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Spurs Odyssey Preview - West Ham v Spurs, 13.08.1997

"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published 12th August, 2017, but first written in 1997 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           4   2   1   1    9 - 7    7
=========================================
Total (Prem)   8   4   1   3   14 -13   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)   8   4   1   3   14 -13   13
Total (Div 1) 66  26  16  24  110 -105  76
Total (Div 2) 20   7   7   6   31 -25   21
=========================================
Grand Total   94  37  24  33  155 -143 110
=========================================

This match has been traditionally recognised as a game for football purists to watch. Both teams have a long history of trying to play football in the spirit it ought to be played in rather than route 1 football which most of us loathe.

West Ham, in recent years, have not been such an accomplished team as those that once graced Upton Park in the past. Those of us who saw West Ham playing with the likes of Moore, Hurst and Peters in their colours will know what I mean. It was a delight to watch the kind of football the Hammers used to play. They were one of the first clubs in the top flight to introduce black footballers : who can remember Clyde Best and Ade Coker? (Ed:- See note below about Spurs' Walter Tull)

Undoubtedly the finest match of all ever to be played at Upton Park was the 2-2 thriller in October 1970. Those of us who managed to cram into Upton Park that day were privileged to see the very best of football. I don't think anyone there that day could complain the 2-2 draw was the fairest result as neither side deserved to lose on the day.

It has been a long time since I last made the journey to Upton Park. I think the last time I went there was in 1980 when Spurs lost a League Cup tie there, 1-0. For a long time in the 1980s, fighting between the hotheads and idiots associated with both teams was endemic and deterred the likes of myself from travelling to Upton Park.

In the '90s, West Ham have shuttled between the Premiership and the Football League. Sometimes, they have been clearly too good to be downstairs yet ill equipped to be in the Premier. Harry Redknapp spent heavily on foreign players last season but none of them seemed to settle at Upton Park and most have long since departed from the scene. At one point last season, West Ham looked odds-on for relegation but the shock purchases of John Hartson and Paul Kitson from Arsenal and Newcastle United suddenly paid off as both scored vital goals that boosted West Ham clear of the pack scrapping at the bottom of the table.

For purists like myself, it is sad that West Ham no longer seem to have a conveyor belt of youngsters progressing through the ranks. There was a time when most of the team seemed to have made the journey from nearby Dagenham and Upminster. Last season some of the players could quite easily have worn the blue helmets of the United Nations as the squad seemed to come from all points of the compass from the newly emergent countries of Eastern Europe.

One familiar face missing tomorrow night will be the shaven headed bulky tank charging Julian Dicks. The combative defender is missing from the West Ham ranks following a summer operation and it is unlikely he will be back much before the autumn. West Ham will miss the barked instructions and timely biting tackles. They may have won at Barnsley, 2-1, on Saturday but it is to be hoped that Tottenham will not be so naive in their defending as Barnsley were.

I think Tottenham are capable of snatching a win but they'll have to be patient and bide their time. If they do win, I think the score-line is likely to be 2-1 with the winner coming very, very late.

Cheers, Brian

(Editorial note re Spurs player Walter Tull) - Walter Donald John TULL played for Spurs prior to the First World War. He was born at Folkestone, Kent, on 28th April 1888. He had a West Indian father and an English mother. He joined Clapton in 1908-09 and transferred to Spurs in time for the start of 1909-10, their first ever season in Division 1. He made 10 appearances, scoring 2 goals in the League side, but never really made the grade. He was the makeweight in the deal that brought Richard Brittan to Tottenham from Northampton in the close season of 1911. He was killed in the fighting when the Germans broke through in March 1918, on 25th March 1918.

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