With contests at both top and bottom of the log over, all eyes turn to St Totteringham’s Day

2013-05-18 00:00

THE climax of this Premier League season couldn’t be further away from last season’s. When one thinks of the drama that encompassed the final day of 2011/12 and how Sergio Aguero won the title for Manchester City with virtually the last kick of the season, tomorrow’s final act of 2012/13 doesn’t quite have the same appeal with the trophy already occupying the cabinet at Old Trafford.

The relegation battle is also over, with Wigan simply running out of lives in the top flight. But even though the contests at the top and bottom of the log have already been won and lost, there remains a fight going on that is of potentially the most importance to one set of English football fans. It has been a tough old season for Arsenal, who have been made to endure another trophyless campaign. But year after baron year, the Gunners do have one day to look forward to … and that is St Totteringham’s Day.

Now, if you don’t know what that is exactly, fear not. It took a drunken Arsenal-crazed fanatic to draw it to my attention, too. St Totteringham’s Day is that day in the Premier League season when Arsenal can no longer be overtaken by their arch rivals Tottenham in the league table; when they have amassed enough points to ensure that they finish above Spurs.

It was a concept started by a group of Arsenal supporters in the early 1990s, so it is believed, though it has only very recently gathered momentum in the English media. I suppose when your team can’t win anything, then making up new competitions is one way of assuring that you still have something to cheer about come the end of the season, but let us not venture too far down that road.

A trip down memory lane, instead, makes for some very interesting reading, and Gunners fans will be delighted to know that they have had a St Totteringham’s Day every year for the last 17 straight seasons. The last time that Spurs finished above Arsenal was in the 1994/95 league championship — the same year that an Alan Shearer-inspired Blackburn Rovers edged out United to the title. Seventeen years is a long time, but there is no doubt that Spurs are getting ever closer to slamming the brakes on St Totteringham’s Day. For this season, as was the case last season, St Totteringham’s Day will only come on the final day of the campaign — if at all — for the Gunners.

Arsene Wenger’s charges go into tomorrow’s last round of fixtures a solitary point ahead of their north London rivals, meaning that victory will wrap it all up for them. Spurs will fancy their chances at home to Sunderland, and Arsenal have perhaps a slightly trickier assignment away to Newcastle.

Of course, the most important thing for both clubs is securing a position in the top four and all of the riches that come along with participating in next year’s Champions League. But for both sets of fans, whether or not there will be a St Totteringham’s Day this year is equally crucial.

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