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Published: 10 January 2008
15 years! The Gunners’ Bash Street Kids have got plenty in reserve

SEEMS a while ago but it was the year Bill Clinton became President of the United States. The Czech Republic and Slovakia went their own ways. The Grand National had a false start and Whitney Houston was at number one all year with the song from that rubbish film with Kevin Costner. Oh. And Top Four Tottenham beat Arsenal away. All in 1993.
“Waydaminute, Richard,” I’m hearing you shout back over your morning cornflakes and copy of the soaraway New Journal. “Spurs win at Arsenal. You sure?”
Stop rubbing your eyes, truth is it did happen, just a very, very, very long time ago. Spurs did beat Arsenal away. Fifteen years ago. I think last night’s goalscorer Theo Walcott was two at the time.
Their botched attempts to repeat that historic win on Arsenal turf were perfectly summed up by some trademark Spurs bungling in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final.
One-up against the Arsenal Reserves – let’s be honest, Spurs fans would have celebrated beating a greatly weakened team as if they had won against the first team and collected the European Cup for the achievement to boot.
But with chance after chance to kill the game off, they did what they always do: messed it up.
Spurs will probably win the tie overall. You get the impression they would rather win the Carling Cup than eat for the rest of the year. But the comforting drought on Arsenal soil goes on and on.

THE Gunners’ Carling Cup team is frequently presented as if it is made up of Bash Street Kids from just up the Holloway Road being given a kickaround in a cup competition even they are not really that bothered about. It’s a fairly obvious ploy to make their triumphs seem that much more humiliating for their opponents, and the media generally seems to tag along.
The whole cartoon nature of it all is compounded by the fact that, when the going gets tough, a few big brothers are often lurking on the bench, waiting to wade in should the young-uns come unstuck in a tussle.
The reality is that these players are adults, the cream of the crop. The best footballing talents from across the world, snaffled up at a young age from a lot further afield even than Woolwich.
Arsenal end up with enough world-class players to fill two teams and, while a few may go out on loan, other clubs are generally weaker as a result.
And these kids have been around for a while now. Unless they’re all called Peter Pan they must be growing up like everyone else beyond the ­never-never land of the Emirates. They’re not much younger than the Spurs side, but no doubt Osley and his ilk will still be thumbing the ­thesaurus for variations on pups, brats and ­juveniles when they’re older than the Arsenal first team itself.

• Simon Charterton is a Tottenham fan from Belsize Park

• The New Journal is inviting readers to tackle Osley in The People’s Perch. Send your column and a photo to The Crow, 40 Camden Road, NW1 9DR or by email

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