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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v West Ham, 06.12.99

Last season's game - Spurs 0 West Ham 1, 24.04.99
This season's away game - West Ham 1 Spurs 0, 07.08.99
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Full Record of Spurs -v- West Ham United

Prem          Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home           6   3   0   3    7 - 8    6
Away           7   2   1   4   11 -12    7
Total (Prem)  13   5   1   7   18 -20   16
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)  13   5   1   7   18 -20   16
Total (Div 1) 66  26  16  24  110 -105  76
Total (Div 2) 20   7   7   6   31 -25   21
Grand Total   99  38  24  37  159 -150 113

This match will be the 100th League clash between the two clubs since Spurs first met them for Football League points in season 1919-20. The Hammers, as they are popularly known were originally founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks but reformed under their present name in 1900, having joined the Southern League at the start of season 1899-1900. Spurs first met West Ham United in the Southern League during 1900-01. Their record is:

         HOME AWAY
1900-01  0-0  4-1
1901-02  1-2  1-0
1902-03  1-1  0-1
1903-04  2-1  2-0
1904-05  1-0  0-0
1905-06  2-0  1-0
1906-07  1-2  2-4
1907-08  3-2  1-1

West Ham United were elected to the Football League prior to the start of season 1919-20 after Glossop North End had resigned from the Football League, having finished bottom of Division 2 in season 1914-15. Throughout their history, West Ham have been a model of consistency and stability. Harry Redknapp is only their eighth manager, having been appointed to the post in August 1994, following Billy Bonds' resignation. The record for having the shortest spell in charge of West Ham is held by Lou Macari, who resigned after one season. Perhaps one reason for the stability of the club is that they have always had their affairs handled by the same families in the boardroom. They have always been noted for their harmony and generosity as hosts even in poor seasons that have ended in relegation.

West Ham spent too long in the old Second Division following their relegation from the old First Division at the end of season 1931-32. It was not until season 1957-58 that they won the Championship of the old Second Division under manager Ted Fenton. Unusually for those days, it was a generally young side that won the Championship and the Hammers can take pride that they won promotion by playing football.

But West Ham have never been a particularly glamorous side even in the days they won honours. West Ham are not a team that will win championships because they are not a team that will play negative football. They prefer to play by scoring more goals than they concede. They are not a team who are content to nick an early goal and then sit back to defend their lead. And so their better players tend to move on to teams who are more likely to win honours.

The departure of John Smith for Tottenham in March 1960 was typical. Smith hoped to win fame and fortune as Danny Blanchflower was widely expected to retire from playing football now he was 34. A youngster called Moore quietly made his debut for West Ham. Soon the name of Peters was also appearing in the West Ham teams and Hurst was a useful reserve team player. In the summer of 1966, when Moore, Hurst and Peters were the England backbone, John Smith had just signed for Leyton Orient, who had just been relegated to the old Third Division. Smith had put on weight during his long period of frustration in Tottenham's reserves and had already left Tottenham for Coventry before Blanchflower finally announced his retirement in the spring of 1964.

Over the years, under manager Ron Greenwood, West Ham teams became synonymous with all that was good about football. But their 'supporters' became a by-word for vandalism and thuggery under the soubriquet of the 'Inter City Firm'. They were, with 'supporters' from Manchester United and Chelsea, the worst and the ugliest of all the hooligans that spoiled football during the 1970s and 1980s.

Probably the most popular recollection of West Ham's successes must be the occasion when Trevor Brooking scored a rare headed goal in the 1980 Cup Final to deny Arsenal the FA Cup. At that time, West Ham were having one of their sabbaticals in the Second Division, when they re-charged their batteries and re-cast their team.

I have many memories of Spurs -v- West Ham fixtures over the years. And yet the memory that sticks out most in my mind is a game that we lost to West Ham in season 1966-67. Perhaps it is understandable when I say that I still wince at the memory of Jimmy Greaves blasting a penalty over the West Ham crossbar to ensure that Spurs lost their third consecutive home game.

One of the happier memories is of making my first trip to West Ham in the summer of 1962 and seeing us win there 6-1. Greaves scored twice, Medwin, White and Jones added one apiece and John Lyall scored an own goal. We were back to our brilliant best and were away at the top of the table. That was the season that was disrupted by three months of non-stop snow during December 1962, January and February 1963.

Another happy memory is one of travelling home from West Ham after we had won 2-0 in May 1967, knowing that whatever happened in the FA Cup Final against Chelsea, we were back in Europe, having finished third in the League. I remember how the tube trains I was on were literally bouncing around as we all jumped up and down, singing, celebrating the win to the puzzled consternation of other travellers.

Looking ahead to Monday night's match, it is vital that we beat West Ham. We need to quickly eradicate our unfortunate dismissal from the Worthington's Football League Cup by Fulham. So many players were off-form on Wednesday night that it will be difficult to effect changes. But changes must be made. The trouble is that our squad is so poor that whoever comes in will probably be just as anonymous as the player he replaces. One change that I think will benefit Tottenham is that the captaincy should be removed from Campbell. I think the responsibility is the reason behind his loss of form. It was noticeable how well he played for England against Scotland and yet he has been poor in our recent matches.

Whatever the selection for Monday night's match, I am far from confident about the outcome of the game. I think it will be another very difficult game and that we will do well to snatch a draw against the exuberant Hammers. They have made a lot of progress during the last two seasons and Di Canio has added an extra dimension to their game.

But what I really want to hear us singing on Monday night as, hopefully, we thrash West Ham [pink pigs will fly!]:

"I'm forever blowing bubbles
Pretty little bubbles in the air
They fly so high, they nearly reach the sky-y-y-y-y-y
Then, like West Ham, they fade and die-e-e-e-e-e-e-e!"

Cheers, Brian

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