“It’s a funny old game”. Never has an old football saying rung so true after the events at White Hart Lane. Where can you even start? Well let’s go back to the build up to the match first of all. All the footie ‘pundits’ were writing us off beforehand with the general consensus amongst most that we’d be on the end of a 2-0 defeat.
Not a bad analysis you would assume and, indeed, speaking to the editor of this fine publication who was gathering ideas and thoughts about articles for today’s issue, I intimated that I would probably be writing this article based on us languishing on the bottom three and wondering whether we were in a full blown crisis. Yet as the match was drawing near I started looking at things a lot closer, analysing the statistics and the results of both West Ham and Tottenham over the course of the season and started to realise we did actually have a glimmer of hope.
Despite all the plaudits for Tottenham they were finding goals hard to come by. In fact they’d only scored six in their six matches so far and only Norwich had conceded more than one against them. Looking at our record, we had the much lauded ‘only conceded one goal from open play’ stat and, better yet, our only goal conceded away from home came from the penalty spot.
Granted the fact that we hadn’t mustered a goal on our travels loomed large in the negative thought processes but as kick off approached and I was watching Chelsea huffing and puffing away in East Anglia, I had a sneaky suspicion we might have an extra point on the board by Sunday evening. Yes, one point, most definitely not three.
Even so I was fully expecting the match to follow similar lines to our other recent away performances, ie. turgid. So much so that as the final whistle sounded on the early kick off, I drank my pint, headed home and proceeded to make dinner whilst having the West Brom v Arsenal match on in the background. It was only the lack of messages that alert me to West Ham action, good or bad, that come through even if I want to know or not that led me to switch over as the action from the first half drew to a close. So far so good I thought. The 0-0 game plan was working well.
Now you don’t need me to go into any detail about events in the second half and I’m fully aware others will be able to dissect and discuss the tactical prowess and sheer wonder of those 45 minutes far better than I can but it was great to experience that ‘high’ again of not only winning but winning in style, capped with ‘that’ goal which I watched in almost disbelief. Was that really a West Ham player who had just done that? I mean, really? So after enjoying Sunday night it was back to the radio job the next day .
Before I start my programme I do a typical ‘DJ’ handover with the presenter who is on before me. Not that I enjoy doing these things, you understand, but forced to do it never the less. With the working week being Sunday to Thursday over here, we had discussed the upcoming West Ham match as we always do if the Hammers are playing on a Sunday the previous morning and, as always. I am generally in full negative mode when it comes to predicting the outcome.
It’s what needs to be done. Why tempt fate by saying I fully expect West Ham to come away with three points? Never do it, and generally it serves me quite well. So, on Monday we were rabbiting away radio-stylie, got to the end of our ‘bit’ and the other presenter announced on air that he couldn’t believe I’d just managed to get through it without a single mention of our stunning achievement. Dreamland, I responded, it all still seemed so surreal, so untrue.
And there we have it. What on Earth can happen today? For the first time in a long time I simply do not have one iota of a clue how this match will turn out. Will a ‘false nine’ style 4-6- 0 cut it at home? Which Manchester City team will show up? Should we be gunning for six points out of six or will being more confident and more believing in our own ability simply lead us to shoot ourselves in the foot?
The Premier League has become more and more competitive in recent years as we all know and this year it really has started with pretty much anyone having the chance to beat anyone else, it could be the tightest race at both ends of the table in the history of the competition.
All we have to do is make sure we’re not involved at the bottom end again and hope that the crest of the wave we’ve been riding since last Sunday doesn’t crash back in on itself but continues to allow us to surf on its top jubilantly into the evening. What is certain though, is that it is West Ham we support and as well all know it means that almost anything can happen.