Spurs fans. Deluded the lot of them. Always wearing their hearts on their sleeves. We tend to mug ourselves off far too often thanks mainly to the giddy excitement and endless dreams of glory. But that’s fine. We have a standing and purpose in football. For a club that isn’t quite big but is definitely not small, we do our bit in the entertainment stakes. If it’s aiming high pre-season, lapping up the tabloid hype, only to once more fail epically and end up in a transitional season (isn’t that every year?) or over-spending on players not worth a quarter of their price tag, we always make someone smile.
Be honest, I bet you neutrals can’t wait to email your mates that ‘Tottenham 3 Walthamstow 1’ picture again and post a joke in the Facebook Tottenham Relegation Party group. But it’s fine. No really it is. We’ve still managed to win silverware in every decade since the 50’s. Still sign top class players. Still play (attempt to) attacking football. And few English clubs have been earmarked for an Opus release. Not bad going I guess.
Was I just displaying that trait that we're hated for? Delusions of grandeur? Nope. It's called pride. Yes, it's actually ok to be proud even if its limited to a Milk Cup every now and again.
We are Spurs. We are not afraid to dream. And at least there’s never a second of boredom supporting them.
But what about West Ham United? Personally, I’ve never been one to dislike them and their tradition. They have an identity unlike the Charltons and Fulhams of this world. They always try to play free-flowing attractive football and have possessed some sublime flair players over the years. But apart from winning the World Cup, the only other thing of note they have achieved is that they stopped Spurs from claiming Champs League football. And the 1980 FA Cup win. But beating Spurs was better. The difference between the two clubs is that we actually manage an open bus parade now and again. Relegation and promotion litters their history far more than trophies.
It’s their fans I’ve always been unsure of. Hate Spurs first, support West Ham second. It’s no exaggeration. Main reason given is because we think we are bigger than they are. Well of course we are. They also love to laugh at our soap opera antics concerning chairman and managers. Spurs always good for a laugh, innit? But they always manage to out-do us when it comes to the wrong type of headlines (Tevez affair). That doesn't warrant an open bus parade by the way.
Geographically, you could argue there’s a rivalry, but in terms of importance Arsenal and Chelsea are by far bigger rivals. Ok, so you’re going to point out to me that Arsenal and Chelsea have bigger fish to fry. They do. But take a seat in one of those games and tell me it doesn’t matter to both sets of fans. West Ham, home or away, always feels like the appetiser or dessert to the main course that is the NLD or bantering with those delightful Chelsea fans. Do we hate losing to them? Of course we do. But not half as much as losing to the goons or the celery waving lot.
So, when Scott Duxbury (chief executive at West Ham) tells everyone that he refuses to sell any of his players to Spurs ever again because we are local rivals, that’s fine. Yes, I said it’s fine. Why should he not protect his club from poachers? But the very act of standing up to us and saying 'NO' speaks volumes for the stature of both clubs. Wouldn't happen the other way round, would it? We are always happy to sell to West Ham.
We are of far more important significance to them than they are to us. Have you ever heard anyone from Spurs proclaiming that we must finish above West Ham? It’s a bit like saying we must finish above Boro. Although this season, I could do with just finishing above Stoke, WBA and Newcastle.
Maybe if West Ham concentrated on a higher objective rather than ‘finishing above Tottenham’ they might actually progress and improve as a club rather than being that team that sometimes ends up with more points than Spurs.
Fingers crossed Duxbury doesn’t suffer the indignity of administration or point’s deduction.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank him so very much for not allowing us to buy Bellamy. You've done the Spurs faithful a massive massive favour there. Gives me yet another reason to not hate West Ham, to sit alongside that Brooking Cup final header.