Can you beat Spurs too often?

There are many ways of looking at this. In the interests of clarity I’ll avoid the more metaphysical and philosophical aspects of the question and stick to the football side of things. Spurs’ record since the foundation of the Premier League is impressive: they won the League Cup in 1999 and, er, ah, okay, that seems to be it, but still, more to life than winning trophies eh?

Anyway, we all know that Chelsea’s success is down to Russian mob money and that five children die of malnutrition in Moscow each time Frank Lampard scores. It’s dreadful. This fact (and I use the word in the tabloid sense) about Chelsea’s relative success appears to overlook a few FA Cups, a few League Cups, the European Cup Winners’ Cup, a European Super Cup, a few Champions League qualifications and, if I’m not mistaken, the odd Community Shield. However in the spirit of goodwill we’ll say that the recent – i.e. Premier League pre-mobski – trophy haul of the two clubs is not that different. Stop laughing at the back.

Obviously it would be unfair to dwell on the fact that there are now legal age voters who weren’t born the last time Chelsea lost a league game at White Hart Lane. However the question ‘Can you beat Spurs too often?’ needs a time frame, so we’ll use the Premier League since its foundation. That’s a decent spread, over 13 years, should be enough to iron out any statistical anomalies.

Clearly most of the defeats suffered by Spurs during this period were down to bad luck and gross misfortune. Not to mention corrupt officials, low flying aircraft, global warming, plagues of locust and other assorted acts of God. If you look at the record closely, I mean really scrutinise it, you’ll see Spurs came close to winning at least a handful of the 27 Premier League games against Chelsea.

No better opportunity was presented to Spurs than in the very first game between the sides at White Hart Lane, in the newly formed Premier League, on Saturday 5th December, 1992. Chelsea had no fit strikers, I mean none at all. So we played a one-paced, defensive midfield player in attack, the legendary Eddie Newton. He scored twice. He’s never scored two goals in a game, before or since. In fact he hardly ever scored at all. But this was Spurs.

I was lucky enough to be at the Lane that day, and Spurs tried to copy Chelsea by throwing a defender into attack, the 17-year-old Sol Campbell (his debut?), and he did actually score. Right at the end, bundling the ball home in front of the Chelsea fans, who were the only people left in the ground at the time. Oh joy. Spurs would regret letting that opportunity slip. With respect to the lads, the 1992 vintage was one of the weakest teams Chelsea have put out in the Premier League.

They weren’t quite the weakest though. That privilege was reserved for the Chelsea team that played the following season, in 1993/94. This was a low point for the club in Premier League terms; they finished 14th, their worst ever placing. In truth that side had more than its fair share of cast-offs and lower league players (much though I loved them). They were also being managed by an ex-Spurs player. Enough said.

Both teams were struggling near the foot of the table when the match came round at Stamford Bridge, on Sunday 27th February, 1994. Spurs went 2-0 ahead. Was the unthinkable about to happen? No, Chelsea pulled it level. Spurs went ahead again and then they missed a penalty. Chelsea pulled the game level for a second time at 3-3 and in the dying minutes, in a pumped up Stamford Bridge, Mark Stein scored a memorable goal to win the game 4-3 for Chelsea. Oh dear. Never mind Spurs, shame about that penalty.

And so it went on. Who could forget the 6-1 humiliation we handed Spurs in front of their own fans in December, 1997, which included a hat-trick from Tore Andre Flo? Mind you I thought Spurs were unlucky that day; they were level at kick off. Okay. I’m being unkind, I feel bad. I will try to be a better person and not mock the afflicted with such relish. Nope. I just can’t do it. SIX-ONE! Get in.

Since then Chelsea have put more and more daylight between themselves and the glorious Hotspurs. If Chelsea should scrape into the top six this season that will make 10 consecutive top six finishes. During the same period our friends from N17 have finished in the top six, er, let’s see, surely that can’t be right? Zero times? A Eurovision-esque ‘nil points’? A scandal. A blight on the face of football. This epitaph could be premature of course, Martin Jol might get Spurs into the top six this season. Then again.

So in all fairness I have to ask: can you beat Spurs too often? Can a man tire of watching misery being inflicted on Tottenham? However poor they may be, however far behind us they are in the league, however bare their trophy cabinet, is there just something unique and utterly gratifying about beating Spurs?

I think it is possible to earn too much money. I think it is possible to have a girlfriend who is too good looking (just, close one that). I actually think, at times, it is possible to be too happy. But, and I mean this most sincerely folks, in my opinion it is simply not possible to beat, nay thrash, Spurs too often. I am filled with an almost spiritual sense of well-being every time it happens. Listening to the new set of excuses is just one of many added bonuses. The precisely thought out justifications as Spurs fans desperately try to rationalise yet another defeat.

Has BBC Radio 5 Live’s 606 phone-in ever been a better listen than after Chelsea have thumped Spurs, again? “I thought Spurs were weally, weally unlucky, all sweet boy Mido did was forearm smash one of their nasty defenders, what’s wrong with that?” Absolutely nothing, as long as you don’t mind watching Mido walk like an Egyptian straight off the pitch. Not our fault if one of the Spurs players carries out a blatant assault during the game is it? I guarantee you that red card will not be rescinded, despite the bleatathon coming from Spurs fans.

I can also tell you why Chelsea always beat Spurs. It’s simple. We’re better. Have been for years, approaching decades now. I’m loving it. Can’t get enough of it. You?

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