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Monday, 11th September 2000

Tottenham 1
West Ham United 0

by Chris Tye

You can always detect a point where a game is lost or won. Last nights match was not decided by Campbells' header, or Sullivan's saves, or Freddie/Cole/Di Canios misses.

It wasn't even decided by the ref. It was decided during the half time interval, where Harrys team talk of the 'sit down lads, have a cup of tea, relax, this one's in the bag' was thoroughly gazumped by George Graham's paint blistering effort. The net result was that individual inferiority became collective superiority, and events that thus unfolded were inevitable

If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and walks like a duck, it probably is a duck. The same thing, apparently, does not apply to crises, where according to Redknapp something that is a crisis by any definition you care to name is actually no such thing. The time has come for the 'crisis - what crisis?' approach, which has failed to turn around this thing, whatever it may be if it's not a crisis, to be supplanted by an alternative approach. Admitting we're in the shit, and acting like it would be my suggestion. As the flames licked higher, Redknapp said 'It's not a fire, it's just a tad warm today'. They say insanity is being in a minority of one, and Harry 'woof woof' Redknapp is out on his own on this one. This is a crisis, more capacious than an elephant's scrotum, larger than Vanessa Feltz's thermals, and it couldn't be more obvious if it wore its underpants outside its trousers, put a traffic cone on its head and sang 'She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes' in the middle of Picadilly circus.

Anyone who's followed this club for a few years knows exactly how this match went. One sentence is all I need: good start, nice football, missed chances, sat back after the break, set piece fuck up, no substitutions, couldn't equalise. As I feared the strains of 'going down' came half heartedly across the night air. For those of you not already on a big enough downer, at this same point in the season last year we had 13 points out of 15, the sideboard was groaning under the weight of the Intertoto Cup, and our first UEFA Cup game was days away. Since then, relegation League form, Mannygate, Tranmere and now this.

Player ratings:

Shaka - 7. Not at fault for the goal.

Rio - 6. Not at his best.

Pearce - 7. Solid, good shot saved.

Lomas - 7. Out of position (again). I'm hoping next time he plays out of position he has an utter stinker, then maybe the penny will drop.

Winterburn - 6. Combative, but he ain't a left wing back.

Sinclair - 7. A few raids down the right, good to see him back.

Carrick - 7. Popped up all over the show, but lacked his customary time on the ball.

Cole - 7. Some superb touches first half, faded second. Can be a feisty little sod, and I like that.

Lampard - ? I was tempted to leave this totally blank, but feel the need to vent my spleen. Gotta get it off my chest, otherwise I'll just smoulder all day long. Frank Lampard has ambitions of representing his country. At the moment, the only time he'd look as if he belonged would be when the teams stand still for the anthems. If he does have designs on representing his country, then perhaps a change of sports to one that suits him would be in order. Fortunately, I have the very thing - and if he's quick enough he could even make the Olympics. Small bore rifle shooting - where his uncanny ability to remain stock still, blocking his mind of all that's going on around him, would be a positive asset. Time to stop talking about playing for England, and giving 6 months of hard, consistent graft for young Frank.

Kanoute - 7 Great player, but unfortunately another in a long line of West ham strikers good at everything but, er, the striking.

Di Canio - 6. The fires only flickered tonight.


Quite possibly the most superfluous individuals in the stadium. Rumour has it Sugar has charged West ham for the cost of 5 additional match tickets, because under the stadium rules they were deemed 'spectators'.


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