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The North London Derby is the name of the football local derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.


The first meeting between the two sides was a friendly on November 11, 1887, when Arsenal were known as Royal Arsenal. The match was abandoned 15 minutes before it was due to end "owing to darkness" with Spurs leading 2-1. The first League match between the two was in the First Division, on December 4, 1909; Arsenal won 1-0.

However, the fierce rivalry between the two teams did not begin until World War I. First, in 1913, Arsenal moved from their South London home of Woolwich to Arsenal Stadium, Highbury, just a few miles from Tottenham's White Hart Lane. But the bad feelings were cemented in 1919 when the First Division was to be expanded by two teams. 19th-placed Chelsea were allowed to stay as they were relegated, but rather than the other relegated team – 20th-placed Tottenham – or Barnsley who were 3rd in the Second Division, it was decided that Arsenal would be promoted, despite them finishing 5th. It is alleged that Arsenal chairman Sir Henry Norris used underhand dealings in order to bring this about, although nothing has been proven. Tottenham were promoted back into the top flight after taking the Second Division title the next season, and the rivalry has continued ever since.

As with most major football rivalries, there is much banter and gloating between the two sets of fans, many of whom work and even live together, and players who transfer between the two teams receive a bad reception from their former fans, the most recent example being defender Sol Campbell.

The 2005-06 season sees the final North London derby at Highbury, before Arsenal move to their new home, the Emirates Stadium.


As of October 29, 2005, there have been 150 competitive first-class meetings between the two teams since 1909, of which Arsenal have won 63 and Tottenham 49. The most goals in one game were scored in the closely contested 5-4 Arsenal Premiership victory at White Hart Lane on November 13, 2004. The biggest winning margin was 6-0 to Arsenal on March 6, 1935, although Tottenham have twice won 5-0 (December 25, 1911 and April 4, 1983).

  Arsenal wins Draws Spurs wins
League 56 36 45
FA Cup 3 0 2
League Cup 4 1 2
Charity Shield 0 1 0
Total 63 38 49


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