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west ham

Between love and madness


Between love and madness

I was talking to a West Ham supporter over the weekend who told me he hates Spurs fans (what a shocker) because we always want more than what we have. He cited how many of us didn't want Harry Redknapp and after the progressive success he achieved with our rise to Champions League football we wanted him out and replaced with a better more advanced coach (well some of us did). I asked him what he meant and why desiring something more was such an irritation to him.

"You didn't have it before, he gave you it, and you cry over something that was out of your reach".



The money shot that never came

Spurs 0 West Ham 0

It would be easy to tag our attack with the label clearly stating ‘limp’ in big bold capitals. I’d rather not be that obvious. In this instance, I’d prefer to compare Spurs with a male porn star filming on set in LA (or Florida if you prefer) able to sustain wood for a prolonged period even with the countless stoppages and artistic direction. At no point faltering and no flaccid moments to bring filming to a stop. Limp? Hardly, much like Spurs, especially in terms of our effortless movement and offensive intent.

Now the analogy has to be stretched here a little.

The porn star scores several times during the duration of production. But there is only the one money shot. In Tottenham’s case, for all our hard work and poking around it’s not half as fun for us if we get to the end and there’s no shuddering climax. It would be akin to the porn star failing to deliver the most important act of his working day. It would deem everything that built up to that moment as a rather redundant and pointless exercise, for him personally. It will cause on set friction of a different kind.

On Saturday, Spurs resembled that hassled, overly eager and ultimately despairing porn star unable to fulfil and complete the work he's been paid to do. Plenty of swagger and winks to the camera. But no closure. No lingering camera shot and fade out. At White Hart Lane it felt like a session with the fluffer post lights camera action rather than on-set sweating under the lights. It lacked the required relief and that outpouring sigh of ecstasy.

Now if this was a porn movie, someone else would walk onto set and take the role of delivering said money shot, in the knowledge that expert editing in the studio later that day will make it all look seamless. Sadly there is no such cameo to facilitate into this disturbing analysis at this point of the match review. Equally so, if you’re going to ask who West Ham would be in this fantasy, I’d probably opt for Belladonna. Not particularly good looking and usually resembling a complete mess by the end of it, on this occasion frustrating the leading man and the viewers that prefer not to witness a sadistic fetish involving no penetration.

0-0. No money shot. And no satisfaction when the credits roll.

I recently said we could not afford to drop any more home points. Oops. We lost our buffer when losing to Blackpool and drawing at Wolves – meaning that when we play the likes of Chelsea and City and Arsenal (Liverpool too) – these will be must win games. If you look at the table, City are not that far ahead of us (closer thanks to their loss at Stamford Bridge). It’s not impossible, just that we’ve lost plenty of points that would have gone a long way in aiding the fight for fourth. But alas, our way remains the hardest way. As per usual.

There were plenty of positives along with one or two moments of despondent shrugs and waving of hands in disbelief. The perfect illustration of so near and yet so far. It almost resembled the template of game we experienced at the start of the campaign against City. A massive dollop of possession and some guilt edged chances along with unwanted appearances from the woodwork and in-form opposition keeper.

What went wrong this time?

We lined up with a formation that was hardly necessary considering this was at the Lane and against West Ham United (with no disrespect to the East Londoners). No need to over complicate matters with one up top when two would have worked fine. Not that we struggled to get into goal scoring positions. Even with van der Vaart deeper than Linda Lovelace*. Unless you believe that was part of the strategy to dominate the midfield.

*yes, I’ve done that joke before, but felt it relevant enough to spit out once more

For all our wonderful to look at passing and possession, shifting play from left to right, attacking the channels and playing through the middle – it was balanced out with heads turning away in disbelief. Thirty one attempted shots at goal. That’s a lot of head turning.

Defoe was unlucky today. I felt that he only needed a further forty-seven shots on goal himself before finding the net. Two things here, condolences for his very recent loss. It’s a tricky one to gauge with regards to his concentration and composure being completely in synch with the game and not disturbed (even ever so slightly) with off field matters. He had no problem wearing his ‘100’ t-shirt underneath his Lilywhite colours which will need a spin wash before the next game. I'd hazard a guess that his head was in the game. His feet however were not. I won’t dwell on this too much longer other than to say: he should have scored. The Lennon effort off the woodwork the prominent miss. His other goal-sight fluffs seemed to lack the belief of his brace at Wolves.

Modric was his usual class act self. Covers so much ground and is practically involved in everything. His passing is majestic and his movement irresistible. Scott Parker was West Ham’s bright spark, a Jermaine Jenas with a sat nav. Bale still requires another game or two before he’s back at full pelt. Let’s hope International Break does not strike him down. van der Vaart should not have played. He’s not fit and as cited, this was a game that could have done with a more traditional set-up in formation. Rafa seemed to morph into a dizzy Robbie Keane, lost in the midst of midfield with no apparent link-up play with the single forward. The mechanics here needed oiling. The engineer out to lunch.

I was happy with the rest. Gomes alert and Sandro bruising and brilliant. Although Corluka seemed to struggle with a nosebleed the further up the field he travelled which saw some dizzying mis-placed passes.

Lack of cutting ruthless edge in front of goal our bane once more. In a season where most of the top sides are struggling with their demons, it’s worth highlighting that we’re not doing that much wrong. Other than perhaps making it far more difficult for ourselves in the long term by not pulling that trigger against opposition that we should be beating. Nobody in terms of assured quality from the back to the front is taking the league by the scruff of the neck. Hopefully we don’t come off fifth best in this wacky race.

Dawson, Lennon, Defoe, Bale, couple of Modric shots – all efforts that left you scratching your head mumbling ‘one of those days’ a cliché you just knew would rear its head in the post-match interviews. Harry made some fundamental mistakes in selection. But regardless, he can hardly remote control the players once they're out on the pitch.

It was still a cracking game, for the neutral. And City fans. And even easy on the eye for us, mostly. And let’s not pretend that West Ham didn’t have a chance to steal it. That’s a West Ham team that would have gladly taken a point at the start of play. That's how they set themselves up. They held it together, rode their luck, failed to take their chances but never allowed themselves to be over-run. They retained discipline. Relegation fodder? Not on this form. We'll never know how they'd have reacted if we managed to score. Shame we didn't win, what with City losing on Sunday. A point gained then?

Let’s conclude with a positive. Our football has rediscovered it's free-flowing form and we’re looking creative again. Bad luck and bad finishing the spoiler. That’s a negative, isn’t it? I’ve actually finished on a negative. Sorry. I did try not to.

I will therefore end on the porn star analogy that began this match report. What with us failing to deliver the money shot, we could have facilitated and edited things a little by introducing a smouldering cameo Croatian from the watching flank for that final necessary jolt and essential conclusion to the story arc rather than sticking with pizza delivery boys who forgot the mayo. Sadly, the director ignored this possible saving grace and will probably need to add CGI to make amends. Don’t expect to find the DVD on any top shelf any time soon.





What's wrong with this picture?

I'd expect a better mock up if the OS is awarded to Spurs, then the designers can go to town much like they did with the now dead in the water Northumberland Development Project (it's dead in the water). At the moment however, we are teased with a rather strange single piece illustration. Not sure what irks me more. The buildings central in the background or the tall red monstrosity looking down at the stadium (never red damn you!). Don't even get me started on the break dancers. I can see it now. Headhunters v the Spurs Yoof. Body popping in Burberry.

Couple of other things in there that hardly appeal to the common football fan, but yes, it's a mock up and if you look closely to some of the design photos of the NDP they actually included a skating rink.

RIP Football, eh?


Levy on TalkSport...listen here.


Click on image to enlarge, if you wish to make your eyes bleed


Once more, I'm placing my hope that Levy is masking his true intentions. Would hardly make sense to tell us there will be a referendum then once more brutally state that there is no option available other than a move to East London. Unless his mind is getting cloudy with the PR soundbites (unlikely).

To further cement the contradictions, note the usage of the word 'current' in his comments on the NDP being dead in the water. Reading too much into it, am I? Then again, if my hope that this is a grand game of poker rings true, what if we are awarded the OS? I guess, either way - Levy will get what he wants. Just no pleasing all of us I'm afraid.

Also - couple of things I saw this morning that made me giggle.

“I don’t think running tracks work, particularly behind the goal. The customers are so far back it doesn’t work" - David Sullivan

Make your minds up.

And from early 2010 just for larfs:

"The bigger dream is for West Ham fans to have a football stadium. He (Coe) can have an athletics track elsewhere. We would offer tickets at £5 a go for some matches. We can bring Premier League football back to the people" - David Sullivan

Prem League the Championship! It's revolutionary! This is the best from the same article from early 2010:

"Karren is a good businesswoman but she doesn't understand football"


Yes, yes, Levy has contradicted himself aplenty with the promises and shattered dreams but I'm beginning to wonder whether his greatest weapon is West Ham's inability to fight their corner. Or if you believe in the conspiracy theory, it's possibly the greatest threat to remaining in N17. Mainly because even with all the bad hype about Spurs and the legacy, many involved in the process of seleciton see the Spurs bid as being more viable (hate that word).

But as mentioned already, either way Levy will win.

Anyone for badminton?





Dear Mr Tottenham supporter, regarding Stratford...

Dear Mr Tottenham supporter,

Regarding Stratford.

It’s a reoccurring discussion point this, one that will soon go beyond protests and arguments once a decision has been made by those with the power to do so. The question being; Stratford? Potentially the new home of the world famous Spurs?

Fancy some of that? Personally, I’d like to reiterate once more; thanks but no thanks.

And yet many amongst us, in a blink of an eye, would be happy with this. It's in our catchment area, it's only a few miles up the road they say. And that we need to make the move otherwise it will cost us a couple of hundred million more, resulting in masses of debt if we proceed instead with the Northumberland Development Project. Haringey and Levy are playing a game of political mug-off, all with their own bluffs, double bluffs and agendas. They’re broke and want to use Spurs for the redevelopment of the area and Levy is using this excuse in addition to lack of public sector funding as a platform and easy way to push the Olympic Site as the only feasible alternative otherwise THFC's very future would be under threat. I call bullshit because if the OS is given to West Ham then what of a contingency plan? What do we do then? By definition, there has to be an alternative. Mainly because, Daniel Levy is no fool – and is hardly naive. So even though Wembley and Arsenal are tagged with receiving public sector money in every other complaint article you may have read, to base all hope on the NDP being manageable for the club on those extra funds...well, it seems very very flimsy and clumsy if to be believed.

It's not like Levy is going to shrug and give up on the vision if the OS goes to West Ham. He'll work towards a resolution. To appease us and to appease ENIC. And to fulfil the promise and the next stage. We have planning permission for N17, so if it’s vital for us to have a 50K+ ground - he will find a way. Unless all eggs have been placed in the Stratford basket from the very beginning. Either that, or he only recently gave up on N17. Which again, seems an improbable thing to do considering how difficult it is for anyone to get through the red tape of development to achieve their final goal.

It's just far far easier to opt for Stratford. No crippling debt we are told and then he can build a stadium and eventually sell the club for untold millions to someone like AEG (who have a habit of getting involved in this type of thing) and could soon be partners in crime if the bid is won.  But what of the advantages of moving there I hear you ask? A stadium with a ready-made infrastructure of travel links, the rich in the City a short distance away and countless corporate t*ssers and day tripping tourists. Revenue, it's the new Promised Land. Levy is serious about it, you only have to look at the people he's appointed to talk up the OS bid and the statements they have made. Eggs firmly in that basket then – and if the bid fails, then onwards (back to) North London to make that work.

What some of our faithful are failing to see is that it's hypocritical to move onto someone else's patch. Imagine someone moving into North London. Oh hold up...wait...

It's also quite lazy to believe this is the only viable alternative (I’m going to keep on repeating this) and we'll stagnate if we don't move to Stratford. Moving would also make as a franchised club. Five miles or not. That might sound overly dramatic, but it's fact. If the project in N17is complicated and will take longer in terms of building it (having to knock down parts of WHL – playing with a reduced capacity etc), what is ‘longer’ when the end result is to retain our home and a ground in our area for another 130 years or so? We're not going anywhere, are we? Or perhaps, we are.

There has been no final ‘we are so so sorry’ statement to explain that staying in North London is not, unequivocally not, an option because of the debt we would inherit during the redevelopment. If, 100 per cent without a shadow of a doubt, if...remaining in N17 would cripple us for a decade or so, then perhaps we need to revisit and understand how viable redeveloping White Hart Lane itself would be. If we have to move to survive, it would change perspective. But it's hardly that is it? Is it?  If it was, unquestionable, they’d hardly be any debate just more questions about other potential options. Are we staring into oblivion? Are we?

How hard is that gun pressed to the back of your head?

I appreciate Levy is a very shrewd chairman, a good business man and in recent years (finally) a good leader with regards to the actual football (appointing a back to basics manager and letting go of the D.o.F system). He runs the club brilliantly. It's what we expect. It's his responsibility. And even if you might not get the impression from this letter, he does ‘care’. But he’s still a business man who uses business to drive the club forwards. I do get that. But to ignore all of the footballing sentiments? Sometimes, those intangible elements – they speak far more loudly than pennies under the bed.

Levy has a responsibility. To us. And everyone else who has a (different type of) share in the club. ENIC are an investment company and their main priority above all will always concern the money they can make back from their investment. They have an end game. They will be long gone and our legacy will be stuck in East London - making us a club with a history detached back in North London.

Again, I get told countless times 'this is progress' and that I should ‘allow us to create new history’ and that if it's good enough for other clubs why should we bother attempting to define ourselves by citing North London derbies and rivalry and passing judgement on other clubs on what they have done or are doing to be the very best? We should be selfish I'm told and we should focus on making as much money as possible to be able to challenge top end season in and season out. Money, money, money. Its progress. Spare ribs and prawn sandwiches dished up at half time so we can afford the bills to sign and keep world class players.

I guess football has changed. But once more, it’s not do or die until I see it written in blood. That gun, it’s nowhere near the back of my head. Can you feel anything at the back of yours?

Apparently all this money will also guarantee success. May as well invite a billionaire to buy us out and invest £500M in players. If we are that desperate. Okay, being pedantic a little there. Money will aid with remaining competitive. But no guarantees. We’ve been high spenders for years and years. It’s not worked out that well for us until we sat with two points from eight games.

The football. The kicking and pushing of the ball. On the pitch. That has led us to fourth spot. That has allowed us to dream and want for more. It should always – always – be about the football and the desire to succeed. It’s hardly down to the money spent. Sure we spent some, within our current means. And the other superpowers around us, not all of them are in a position to compete with us in the transfer market. But let’s move on from this.

Tottenham the area is a toilet and we’re not the only club whose ground is sat in a toilet. It could become less of one if people started to play ball. That includes you Lammy. People supporting the move are not considering how much the Spurs match day landscape in terms of support and vibe will change. New chapter, I'm told, stuck in the past, I'm accused of. History is relative. It sure is. I hope you enjoy chatting about it in a pub or cafe in Newham which is draped with Claret and Blue colours or Orient colours.

Imagine us winning a Cup. Open bus parade. Through the streets of East London. Stratford, Leyton etc. I don't know about you, but that would be like waving your willy around in the front garden of your girlfriends ex-boyfriend. All a bit unnecessary and avoidable, when waving it around in your own bedroom is far more applicable to the occasion. Call me sentimental.

Sorry for thinking football was about moments, about games, about having a drink pre and post match and making a go of it on the pitch without sacrificing and boxing up your heritage and traditions and replacing emotions completely with harsh economics that instruct us to move now or perish. You know, we've got where we are today by bucking the trend.

I want what is best for the club. And competing at the highest level is what we can all agree on as an ambition although some of us are fine with us just being Tottenham. Regardless, let's try to remain anchored to the place that gives us our name. Try a bit harder. Much harder. Without going weak at the knees at something we are only bidding for because of the apparent commercial support we have backing us - allowing all involved to swim in the quick fix, no matter the consequences.

They say, N17 is but a post code. It doesn't mean anything, not really. The club, its history and traditions - these will remain forever with us and can't be pinned down geographically. Honesty and integrity and Innovation, free flowing football, flair players. Glory nights. This is Tottenham. The fans and the fans expectations of what the club should be. It's not a post code, I agree. But it’s what the post code stands for, what it should stand for. And it should not be replaced by one starting with the letter 'E' and representing a by product of commercialism first and a football club second.

It's consumed the Prem League. Let's not let it consume us completely.

I should not even be bothering to quantify all this. Home is where the Hart is. We are the one constant that will always remain ever present. We, the fans. And all the romantic notions should not be dismissed because they can't produce profit. And they should not have to be packaged up and sent to another part of London for the sake of said profit.

You might not agree, you might cite what I’ve already stated that history is pinned to you, on you – the Spurs fan. Where you go, Tottenham goes. Football (and fans) are fickle, rule changing to suit their preference. I refuse to change the rule.

North London is ours.

We should not even be considering Stratford and I can only hope this is part of some Machiavellian strategy by the chairman. Because the alternative is Tottenham Hotspur without the Tottenham. Perhaps in ten years we'll up and move from East London to the Midlands for easier accessibility for the rest of the country to the brand new home of Sportstainment.

In conclusion - We as fans and as a club have retained plenty of pride in old skool integrity. You know, traditional values pertaining to heritage and history. The type of things you can't slap a price on because, let's face it, its priceless stuff.

We've struggled, no doubt, in the past, but recent management on the pitch has gone some way to repairing the damage. It's a quick fix to accept the OS as the only way to consolidate. And God have mercy on all involved if the Sky Sports money making machine stops printing the notes. It's a risk either way. But it’s a soulless one to the East.

And if we go to the East, there will be no national Olympic Stadium. No running track or obvious legacy paid for by tax payers. Keys to be handed over to a football club for them to demolish a stadium built at a cost of £500M for a few weeks worth of athletics. East London will lose out on the regeneration project in and around Upton Park. West Ham won’t have a new home. What a shame their bid is so weak in impact, hey Karren? And let's not forget Orient. Or have we already? And then there's White Hart Lane, home of many Glory Glory nights which will probably be turned into a massive housing development, flats for the locals, concrete where once Dave Mackay and Danny Blanch flower stood with studs on ball. A car park where Bill Nicholson’s ashes rest.

It's our club. It was our club. It will hardly be our club. Say no to Stratford.

Regards to all. And...

Come on you Spurs.


Be sure to visit We are N17 for your anti-Stratford fix and latest news. You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Previous Stratford/N17 articles:

N17: Home is where the heart is

A nail in the coffin of Stratford?

For some, it's a brutal interrogation...

If Stratford Hotspur ends there (guest blog tehTrunk)


And as an alternative form of petition against moving out of North London and into East and follow: FC Hotspur of Tottenham.





Olympic Stadium chit chat with Spurs and West Ham fans

You might have seen one or two people interviewed over the FA Cup weekend, at the Lane and in the depths of the East End. Question posed; Stratford, yes or no? Here's a short preview montage of opinions. As you might (quite obviously) expect both sets of fans are pretty much of the same fragmented opinions we've argued about plenty of times here and on practically every other discussion board and blog that has asked the same question. Some like the idea, some don't.  And some really don't.


No big shock here. Would be interested to know whether West Ham fans want to move there as much as some of us don't. Equally so the fans that do want a move. Curious that one of the West Ham fans thought they could fill the OS and one Spurs fan thought we've got the money to just go ahead with the Northumberland Project.

Referendum anyone?

For the full videos for both sets of fans, Spurs and West Ham - click below:


Tottenham Fans

West Ham Fans


Be sure to visit We are N17 for your anti-Stratford fix and latest news. You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Previous Stratford/N17 articles:

N17: Home is where the heart is

A nail in the coffin of Stratford?

For some, it's a brutal interrogation...

If Stratford Hotspur ends there (guest blog tehTrunk)


And as an alternative form of petition against moving out of North London and into East and follow: FC Hotspur of Tottenham.





FAO Sullivan, Gold and Brady


Welcome to my fourth entry in my International Break diary journals. This one is a video-entry and a message to Sullivan, Gold and Brady.



You've been watching the fourth part of Spooky's International Break diary journals.

Part one can be read here.

Part two here.

Part three here.