St Totteringham's day History

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".

This page lists all the St Totteringham's days since the dawn of time. Well since Spurs entered the league anyway.

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Before World War 1

Between 1893/4 and 1907/8 Spurs were not in the league and Arsenal were. In 1908/9 Spurs were in Division 2, and Arsenal in the top flight. In 1909/10 Arsenal had a bad year and finished below Spurs. So St T's really begins on 22nd April 1911, when Arsenal beat Blackburn 5-1.

SeasonSt Totteringham's dayNumber of Arsenal games needed (Length of season)Comments
1893/4 until 1907/8open to debateSpurs not in league
1908/9open to debateSpurs in D2
1909/10(none)
1910/1122 April 191137 (38)Beat Blackburn 5-1 on a Monday night, as Spurs didn't play
1911/1227 April 191238 (38)First last day St Ts; Both Spurs and Arsenal lose!
1912/13(none)Arsenal relegated!
1913/14(none)Arsenal taking a break from Division 1.
1914/15(none)Arsenal in D2

So the summary for this time...

St Totteringham's days2
No St Ts as Spurs not in league15
No St Ts as Spurs in division 21
No St Ts as Spurs above Arsenal2
No St Ts as Arsenal in division 22

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The Interwar Years

This is when Arsenal start to dominate, starting by replacing Spurs in the top flight (obviously on merit!).

SeasonSt Totteringham's dayNumber of Arsenal games needed (Length of season)Comments
1919-20Open to debateSpurs in Division 2, Arsenal in Division 1.
1920-1(none)
1921-2(none)
1922-35 May 192342 (42)Last day of season, first St Totteringhams in 11 years
1923-4 (none)
1924-5(none)
1925-65 April 192637 (42)Arsenal come second
1926-77 May 192742 (42)Arsenal beat Spurs 4-0 on last day of season! Third final day St Totteringhams.
1927-828 April 192840 (42)Spurs get relegated, St Ts day was on day of last Spurs game, but Arsenal had 2 to go.
1928-9 until 1932-3Open to debateSpurs in Division 2 for five seasons, during which time Arsenal win the league in 1930/1 and 1932/3
1933/47 April 193437 (42)Arsenal Champions
1934/522 March 193534 (42)Arsenal Champions and Spurs relegated. Perfect season. Earliest St Totteringhams until 2002. Lowest number of games needed in 42 game seasons.
1935/6 until 1938/9Open to debateSpurs in Division 2, Arsenal win league in 1937/8

A summary of the interwar years:

this periodtotal
St Totteringham's days68
No St Ts as Spurs not in league0 15
No St Ts as Spurs in division 29 10
No St Ts as Spurs above Arsenal4 6
No St Ts as Arsenal in division 20 2

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Postwar and 1950s

A long period without a St Totteringham's day ends in 1953. Unfortunately Spurs win one of their huge haul of two league titles in that time, along with only Arsenal's sixth title in 1947/8.

SeasonSt Totteringham's dayNumber of Arsenal games needed (Length of season)Comments
1946/7 until 1949/50Open to debateSpurs in Division 2, Arsenal win league in 1947/8
1950/1(None)A bad year.
1951/2(None)Level on points, Spurs win 2-0 at Chelsea, whilst we are thumped 6-1 at Manchester Utd. Bad day.
1952/36 April 195337 (42)Arsenal Champions. First St Totteringhams since 22 March 1935. Longest time without a St Ts. (Aided by Spurs being in Division 2 for 9 years and WW2).
1953/419 April 195441 (42)
1954/518 April 195540 (42)Arsenal played and Spurs didn't
1955/618 April 195640 (42)Deja vu? This time Spurs played and we didn't.
1956/7(none)
1957/8(none)
1958/927 March 195937 (42)Earliest since 22 March 1935
1959/60(none)

So a summary looks like...

this periodtotal
St Totteringham's days513
No St Ts as Spurs not in league0 15
No St Ts as Spurs in division 24 14
No St Ts as Spurs above Arsenal5 11
No St Ts as Arsenal in division 20 2

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The 1960s

A dreadful time to be a Gooner. We only manage one St Totteringam's day. Forgive me for not listing the full table.

SeasonSt Totteringham's dayNumber of Arsenal games needed (Length of season)Comments
1960/1 until 1967/8(none)Nothing of interest here
1968/97 April 196936 (42)First St Totteringhams in a decade.
1969/70(none)

And updating the summary, Spurs go into the lead (in 1963/4 I think)

this periodtotal
St Totteringham's days114
No St Ts as Spurs not in league0 15
No St Ts as Spurs in division 20 14
No St Ts as Spurs above Arsenal9 20
No St Ts as Arsenal in division 20 2

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The modern Arsenal era begins.

SeasonSt Totteringham's dayNumber of Arsenal games needed (Length of season)Comments
70/7117 April 197137 (42)Double season. Won league at WHL.
71/728 May 197241 (42)
72/737 April 197337 (42)
73/7411 May 197442 (42)
74/7526 April 197541 (42)Arsenal 1 Spurs 0 on 26 April.
75/76(none)
76/7723 April 197737 (42)Spurs relegated
77/78Open to debateMcKinnon: "Spurs were taking a break from the top flight"
78/7921 April 197938 (42)
79/8012 April 198036 (42)Arsenal retake lead in times we finished above Spurs when both in same league

Arsenal return to dominance.

this periodtotal
St Totteringham's days822
No St Ts as Spurs not in league0 15
No St Ts as Spurs in division 21 15
No St Ts as Spurs above Arsenal1 21
No St Ts as Arsenal in division 20 2

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The 1980s

An odd period in which Spurs and Arsenal were roughly level in League finishes.

SeasonSt Totteringham's dayNumber of Arsenal games needed (Length of season)Comments
80/8120 April 198140 (42)Last season of 2 points for a win
81/82(none)
82/83(none)
83/8412 May 198442 (42)Andrew McKinnon: "Last day of the season. Thanks ManU." Arsenal retake lead again.
84/85(none)(Spurs catch up)
85/8629 April 198640 (42)(and again we take the lead)
86/87(none)(yes yes)
87/883 April 198833 (40)(and for the last time we take the lead!)
88/898 April 198932 (38)League champions.
89/90(none)Helge: "1 point behind, as we only draw in the last match (they won)"

The summary changes to show the drift back to Arsenal:

this periodtotal
St Totteringham's days527
No St Ts as Spurs not in league0 15
No St Ts as Spurs in division 20 15
No St Ts as Spurs above Arsenal5 26
No St Ts as Arsenal in division 20 2

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The 1990s

Arsenal dominate. Only twice do we fail to beat Spurs in the league.

SeasonSt Totteringham's dayNumber of Arsenal games needed (Length of season)Comments
90/913 April 199131 (38)League champions
91/9211 April 199238 (42)
92/93(none)Double cup winners. Helge adds: "lost to them at the last day, came 3 points behind them..."
93/9426 March 199434 (42)ECWC winners
94/95(none)Graham sacked, European final
95/965 May 199638 (38)Rioch's season
96/975 April 199733 (38)
97/9828 March 199829 (38)Double season. Earliest St Totteringham's since 1959.
98/996 April 199932 (38)
99/0016 April 200032 (38)
this periodtotal
St Totteringham's days835
No St Ts as Spurs not in league0 15
No St Ts as Spurs in division 20 15
No St Ts as Spurs above Arsenal2 28
No St Ts as Arsenal in division 20 2

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The 2000s

A St Totteringham's Day every year

SeasonSt Totteringham's dayNumber of Arsenal games needed (Length of season)Comments
00/0117 April 200133 (38)
01/0218 March 200230 (38)Double season, this was the earliest St Totteringham's day until 2004.
02/0324 March 200331 (38)
03/0413 March 200428 (38)League champions. Lowest number of games, and proportion of season needed. Earliest St Totteringham's day ever for four years (see 2007/8). Also won the league at WHL (26-April-04)
04/052 April 200531 (38)
05/067 May 200638 (38)Lasagne anyone? Celebrated last game at Highbury with 4th place.
06/0721 April 200735 (38)St T's achieved at WHL: Spurs 2 - 2 Arsenal
07/089 March 2008 29 (38)Earliest ever date for St Ts
08/0911 April 2009 32 (38)
09/109 May 2010 38 (38) Last day of season, thanks to Fulham for a cup final inspired team and Burnley

The summary is pretty one sided:

this periodtotal
St Totteringham's days1045
No St Ts as Spurs not in league0 15
No St Ts as Spurs in division 20 15
No St Ts as Spurs above Arsenal0 28
No St Ts as Arsenal in division 20 2

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The 2010s

The gap narrows?

SeasonSt Totteringham's dayNumber of Arsenal games needed (Length of season)Comments
10/117 May 2011 35 (38)
11/1213 May 201238 (38) Last day of season, both teams win and Arsenal finish 1 point ahead. Latest date for St Ts
12/1319 May 201338 (38) Last day of season, both teams win and Arsenal finish 1 point ahead. Latest date for St Ts again
13/14To be determined...

The summary is still pretty one sided:

this periodtotal
St Totteringham's days348
No St Ts as Spurs not in league0 15
No St Ts as Spurs in division 20 15
No St Ts as Spurs above Arsenal0 28
No St Ts as Arsenal in division 20 2

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Analysis

Last updated 19 May 2013

Overall

Arsenal have been above Spurs in the league on 63 Occasions. Spurs have come above Arsenal 30 times. On the times when Spurs and Arsenal are in the same division (which has always been the top flight) Arsenal lead 48 to 28.

Since 1995/6

These stats cover the 18 year run from 1995/6 to 2012/13.

The recent 18 in a row account for about 38% of all St Totteringham's days.

The (arithmetic) mean number of games after which Spurs have been unable to reach Arsenal is 33.33 (up from 32.75 before 2010/11, and 33.05 after 2011/12), the median is 32.5 (up from 32 in 10/11 and 11/12). The mode is 38 (5 times), with 32 second (3 times). The geometric mean is 33.1 games (up from 32.6 games before 11/12, and 33 in 11/12).

The range is 9 games (from 29 to 38), and the standard deviation is 3.49 games (up from 3.3 before 2011/12, and 3.4 in 11/12).

So we usually beat Spurs with roughly 6 games to go, mostly with 3-9 games, but when they're doing well it goes to the wire before we beat them.

If you split the 18 seasons into two groups 1995/6 to 2002/4 and 2004/5 to 2012/13, then the (arithmetic) mean for the first half is 32.4 games, and for the second half 34.2 games.

Three of the five final day St T's in this run have been in the last four years.

At some point in the summer I must tidy the section above up a bit.

Since 1970/1

There have been 34 St Totteringham's days. This excludes the the day in 1977 when Spurs were relegated, or the start of 1977/78 season, one of which is arguably St T's for 1977/8.

For balance Spurs have finished above Arsenal 8 times in the 42 seasons since our first double, Including back to back seasons in 1981/2 and 1982/3. That puts our 18 seasons in a row in perspective. Well done Spurs.

Double or quits?

A one pound bet in 1995/6 on who'd finish above reinvested at double or quits would have won £131,072 on May 19 2013

In the interests of fairness Spurs run from 1959/60 until 1968/9 would be worth £512 in the same way.

Longest Gap?

The longest gap is from 22 March 1935 until 6 April 1953. At 18 years, 15 days this is a long time. During this time Spurs spent eight years in Division 2, and we had seven seasons lost to WW2, Spurs finished above Arsenal twice. Oh and Arsenal won two league titles.

A similar issue happens around the First World War: 27 April 1912 is the last St Ts until 5 May 1923. In that time Arsenal were in Division 2 for two years, as were Spurs for one. Spurs actually finished above Arsenal in the same league 3 times in that run.

The longest run of Spurs actually finishing above Arsenal was the 1959/60 until 1968/9 run of ten years. Ouch. Those ten seasons account for just under 36% of Spurs' finishes above Arsenal in the same division.

Earliest St Ts day?

The earliest St Totteringham was 9 March 2008. There have been 8 St Ts in March, six since 1998. I wonder if this increase is a change caused by 3 points per win stretching the table, as the season used to end in April and now ends in May so you'd expect St Ts to be later.

dateyearmatchesnotes
9 March200829 (38)
13 March200428 (38)
18 March200230 (38)
22 March193534 (42)2 points a win
24 March200331 (38)
26 March199434 (42)
27 March195937 (42)2 points a win
28 March199829 (38)

In terms of games, in a 38 match season 28 is the record (2004) and for 42 matches 34 is the best (1935). The one season with 40 matches (1987/8) we needed 33 games. The lowest percentage is the 2004 season.

Last Day St Totteringham's

Last day St Ts are quite rare. There have been 10. (Strictly these are last match which might not be the same!)

For balance I will point out 1992/3 where they beat our reserves at Highbury to finish above us in the league. We won the Cup Final against Sheffield Weds the following week. I'll also point out 1951/2. Look it up in the table. More dull is 1989/90.

Latest dates for St Totteringham's day

I noticed that 2011/12 was the latest St T's has ever been and still happened. There have been eleven St Totteringham's in May:

DateSeasons
19th2012/3
132011/12
121983/4
111973/4
92009/10
81971/2
71926/7, 2005/6, 2010/11
51922/3, 1995/6

The increase in these is partly caused by the season ending later than in the past, and partly by Arsenal finishing above Spurs so often recently.

St Totteringham's versus Spurs

Only three times has an Arsenal Spurs game been the match that caused St Totteringham's. Two were wins, and one was a draw. They are...

  1. Spurs 0 - 4 Arsenal, 7th May 1927
  2. Arsenal 1 - 0 Spurs, 26 April 1975
  3. Spurs 2 - 2 Arsenal, 21 April 2007

It has happened at least once in reverse (1992/3, see above), but I haven't done the calculations on every season where Spurs beat us.

Useful links and Acknowledgements

First off the idea of St Totteringham I stole shamelessly from Arseweb who got it from Julian Shulman. Thanks to Julian! See ArseWeb's Arsenal vs Spurs resources page for more details.

Thanks to Helge Olsen (1980s) and Andrew McKinnon (back to 70/71) for adding some extra years. Any errors are, of course, my own. Apologies for taking so many years to do the remaining bit!

Thanks to SoccerWay for their archive of previous seasons back to the dawn of the league.

The Cann Table is useful for watching the widening gap between Arsenal and Spurs. I no longer keep a version here.

Any (polite) comments and corrections can be emailed to me at mikepitt@chiark.greenend.org.uk.

St Totteringham's is also occasionally called St Totteridge according to the 2008 Arsenal v Villa programme. It has also been referred to on Twitter as St Hotspurs. Add apostrophes as desired...


This page last updated on 19-May-2013: St Totteringham's day! Updated table and analysis.


All original material © Mike Pitt 2004, 2011, 2012, 2013

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