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

  • 2018/9
  • 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, 2018

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    St Totteringham's Day was 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 was 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.

    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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    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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    Tue, 09 Aug 2011


    I may draw attention to some anniversaries over the year.

    For example at the start of the season it is worth thinking back to August 19th 1977. The first division season starts and arguably St Totteringham's day because Spurs had been relegated the previous season.

    Happy days...

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