Wednesday, May 22, 2024

A North London derby debrief

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about the experience of travelling to White Hart Lane as an Arsenal fan. Those of you that were at White Hart Lane for the League Cup match in September will remember that that fixture was slightly more fraught than usual. The police made the decision to hold the travelling Arsenal fans inside the ground for around an hour after the match, before cordoning them up the Tottenham High Road to Seven Sisters station. Needless to say, it made things rather tense outside.

In response to that article, I was kindly invited by Black Scarf to attend a meeting with representatives from Arsenal (two from Black Scarf and Supporters’ Liaison Officer Mark Brindle) and Spurs (two members of the Tottenham Supporters’ Trust and Spurs’ Supporters’ Liaison Officer) as well as Amanda Jacks from the Football Supporters’ Federation. The meeting was led by the Dedicated Football Officers for Arsenal and Tottenham. The meeting took place at New Scotland Yard. With their kind permission, I reproduce below some of the key points from the meeting.

The first thing to say is that the two officers were candid about the handling of the Capital One Cup game in September. They admitted that it wasn’t quite policed as well as it ought to have been and the main purpose of this meeting was to ensure that there was no repeat. They are investigating the events of the evening and the policing of it.

The officers said that, ordinarily, holding supporters back in the stadium is an absolute last resort and not something they usually like to do. In the 20 or so times I have been to White Hart Lane, I don’t recall ever being held back for longer than 5-10 minutes on a couple of occasions. On this occasion, they took the decision to do so because of extensive disorder around the stadium before the game and a little inside the ground too (I’m sure you all saw the pictures!).

They said that a small group of 100-200 Arsenal fans, some of whom are known to the police as potential troublemakers, were in the area on the night of the game. Most of these supporters have been apparently “out of circulation” for some years in terms of match attendance. But they reappeared in the locale on this evening and caused a lot of disorder around the ground prior to the match.

The decision to hold the Arsenal fans back was made by the police at half-time. The officers admitted that the communication of this fact to Arsenal fans had not been good enough on the night. But it did rather illustrate how a small minority really can balls things up for a much larger body of people. The officers stressed that the reputation of Arsenal fans is pretty impeccable most of the time.

The police are approaching tomorrow’s match as something of a high risk game, the officer said that they are “planning for the worst and hoping for the best.” There is a fear that there will be a measure of “retribution” planned. There will be a bigger police presence than usual, but the officers stressed that those on duty would not police non troublemakers ‘aggressively.’

All pubs in the Islington area will open at midday on match day.

Much of Islington operates no drinking zones on the streets, this will be enforced much more readily tomorrow. If you usually find you can sneak a tinny of Red Stripe under your jacket on your approach to the stadium, don’t be surprised if you aren’t able to do so tomorrow!

Police could use Section 35 powers to disperse troublemakers as an option, where high risk groups of individuals likely to act anti socially can be banished from the borough for a period of up to 48 hours. Section 35 has replaced the old Section 27 powers, which were a little more controversial.

Arsenal fans that have been in the police escort of away supporters towards White Hart Lane have often complained of getting into the game after kickoff. Apparently, Spurs fans have similar complaints over their police escorts to the Emirates. I asked whether this was a deliberate ploy and the officers said that it wasn’t. They said that the earlier fans are inside the stadium, the better for them. But in practice, it is difficult to get fans to leave pubs early enough because escorting large groups of people is not exactly a swift undertaking.

Alcohol will be served inside the ground tomorrow up until 15 minutes before kickoff. It will be served in the away end too, save for half time, when no alcohol will be served to Spurs fans.

The last post will be played before kickoff tomorrow followed by a period of silence for Remembrance Sunday. Fans are encouraged to be inside the ground by 3.50pm to take part and, also, not to disrupt the period of silence.

The half time interview with an Arsenal legend will take place on the pitch as usual, but he will be joined by a Spurs legend too.

Police will advise St. John’s Ambulance to try and avoid stretchering injured players off past opposition supporters where possible! It may be that players will just have to be taken off across the pitch, unless there’s a good medical reason not to.

So, there you have it. Let’s hope for an Arsenal win tomorrow and that everyone behaves as they ought to! Many thanks to Black Scarf for the invite and especially Amanda Jacks from the FSF for facilitating the meeting.

Follow me on Twitter @Stillberto

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So, they’re just interviewing Sol Campbell at halftime then?

2015-2016 = the year we'e been waiting for

I thought White Hart Lane looked way better after our fans helped spruce it up a bit.


Arsenal supporters shouldn’t behave like Scum.


With pat jennings


And David Bentley …

Wow we are like a country singers ex boyfriend… We took the best from them, looked down on them and gave them shit, and they are still obsessed with us,



So, in short, we are supposed to kick the sh*t out of Sp*rs fans, before, during and after the game.

Unless I misread the above, I did feel a bit drowsy halfway through.

Pass debuchy from the left hand side

You could do that, or you could just go enjoy a game of football like a normal functioning adult.


I think he was joking..?


Some of my best friends are Sp*rs fans…

And I get lots of pleasure from Sp*rs.

Thanks for noticing Paul.


My very best friend is a Spuds fan, I have known him for forty years and it’s just about always, been wonderful!

Pass debuchy from the left hand side

Fair enough, not the easiest to read sarcasm over the internet. Sorry if you were.


Np, I thought I had made it outrageous enough to be obvious. The article clearly isn’t saying that, I’m not advocating it.

But explaining humour never improves it.


So are the Spuds fans not allowed a beer at half-time and the Gooners are? I would be pissed about that!…


That makes up for not being pissed then.


It’s ironic really, cause by halftime they’re the ones who will really need a drink.


Chelsea, the gift that keeps on giving. Stoke lose to Watford, draw with Newcastle and beat Chelsea.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer man(anger). Lucky he wasn’t there to see it.


You on holiday Pendant? I see you comment on everything. Kudos


I am, though also don’t have a life.


Hehe. Your class..


chibs, are you the “comment police”?


😀 .

Consice Pete

Comment police? Yes,
Grammar police? It seems not.
‘You’re class’, not ‘your class’.



Oh dear! Maureen.


it’s never off topic to take a moment to laugh at Chelsea! still on the promo….. lol


Maureen 😉
Tell me who the “specialist in failure” is now?
I just can’t stop laughing!
Maybe you can learn to control your mouth now.
And tomorrow, you will be sacked.


Please keep him there, Roman.

Frank Cake

As usual the police have taken the decision to treat football fans like children & pretty much gloss over the complete mess they made of that nights ‘policing’.It needs to be first said (by way of context) that: Arsenal fans are sick to death of the bullying which Tottenham fans engage in at every WHL derby match. So obviously they enjoy games where more tickets are available and where they can be a little more vociferous & indeed ‘gloat somewhat’ as the Spurs bullies hide behind the police whilst the more hardcore AFC fans arrive only to re-group en-masse to… Read more »


I cannot for the life of me see why someone thumbed this down. Excellent points and well worth taking the time to read. I wasn’t actually aware of the problems that occurred at the league cup game, so thanks for enlightening me. The derby games are fantastic, but you do have to watch yourself, even when we’re at home. A friend of a friend was battered on the platform at Finsbury Park about a decade ago. He’d had a few beers after the game and was catching the train a couple of hours after the game, and was seemingly ambushed.… Read more »

Corona X

I think his refusal to use the ‘Enter’ button on his keyboard prompted the thumbs down.

Frank Cake

Sorry! I was unaware that I was applying for a job as an English teacher. Let’s keep this thread to ‘Arsenal’ matters & leave the quirky ‘put downs’ to Twitter!

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

What do you call Spurs fans ?


They didn’t say they appeared out of thin air or that it was a surprise, they also acknowledged that COC games are much more difficult cos tickets are easier to get. Without going into too much detail, Theresa May is the one you want to be looking at here. They don’t have the resources, basically and football matches are just not the number one priority for police resources.


Sorry but after the events of the last 40 years not having the resources is just not true. We’re still sbhmans n the eyes of Old Bill, just as we were back in the 70’s. They just want to have a row and don’t care how they cause it.


By complete coincidence, my day job enables me to know they aren’t bullshitting. If they were just after a row and don’t care how they cause it, why would they be *reducing* police numbers at football matches?

Red Ed

If you haven’t already I beg you all to read the interview with Bobby Pires in today’s Guardian. The last quote from his Bobness is pure gooner gold. I would post a link but I’m inept and drunk.

Red Ed

Off topic, quote from Ramires, “It felt strange losing without Mourinho”. And on that note goodnight, COYG !


I sincerely hope that the security is top notch tomorrow. Remember some Gonners pulled down that hideous banner at White Fart Lane. Those knobheads will want to retaliate I bet.

David C

Wow, it’s just a game. It really shouldn’t be that hard to enjoy some banter and watch a game without any violence. Most of the world doesn’t even separate home and away supporters; just by doing that shows their’s a big problem…

Stillman sounds like James Bond going to all these high-profile top-secret meetings. Great article.

Me So Hornsey

Is that actually true? The bit about most of the world? Mingling with the opposing fans at matchesZ

Sounds awful.

Goondiana Jones

Yeah, definitely true with American sports. Absolutely infuriating to be standing in front of an obnoxious away fan who equates cheering in the home section to making a last stand at Verdun.


That’s because American sports don’t have clubs, they have franchises that have zero loyalty to their fans and will happily move away if some other city gives them better tax breaks.

There’s not much fan culture in American sports because everyone realizes at some level at these arn’t real clubs, they’re just franchises of a money-making business.


Most countries do segregate fans, especially for big games.


“try and avoid stretching injured players past opposition.”

But what if they need a reminder of the scoreline.see Walcott

Frank Cake

Stillberto. I have no desire to argue with anyone, but if you’re going to ‘dismiss’ somebody’s input by saying ‘They didn’t say this or that'(when they did!) then I must accuse you of not having a clue what you are talking about. Read your own ‘report’ what they said (though not with the exact words) clearly signifies ‘surprise’. Why else would they be un-prepared for any circumstances surrounding a match that according to them constituted more risk than usual? I am not attacking the police here, I’m merely stating some facts from the night. So I repeat “They were a… Read more »


With respect, you weren’t there, so you aren’t really in a position to tell me what was and wasn’t said. I’m representing nobody but myself and simply relaying what was said. They admitted the policing was sub par that night and they are right, but every decision is taken for a reason and they just explained why, even if it was a bad call in hindsight. I haven’t ‘leapt’ to defend them, I just corrected one of your assumptions. I haven’t minuted this rigorously, just summarised the key points. The meeting lasted an hour and a half in total so… Read more »

Frank Cake

You are 100% correct I was not there! Consequently I have made ‘No assumptions’ & have solely based everything I said about this ‘meeting’ on my interpretation of YOUR words. I’m happy to accept that I’m wrong if I miss-construed or did not understand them. More to the point: If your use of the word ‘reappeared’ & the fact that this ‘re-appearance’ was not ‘predicted’ does not constitute ‘A suprise’ & if YOUR comment “It did rather illustrate how a small minority really can balls things up for a much larger body of people” does not ammount to you speaking… Read more »


I was there that night and was critical of the police’s approach, hence the invitation. I’ve been to WHL 20 plus times now which I mention in the report. Im not convinced you’ve read the piece, in the first paragraph I link to an article in which I describe going to WHL as an Arsenal fan. I’m not ‘blindly defending’ anyone, I’m just relaying what was said. Clearly there were some bad decisions taken that night which was the premise of the meeting. Again, that’s mentioned in the piece (are you sure you actually read it? You seem to be… Read more »


If you could also browse the article again and point out where I’ve claimed to speak on behalf of anyone at all, do point it out.

Frank Cake

As you wish: “It did rather illustrate how a small minority really can balls things up for a much larger body of people” ….. That in my opinion is you ‘Talking on behalf of Arsenal fans’. If I said ‘Sadly 90% of Arsenal fans do not follow the example of the 200 who marched proudly down Tottenhan High rd, rather than cowering like scared children behind their seats during a horror movie’ Then I would say I’m speaking on behalf of that 200 or at least ‘representing’ their viewpoint! ….. I mean you no personal offence, but when you make… Read more »

JJ's Bender

Sorry Tim but the idea of you fraternising with BSM is horrific. I have no time for their hidden agendas and blatant lies. It’s funny that this is the first time in about 8 (glorious) months I’ve heard their name mentioned… It’s almost as if Arsene knows and they don’t.


I’m not ‘fraternising’ with anyone, one of their members invited me. I’m not a politician and they’re not ISIS or anything! The meeting was about policing at NLDs and had bugger all to do with the ‘Roman Judean People’s Front’ rubbish.


Splitters! 🙂

Eddy Kelly Scores!

Thanks for your report back Tim. It is such a same that the keyboard warriors are out to play. I gave up reading half way through the ‘response’ because of the ‘plethora’ of ‘apostrophe”’s’. Wonder if he is one of those people who does quotation marks with his fingers when he is talking?

Keep up the good work!

Frank Cake

The word ”””‘Sychophant”:'” comes to mind.

Yes! I am doing that hand quotation thing. YouGotMe!


Just perspective: Yes we struggled against Spurs but it was a good point to come away from despite a team with largely second string players who haven’t enough time undertheir belt in Debuchy, Campbell, Arteta, Flamini and Gibbs! So we struggled but we ares till neck and neck with City who spent 104m on two players and are no where away from us. Those complaining about Giroud who fashioned more chances than Kane (not doubt the simplistic media will point to Kane as the ‘better’ striker since he scored from a gift) should bear in mind the second coming obssessed… Read more »

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