By Allen Cummings
Thank goodness there’s light at the end of the international tunnel. I’m not talking about the possible re-emergence of England as a team worth taking interest in. I mean the hated international break is coming to an end and we can all once again focus on a return to Premier League action on Saturday. What a return it promises to be, when we entertain the team we all love to beat, Tottenham Hotspur.
There’s nothing sweeter than putting one over those annoying spuds. We’ve all got our own personal favourite victories I’m sure: The 1-0 win at the London Stadium in May 2017, when the north Londoners were pushing hard for that elusive Premier League title – and we stopped them in their tracks, must be right up there with some people.
Just like the famous ‘Lasagne Gate’ victory, when on the final day of the 2005-2006 season, with the Spuds vying with Arsenal for a final Champions League spot, we ruined their day with a 2-1 victory, and denied them the prize they sought. They blamed their defeat that day on some dodgy food the night before the game. But did we care? No chance!
My personal favourite victory over our old enemy was 25 years earlier. On a balmy September evening at White Hart Lane, at the start of the 1981-82 season. We had just returned to the First Division after a 13 year absence.
Tottenham were ‘doing up’ their ground which meant there were only three sides open – the West Stand refurb yet to be completed. The capacity was limited to 42,000, yet newspapers the next day had the attendance at 42,200. – and believe me it felt like it.
Clearly no health and safety in those days. It was a fantastic team performance that night as we powered to a brilliant 4-0 away victory with the individual star of the show, without doubt, David Cross (right) – the original ‘Psycho’ (long before Stuart Pearce) terrorised the Tottenham defence.
He notched all four of our goals in an incredible 90 minute display of goalscoring. By the time Cross’s fourth goal hit the back of the net in the 89th minute, two sides of White Hart Lane had virtually emptied. The famous ‘shelf’ had cleared.
But the Park Lane stand – packed to the rafters with jubilant West Ham fans, of which I was one, swayed and sang together in a tribute to a triumph I’ll never forget.
Are we likely to see a repeat of that famous victory on Saturday. It would be unbelievable, but unlikely. I certainly feel we have the beating of Pochettino’s boys. A repeat of the intensity with which we started the Manchester United game will put us firmly on the front foot.
Stoke up the atmosphere, get the crowd up and running, and another satisfying victory could be just 90 minutes away.