An opposition view of Spurs and West Ham’s upcoming matches in the Premier League and League Cup respectively, courtesy of the guys over at Westhamfans.org.
The Media to like to ‘big up’ the ‘massive’ rivalry between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur, but historically this has not always been the case. Geographically Arsenal have always been Tottenham’s closest rivals and so it was on the pitch for many years back in the day. West Ham’s closest top flight rivals as the crow flies before the move to the London Stadium were Crystal Palace and achieved similar success, or lack of it, as West Ham, from an Irons fans view the other rivals were Chelsea and of course Millwall!
A lot of ‘fan rivalry’ is based on events way back in the past and to a certain extent has mellowed or disipated over the years, for example when Chelsea visited the London Stadium for the first time groups of past it middle aged men did try to ‘face up’ before and after the match, but quite frankly they all looked ludicrous, they had become a parody of themselves and part of football’s dinosaur culture that clearly places them in a minority. Ironically to understand the ‘fierce rivalry’ between the Hammers and Spurs supporters it is necessary to look at the achievements of both Arsenal and Chelsea over the last fifteen years, both clubs usurped the achievements of either West Ham or Spurs and revelled in their high profile investors and the commensurate success their funding brought to both clubs.
West Ham and Tottenham both went on ‘journey’s of discovery’, Tottenham ended up with a powerful investor and a tough cookie of a chairman in Daniel Levy that all the other club’s supporters loathe but secretly wish he was running their own club. Hammers ended up with the bankrupt biscuit barons followed by the Porn Twins and the rest is history, the resentment some Hammers supporters have against Tottenham is based on pure envy, when Hammers were relegated for the umpteenth time, not once but twice within a decade, Tottenham took full advantage and grabbed several of West Ham’s best players, including Michael Carrick and Jermaine Defoe for a song.
The business acumen of Daniel Levy is therefore the root of the Tottenham vs West Ham rivalry, yes? Well actually no, the rivalry between both clubs was brought about by the relative failure of both clubs to cope with a Premier League that suddenly began to acquire really wealthy owners whose funds could blow anyone else’s out of the water! On and off the pitch Tottenham rose to the challenge better and have since achieved greater things while still falling at the final hurdle on several high-profile occasions, a few of which have been instigated by West Ham, however their failure was perpetually still a lot greater than Hammers success which left the London Derby matches as the only course of redress for West Ham fans to have any form of one upmanship!
Hammers have achieved a few good results against Tottenham over recent years, which raises the question as to why the team are able to up their game for the matches against Spurs as opposed to other clubs. It is correct to say that Tottenham have had the better team for most of the games but West Ham have become their ‘bogey team’, let’s face it West Ham have more than their fair share of ‘bogey teams’ in the past so maybe it equals things up a little bit. Tottenham are just moving in to what will be a fine Stadium, and one that is fit for purpose, or at least it will be when construction is completed, and a Stadium that they will own. They will experience some initial difficulties during the bedding in process and their fans will experience ‘new ground syndrome’ even if the new buildings are on the original site.
The outcome of Saturday’s match is really hard to predict, many of Tottenham’s players will be fatigued but at least their England contingent will be buoyed up by the stunning result against Spain, furthermore despite not buying any new players in the last transfer window they have a comprehensive and expensively assembled squad which has strength in depth. ‘Poch’ will be looking forward to locking horns with Manuel Pellegrini as they both believe in getting their teams to play attractive attacking football that is pleasing to the eye, this match will appeal to the neutral, but hopefully not those football tourists who have Thomas Cook booked tickets and insist on wearing ‘half and half’ scarves!
There will be a lot of talent on display from both teams at the London Stadium on Saturday and indeed on the following Wednesday, both managers will have to balance the bread and butter of the Premier League while at the same time keeping an eye on a cup run that can bring great dividends, particularly the bragging rights of fans starved of success. The key word nowadays is ‘game management’ and whoever manages the games the best will be victorious, Tottenham or West Ham? It could be either or both!