? Well that applies to Arsenal.
There’s an alternative version of the same saying that applies to the Totts: “Form is temporary, but T*ttenham are sh*t.” Look it up – it’s in all good anthologies of phrase and fable.
Of course we lucky souls born to enjoy the red and white domination of North London can feel disheartened at times. And let’s face it, this current team has put us through the mill and back already this season.
Stirring victories like the 7-3 over Newcastle followed days later by the ineptness of the Southampton game; trouncing Liverpool at Anfield, but succumbing to lowly Bradford at Valley Parade.
It’s enough to bring a quiver to the stiffest of upper lips.
But no matter how down you feel, no matter how bleak our prospects look, don’t ever – ever – make the mistake of thinking that we have anything in common with those sad degenerates who worship a scrawny chicken perched on a basketball.
Even if (Dennis forfend) we were to finish behind them in the league this season it would mean nothing in the grand scheme of things (and bear in mind that all previous precedent points to them doing their usual choke-the-chicken act this year when the going gets tough).
There is no Dennis-given right to have St Totteringham’s Day every year. A glance back through history shows that there have, in the past, been years when that great festival was not celebrated.
Just like years of plague, famine, pestilence and war, they happen once in a while but they are not the norm: they are a perverted departure from the norm.
So next time you hear (or read) someone suggesting that we are “becoming the new Totteringham” just remind them of some facts that every Arsenal supporter should have at their finger tips:
Arsenal League Championships: 13
The Other Lot: 2
Arsenal FA Cup wins: 10
Number of times league title clinched at the other’s ground:
Seasons in Champions League:
Toe rags: 1
And these are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to dig deeper there are so many more ways in which it is empirically provable that Arsenal and our unfortunate neighbours do not inhabit the same universe when it comes to class, quality, achievement and history.
What’s more, there is nothing to suggest that that situation will ever change. The Spuds have managed to cobble together a half decent team for now, but their long term prospects are always going to be baulked by their tiny ground, their general scumminess and their tendency to in-breed.
If ever they try to move stadium, we’ll soon see how remarkable was Arsene Wenger’s achievement in keeping us in the top four for year after year without any net spending on transfers.
A Totteringham stadium move is likely to lead to another period in the lower leagues for them (which will be fun, as we will be able to celebrate St Totteringham’s Day on the first day of every season).
So by all means be frustrated with our inconsistency, be angry when our players seem not to show enough effort, but please: enough of the comparisons with an entity so far below us they even have to look upwards to see Lucifer’s arse.