Tag Archives: lesson

Wimbledon fans threaten to boycott the ultimate grudge match against MK Dons

Wimbledon fans threaten to boycott the ultimate grudge match against MK Dons

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UPDATED:

08:30 GMT, 14 November 2012

Hundreds of AFC Wimbledon supporters are set to boycott their FA Cup second-round clash with MK Dons.

The fixture Wimbledon were dreading
became a reality last night when MK Dons beat non-league Cambridge City
6-1 in their first-round replay.

Dilemma: Wimbledon fans have mixed feelings about cup tie against Mk Dons

Dilemma: Wimbledon fans have mixed feelings about cup tie against Mk Dons

HISTORY LESSON

Read about the background of the grudge match here

Next month's clash will be the first time the teams have met since the original Wimbledon, FA Cup winners in 1988, were relocated to Milton Keynes 10 years ago.

AFC Wimbledon, who formed in 2002 in the wake of that controversial move and have since been promoted five times to reach League Two, have already said they will grudgingly fulfil the fixture.

But Simon Wheeler, chairman of the Independent Wimbledon Supporters Association, will not be there to see it.

Wheeler said: 'This has reopened a lot of scars. We never wanted this to happen and frankly I feel numb.

'I won't be going and I know lots of other fans won't be going. Personally I would rather take my girlfriend's mother to the garden centre than go to that game.

Wrap it up: Adam Chicksen celebrates scoring the sixth goal for his side

Wrap it up: Adam Chicksen celebrates scoring the sixth goal for his side

Tussle: Wimbledon's Steven Gregory is challenged by Danny Kearns of York

Tussle: Wimbledon's Steven Gregory is challenged by Danny Kearns of York

'Other fans will have to take a long
look at themselves and make a personal, informed decision. We'll talk to
the fans and to the club.

'We didn't ever want this to happen
but it does highlight the phenomenal success of AFC Wimbledon from
having had everything ripped out.'

MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman has described the historic meeting as a 'potentially fantastic tie'
But Wheeler added: 'MK Dons might say how much they are looking forward
to the game but actually they are probably rather embarrassed. The
frenzy of support Pete Winkelman had envisaged has not materialised and
frankly they have an identity crisis. They still call themselves Dons,
not Milton Keynes.

'But we have to fulfil the fixture. I believe a group of AFC Wimbledon
players will play the game then get back on the bus to Wimbledon and
carry on with our season.

'The result does not matter. We've already won just by being in the Football League.'

Good day at the office: Karl Robinson's side were comfortable winners

Good day at the office: Karl Robinson's side were comfortable winners

Spot on: Shaun Williams fires home the fourth with a penalty kick

Spot on: Shaun Williams fires home the fourth with a penalty kick

Manchester City taught a lesson by Ajax academy stars – Neil Ashton

Neil Ashton: City stars taught a harsh lesson from the Amsterdam academy

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UPDATED:

23:31 GMT, 24 October 2012

The iconic red and white shirts are instantly recognisable and so is the specific playing style.

With seven homespun players twisting and turning on the field, it is a firm nod in the direction of Ajax’s glorious past.

They still rely on graduates from their fabled Toekomst training academy on the outskirts of Amsterdam to push for places in Frank de Boer’s first team.

Conductor: Frank De Boer's largely home-grown team helped dismantle City

Conductor: Frank De Boer's largely home-grown team helped dismantle City

Ajax

There is much to be admired about the policy of promoting young players, but Manchester City are in a hurry to make their move on the rest of Europe.

It is a clash of cultures and cash, a collision of philosophies that could ultimately still end in elimination from Group D for both of these teams.

Micah Richards was the sole academy graduate in City’s team, making the initial run that led to Samir Nasri’s first goal in the Champions League since he quit Arsenal. There will be more like Richards in the future when City’s new academy beds in, although the appearance of Cheadle-born George Evans on the substitutes’ bench is progress of sorts.

The 17-year-old midfielder, son of former City player and physio Ron Evans, was an unexpected selection by Roberto Mancini.

At Ajax this is normal, nothing out of the ordinary for a team that has appointed 12 successive managers born in Holland.

What’s new is old at Ajax and the angled balls played by Ricardo van Rhijn, Daley Blind and goalscorers Siem de Jong, Christian Eriksen and Niklas Moisander are a throwback to the Champions League winning team of 1995.

Back then they fielded nine players from the Ajax academy for the final against Milan in Vienna, but reaching the latter stages is now a far-and-away dream for City.

Last season Mancini’s team equalled a record when they failed to qualify for the second round of the Champions League after collecting 10 points.

After three games, that is now the maximum return for a team that has been in rude health in the Barclays Premier League.

In Europe, it is time for a radical rethink.

Throwback: Cristian Eriksen is reminiscent of Ajax players of old

Throwback: Cristian Eriksen is reminiscent of Ajax players of old

Southampton"s Premier League seasons starts now after Arsenal thrashing

Pointless Southampton's season starts now after tough beginning to Premier League life

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 16 September 2012

Pointless in the Premier League. That's the working title Southampton are playing to at the moment.

Of course, facing Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal in three of their opening four games has not helped matters. Nor has a home defeat against Wigan squeezed in between that deadly trio of fixtures.

So, in essence, the Saints' season starts now. Nigel Adkins' side face Fulham, West Ham, West Bromwich, Swansea and QPR in five of their next six league games.

Tough day at the office: Southampton were taught a harsh lesson

Bad day at the office: Southampton were taught a harsh lesson

Should the Saints remain without a point after that sequence then Adkins will be looking nervously over his shoulder, given chairman Nicola Cortese has never shown any qualms about sacking managers.

For the time being, the Liverpudlian is focused on finally getting his side's season up and running.

Tough start: Adkins has had three hard fixtures

Tough start: Adkins has had three hard fixtures

Speaking after the Saints' 6-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium, Adkins said: 'The reality of it all has been highlighted. All the media have written about the fixture list.

'It was a tough start and it has proven to be that way but it has given us that belief we are doing the right thing.

'And we have learned a lot about people's characters. It is about keeping going.'

Uruguay striker Gaston Ramirez made his debut against the Gunners.

'We trained with Gaston for the first time on Friday night and you could see the eyes of all the lads lighting up at the ability he has got,' added Adkins.

'He has already got a few shots in and he can pick a pass. I am sure he is going to bring a new dimension to our team.'

London 6 Wigan 44: Warriors win comfortably

London 6 Wigan 44: Broncos bashed aside by wild Warriors

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UPDATED:

16:42 GMT, 21 July 2012

Sam Tomkins inspired Wigan to a comfortable victory in London, ruining Broncos' interim coach Tony Rea's return to the capital.

Tomkins scored four tries, created two more and also booted 12 points as league leaders Wigan rebounded from their Challenge Cup exit last weekend.

For Rea, it was a harsh lesson of the job ahead after stepping into the Broncos' hotseat earlier this week.

Easy does it: Matty Smith of Wigan Warriors scores a try

Easy does it: Matty Smith of Wigan Warriors scores a try

Wigan recalled both Iain Thornley and Matty Smith to their starting line-up after the pair were cup-tied in last week's defeat to Leeds.

For the Broncos, all eyes were on interim coach Rea, flown over from Australia to retake the reins at the Stoop for the first time since 2006 after Rob Powell was relieved of his duties.

But the Londoners were also able to welcome back Craig Gower and Antonio Kaufusi, who sat out the loss at Bradford with injuries.

The two sides had indulged in a ding-dong battle at the DW Stadium earlier this campaign, Wigan eventually edging a thriller 42-30.

And the scoring got underway within two minutes this time round, Tomkins exchanging passes with Josh Charnley to scamper over.

And minutes later it was Charnley himself who added the second score, courtesy of an excellent defence-splitting pass from Darrell Goulding.

Wigan were producing exhibition rugby, and the home defence was struggling to stick to the task.

Turned over: Brocos were ripped apart

Turned over: Brocos were ripped apart

The Broncos were struggling to make their mark when they had the ball, although Scott Wheeldon was held up as he looked to muscle his way over after a 40/20 from Gower had given them promising field position.

The Warriors kept wasting chances, though, enabling the Broncos to remain in the contest, with Chad Randall the next to go close for the hosts when he was also held up over the line.

Wigan always looked as though they could go up a gear if needed, but their refusal to do so was surprising, especially when they had cut through the London defence so easily early on.

But with half-time approaching the Warriors did up the tempo, and it was Tomkins again who rounded off a flowing move a minute before the break.

Minutes after the interval Wigan all but killed the game as a contest, Thornley romping over after another clever pass from Tomkins.

Tomkins was not done their as provider, though, laying on the next score for Smith on 50 minutes after another incisive break.

The full-back then completed his try hat-trick, before Brett Finch got in on the scoring act, cantering through a huge gap in the London defence to touch down at the posts.

There was further bad news for the hosts when Dan Sarginson was then stretchered off with a leg injury, but seconds later the Broncos did have something to cheer when Michael Robertson crossed on 67 minutes.

Tomkins still was not finished, though, chipping through and gathering his own kick to notch his fourth five minutes later.

Wimbledon 2012 Juan Del Potro looks menacing once more, blowing Kei Nishikori away

Del Potro looks menacing once more, blowing Nishikori away with powerful display

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UPDATED:

19:01 GMT, 30 June 2012

The lurking threat of Juan Martin Del Potro in the bottom half of the draw gained emphasis as the former US Open champion equalled his best run at Wimbledon.

The 23-year-old Argentine is the only man to have broken the domination of the ‘Big Three’, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, in the last 29 Grand Slams, storming past Nadal and Federer to win in impressive style at Flushing Meadow in 2009.

Injury problems saw Del Potro slump outside the world top 250. After recovering from surgery on his right wrist in May 2010, he has been hampered by a left knee injury, which forced him to pull out of the Aegon Championship at Queen’s and prevented any competitive grass court preparation in the build-up to this Wimbledon.

Packing a punch: Del Potro showed his power against Nishikori

Packing a punch: Del Potro showed his power against Nishikori

While none of his 11 tournament wins have come on grass, the 6ft 6in left-hander, back up to No 9 in the world, has come through the first three rounds relatively unscathed.

Although not the most agile and unsure at the net, Del Potro’s big serve and powerful groundstrokes were too much for No 19 seed Kei Nishikori, of Japan, who lost 6-3, 7-6, 6-1 on a wind-blown Court No 1.

Del Potro said: ‘This is the best I have played so far. I played really aggressively, tried to hit the ball really hard and took all my break-points.

‘That was important for me to take control of the match and relax. The conditions were horrible but I had to keep telling myself it was the same for both players. You have to play tough.’

A harsh lesson: Nishikori

A harsh lesson: Nishikori

Brought up on the clay and hard courts of Argentina, Del Potro admits adapting to grass is not easy for him. But he is learning. ‘I still prefer hard courts and grass is difficult for all players from Argentina,’ he added. But I’m practising hard and getting more used to it. The more I win on grass the better it is for me.’

His knee injury is also improving. ‘It’s almost perfect,’ he said. ‘I’m getting better every day.’

As for his chances of emulating his US Open triumph Del Potro, remains downbeat. ‘I don’t think about how many rounds I can win,’ he said. ‘I’m having a good tournament and I’ll be ready for my next round. That’s it.’

Nishikori, who lost to Del Potro for a third straight match, said: ‘I couldn’t get him off balance because his groundstrokes were so good.’

Del Potro will play David Ferrer in the fourth round after the Spaniard beat Andy Roddick.

Bubba Watson: The pride and passion – Derek Lawrenson

The pride and passion of 'Blubber' Watson

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 9 April 2012

Have you all been down to your local pro shop to enquire about a pink driver yet Or on to the internet to check out the new Masters champion's natty all-white outfit

No doubt the charitable causes Gerry 'Bubba' Watson espouses in both instances have received a huge boost following his stunning triumph at Augusta National but if both are too garish for your tastes, here is something he has got that every wannabe should copy: passion.

Cry your eyes out: Watson is consoled by his mum after winning the Masters

Tears of joy: Watson is consoled by his mum after winning the Masters

Has this game ever thrown up a purer example of what can be achieved with desire Maybe not since Lee Trevino.

If you think it just too fanciful a notion that Watson's never had a golf lesson in his life, never even watched his swing on video, here is what JJ Dunn, pro at the club where he played as a teenager in Bagdad, Florida, told the Augusta Chronicle: 'Bubba knows nothing about the golf swing. Not one thing. He grew up with Boo Weekley who was a keen student but Bubba just wasn't interested.

Green with envy: Last year's winner Charl Schwartzel presents Bubba with the green jacket

Green with envy: Last year's winner Charl Schwartzel presents Bubba with the green jacket

'There's no teaching what he has; no substitute for it. It's almost freakish what he does to create such clubhead speed.'

Watson went to the same school as Weekley, who grew up on a golf course in a house on the corner of a dog-leg. Typical Bubba. He could not play the hole conventionally but would curve the ball right over Weekley's house.

Through the eye of the needle: Watson plays his second shot at the 10th during the sudden death play-off

Through the eye of the needle: Watson plays his second shot at the 10th during the sudden death play-off

Such a skill came in handy on the second hole of his sudden-death play-off against the great South African stylist, Louis Oosthuizen. A rare inaccurate drive had left him deep in the woods, 160 yards from the hole.

Eclipsing Oosthuizen's remarkable achievement of only the fourth albatross in Masters history for shot of the day took some doing but Watson managed it.

More from Derek Lawrenson…

Derek Lawrenson's Masters countdown: Jack's doing his bit for Luke and Rory
02/04/12

Derek Lawrenson: Woods is back, but the UK's finest can defy his bid to be Master
26/03/12

World of Golf: Donald is back on top and enjoying the view
19/03/12

Derek Lawrenson: Rose can bloom into a Major winner like Nick
12/03/12

Derek Lawrenson: Seve was special… but magnificent McIlroy is my No 1
05/03/12

Derek Lawrenson: Think birdies not tweets, Sir Nick warns Poulter
27/02/12

World of Golf: Salute to Seve as cream of Spain rises back to top
20/02/12

World of Golf: Tiger's comeback is not looking so glorious now
13/02/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Needing to hook a wedge 40 yards in the air to find the green, Watson somehow pulled it off to clinch victory. Watching, his great friend Rickie Fowler chuckled to himself.

'He was probably better off having to play a shot no-one else could play rather than just having to hit it straight,' he said.

Watson has a reputation for dissolving into tears when he wins and here he convulsed great uncontrollable sobs on to the shoulders of his mum, Molly.

The emotion was heightened because he and his wife Angie adopted their first child, one- month-old Caleb, a fortnight ago.

'When we were on our first date she told me she had to adopt,' said Watson. For the past four years they have been going through what felt like a never-ending process.

'We finally heard on the Tuesday of the Arnold Palmer Invitational that we'd been successful and on the Wednesday we said yes,' he said.

'The following Monday we picked him up. Winning the Masters means everything right now but I know it's not real life and I'm looking forward to enjoying that again. I haven't even changed a diaper yet.'

There is a lot of John Daly in the way Watson, 33, plays golf, with his ability to hit the ball miles and his gossamer touch around the greens.

But off the course they could hardly be more different. Watson does not drink, smoke and would not dream of missing church on Sundays.

He almost caused a diplomatic incident in France last year at the French Open when he wrote off its various cultural attractions and said he could not wait to get home, but that is Bubba.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

'I have no idea what to say because I never got this far in my dreams.'

At the green jacket ceremony, Bubba Watson sums up what it means to win the Masters in his own inimitable way.

His genius lies in his hands, not his head, and then there is that enormous heart.

'This is what he worked for his whole life,' said mum. 'He didn't party when he was young, he played his golf. His dad always told us this would happen.'

Dad Gerry died of throat cancer two years ago and drawing attention to charities looking for cures is why Watson uses that unique driver he wields to such devastating effect.

And so a Masters that never relented for a minute in terms of pulsating excitement had delivered a winner who added up to another shining example of the American dream.

'The Masters champ, you think I'm done, right' Watson said, smiling. 'I know I can't beat this but hopefully I'll keep crying.'

His tears are welcome any time.

BBC taking the Michael

The vast number of critical emails I woke up to yesterday indicates that the BBC had another belter at the Masters. Didn't we predict in this column last week that Michael Vaughan would be a calamity That's the problem.

Under fire: Vaughan attracted criticism for his calamitous display at The Masters

Under fire: Vaughan attracted criticism for his calamitous display at The Masters

You can see the flaws in their celebrity-obsessed approach a mile off and yet still they blunder on. What is wrong with these people Why won't they ever listen to their audience

Lee's time will come

Lee Westwood's caddie Billy Foster described his man's tied-third finish at the Masters as the 'same old story' and it was hard to argue with that.

Tied first in birdies, first in greens in regulation but the nearly man of the major championship scene had 19 – yes, 19 – more putts than Phil Mickelson, one of the men who finished alongside him.

So close: Westwood was two shots away from making the play-off

So close: Westwood was two shots away from making the play-off

All right, Mickelson is always going to have fewer putts because he is always going to miss more greens, but almost five putts per round is a staggering number.

Still, an Easter Sunday finish seems the right occasion to insist we keep the faith.

Westwood missed one putt of 12 inches and another from two feet, but he was still there at the end, outplaying everyone from tee to green.

He is so mentally strong you do feel that somewhere along the line he is just going to have a week where they go in and he will win by six.

Given he will be 39 by the time the US Open takes place in June, let us just hope it is soon.

Tottenham are miles ahead of Arsenal, says Micky Hazard

Taxi for Arsenal! Spurs are miles ahead, says London cabbie Hazard

Four miles long and apparently named 180 years ago after a line of striking trees, the Seven Sisters Road in north London is the pulsing artery that connects the heart of Tottenham to the guts of Arsenal. It is the road down which the most optimistic Spurs fans for a generation will travel on Sunday.

This is a derby that could cement Tottenham Hotspur’s position above Arsenal in the Premier League table for the first time in 17 years. It is a road Micky Hazard knows like no other.

Not since 1995, when Blackburn Rovers won the title – and Nottingham Forest came third – have Spurs finished above Arsenal. Not since Arsene Wenger arrived at Highbury a year later.

Where to, guv London cabbie Micky Hazard on the Seven Sisters Road

Where to, guv London cabbie Micky Hazard on the Seven Sisters Road

A decade ago Wenger used the term ‘shift of power’ to describe Arsenal’s relationship with Manchester United; now it’s being applied to north London.

Hazard, an FA Cup and UEFA Cup-winner with Tottenham in the early 1980s, was back at White Hart Lane in 1995, the last Lilywhite days for one of those intuitive, craftsmen English midfielders missing now.

He already had experience of finishing above Arsenal, but Hazard’s understanding of the north London rivalry is broader still. If, as the Arsenal saying goes, ‘Arsene knows’, then so does Hazard – for the past 12 years he has been a London cabbie. Hazard has ‘the Knowledge’.

Sitting in a cafe called the Hotspur, he said: ‘Doing the Knowledge taught me not to drive with my eyes closed. London, what an incredible city, a history lesson.

‘The Seven Sisters Road doesn’t fit into that historic London – it has its own reputation and I wouldn’t walk it at night. But every football fan knows it. It has its fame. It mightn’t be in the history books but it’s the link to Tottenham-Arsenal, two of the biggest clubs in the world, so close together.

Where to, guv London cabbie Micky Hazard on the Seven Sisters

‘And the Seven Sisters Road has such a lot of links to my life, it’s strange. It was the first road I ever walked on in London. I arrived at King’s Cross from Sunderland in 1974. I was 14. We didn’t leave the station, I got the Tube with my Dad to Seven Sisters. So Seven Sisters Road was my first ever experience of London life. Quite scary. Big place, London.

‘When I was then put up by Spurs, it was in a hotel opposite Finsbury Park on the Seven Sisters Road.

‘From a taxi point of view, when I was doing the Knowledge, one of the first questions I was asked was, “Could you take me from White Hart Lane to Highbury” That took me by surprise. My first fare was from Seven Sisters Road to Muswell Hill.

‘The road hasn’t changed one jot. For Spurs and Arsenal it’s the most important road in north London.’

The Knowledge taught Hazard to recognise landmarks as well as roads. He is less certain than others as to whether a Tottenham victory on Sunday would represent one – an away win would leave Spurs 13 points clear of Arsenal – but Hazard’s doubt stems not from anxiety. Quite the opposite.

End of the road Arsenal haven't won a trophy for seven years

End of the road Arsenal haven't won a trophy for seven years

‘The tragedy for me is that this should be a game that, if we win, we should be sitting at the top of the table,’ Hazard said. ‘Looking just at the recent past – the Man City game and the Jermain Defoe chance, the Liverpool game and the Gareth Bale chance – we could be close to top.

‘Sunday is massive, one of the biggest Arsenal-Spurs games of recent times, but because we can still win the league title. As a club, we have to believe we can still do that. It’s much more than just a Spurs- Arsenal game.’

The atmosphere at this end of the road is so buoyant, Hazard, who has also been youth coach at Crystal Palace, can add: ‘I think there has been a change in the balance of power in north London, without a doubt.

‘Arsenal are in a period of rebuilding. They have lost very good players in Fabregas and Nasri – though they didn’t win anything for Arsenal.

‘When I look at the two teams and two squads I find it hard to believe that, without massive investment, Arsenal can surpass what Spurs have. Building the Emirates has had an impact on them.

Spurs through and through: Hazard in the Hotspur cafe with our man Michael Walker

Spurs through and through: Hazard in the Hotspur cafe with our man Michael Walker

‘To me the two teams look miles apart. That doesn’t mean there can’t be a shock result – an Arsenal win. But put the two squads together to create one team: how many Arsenal players would get in Two, three Van Persie and maybe Jack Wilshere We have four centre backs who would get in the Arsenal team – Ledley, Dawson, Kaboul, Gallas.

‘The last time I had this feeling was probably in my first Tottenham spell, when we won the FA Cup and UEFA Cup and should have won the league. That was 30 years ago. I feel we are about to enter a period of Spurs domination. A lot depends on Wenger and money, but his squad doesn’t look very good.

‘In 1994-95 I didn’t feel this. Even with Klinsmann, Sheringham, Barmby, Dumitrescu, Sol Campbell and the rest I didn’t feel this then. I have this total belief. Some fans yesterday were talking to me about doing the Double. 1994-95 was a one-off. Now there’s a gulf.’

Not even the Harry Redknapp-England question suppresses Hazard’s extraordinary optimism. This is in part because of the stability Tottenham fans see at board level but also because Hazard thinks Redknapp will stay.

‘I don’t think Harry will go. I think he’ll manage England in the Euros and then return to Spurs. Harry has been a manager all his life but it’s like he’s come to his spiritual home at White Hart Lane. He’s worshipped here. It’s a job he’s started and I’m certain he wants to see it through.

Enemy territory: Hazard outside the Emirates with former Arsenal player Perry Groves

Enemy territory: Hazard outside the Emirates with former Arsenal player Perry Groves

‘Harry is crucial to the foundations, so it is fragile to an extent. If Harry leaves, which players follow I imagine [chairman] Daniel Levy is doing everything to persuade Harry to stay.’

Having driven south past the post-riots ‘I Love Tottenham’ banners and parked his cab outside the Emirates stadium, Hazard bumps into Perry Groves. Over their shoulders, in the Arsenal shop window, the word ‘Clearance’ is attached to pictures of three players.

This is how it is at the red end of the Seven Sisters Road. Adam Gold wrote the Arsenal Miscellany – a mini-encyclopedia – and said of the idea of Sunday as a landmark: ‘Most Arsenal fans wouldn’t want to admit that. We’d like to think it’s the season when the team under Wenger have been weakest and that it’s Tottenham’s best for 20 years. One annoying thing is that Tottenham have signed players such as Van der Vaart who look like Arsenal players. Even Bale. Many things have come right under Harry Redknapp. The good news is that he might go to England.

‘At the same time Wenger is going to face his biggest decision: to either rethink how the team play or perhaps to move upstairs. I don’t want him to go, but we need some fresh ideas.’

Revolution: Redknapp has transformed Spurs' fortunes

Revolution: Redknapp has transformed Spurs' fortunes

Gold’s opposite, Adam Powley of the Tottenham Miscellany, shares the general view: ‘Sunday does feel like a landmark match as it feels like there is a change in the balance of power. Spurs fans are naturally pessimistic but there is a sense Arsenal are in decline, Spurs are improving.’

In 2004 Arsenal won their third – and last – league championship under Wenger. Spurs finished 14th, David Pleat was caretaking and two-goal Helder Postiga was up front. Jacques Santini – one of eight permanent Spurs managers Wenger has met – was about to walk the Seven Sisters Road. Then there was the ‘lasagne incident’ of 2006. ‘What could go wrong for Spurs, did go wrong,’ Gold said.

‘He’s been soul-destroying for us, a fantastic manager,’ was how Hazard described Wenger. But that was Hazard’s only concession.

‘For too long it has felt we weren’t Arsenal’s equal on the pitch. We’d go there and deep in your subconscious you’d think, “No points for us today”. So it’s fantastic we’re able to say we’re going to Arsenal to win. It’s exciting. I don’t feel tense.’

With that a man with four sisters of his own departed, beaming. Spurs think they are on a road, not just to three points but north London supremacy.