It will not come as news for Spurs fans to know that the majority Chelsea supporters have hatred towards the Lilywhites.
Chants of ‘We hate Tottenham, Chelsea’ still ring around Stamford Bridge before most games. While many Spurs fans aren’t exactly fond of Chelsea either, it is not a mutually acknowledged rivalry in many respects.
Spurs fans hardly sing about Chelsea in their home games and most Tottenham faithful will admit that it is Arsenal who they regard as the club’s biggest rivals.
So why is it that the Blues fans hate Tottenham so much? The Athletic attempted to find out by talking to many lifelong Chelsea fans.
Most fans of a certain generation indicated that the rivalry took off in the 1960s when Tottenham were in their peak under a certain Bill Nicholson.
Chelsea historian Rick Glanvill is quoted as saying: “There was a lot of violence outside the ground, pockets of people fighting.
“I’m in my late 50s and the majority of people I know around my age who hate Tottenham will say it started with the 1967 FA Cup final. You have to remember Spurs had Greaves and Venables in their side. Tottenham were winning trophies regularly. It made Chelsea fans ask the question, ‘Are they a bigger catch?’
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“They’d won the title in 1951 and the Double in 1961. In between that, Chelsea had won the league in 1955 but it felt like Spurs were the bigger draw, more glamorous. There were big derbies leading up to 1967, which also led to animosity. That is the seeds of it.”
David Chidgey of the Chelsea FanCast added: “Unlike now, when it is so much more of a mixed bag, if you went to school in London in the 1960s, a lot of kids supported either Chelsea or Tottenham.
“So if your side lost to the other at the weekend, there would be an awful lot of mocking going on and it would be something you wouldn’t forget. Those kids go on to have kids and pass those feelings on. It’s hereditary.”
The rivalry reportedly intensified during the spread of hooliganism in the English game during the 1980s.
Glanvill added: “The old White Hart Lane was one of the last grounds where you’d get chased out down the street afterwards. People would randomly run out and punch people.
“Racism entered into it. Chelsea were infiltrated by racist groups like Combat 18 in the 1980s and that became a huge strand. It threw oil on the fire. There was a lot of anti-Semitism involved.
“For example, in the 1980s people were singing about the Tottenham striker Steve Archibald: ‘Chim chiminey, Chim chiminey, Chim chim cher-oo, you used to be Scottish and now you’re a Jew’. I remember thinking ‘this is horrific’.”
The rivalry has arguably developed moe of an edge in the past five years after Tottenham’s rise under Mauricio Pochettino.
The two sides have had some memorable clashes in recent years, none more so than the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ in 2016. Glanvill admitted that Chelsea fans now look at that infamous clash with a bit of embarrassment.
“In retrospect, a lot of people are embarrassed about it now,” Glanvill insists. “We had had so many bad results, it was a really weird season. A few weeks before I was at an away game and the performance was so poor, the fans were singing, ‘You better beat f*cking Tottenham’.
“Basically there was a feeling of what could be salvaged. It was a case of desperate minds, desperate solutions. The only way it could be worse was if Tottenham ended their winless record at Stamford Bridge and went on to win the title. But looking back, it was embarrassing to celebrate a draw at home over our rivals, who we had dominated for years.”
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While these explanations are valid, the main reason Tottenham are the most hated club in London is that we were the biggest club in the capital for the first few decades after the post-World War era. That is why the likes of West Ham, Chelsea and Arsenal all considered us the ones to beat and the attitudes have been passed on from generation to generation.