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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v West Ham, 17.01.98

"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published January, 2018, but first written in 1998 by the late Brian Judson

Full Record of Spurs -v- West Ham United

Prem          Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home           4   2   0   2    5 - 6    6

Away           5   2   1   2   10 - 9    7
Total (Prem)   9   4   1   4   15 -15   13
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)  33  17   7   9   65- 51  47

Away (Div 1)  33   9   9  15   45- 54  29
Total(Div 1)  66  26  16  24  110-105  76
Football Lge
Home (Div 2)  10   4   4   2   18-13   12
Away (Div 2)  10   3   3   4   13-12    9
Total(Div 2)  20   7   7   6   31-25   21
Total (Prem)   9   4   1   4   15 -15   13
Total (Div 1) 66  26  16  24  110 -105  76
Total (Div 2) 20   7   7   6   31 -25   21
Grand Total   95  37  24  34  156 -145 110

It has been a very long time since Spurs have approached a home game with West Ham with their team in comparitively mid-table safety and Tottenham desperately needing points to avoid relegation. Usually, West Ham have been a team scrambling for points. But last season Harry Redknapp made one or two buys that may have made relegation scrambles a thing of the past for a few years.

No matter what Redknapp paid for John Hartson, it has been a cheap snip at the price. Hartson is probably worth ten times the price the Hammers paid for him. Arsenal probably regret allowing his departure in the wake of their struggling to score goals since Bergkamp and Wright have recently lost form.

So far this season, Hartson has scored about 16 goals, which is almost as many as Spurs have managed to cobble between all those who have played for the club and scored. Oh for the days when we had Archibald and Crooks, a pairing that was as successful as fish and chips.

Over the years, West Ham have always been a team associated with playing football. Until the advent of Redknapp, West Ham generally groomed their own players. They even had a team that could have graced England shirts, with no one qualified to play for any other country bar England.

West Ham in the '60s meant Moore, Hurst and, almost as an afterthought, Peters. Spurs tried hard to lure Moore to White Hart Lane in the aftermath of the 1966 World Cup but had to wait until 1970 before persuading West Ham to swap Martin Peters for Jimmy Greaves.

I know there is a view on the list that Peters was not a typical Spurs player. But, for me, I enjoyed the way that Peters ran through on the blind side of a defensive wall to head a cross from Neighbour or Pearce. He was a thoughtful player, often thinking two or three moves ahead of the rest of the game.

Like many other players, Peters fell out with Terry Neill and left for Norwich City. When his time there ended, he tried a stint as a player-manager with Sheffield United at the beginning of their awful fall from grace into the darker regions of the Football League. But he was too nice a person to be a manager.

Had John Smith remained at West Ham instead of moving to Tottenham in exchange for David Dunmore, who could hazard whether we'd have ever heard of Bobby Moore? Smith was a brilliant player with West Ham, keeping Moore in the reserves. But Smith wanted to win honours and felt he was unlikely to do so with an unfashionable club like West Ham and moved to Tottenham. His idea was that Blanchflower (then 34) would shortly gracefully retire and allow Smith to replace him. Blanchflower didn't see it like that and there was more danger that Smith might have to retire before Blanchflower did. Smith had actually left for Coventry, by then very overweight after playing virtually all his time in the reserves at Tottenham, when Blanchflower retired. Yet, paradoxically, Smith's greatest day still lay in front of him .... playing for Swindon against Arsenal, at Wembley!

In the past, I have mentioned a few games that Spurs have played against West Ham. Very few of them have been crucial games. One of the few was played in November 1966 when Spurs lost 4-3 to West Ham at Tottenham. Jimmy Greaves even missed a penalty. You wouldn't have thought it was a crucial game but if this and the two immediate home games before it (Blackpool lost 1-3 and Asron Villa lost 0-1) had been won, we might have won the Championship and concluded a second double.

West Ham have had various interesting players over the years. One of their defenders in the 1960s was John Bond. He was a very shy defender when with West Ham and lodged with someone I worked with at the time. I was told that Bond was very, very shy. I find it difficult to place that description of Bond alongside the gabby, non-stop talking manager, wearing loads of cheap, flashy jewellery, when manager of Manchester City in the 1980s.

I also remember Pat Holland playing for West Ham. He wasn't anything special as a player and he was more of a squad player than a regular. Trevor Brooking will always have a place in the Tottenham Hall of Fame solely because it was his headed goal that deprived Arsenal of another Cup win in 1980. It was their third successive final. Runners-up in 1978 to Ipswich, they'd beaten Manchester United in 1979 and Brooking's goal prevented them from winning again in 1980.

There was a future Tottenham player in that Cup Final in Paul Allen. Allen impressed me very much when with West Ham but he never seemed to me to recapture that form at Tottenham. I suspect that Allen found, like Perryman and Mabbutt, his ability to play in more than one position cost him caps for England and loss of form at times. Certainly, I felt that he was as good, if not better, than Paul Ince later became when playing for West Ham. Allen, in fact, had a far better temperament than Ince. I don't think I ever saw Allen sprinting 40 yards to get involved in a ruck as Ince has done on more than one occasion.

One of the things I regret about the change in stadia has been the loss of the terrace choirs. Upton Park is a very small ground but in terracing days a West Ham -v- Spurs fixture regularly attracted 40,000 spectators. At one end of the ground there'd be chants of 'Tottenham, we are super Tottenham, from the White Hart Lane' and at the other end, there'd be


and then the Spurs fans would drown the last lines


And Saturday's match? It will be tight. We need to have Sol marking Hartson and not conceding an inch. We have to pray we find someone who can carve open a half chance and then stick the ball in the back of the net. I don't care who scores the goal so long as we do and we hang on for three points. It won't be a pretty game, it may well be messy and I won't be surprised if someone gets sent off. I hope it will be Hartson if that's the case!

Cheers, Brian

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