League Cup highlights Spurs are still in Arsenal’s shadow

I remember a few years ago writing a blog about attendances at Arsenal and Spurs. It was basically questioning why Spurs are building such a big stadium.

The blog was about Spurs struggling to fill White Hart Lane for certain games:

The point I was making in the blog was that if Spurs struggle to sell out for every game now, there were only be more empty seats in a bigger stadium.

I then returned to Arsenal. Even for League Cup games at Highbury, we sold out. And since the move to the Emirates, Arsenal’s lowest attendance (before the Doncaster game) is 46,539, against Shrewsbury Town in the League Cup third round way back on the 20th September 2011.

The Doncaster attendance was 44,064. 

So Arsenal get near enough twice as many fans turn up for small games than Spurs, but Spurs are building a stadium bigger than Arsenal? It is all just very odd.

When I wrote the original blog, many Spurs fans pointed out that Arsenal’s Stadium is bigger than White Hart Lane. That Spurs can not get 46,539 into their current stadium so it was an unfair comparison.

This argument was stupid, because whilst I would not expect Spurs to have more fans in the ground than their capacity, the point is they are not filling their current stadium.

The Spurs argument was that if they build a bigger stadium, more fans will turn up for the smaller games. If you build it, they will come.

This completely missed the point that every year over the last half a decade, there have been games where 10,000 tickets have gone unsold. They have been advertised at train stations and in the Evening Standard, yet still tickets were unsold.

A bigger stadium would not magically create more fans. They had an opportunity to take one of the 10,000 unsold tickets, and chose not too. A bigger stadium would just leave more seats empty.

In 2012, 25,030 turned up to watch Spurs play Lazio in the Europa League. That is around 10,000 tickets unsold (maybe a little less with the reduced capacity). If Spurs played in a 60,000 seater stadium, the attendance would still be 25,030, meaning that their would be 34,970 unsold seats.

But if the stadium was bigger, more would turn up the window lickers kept shouting at me.

Well on Tuesday Spurs were playing a League Cup game at Wembley. A 90,000 seater stadium. It was against Barnsley. 23,826 people turned up to watch. That is 61,686 less than what turned up to watch Spurs play Bayer Leverkuson last year in the Champions League.

So they built it, but they did not come.

In comparison, Arsenal’s attendance yesterday for the game against Doncaster was 44,064. Nearly twice as many Arsenal fans turned up for a game in the same competition as Spurs.

Of course, Spurs fans will have their excuses. Like it being at Wembley instead of Tottenham – even though hardly any of their fans actually live in Haringey.

They will point to it being the League Cup, yet Arsenal had more turn up, and are they then saying they only want to go to the big games?

The fact is, their new stadium is a vanity project. They are hoping that by building a bigger stadium ,it will elevate them to a top team, a more popular team, and their fan base will grow.

In reality, you only grow as a club, become more popular, with success. And no matter how big Spurs build their stadium, it will not hide the fact that they have won just a single League Cup in 18 years. No FA Cup in 26 years. No league title in 56 years.

It will be hilarious when Spurs play in their new stadium, whether it be next season or the year after. Their League Cup 3rd round tie against a lower league side will just be a case of déjà vu.

It will not see them sell out. It will not even see them get above 45,000. As history has shown, for these smaller games, Spurs only have around 25,000 who actually want to go.

Spurs will always be in Arsenal’s shadow, no matter how big they build their stadium.

A big new stadium does not make you a big club.


30 thoughts on “League Cup highlights Spurs are still in Arsenal’s shadow

  1. MD GOAT

    Arsenal include the first round of the league cup in their season ticket package, so all arsenal season ticket holders automatically had a ticket. Tottenham did not do this, had they the 36,000 season ticket holders would have had a ticket and probably attended, maybe not full uptake but then those non-season ticket holders wanting to buy a ticket would have topped this up to probably similar levels.


    1. Jame Daff

      League cup games are not part of our season tickets. You only get seven the Fa Cup / European ties. You have to purchase your own seat for League cup games.


    2. Niven Frey

      Up until relatively recently [ only because of Arsenal’s bigger stadium ] Spurs had a bigger average historical home attendance than Arsenal. Man U 1st Liverpool 2nd Tottenham 3rd Arsenal 4th Chelsea 5th. Currently there are 63000 on the Spurs season ticket waiting list. Arsenal regularly have much lower attendances than the official attendance because the season ticket sales are taken into account. And indeed this would have been the case if Spurs had included the Barnsley game in the season ticket allocation. The author of this article needs to add more depth to his research.


      1. Johnno

        And yet this 63,000 couldnt be bothered to pay a fiver to go to Wembley. I know you cunts are notoriously tight with you dough but this takes it to a whole new level.


      2. Jdubya

        Highbury was bigger than SHL and our average attendance since the 20s has mostly (90%) been more the Spuds, check the facts. Even in the 70s and 80s we’d regularly get 50k+ when we were shite like you.


  2. goonergibshite

    It might also have had something to do with it being a shit game at Wembley mid week. Not the easiest place to get home from for the fan base from Tottenham. Maybe you should hold off writing this drivel once we’ve moved into our new stadium and see if we’re having difficulty filling it. I imagine it won’t be an issue. Still you can keep sprouting your delusional nonsense. Enjoy the Europa League where you’ll be able to continue offloading home fan tickets to the away support.


    1. keenosafc Post author

      Most of Spurs fan base doesn’t live in Tottenham though. They live in Hertfordshire and Middlesex, so Wembley no hard to get to than WHL.

      Basically you have agreed with me, spurs fans don’t turn up to shit midweek games


      1. capsharpe

        What a load of rubbish, most Spurs fans DO NOT live in Middlesex or Hertfordshire, what a stupid and uneducated thing to say. I know many Spurs fans and many of us live out in Essex or Kent or Surrey or Suffolk. To think the majority of the support is fairly local is stupid. I know season ticket holders that can’t or don’t want to make the awful journey to Wembley each home game so will pick the best games, that’s natural and something any support would do. Wembley is a nightmare to get to, it’s OK for a semi or cup final but not almost every other week. Increased transport costs plays a big part in attending games there. Use your head instead of just trolling Spurs fans mate!!


  3. Steven

    So, not only do we have thick as two bricks Dean Saunders commenting on Spurs’ attendances and size of fanbase, we now have the Arsenal thickos wading in. They clearly cannot understand simple logic, not to mention the circumstances surrounding some of the attendances, such as restricted ticket sales. They forget that Spurs sold out every home CL game at Wembley last season, not to mention the EL tie against minnows Gent. Idiots!


  4. RT

    Tottenham have confirmed that tonight’s Wembley Champions League crowd of 85,011 against Monaco has broken three records.

    Spurs revealed on Twitter that the 85,011 figure now stands as the club’s highest ever home attendance, as well as the largest ever home attendance for an English club.

    The healthy Wembley crowd also made it the highest ever attendance for an English club at home in the Champions League.

    Spurs placed an extra 1,200 tickets on sale this morning with a restricted view in the East and West Stands, but they were quickly snapped up after Spurs confirmed the game was sold out on Wednesday morning.


  5. Jen

    The attendance at Arsenal is probably because the fans thought that there finally was a realistic chance of their team succeding – better not miss that:)


  6. Alex

    Arsenal only managed to fill the Emirates a week ago by ‘inviting’ 20,000 Cologne fans over – finally creating an atmosphere but also highly embarrassing. Arsenal league games towards the end of last season also had swathes of empty seats – with vast sections of your fan base calling for your most successful manager in your history to be sacked, again highly embarrassing. I personally think you should be focusing on a bit more on your own issues rather than the fact that only 23,000 people turned up to Wembley on Tuesday night!


  7. Dave

    What a bizarre article with the premise being Spurs should build a ground with a 60k capacity because they wont sell out a few times a year. However, Arsenal were right to build a 60k ground even though they don’t sell out a few times a year.

    Even though Spurs have exceeded 60k in every Champions League, Premier League and Europa League game they’ve played at Wembley, they shouldn’t build a ground of that size for the one or twice a year it’s less

    Sound logic


  8. Simonsez

    The straws you Gooners clutch at in order to delude yourselves that it’s not all going pear-shaped at the atmospherically challenged corporate bowl you call The Emirates grow, ever more slender and delusional. Can’t wait to see what you dream up next.


      1. Simonsez

        Claiming superiority through dubious and misleading attendance figures is desperate. If there was a trophy for self-delusion, you’d be up there with Liverpool fans.


      2. keenosafc Post author

        Figures are not misleading though. They are official figures. And Arsenal are superior because we have won as many league titles at WHL as your club. We have won more trophies in the least 4 years as you have in the last 26…


      3. Simonsez

        Official figures or not is not the issue. Your dimwitted and skewed interpretation of them is the issue. If you’re so sure your trophy cabinet is what matters, why waste your time with this drivel?


  9. Dave

    I don’t entirely agree with the if they build it they’ll come theory, but I wonder if they used Arsenal as a case study. The lowest attendances at Highbury in it’s last 6 seasons are very similar to the lowest for Tottenham in the last 6 at White Hart Lane

    Lowest Attendance at Highbury:

    00/01 26,105
    01/02 16,917
    02/03 19,059
    03/04 27,451
    04/05 27,791
    05/06 34,498


    1. keenosafc Post author

      Whilst you have a valid point, if memory serves me right, Arsenal were still charging full price for League Cup games at Highbury. They basically got the pricing wrong.


  10. Dave

    I’ll have to take your word for that, but is still an interesting comparison.

    Having said all that, I still think that focusing on the exception rather than the rule isn’t a particularly conniving argument.

    If you assess on the norm or average, then the decision seems to be vindicated IMO, as has been with Arsenal who had a similar baseline as Tottenham


  11. Johnno

    Ive always said that the stinking Yids have a similar size fan base to West Ham but I`d say the Appy Ammers have a bigger and better hardcore support. Its lucky it was only a fiver to get into Wembley the other night and the Tykes turned up in numbers otherwise the crowd would have been under 10,000. Considering this is the only competition the stinking Yids have a chance of winning, the only competition they have won in over a quarter of a century then it is all a little bit embarrassing really. The Chavs are now officially the 2nd biggest supported team in the capital.



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