Looking Forward



Premier League

Saturday 24th November 2001

With all the points heading for Upton Park on Monday, Charlton produced a late equaliser to grab a point, much as Spurs did against Arsenal.  So another London derby straight after means that the passions will once again be aroused and a fiercely fought one will no doubt be the order of the day.

With Shaka Hislop having taken the gloves after David James' knee injury only moments after coming on for England against Holland in August, it looked as though he was in for a long run.  This was especially true when reserve keeper Craig Forrest was diagnosed as having testicular cancer and youngster Stephen Bywater getting a hand injury, which is a bit of a problem for a goalie !!  However, James has recovered and will probably make his debut for the Irons as against us, despite punching two crosses in a reserve game into his own net.  

In front of him, the defence has been criticised in some quarters (oh, alright, by everybody) for their leakiness.  Despite having strengthened this area in numbers after the departure of Rio Ferdinand, it is the quality that has been lacking.  Christian Dailly plays in the middle of defence with Tomas Repka, when he manages to stay on the field.  His reputation has been blighted by two red cards since he arrived at West ham and another while playing for the Czech Republic.  Coming in from Japan, Hayden Foxe will be off with Australia for their World Cup play-off against Uruguay as he tries to help his homeland return to his former footballing home.  Scott Minto has done the rounds of London clubs, but is currently out of favour, while youngster Adam Newton has a good Press and at one time was watched with interest by Spurs.  Old lag Ian Pearce may feature if he has overcome the myriad of injuries he has suffered and another long-service medal winner Steve Potts won't add height to the back line, but is always there to be called upon if needed.  Sebastien Schemmel, an import from France hasn't really travelled well like the wine of his country and Rigobert Song has just been a massive flop, both in terms of value and ability.  A loan deal to Cologne with the prospect of a permanent move would see him leave for a song.  Gooner Winterburn could be back for the game after a hamstring pull, but Gazza 1991 FA Cup final tackle victim Gary Charles is out until January with the club injury of a hamstring, funnily enough.

Having lost Frank Lampost Junior in the summer, the midfield has been little added to, with the axis of Carrick and Cole the blueprint for the Irons future.  These two talented youngsters make most of the things happen in midfield, but Cole is just returning form injury, while Carrick has found the weight of carrying the midfield mainly on his own a heavy one.  To beef up this part of the team with both physical presence and experience, Glenn Roeder took Don Hutchison back from Sunderland to the Boleyn ground at the cost of £5.25 million.  His return has coincided with the Hammers losing their better players and he has found it difficult to make a big impact, but he does like to get forward from midfield and also likes to get stuck in.  Among the other names bought with the stack of cash at his disposal are Laurent Courtois was brought from Toulouse on a free and Aussie Michael Ferrante who made the journey from his country's Institute of Sport for the princely sum of ... nothing.  Norwegian Ragnvald Soma is a player I know little about and he has hardly hit the headlines, so the likelihood of him making them against us increases, I suppose, while John Moncur will try and make his ark against his former club - possibly on someone's shin.  He has picked up four yellow cards in seven games !! Steve Lomas is still there, probably playing his last season as injuries have taken their toll on the Irishman and even though he is getting on, they have missed his energy and drive during the early part of the season.

The main man at the club is not the manager, but Paolo Di Canio (I don't know what the Di stands for).  He really makes things happen both on the pitch and in the newspapers, but they are not always for the right reason.  A sublime player when he is on form and one who might as well not be there when he isn't, but he can make it worth going to a game for one moment of genius.  His partner upfront is likely to be Frederick Kanoute, who will be back for the game after a hamstring pull.  He is a smooth mover, who has interested a number of clubs with his skill on the ball and the ability to score regularly.  That is also something that can be said of Jermaine Defoe, who has been on loan at Bournemouth for a season where he broke all sorts of scoring records.  Small, but nippy and has the striker's instinct, he can be a thorn in the side of any team.

Former Spurs trialist Titi Camara is in their squad although hasn't featured for some time, which just reinforces my opinion of him at the time he played a couple of games in our team.  Having not scored for two years in claret and blue, Paul Kitson went goal crazy on Monday getting three against Charlton Athletic.  A journeyman goalscorer, he has fallen upon hard times at West Ham, getting stick from their fans as he struggled for goals.  Newcomer Grant McCann is highly rated at Upton Park, but his first significant contribution to the team was an own goal in the thrashing by Blackburn Rovers.  Svetoslav Todorov came with a promise of good things, which have gone the same way of his shots - astray.  There was even talk of Roeder getting shot of him to Portsmouth recently, but he is still at the club, which is just bout what you could say about Trevor Sinclair.  Having seen the more talented players depart from the side, he is not happy to remain there as the years go by and his international career slips away form him.  Having submitted his transfer request and been linked with many moves, the former Blackpool and QPR man has had some flak from the loyal Irons fans, but is still turning in decent performances for his team.  A tricky wide man, who can score spectacular goals, he could be the main and consistent threat on the day.

With a record that shows they have conceded 25 goals in all competitions, were knocked out of the Worthington Cup by Reading on penalties and conversely have beaten Chelsea and drawn with Leeds.  Despite all the foregoing, a derby match wipes that slate clean, meaning that it will be how the two sides play on the day.  I believe that Spurs will have too much for West ham to cope with and our attacking play will be able to open them up, with Gus and Ziege causing the home side problems with their industry and crossing respectively.  This will lead to this outcome ...

PREDICTION : -  West Ham United  1  Tottenham  3

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.



West Ham United    0  Tottenham   1                       (Half time score: 0-0)
Saturday 24th November 2001
Weather : -  Cloudy, chilly
Crowd : -   32,780
Referee : -  David Elleray (Harrow)

Scorers : -  West Ham United   -   None
                  Tottenham -  Ferdinand 49


West Ham United :  Cole 82 (Unsporting behaviour), John Moncur 83 (foul)

Spurs :   Freund 81 (foul), Perry 85 (foul)


West Ham United :  James; Schemmel, Repka, Dailly, Minto; Lomas (Moncur 51), Hutchison, Cole, Sinclair; Kitson, Defoe
Unused subs : - Hislop, Foxe, Todorov, Courtois

Spurs : Sullivan; Ziege, Richards, King, Perry; Poyet (Leonhardsen 51), Anderton, Freund, Davies; Sheringham, Ferdinand
Unused subs : - Beasant, Thelwell, Bunjecevic, Rebrov

West Ham’s biggest crowd for over 20 years was possible for the visit of Tottenham following the opening of most of the new stand.  It is a strange sight with the Stand well away from play and what can only be described as allotments running between the seats and the pitch.  The “dugout” is at present an array of plastic chairs on the side of the pitch!  No doubt it will gradually improve.  Many performances from West Ham like this one however and they may have to rename their Premier Lounge as the Nationwide Lounge!  Spurs had one change to their team with Davies coming in at right wing back for the injured Taricco.  The good news was that West Ham were missing Di Canio and Carrick, although Cole and Lomas returned.  David James made his long awaited West Ham debut after being injured at the start of the season playing for England at White Hart Lane.

It was a poor first half with Spurs concentrating on containing West Ham.  The best move of the half belonged to Spurs.  Poyet flicked a pass with his heel to Ferdinand.  Les again flicked the ball on with his heel to Sheringham.  Teddy took the ball as he advanced into the 18-yard box and hit a thunderous shot with his left foot, which flew past James and crashed back into play off the crossbar.  The Spurs defence looked comfortable and we were starting to dominate midfield. 

After just five minutes of the second half Spurs scored.  Ferdinand put the ball out wide for Davies and Simon’s cross was perfect for Poyet arriving late in the middle of the goal in Martin Peters style.  Poyet’s downward header was kept out by James, but he was only able to palm the ball onto the post and in to the path of the on-rushing Ferdinand.  Sir Les crashed the ball into the net.  The celebrations of the Spurs players were however muted, as after heading the ball Poyet had clashed heads with a West Ham player.  I believe it was Sinclair as he immediately left the field and returned having had stitches.  As for Poyet he looked out cold. Teddy signalled frantically for the trainer to hurry.  Eventually Poyet got to his feet and staggered around by the goal.  He was refusing to leave the field and appeared convinced it was a corner.  Eventually he staggered off and was helped round the pitch to the tunnel.  He was greeted with jeers by the “sporting” West Ham fans who accused him of time wasting whilst he was concussed! He spent the night in hospital. 

It was Les’s first away goal since Sheffield Wednesday two years ago, which took Spurs to the top of the Premier League overnight.  Leonhardsen came on for Poyet and was quickly involved in the action.  Another excellent Spurs move saw Ferdinand lay the ball into the path of Leo and with the goal at his mercy, Leo hammered the ball against the post.  The woodwork was to come to the aid of West Ham again later when Sheringham latched onto a loose ball and swept his shot past a stranded James only to again see the effort come back off the bar.  

Sullivan only had to make a couple of saves from long range efforts and was not really troubled.  There were a couple of bookings for both sides and not surprisingly these included Moncur for his usual petulance.  The Tottenham back three of Perry, Richards and King were outstanding and snuffed out the West Ham attack.  Sheringham and Freund had reasonable games but man of the match goes to Ferdinand for his effort, overall play and the goal.  

West Ham’s best player - the woodwork!


Eric the Viking




The early news that Carrick and Di Canio were out was slightly putting the balance in Tottenham's favour even though we were missing Taz.  With Davies in midfield and Perry pulling wide, the side kept it's balance as lot better than West Ham did.

From the early exchanges, there looked little between the teams.  Despite Teddy crashing his shot from 15 yards off the bar, there was not too much to get excited about in the first period.

The second half was decidedly more lively, although the loyal Irons dared to raise their voices only rarely.  Ted's bent shot hit the post late on after Leo had smacked a drive against the frame of the goal.  Luckily by then, Les had seized on James' save that guided Gus' header onto the post.  As he charged in to slam it home from 0.5 feet out, Hutchison on the line appeared to flinch away with fear.  No wonder he kicked the ball out of the ground when the goal was given.

Unfortunately, Gus had been laid out as he bravely went in for the header, having clashed heads with Sinclair.  The want-away West Ham winger needed his head seen to, while Gus remonstrated with anyone near enough to argue with, as to why Spurs had not got the corner !!  He wobbled around,, before the physio decided he had seen enough of  Poyet's concussed state.  Off he went to hospital for the night.  It was a shame as he had been instrumental on what had gone on previously.  He was getting his range with a series of shots that flew over the bar, while he managed to track back to deny Hutchison a headed chance in the first half.

Leo was industrious when he came on to replace Poyet, but his legs look to have gone a bit when he is tracking back.  Davies was outstanding.  Not only going forward to put in the cross for the goal, but he managed to get between the boxes to do his fair share of defending too.  Perry also looked a bit more comfortable, although he did get booked for a late foul.  He needs to be more aware of what is going on around him, both in terms of defending and distribution though.

Teddy looked a class above most players on the field.  He was unlucky not to score, but his vision and knowledge of where people were going to be helped set up most of the chances Spurs made.  The one touch football that led to his first half shot hitting the bar was sublime.  Les was involved in that too and looked more like the Ferdinand of old, setting things up as well as being in for the kill to finish it off.

Ziege was tormenting the Irons defence with some wicked crosses, while Richards and King had a mostly quiet afternoon, just doing what was needed and setting the ball rolling in the right direction.  And that is something that Freund has learned to do.  His presence on the pitch goes mainly unnoticed, but he is so effective in what he does and now that he is allowed to use the ball, he starts things for Tottenham.  He is really flowering as a talent that his former reputation had prevented blossoming.

The only one who didn't stand out on Saturday was Darren Anderton, who despite that did a fair amount of work.  It was just not one of his more fruitful days in terms of attacking contributions.

The opposition were not up to much either.  They looked like a side destined to struggle, so you can understand why Sinclair has asked for a transfer.  You cannot understand why players want to go to Upton Park though.  Cole is skillful, James not a bad keeper, Defoe a great prospect and Hutchison gets up and back.  But the spark lies with Carrick and Di Canio.  Without them Cole cannot carry the whole team on his back.  With the Italian, his temperament means that you never know which Paolo you will get - the mercurial or the missing - while Carrick again needs to develop and doing so in a good side would be more beneficial to him.

In the end it could have been more.  When the season ends, we will look back and ask "How many goals would we have had if the ball had just been three or four inches lower or inside the post ?"  Talk about "You've Been Framed " !!


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