Football Rivalries : North London Derby

Sol Campbell a Tottenham and Arsenal hero.The North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham is definitely up there with the biggest rivalries in the country, if not Europe. Going back to before World War I, this rivalry has blossomed into what it is today. Both sets of fans waiting for this date in the Premiership fixture calendar.

The success between each team has swapped over the years. Arsenal would find themselves behind Tottenham in the pecking order with multiple European cups, FA cups and also league titles. This seemed to switch around in the late 80s and Premiership Era. Arsenal can mainly thank the man Arsene Wenger with this success, winning 3 Premier League titles and 4 FA cups, not forgetting finishing runner up in the Champions League Final in 2009. Not forgetting that at this time Tottenham were always second best to Arsenal’s reign. Only winning one trophy in 1999 and tended to finish bottom/mid half of the table.

Tottenham then came into their own when manager Martin Jol took over from a short lived spell from ex France manager Jacques Santini. No one could of anticipated how bigger role Jol would play in Tottenham’s future.

Tottenham were very close in leap frogging Arsenal to the last Champions League spot in 2006. But from a “dodgy” lasagne before the last game of the season, Spurs lost to West Ham whilst Arsenal secured 4th place by 2 points and nicked it at the death.

One of the biggest moments in this rivalry goes back to 2001 – Sol Campbell. A player who Spurs fans idolised, a player which had a solid position in the England team without necessarily winning games week in week out, but most importantly, was offered a contract that would have placed him the highest earning player in Tottenham’s history. Instead, he made it known that he wanted to play Champions League football. Spurs fans obviously grieved of hearing this news, did not anticipate the next move the centre back would pull off. Leaving on the Bosman rule, Spurs would not receive any transfer fee what so ever which rubs even more salt in the wound. Arsenal went straight in for the England international. Contract negotiations  went through and when the news had broke Spurs fans were understandably not happy. When the fixture came back round at White Hart Lane that next season, Arsenal’s team coach was bombarded on entry into the ground. as well as Campbell receiving boos and abuse throughout the 90 minutes. He was labelled Judas which to this day still exists, as when Campbell returned to Arsenal in 2009, the betrayal was not forgotten by the Spurs faithful.

Tottenham have had a very successful couple of years, beating Arsenal 2 out of the 3 meetings and drawing the other. The main test with the upcoming season for Tottenham is to finish above their rivals, where Arsenal on the other hand are looking to strengthen their weakening team and challenge once more for the title. It shall be an exciting season where both fixtures going to undoubtedly match their hype.

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