St Totteringham's Day

A St Totteringham's Day Diary.

More Info

  • List of every St Totteringham's since the first on 22nd April 1911.
  • Old home page, including detail on 2003/4 to 2010/11
  • The story of St T's day and some acknowledgements
  • Some analysis of the history of St Totteringham's
  • home page

    Recent Seasons

  • 2017/8
  • 2016/7
  • 2015/6
  • 2014/5
  • 2013/4
  • 2012/3
  • 2011/2
  • 2010/11
  • 2009/10
  • 2008/9
  • 2007/8
  • 2006/7
  • 2005/6
  • 2004/5
  • 2003/4

    I should probably add some.

    An RSS feed...
    This is an RSS feed of changes to this page so you can watch it in your favourite blog reader.

    The blame
    Mostly written by Mike Pitt. You can contact me by email on Nice comments only please. I'm also @sttottsday on twitter.
    Original material © Mike Pitt 2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

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    St Totteringham's Day is the day when Arsenal fans celebrate the fact that Tottenham can no longer catch Arsenal in the League. It is a movable feast, but usually falls in March, April or May. It is the day to collect on bets made by over-optimistic Spurs fans in the close season who think that "this is the year".

    See the links on the left for more information.

    Mon, 28 Aug 2017

    Welcome to the new season!


    The losses to Liverpool and Stoke were hardly suprises, but do rather confirm that this is going to be another groundhog season. I was hoping to be able to start this year with an optimistic post, but none of the opening league results justified that.

    Anyway here is the start of the year placeholder. Will the Saint be returning thanks to Spurs' Wembley hoodoo, or will it be a year of wailing and gnashing of teeth?

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    Sun, 30 Apr 2017


    I knew it would happen eventually. Fair play to Spurs, but the lack of passion and organisation from Arsenal was predictaly bad.

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    Sat, 29 Apr 2017

    Tomorrow evening...

    Well I think we all know the situation but just to get it down here before the game...

    Before the match Arsenal have six games left and we are 14 points behind. There are three results

    • If Arsenal win then we reduce the gap to 11 points with 15 points left to play for. Also I will laugh. Spurs will still finish above us, but it will reduce the pain a little.
    • If we draw then the gap stays at 14 with 15 to go. Not the best result for either team but at least we avoid the anti-St-Totteringham happening at WHL. Right now I'd take this if offered.
    • Finally the third option. If that happens we will be unable to catch Spurs.

    Some straws to clutch at for Arsenal fans: Spurs will be celebrating finishing second, like we did last season. 21 years. We have an FA Cup final. Next year Spurs will be at Wembley.

    And finally remember: Arsenal have finished above Spurs 66 times since Spurs joined the league wheras Spurs have finished above us only 30. Mind the gap!

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    Mon, 10 Apr 2017

    What was that...

    Writing at half time we are deservedly 1-0 down. It is so bad I am trying to distract myself. My attempt to find a picture to tweet for the Arsenal watching face didn't go well, so I'm doing arithmetic.

    If I'm posting this it didn't get any better. (In fact it got a whole lot worse.)

    Taking the relevant info from the PL table...

              P     Pts   Games left    Max points
    Spurs    31      68
    Arsenal  30      54            8         78
    Spurs now need just 11 points. Four wins out of seven, or three if they win the NLD. Which is the third game they play.

    I am wondering if us losing our next two games might be less painful.

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    Sat, 08 Apr 2017

    Well Watford did what I expected them to do at the end of January... Watford capitulated to Spurs. Not a surprise.

    Anyway ahead of our game on Monday I thought I'd update how bad things are looking for the Saint.

    I think he's not very well.

    The raw facts are this: Arsenal can still (in theory) max out on 81 points. This means Spurs need 82 to be mathematically certain. They now have 68 so need just 14 more. That would be five wins out of seven, or four wins and two draws.

    This doesn't give them much room to slip up, but don't forget that assumes we don't slip up either. Worse still the head to head game between at the Lane. If Spurs win that it would leave them needing 8 more points, a draw would require 11 more points.

    It gets worse... the nightmare scenario exists:

    • Assuming Tottenham beat Bournemouth and Palace (which seems likely), they will have 6 points towards the total.
    • They'll need 8 more if Arsenal don't drop any points.
    • Arsenal have three games before the NLD: Palace and Boro away, and Leicester at home.
    • If we draw just one of those games then we have dropped two points. This leads Spurs needing 6 more. One loss would be much the same.
    • Spurs beating Arsenal would be worth those six (three for Spurs and three off our max score)

    Let us hope we can get a mini-run going to avoid this being even theoretically possible. (That Leicester game looks worrying.)

    Of course given Spurs ability to make a mess of anything it is entirely possible that they win the next two, then lose to us and fall apart failing to get 8 points from the last four. We'll call that the comedy gold option!

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    Tue, 28 Mar 2017

    Can the international break continue for a bit longer...?

    Only it was nice not losing last weekend!

    Anyway: this weekend could be massive for the fate of St Totteringham in 2017. A reminder that Spurs are currently nine ahead having played one more game. That looks like a massive lead but...

    Mindless optimism: A Spurs loss at Burnley is not impossible. Burnley are good at home (29 points from 14 games), and Spurs away record is much weaker than their home one (23 fewer points away from home than at home). Arsenal have had some time to plan out tactics against Manchester City, and we are due a performance in a big game. We could find the gap down to six. Win the game in hand and at the Lane and St Totteringham could walk again!

    Mindless pessimism: Spurs away record is not that bad, and Burnley have imploded in recent weeks. On top of that Arsenal against the big clubs could well be a hiding on recent performances. We could be 12 points behind by Saturday night, and licking our wounds after another demoralising defeat on Sunday night. That defeat will aggravate the bad goal difference too.

    Looking at the form of the two clubs I quite fancy Burnley for a draw against Spurs, but I have very little confidence we will get anything out of the match on Sunday. That it is at home should help, but that could turn against us if we start badly. That we have a history of starting badly in lunchtime kick offs worries me. But I shall hope, that like last year, mindless optimism prevails.

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    Sun, 19 Mar 2017


    I know none of us have forgotten that Saint Totteringham's day is unusual in that some years it isn't celebrated. I fear that after 21 years in a row we may need to be ready for an exception.

    After the debacle today at the Hawthorns both teams have 11 games left. That means up to 33 points (which is a lot), but Spurs have a six point lead, and a considerably better goal difference (+33 v +22).

    What is worse is that at the moment I can't see this team lifting themselves in the upcoming big games. Can we face losses to City, West Ham and (dare I say) Spurs? Everton winning 4-0 leaves them behind us on goal difference by 1. United have a game in hand (admittedly the Manchester derby). We might not have to put up with Europa league next season!

    Still I meet feel better about the world if Southampton and Burnley do us a huge favour over the next few weeks.

    Correction: I have no idea where I got the idea it was the Manchester derby from. None at all. Anyway Middlesborough aren't looking like tough opponents today...

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    Sun, 12 Mar 2017

    Trophy Density: a tale of two Wengers...

    Here is an idea, far from original, to compare success of managers or periods of history. We look at trophies per season instead. This avoids the problem that Wenger has had twice as many seasons as any other manager in making fair comparisons. There are problems: such as the fact that early managers had two trophies to go for: FA Cup and League, but later ones had the League Cup and European opportunities too.

    So firstly lets look at the club's success rate since our first FA Cup win back in the 1920s. Quick definition: the 1920s go from 1920/1 to 1929/30. Note the 1930s are 9 years long (1930/1 to 1938/9) and the 1940s only 4 years (1946/7 to 1949/50) due to the war. A reminder the bizarrely named Inter-City Fairs Cup is recognised as the early incarnation of what is now the Europa League.
    DecadeTrophiesLeague title densityCup densityEuropean title densityTotal trophies per year
    1920s1 FA Cup00.1N/A0.1
    1930s5 League titles, 1 FA Cup0.5550.111N/A0.666
    1940s1 League title, 1 FA Cup0.250.25N/A0.5
    1950s1 League title0.100 (Fairs cup starts 1955)0.1
    1960s1 Inter-City Fairs000.10.1
    1970s1 League title, 1 FA Cup0.10.100.2
    1980s1 League title, 1 League Cup0.10.100.2
    1990s2 League titles, 2 FA Cups, 1 Cup Winners Cup, 1 League Cup0.
    2000s2 League titles, 3 FA Cups0.20.300.5
    2010s (up to 2016)2 FA Cups00.33300.333

    So our most successful league period was either side of the war, and then in the 1990s and 2000s. In terms of tophies it's a close thing between 1930s and 1990s. Both decades were split between two (or more) coaches: the 1930s belong to Chapman and Allison, the 1990s see Graham, Wenger (and Rioch...). So our first note is that change can lead to success. (Our second is that is doesn't always as the 1960s show us!)

    So let us take a look at the managers themselves. Some decisions had to be made here: Chapman gets the season he died in (we were top when he died), Whittaker's final season isn't counted, and to makes the maths easier both Graham and Neill's final half seasons are counted as if they completed them. No trophy in either so it makes them look worse.) So sorted by total trophies per season...
    ManagerTrophiesLeague title densityCup densityEuropean title densityTotal trophies per year
    Wenger first decade (1996-2006)3 league titles, 4 FA Cups0.30.400.7
    Graham2 league titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 League Cups, 1 CWC (1986-Feb 1995)0.2220.3330.1110.666
    Allison2 league titles, 1 FA Cup from 1934-47 (6 seasons)0.3330.166N/A0.5
    Wenger3 League titles, 6 FA Cup (1996-end of last season)0.150.300.45
    Chapman3 league titles, 1 FA Cup from 1925-19340.30.1N/A0.4
    Whittaker2 league titles, 1 FA Cup from 1947-19560.250.125N/A0.375
    Mee1 league title, 1 FA Cup, 1 Inter-City Fairs (1966-76)
    Wenger second decade (2006-2016)2 FA Cups00.200.2
    Neill1 FA Cup (1976-Dec 1983)00.12500.125
    All others (Mitchell, Elcoat, Bradshaw, Kelso, Morell, Knighton, Crayston, Swindin, Wright, Howe, Rioch & caretakers)Nothing0000

    Wenger's first decade is remarkable on total trophy count, edging out George Graham who uses a couple of League Cup wins to boost his score. However his second decade is comparable to the seven-and-a-half years of Terry Neill. Overall I was surprised to see him beat Chapman. Something I'll come back to later. If we remove the league cups Graham falls to 0.444 which is much the same as Wenger over 20 years. (As an aside, whatever happens this season for Wenger the maths gets awkward, as I'll have to divide by 21.)

    Chapman genuinely built the club. Wenger inherited a squad with league and European Cup Winners Cup medals in. Chapman inherited a team who'd never won a trophy in the roughly 40 years they'd existed, who'd sat round the mid-table mark since their (ahem) controversial reinstatement in the top flight at the end of the first world war. Wenger remoulded the Graham team: Petit, Overmars and Vieira were key parts of our success, but so were the back four/five. It is also worth remembering that Allison's first title was the third of three back-to-back successes, so probably owed quite a lot to Chapman. (Having said that taking on a successful squad doesn't automatically lead to success...)

    So what is my conclusion? Wenger was brilliant and is now ok if you were happy with Terry Neill as manager? That the trophyless years have damaged the Wenger legacy? That Graham was surprisingly good?

    Without a doubt Wenger is one of our best managers and definitely in the top six! As are Graham, Mee, Whittaker, Chapman and Allison... His first decade is comparable to the 1930s era, albeit with more FA Cups and less league titles (but more doubles!). Whether the first Wenger decade or the ten seasons before the WW2 are the best decade is an argument that is not clear cut: does a back-to-back title (and three-peat) beat doing two doubles? Is five leagues and 2 FA Cups, better than 2 doubles, and a further league title and 2 cups? I can see arguments either way.

    This shows it isn't the case that before Wenger we were non-entities. We were a successful football club with a great history. This wasn't just ancient history either, Graham had delivered two league titles (only one less than Wenger) and a European success in the decade before.

    So a balanced conclusion: those wanting Wenger to go (which I admit includes me) need to recall how successful he was in the first decade, but those wanting him to stay need to acknowledge that his time at the club, even that first decade, is not necessarily the club's most successful era and certainly not the first or only success. Further those wanting him to go need to look at how many managers Terry Neill was better than (at least nine of our Managers, and four since we won a trophy, won nothing), but those wanting him to stay need to admit that sometimes change can reinvigorate or improve on what came before.

    Having said all that I feel it is time for Arsene to go to allow someone else to start the rebuilding job needed to create success. We are in a similar condition to we were after we won the league in 1953: staring at a big reconstruction job that if we don't start will lead to stagnation. That was after over 20 seasons of amazing success too...

    Anyway I promise to go back to the countdown to St Ts next post.

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    Fri, 10 Mar 2017

    So about St Totteringham's day this year...

    If we had confidence in our team right now I'd be saying that St Totteringham is still likely. The problem is that the team aren't performing anywhere near the level they can, or the level they need to, to make St T's a likelihood.

    The basic situation of six points behind isn't as bad as it sounds as we have a game in hand and there is the small matter of the derby game on 30 April. That alone would be enough to overhaul Spurs, before we factor in the fact they always struggle at the end of the season.

    But... at the moment I am not certain we will win at the Lane. Or a few of the other games.

    No colour coding yet, but here are the final games for the two clubs. I've been lazy and used @ for away games and v for home games.
    18 Mar@ WBA
    19 Marv Southampton
    1 Apr@ Burnley
    2 Aprv Man City
    5 Aprv West Ham@ Swansea
    8 Aprv Watford
    10 Apr@ Palace
    15 Aprv Bournemouth
    17 Apr@ Middlesborough
    22 Aprv Sunderland
    23 Apr@ Leicester City
    30 AprSpurs v Arsenal
    6 Mayv Man Utd@ West Ham
    13 May@ Stokev Man Utd
    21 Mayv Everton@ Hull City
    TBDv Leicester City @ Palace
    TBD@ Southampton

    Now there is considerable overlap: both go to Palace, host Manchester Utd, and play Leicester, West Ham and Southampton. Outside that Spurs remaining games look at first glance slightly easier. The Man City game looks especially worrying.

    Then there is the confidence issue: how will a team that can't beat the big boys get wins against Utd, City and Spurs. This is aggravated by the fact that, depending on exactly when the TBD games are scheduled, we will be playing after Spurs several times. I am not sure given our frailties we will cope well with "scoreboard pressure" to use a cricket term.

    If there is a St T's this year I can't see it being before May, and very unlikely to be before the final day. Right now I think 21 is going to be our lot. Not a bad run that!

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    Wed, 08 Mar 2017

    Unlucky on the night?

    Yes. Unlucky on the night. The Kos decision shows what happens when you make referees officiate games they aren't experienced enough for. It is also another example for the argument on video technology. (Having said that, and being brutal, Kos does have a habit of putting his arms across attackers and it does get us into trouble.)

    However three times in a row we've played Bayern. The same result every time. That means something has to change at Arsenal or Bayern if we want to win.

    So I thought I'd change the subject. My twitter picture (I'm at @sttottsday) subtly points out that we have finished above Spurs 21 years in a row, of which 19 were fully under Wenger (one was under Rioch, and the final one was pretty much Wenger as he started in October). That is an amazing record, and I thought by way of distraction I'd compare it with our other great (and not so great managers) since the first St T's back in 1911. I'm only looking at full seasons here.
    ManagerFull seasonsPossible St Totteringham's Actual St Totteringham's St T's %Comment
    George Morrell5 (1909-1914)5240%Two part seasons, one with Spurs in D2, and the other he was relegated.
    Leslie Knighton5 (1920-1925)5120%
    Herbert Chapman8 (1925-1933)33100%Other five seasons Spurs were in D2. Also died halfway through the title winning 1933-34 season.
    George Allison10 (1934-1947)11100%Other nine seasons Spurs in D2. Also no football 1939-1946.
    Tom Whittaker9 (1947-1956)6466.6%Also officially manager in 1956-7, but was ill and Jack Crayston was in effective control. No St Ts that season. If you count that his %ge falls to 57.1%. Given he died in October that season it would be harsh to do so. 2 seasons with Spurs in D2, 1948-50.
    Jack Crayston1 (1957-8)100%See comment about Tom Whittaker. Either way he scores 0!
    George Swindin4 (1958-1962)4125%
    Billy Wright4 (1962-66)400%
    Bertie Mee10 (1966-1976)10660%After 1971 St T's every season save his final one.
    Terry Neill7 (1976-1983)6466.7%Sacked halfway through 83/84. If counted improves his %ge. Also 1 season Spurs in D2.
    Don Howe1 (1984-5)100%Figures look better if his two part seasons are counted. Both had a St Ts.
    George Graham8 (1986-94)8562.5%Also no St T's in the part season he was sacked, which would lower his %ge to 55.6%
    Bruce Rioch1 (1995-6)11100%
    Arsene Wenger19 (1997-2016)1919100%Note: not counted St T's in part season 96/97, or this season.

    So what do we learn? That the Wenger era isn't unprecedented: Chapman, Allison and Whittaker put together 21 consecutive seasons above Spurs (1925/6 to 1949/50), and that is despite one of them dying halfway through one season. We also see that Arsenal have a habit of hanging on to managers, successful or not. Excepting Rioch and Crayston.

    I'll just repeat that first one, this time with emphasis: Arsenal have had long periods of dominance over our neighbours, during which we won trophies, before Wenger came along. He is without doubt our most successful individual manager, and the invincibles season is probably our finest ever, but between 1925-26 and 1949-50 we won 6 league titles (Wenger has 3) and 3 FA Cups (Wenger has 6).

    Which is more successful: 6 league titles and 3 Cups or the other way round?

    Some say the modern game is about European football. If that is the case then Graham and Mee are our best two Managers. For a club of our ambition we are dreadful in Europe.

    A final sobering thought: of our title winning managers...

    • Chapman died in the job
    • Allison stepped down after finishing 13th in 1947
    • Whittaker died in the job
    • Mee stepped down after finishing 17th in 1976
    • Graham got sacked over the bung scandals
    • Wenger is in post
    Even historically the board is not known for sacking our successful managers even when they are well after the best days. More died in post than were sacked. Admittedly the two who went may have been told to resign or get sacked, but it shows that the club cares about appearance. In public, at least, the call is Wenger's. I fear Wenger will not go, short of a relegation season so expect part 4 of the 5-1 soon.

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