31 July, 2008

Public Enemy No. 1

So finally we have a few interesting transfers to talk about. Yay! Robbie Keane going to Liverpool was perhaps unexpected, but I think a good bit of business for both clubs. With Torres, Keane could form a lethal partnership, offering the kind of interplay that people expected between the sublime Spaniard and Dirk Kuyt last year. For Spurs though, £19million is an incredible amount of money for a player in his late-20s, and if they secure the services of ace Russian pair Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrei Arshavin, the former North London hero will probably not be missed.

Definitely joining Ramos’ reinvented Tottenham though is ex-Arsenal midfielder David Bentley, a man who appeared in most sports writers’ team of the season last year. Amusingly the press has warned him that he is “risking the wrath of all Gunners fans” (The Sun) by becoming just the fifth player to cross the divide to Tottenham. Have these reporters ever actually met an Arsenal fan? I hardly think some foreign businessman with a direct-debit lifetime debenture will either know where Tottenham is or ultimately give a shit, but hey ho. One of Bentley’s closest pals Rohan Ricketts, who also made the switch across the battlelines in 2002, said: “Of course, Arsenal fans won’t like it at all and I’m sure that when he goes back to the Emirates they’ll give him a really rough time. I remember when I first went back to Arsenal with Spurs. The fans booed me every time I touched the ball and I copped some really bad flak because the clubs are such rivals.” Well that’s a start I guess Arsenal fans; booing is the first step towards singing, and you never know, one day you might actually have an atmosphere at The New Library.

Ricketts continued: “But at the end of the day, the club didn’t want him so I’m sure he won’t care. Now he’s good enough to play for Arsenal but it’s their own fault for letting him go. It’s a great move for him because Spurs is a club with a bit more potential than Blackburn. They will be pushing for a Champions League spot, which is what a player like David Bentley needs.” Arsenal fans however are consoling themselves with a considerable chunk of change from the deal in the form of a sell-on clause, meaning they will pocket £7m of the fee from Blackburn. Some moron that Sky Sports dug out of the woodwork dropped this delightfully blinkered lie: “The truth is they have signed a bland player with no chance of improving and Tottenham have effectively paid for Aaron Ramsey. Thanks very much.” Just a note for Gunners fans here: it’s because of comments like this that everyone hates you.

Anyway, enough Arsenal-baiting. We thought it might be interesting at this time to give all you lovely people a little rundown of some of the other players over the years that have crossed the North London divide. History books at the ready folks…

The previous four guys who played for Arsenal before moving to Tottenham:

Jimmy Brain

Arsenal 1924-32 (Apps 232, Goals 139)
Tottenham 1931-35 (Apps 34, Goals 10)
Brain was a prolific striker throughout his career, and was Arsenal’s top scorer four seasons in a row, from 1924-25 to 1928-29. The highlight of this golden period was 39 goals in the 1925-26 season, which spectacularly included four hat tricks. Brain was the first Gunner to score 100 goals for the club, and still lies joint-fifth in the all-time Arsenal goal-scorers list.

Laurie Brown

Arsenal 1961-64 (Apps 109, Goals 2)
Tottenham 1964-66 (Apps 65, Goals 3)
Initially beginning his career as a centre-forward, Brown found his true calling as a central defender after signing for Arsenal from Northampton Town. He was a regular for two seasons at Arsenal before making the switch directly to Spurs and subsequently becoming a bit rubbish.

David Jenkins

Arsenal 1966-68 (Apps 25, Goals 9)
Tottenham 1968-70 (Apps 17, Goals 2)
Jenkins was a teenage prodigy who came up through the ranks at Highbury as a highly-promising striker before proving himself to actually be quite underwhelming, and ultimately moving to Spurs in exchange for Jimmy Robertson.

Rohan Ricketts

Arsenal 2001-02 (Apps 1, Goals 0)
Tottenham 2002-05 (Apps 36, Goals 2)
Ricketts came up through the youth ranks at Highbury, winning the FA Youth Cup alongside Bentley in 2000 and 2001, before moving to White Hart Lane in 2002. He has since proven himself to be really quite anonymous and now ‘stars’ over the pond for Toronto FC.

And the nine who played for Tottenham before moving to Arsenal:

George Hunt

Tottenham 1930-37 (Apps 198, Goals 137)
Arsenal 1937-38 (Apps 21, Goals 3)
Hunt was a ball-playing centre-forward whose exciting solo runs made him a popular player, but also attracted rough treatment from opposing defenders. As the first man to move from Spurs to Arsenal, Hunt failed to recapture his excellent form at Tottenham before the Second World War inconveniently got in the way.

Freddie Cox

Tottenham 1938-49 (Apps 105, Goals 18)
Arsenal 1949-53 (Apps 94, Goals 16)
Signed by Spurs at the age of just 18, Cox was a tricky right-winger who particularly excelled for the Gunners in the FA Cup, most notably scoring the winner against Chelsea in the 1949 Semi Final replay.

Vic Groves

Tottenham 1952-53 (Apps 4, Goals 3)
Arsenal 1955-64 (Apps 201, Goals 37)
Groves hailed from Leytonstone, close to my manor (sorry), and joined Arsenal as an inside-forward before switching to the position of wing-half. His career at Highbury was plagued by knee and back injuries but he captained the side for several years and formed a good attacking partnership with David Herd.

Jimmy Robertson

Tottenham 1964-68 (Apps 181, Goals 31)
Arsenal 1968-70 (Apps 59, Goals 8)
Robertson was a leggy Scottish winger who could operate on both flanks and moved to Highbury in a swap deal with David Jenkins in 1968. Despite some excellent form for Spurs, he quickly became a largely forgotten man at Arsenal, with then Arsenal boss Bertie Mee preferring George Armstrong on the right wing.

Steve Walford

Tottenham 1975-77 (Apps 1, Goals 1)
Arsenal 1977-81 (Apps 98, Goals 4)
A former England youth international, Walford was a tall central defender who pocketed an FA Cup Winners' medal with Arsenal in 1979. Interestingly he is a good pal of Martin O’Neill, and is the first-team coach at Aston Villa these days.

Willie Young

Tottenham 1975-77 (Apps 64, Goals 4)
Arsenal 1977-81 (Apps 237, Goals 19)
Willie was a uncompromising Scottish defender who played in three consecutive FA Cup Finals for Arsenal from 1978. Since retiring in 1984 he has owned a pub and also a greyhound kennels. Not sure why you’d want to know that but there it is.

Pat Jennings

Tottenham 1964-77 (Apps 590, Goals 0)
Arsenal 1977-85 (Apps 327, Goals 0)
A former Football Writers' Association and PFA Player of the Year, Jennings is widely regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers of all time, and is probably the most famous man to have played for both North London rivals. His international career spanned a miraculous 22 years, and in total he played over 1000 professional games, even bagging a goal in the 1967 Charity Shield.

Kevin Stead
Tottenham 1976-78 (Apps 14, Goals 0)
Arsenal 1978-79 (Apps 2, Goals 0)
Stead boasts the record of the fewest number of cumulative games for the two North London clubs, making 14 appearances for Tottenham before making the switch to play just two games for the Gunners. Er, that’s about all there is to say about him. He doesn’t even have a Wiki page, the poor guy.

Sol Campbell

Tottenham 1992-2001 (Apps 315, Goals 15)
Arsenal 2001- 2006 (Apps 197, Goals 11)
Campbell came up through the ranks at White Hart Lane before moving to Arsenal in 2001 and won two Premiership titles and two FA Cups in his time at Highbury. His return to Spurs for the first time was hostile to say the least, and to this date he is known as nothing but ‘Judas’ on the white side of North London.


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