Saturday, 22 August 2009
West Ham v Tottenham Preview. The Best Of Times, The Worst Of Times.
On the day before tomorrow, I find myself remembering the best of times and the the worst of times in true Dickens (not Alan!) fashion. For the best of times, I go back to April 1, 1972, the day a young kid by the name of Ade Coker made fools of Tottenham Hotspur. For the worst, the 2nd of February 1987, when Tottenham humbled us 5-0 at the Lane in a League Cup replay.
In 72 I was just 13 and was inside that magic bubble you feel as a kid when you see your heroes take the field. It was an early kick off from memory, probably 12 or 1.00, and we always got to the ground 2 hours before kick off to get in the queue for tickets before it snaked down Green Street. We were only just inside the gates as it happens, and I was worried sick we might not get in, despite the assurances of my now dead Dad to the contrary. Tottenham finished 6th that season, we ended up in 13th so we probably went into the game as slight underdogs. The team that day will be mostly familiar to older Irons fans: Grotier, McDowell, Clive Charles, Bonds, Taylor, Moore, Ayris, Best, Coker, Brooking and Pop Robson, with Kevin Lock coming on as a sub for Ayris. That side would have been remarkable at the time for one thing – the inclusion of THREE black players. Ron Atkinson like to boast about what he did to bring through black players in the English game but we were well ahead of him! The side must have been put together for tuppence happenie! McDowall came from Norwich, Bonds from Charlton, Taylor from Orient and Robson was the “big money buy” from Newcastle at £120,000! The rest were home produced. Coker stole all the headlines with a chirpy performance and a goal in our 2-0 victory. After this performance, there were high hopes that he could be something special but sadly, they came to nothing – he wasn’t quite a one game wonder but he did not have many memorable games for West Ham. The other scorer was Brooking with, as I remember, a lovely curled shot from just inside the box on the left hand side. A brilliant day!
In 87, I went to the game with a Tottenham fan, a work colleague, and ended up in the Tottenham section of the crowd (how appropriate some will say!). Three things stick in the memory – the brilliance of the Tottenham side that day (Waddle, Allen, Hoddle, Clausen), a Tottenham wag spotting a supporter in a wheelchair being pushed up the touchline before kick off and yelling, “It’s Billy Bonds on his warm up” and coming very close to punching a guy who was leaning on my back (no seats!) yelling “Easy, easy” as the fifth goal was being celebrated. Yes the fifth goal, we were thumped 5-0. The team sheet read Parkes, Bonds, Parris, Gale, Martin, Devonshire, Ward, McAvennie, Orr, Cottee, and Stewart Robson with Donkey Hilton coming on for George Parris. On paper, that team looks good but, the truth is, too many had ticked past their prime. We were murdered on the day.
Anybody else have personal memories of these or other West Ham and Tottenham encounters?
Posted by Hammersfan at 10:48