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Are the Spuds really any better than their "Devil" neighbours?

Arsenal is a famous club, a big club, a noted club. But despite our reputation, we’re seen by some as "everything wrong with modern English football" — as the “Devil” of the Premier League. Even a Premier League Skeletor, if one wills…

Well if He-Man won’t come to defeat us, for us to get him back next time, then why have we got this reputation, and is it really warranted?


It is true that our atmosphere has been crappy for years. Even Highbury was called the library. And it's true, Gooners don't like to sing (at home games at least). We're led to believe that the kind of fans who come to our ground are tourists or corporate people in Club Level, in part at least this has some truth. So as non-traditional fans, they won’t sing as much. However we're certainly not the only ones.

Fans of other Premier League clubs believe their atmosphere is rubbish due to the marketing, branding, and promotion of football to non-traditional supporter bases. A footballing gentrification if you will. In the 1980s, football goers were stereotypically working class people, who used football as much as a crutch in daily life as a hobby or passion. Now football goers are increasingly middle/upper class people who see it as a day out and not a deep/ingrained life passion. This is due to post-Hillsborough Taylor Report, as well as events making football more relatable to the masses (Euro 96 and the Premier League's commercial success).

Customers not fans

Other fans laugh at us, since we're apparently customers and not fans. Though these other fans are often treated the same way. Most fans complain about ticket prices, poor atmospheres, and not being viewed as integral stakeholders. It's a cliché, but a club is nothing without its fans. Somebody needs to view the games, and even though match-day income is not the major earner as it was before, commercial and TV revenues are geared towards fans. Fans buy shirts, and watch televised games.

So Arsenal isn't the only club that is subject to this. Look at West Ham's move to their new London Stadium. Or how Toon fans view Mike Ashley. Or how Man U fans view the Glazers. We complain about Kroenke and rightly so, but then we're amongst many other clubs with the same experiences.

What other fans means in this case, really, is Tottenham fans

I'm being a bit disingenuous here, so please forgive me. By "other fans", I really mean Sp*rs fans.

They like to label us as the Skeletor of Premier League football, when most of their criticisms of us apply to them in equal measure, if not more.

Arsenal is seen popularly as having a soulless bowl, no atmosphere, gentrified fans, etc. This is true in part, but then we're not at all unique as most Premier League atmospheres have changed. Football has changed in many regards. And the criticisms of Arsenal apply to all Premier League clubs.

Sp*rs fans use our ticket prices, atmosphere and more as a means to ridicule us. It's like a 450lb man condemning another man of similar weight, saying he is dangerously obese. The real reason they envy us is for being more successful. They have always felt threatened by us hence why they pride themselves on being "true North London" and telling us to 'f*ck off back to Woolwich'.

They bring these frankly comically hypocritical points to try to discredit us, but it doesn’t really work.

So if any Tottenham fan tells you that we represent the overly commercialised nature of modern football, respond to them by saying 'do we?' Ask them why exactly did the 1882 Foundation start, or why this foundation specifically wants to improve White Hart Lane's atmosphere. Ask them how they feel about selling their stadium name and if they think they will be any different? Ask if they realise they use hypocrisy, double standards and false criticisms to ease their decades of failure or whether they deludedly think they are any better.

And when they respond, however they respond, you can enjoy a few good moments laughing at Tottnum.

Editor's response

That's an interesting take on Arsenal-Sp*rs relations. There certainly is a lot of unfair criticism hurled at Arsenal and we have become the pantomime villain of the league especially when it comes to prices and atmosphere. Club Level certainly does have a more muted atmosphere but perhaps the way the old Highbury crowd is dispersed around the new stadium adds to the myth we are a quiet club. We know from matches like the Bayern game last season that the crowd can really put on a show but perhaps that was due to the number of non-season ticket holders who managed to get into the ground. Whatever the reason it showed that with the right encouragement and planning the Emirates can be a fortress of noise. So, readers, what do you think? Are we unfairly made out to be the bad guys when everyone else is doing the same thing or is the criticism fair? Are we the worst in the league in certain areas? Leave a comment and let us know what you think. 

Tell us what you think! If you agree, or have a different view, please leave a comment in the comments section or why not write a response or your own article on YouWrite?

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Tags: Tottenham, North London Derby, The Scum, no league in 55 years, 2 league cups in 30 years, Chelsea is bigger than Tottenham now

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