Thursday, 25 June 2009
Why Have Tottenham Held The Knapp Hand Over West Ham?
Given how dreadfully Tottenham have performed over each of the last two seasons, it is perhaps something of a mystery as to why they have claimed five wins over us from the last six head to head contests. Indeed, that word "contest" might be overstating the case when it comes to the 4-0 thumping we received at the Lane the season before last - that wasn't a contest, that was an out and out massacre. So what's going on?
We can, to a certain extent, fall back on the injuries argument. I know Tottenham fans will claim that is lame, but to a certain extent, that's the point! Go back to that 4-0 thumping and we were without Bellamy, Dyer, Upson, Collins and Gabbidon. Ferdinand was roundly blamed for losing his man at set pieces but he was trying to hold Tottenham at bay with Spector alongside him. Of course, losing Boa-Morte to a red did not help but it was obvious he was going to get his marching orders so Curbishley must carry the can for leaving him on! Or for picking him in the first place! Go back to the 3-4 Upton Park defeat and we lost Upson inside the first ten minutes and had to bring on Davenport. Last season at the Lane, we virtually fielded our youth team!
But so what? You have a squad because you suffer injuries and that squad coped pretty well over the whole season. Indeed, we gloat about stopping Tottenham from finishing fourth because of that epic FA Cup Final warm up game victory which proved such a sickener for Spurs, but the Cockyfools can gloat back that they, in fact, kept us out of Europe last season. Had we shared the six points with them, we would have finished above Fulham. In fact, our two surrenders against Tottenham were major factors in keeping them in the division. Shave off those six points, achieved at critical points in the season, and 'Arry might not have found life quite so comfortable. Ignore our head to heads and we were, in fact, TWELVE points better than Tottenham last season, despite all the money they have spent!
So why? I suspect it comes down to the state of mind of the two sets of players. For us, it is just another game against a run of the mill mid table team. For Tottenham, it is a fixture of far greater significance, a match against a key rival that, over the years, has emerged from Tottenham's shadow and started to stake a claim to replace them as London's third biggest club. Poor Tottenham. They have seen Arsenal pull away from them, Chelsea overtake them and leave them in their wake and West Ham pull up onto their shoulder. They are like a marathon runner without a sprint finish. Even Fulham look like leaving them in their wake!
So, to win we have to view this game as a form of Cup Final, just as Tottenham do. Let's face it, we don't go on to the Fulham and Blunderland boards and gloat about doing the double over them do we? But look at how many Cockyfools come on here "boasting" about taking six points off us last season. The poor Cockyfools - those two Cup Final victories were all that they had to gloat about last season, that and avoiding a relegation that seemed likely until Christmas. In a way, we should let them enjoy their petty victories but I think it is now time for us to assert our superiority - as a team and as a club. Next season, Zola needs to stress the importance of the fixture and to point our to our lads that Tottenham step up their game because it is against the mighty West Ham, just as we raise our game when we play the Mancs. If we understand the rivalry and achieve the same intensity, we will put these sad Cockyfools squarely in their place!
Posted by Hammersfan at 07:44