On Wednesday night, the North London derby wowed English football fans across the globe. Danny Rose’s wonder-goal opener, along with Gareth Bale’s clincher just after half-time, and Gomes’ world-class saves from shots by the returning Robin van Persie won the game for Tottenham to break a run of 11 years without a win in the league against their North London rivals, Arsenal.
Danny Rose celebrates his opener against Arsenal
It wasn’t just on the pitch where this rivalry really heated up. White Hart Lane simply shook from the noise created by the Tottenham fans chanting their team to a memorable win. After the game, the crowd rang out with “When the Spurs come Marching In,” but it has to be said, though, that most of the Spurs fans’ were quite occupied booing either the returning Sol Campbell, which they are entitled to do, after he joined Arsenal from Tottenham in 2001, or Arsene Wenger, who they rather slanderously pointed at and chanted, “Sit down you pedophile.” The mob effect created at a rival game like this one can make even the mild-mannered businessman a wild, screaming hooligan for 90 plus extra time minutes. The amount of police work that had to be done before and after the game suggests this mob effect does take a considerable amount of time to wear off, though.
The policing of the game and of the areas around North London on the night was nothing less than professional, with even helicopters buzzing through the sky in case of any unwanted violent activity. Which, unfortunately, there was quite a lot of. According to the Islington Gazette, an Arsenal fan was stabbed to death outside the pub he was watching the game in. While there is no evidence that this is a football-related murder, the fact that the 20-year-old victim was killed just after the game ended outside the pub he was watching it in does leave one to draw certain conclusions.
But how does this year’s latest North London derby, where we saw a wicked goal from Premier League debutant Danny Rose, and fans who truly do seem to hate each other, stack up against the Manchester derby?
While the game was quite dull until the three minutes of stoppage time, it certainly did take on a new light when the full-time whistle began to creep into the back of players’ minds. Sir Alex’s decision to start old boys Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs seemed to pay off, because no one knows more than those three do when it comes to Manchester derby’s and the importance placed on them both by the fans and by their manager, who always makes it a priority to win them at all costs. Having those three cool heads in there when Manchester United needed to get the win to keep their title hopes alive was vital for them, and Paul Scholes’ last-gasp goal clinched the win for United a few seconds before full-time, and a few days after he signed a new one-year extension at the club.