West Ham again and it’s important – for my own sanity at least – to frame just how important games against this lot are, always have been and always will be.
The Hammers are my irrational contempt, my source of tribal biliousness.
Perhaps it’s without coincidence that we played them in the first Spurs game I ever attended at The Lane (which happened to be Bill Nick’s Testimonial).
Our history with West Ham effortless predates the nonsense with Arsenal.
The backstory is straightforward enough and for the full details I cannot recommend ‘Does Your Rabbi Know You’re Here’ by Anthony Clavane. I had the pleasure of meeting Anthony a number of times on my travels and the distinct pleasure of having round to the house on one occasion.
In a nutshell, a significant factor in Spurs having a ‘Jewish Connection’ is the question, ‘well, why didn’t the East End Jews simply walk up to Upton Park, instead?’
‘Does Your Rabbi Know You’re Here’ provides an intriguing social landscape and on your way to answering the question, you’ll brush past some stuff that isn’t very nice.
I could be lazy and then go headlong into a diatribe about Antisemitism in the 21st century, but I’m not a social historian by trade and anything our fans have suffered at the hands of West Ham fans doesn’t simultaneously explain why Chelsea supporters (and others) can be as bad and worse.
Instead I might point you in the direction of TV’s Alf Garnett who referred to “the Jews up at Spurs”. Garnett of course was a reactionary, racist, bigoted, working class, conservative, played by Warren Mitchell who was of course both Jewish and a Tottenham fans.
It was Mitchell who at Bill Nick’s testimonial, bellowed ‘shaaaadup!’ at the Away End as the attempted to barrack and chant whilst he compared the celebrations. The West Ham fans went silent and a nervous chuckle from home fans spread around the ground.
This young blogger pulled his dad’s sleeve and asked, ‘They can’t get out and in here, can they?’
I was softly reassured that they couldn’t.
When Spurs play West Ham it’s a big game for both us, and to try and use a linguistic word bomb like ‘cup final’ let’s us down, and it lets history down.
This is always a big game, a proper London derby
People are beginning to wear poppies in earnest so how would you feel if someone referred to dismiss it as ‘your war’?
Spurs used to be a cup side.