Not many players have dared to tread the north London divide between Arsenal and Tottenham throughout their careers – but there are some cases where the unwritten rule has been ignored
Arsenal have won more derbies than Spurs since their first meeting back in 1909, but Tottenham’s evolution in recent times has made the contest a much tighter affair in comparison to the Gunners’ dominance during the Arsene Wenger era.
Only 15 players have ever represented both sides and very few have been able to complete a move without completely tarnishing their relationship with their former fans, as switching north London allegiance is almost unheard of amongst the loyal supporters.
The small number is just a shadow of the 45 that have played for both Merseyside clubs, and the 39 that have played for both Manchester teams, as the north London rivalry remains the most tribal in the Premier League.
Here, Mirror Football take a look at five players that have played for both Arsenal and Tottenham and how the fans reacted to the move…
What better place to start than one of the most famous cases of swapping White Hart Lane for Highbury, as Sol Campbell left Tottenham on a free transfer to join Arsenal in 2001.
Campbell had ran down his contract and, despite Spurs offering a new deal which would have made him the highest-paid player at the club, the Englishman expressed his desire to play in the Champions League.
But there was shock across the board when he opted to join their fierce rivals Arsenal just a few miles down the road.
The move caused outrage amongst the Tottenham fans and Campbell was instantly branded ‘Judas’ for his switch, having spent nine years at the club. Even after all of these years, there is no love lost between the two.
Campbell’s decision was perhaps justified as he went on to win the Double with Arsenal in his first season and was part of the ‘Invincibles’ squad in 2003/04 – and that has done little to win over the Tottenham fans who are still upset with the defender to this day.
Emmanuel Adebayor signed for Arsenal in 2006 for a reported £3million from Monaco, and the striker enjoyed a successful goalscoring record in the three years that he spent at the Emirates.
The Togolese forward left in 2009 to join Manchester City and the bad blood began as Adebayor appeared to kick Robin van Persie in the face when he faced his former side for the first time at the Etihad, before scoring and running the entire length of the field to celebrate right in front of the Gunners fans.
Adebayor later signed for Tottenham in 2015, a move that infuriated the Gunners. He only went on further antagonise his former supporters by scoring on his first two trips to the Emirates with his new side, as well as infamously being sent off for a challenge on Santi Cazorla.
Following his antics after leaving the Emirates, Adebayor is one of the least popular names uttered amongst Arsenal fans, but is held in high regard by the Tottenham faithful due to his track record of majorly winding up their rivals.
William Gallas is a unique member on this list, as the Frenchman became the first player to play for Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea, with the defender clearly not worried about rustling feathers across London.
Gallas had experienced an interesting journey through London. Originally signed as Ashley Cole’s replacement in 2006, who went the other way to join Chelsea, he took the no.10 shirt at Arsenal which had been vacated by Dennis Bergkamp.
The Frenchman impressed and became the Arsenal captain, before famously sitting down on the pitch in a solo protest as his side threw away a 2-1 lead against Birmingham.
Gallas then joined Tottenham on a free transfer in 2010, and captained Spurs to their first-ever win at the Emirates Stadium, this time wearing a more reasonable no.13.
The former defender was an unheralded and reliable performer for all three London clubs, but fans look back on Gallas’ time with a more parodic view rather than hate, due to his antics later on in his career.
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David Bentley was once dubbed as ‘the next David Beckham’, but the winger failed to live up to the heavy expectations placed upon him.
Bentley came through the Arsenal youth academy but only made one league appearance for the Gunners before being signed by Blackburn in 2006 following an impressive loan spell.
The Englishman was then snapped up by Tottenham, who produced arguably his most memorable moment against Arsenal, scoring a 43-yard volley in a 4-4 draw against his former side in October 2008.
The stunning goal was a sweet moment for Tottenham fans, but even if Bentley was an Arsenal man from his younger days, his lack of association with the club meant that it didn’t hurt too much for the Gunners fans when he scored.
On the contrary, both sets of supporters may be left to wonder what could have been if the Englishman had lived up to his earlier potential.
Pat Jennings is perhaps the only exception when it comes to representing both north London rivals, as the former goalkeeper is regarded as a legend at both Arsenal and Tottenham.
Jennings spent 13 years at Tottenham between 1964-1977 before joining Arsenal where he spent a further seven years, before returning to Spurs again, although this was mostly for fitness reasons.
The former goalkeeper won the FA Cup at both clubs, and even won the UEFA Cup during the 1971/72 season with Tottenham, their first ever European knockout success.
Jennings is still actively involved at Tottenham, hosting various hospitality events, but is still highly thought of at Arsenal due to his previous service at the club.