You might be thinking that I have an unhealthy interest in Spurs, especially as I'm a City fan. You might be right, if you think that football is in itself an unhealthy interest. In which case, I don't think we have a lot in common.
The history of our two teams has been intriguingly woven together on both the public and private level for me. I lived in Tottenham for some years, and have a great deal of happy memories from my time there. Many of my friends are Spurs fans, and I have been to the ground more than I have been to both Maine Road and Eastlands put together. I've been in director's boxes there twice.
There is of course the iconic two legged FA Cup final of 1981, with Ricky Villa's wonder goal and so many more incidents besides. And there have been other games of titanic struggle and heroic endeavour. Up to this point in time, I would say it has been a story of two honest teams who have never achieved (perhaps because of that honesty) the success they would seem to merit.
In addition to that, there is also the link of shambolic management which we share. The other night in the pub, we were trying to work out how many managers our teams have had since the early 70s (which is when we started to get into football, so it's not an entirely arbitrary timescale) I was sure that City had had more managers than Spurs, but I was proved wrong. Here is the data:
- 11/09/74-23/06/76 - Terry Neill
- 14/07/76-25/06/84 - Keith Burkinshaw
- 25/06/84-13/05/86 - Peter Shreeves
- 16/05/86-23/10/87 - David Pleat
- 28/11/87-30/06/91 - Terry Venables
- 23/07/91-15/05/92 - Peter Shreeves (again)
- 27/05/92-19/06/93 - Doug Livermore (who?)
- 19/06/93-01/11/94 - Ossie Ardiles
- 01/11/94-15/11/94 - Steve Perryman (two weeks!)
- 15/11/94-19/11/97 - Gerry Francis
- 19/11/97-05/09/98 - Christian Gross (snigger)
- 07/09/98-01/10/98 - David Pleat (again) and Chris Hughton
- 01/10/98-16/03/01 - George Graham (oh dear)
- 16/03/01-02/04/01 - David Pleat (again!!)
- 02/04/01-21/09/03 - Glenn Hoddle
- 21/09/03-03/06/04 - Yes, it's David Pleat again...
- 03/06/04-05/11/04 - Jacques Santini
- 05/11/04-26/10/07 - Martin Jol (sob)
- 26/10/07-29/10/07 - Clive Allen
- 29/10/07-???????? - Juande Ramos
That makes 20.
- 12/04/74-01/01/79 - Tony Book
- 16/07/79-01/10/80 - Malcolm Allison (again, though pre-dates this list)
- 01/10/80-03/02/83 - John Bond
- 03/02/83-07/06/83 - John Benson (must admit, his dazzling reign passed me by)
- 30/06/83-22/09/86 - Billy McNeill
- 01/10/86-01/05/87 - Jimmy Frizzell
- 01/05/87-30/11/89 - Mel Machin
- 06/12/89-05/11/90 - Howard Kendall (what is it with us and Toffees?)
- 15/11/90-26/08-93 - Peter Reid
- 26/08/93-28/08-93 - Tony Book (again - 2 days!)
- 28/08/93-16/05/95 - Brian Horton (tenacious little sod)
- 02/07/95-27/08/96 - Alan Ball
- 06/10/96-16/11/96 - Steve Coppell (who do you think you are, Arsene fuckin' Wenger?)
- 08/11/96-29/12/96 - Phil Neal
- 29/12/96-17/02/98 - Frank Clark
- 18/02/98-21/05/01 - Joe Royle (ex-player, still a fuckin Toffee)
- 24/05/01-11/03/05 - Kevin Keegan (I would luv it)
- 11/03/05-14/05/07 - Stuart Pearce (fuck this and fuck that, fuckin you're a fucker...)
- 06/07/07-???????? - Sven-Goran Eriksson
That's nineteen. Close.
As of now, our chairman is on the run from a Thai court order and Sven will stay only as long as it interests him. And of course, as my old friend so eloquently sums it up, there is last Saturday. But Spurs...
On and on it goes.