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Monday, 11th September 2000

Tottenham 1
West Ham United 0

by Graeme Howlett

West Ham slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham tonight which left us firmly rooted at the bottom of Premiership thanks to a second half Sol Campbell header.

Campbell's goal on 67 minutes leaves the Hammers still searching for their first win of the season, and with just two points to show from the opening five games.

But it could have been so much better tonight. Yet again we were guilty of squandering good chances in the first half, and wasting opportunities that could have seen the game wrapped up by the break.

But Tottenham, who looked decidedly average on the night made us pay when a corner was nodded home by captain Sol Campbell. Even then there was an element of luck about it; the header was pushed on to the bar by keeper Shaka Hislop before it came down and bounced over the line off Shaka's back.

Harry Redknapp will bemoan the fact that he had so many players missing through injury, but it has to be said that the players on show are capable of showing an awful lot more than they did tonight. Frank Lampard is the obvious target; he was anonymous for large quantities of the game and was definitely still not match fit. Freddy Kanoute likewise, he was a shadow of the player who made such a good start to the season before suffering a hamstring injury.

But these apart, too many Hammers failed to perform tonight. Paolo Di Canio showed none of his usual trickery, and Michael Carrick was strangely anonymous. Joe Cole was perhaps the only bright spot for the Hammers, but even he failed to penetrate Spurs where it really hurt - in the final third of the field.

However, it was at the back that we had our best performers. Rio Ferdinand was effective in cancelling out the threat of cousin Les, after George Graham had decided to play with a three-pronged attack of Ferdinand (nullified), Iversen (okay) and Rebrov (dire).

And the old men Pearce and Winterburn had reasonable games too. Steve Lomas, thrust into the unfamiliar role of centre-back again (when we had both Potts and Peacock on the bench) did okay, but he is clearly a fish out of water in this position.

Sincs, playing on the right flank was also not at the races, and the fact that he was still not fully recovered from a groin strain was fairly obvious.

It's hard to write about the incidents of the game as I was stuck in a studio at Sky headquarters commentating for the FanZone presentation instead of being at White Hart Lane, so I'll leave that to others better qualified. But suffice to say that it was becoming clear halfway through the second period that we needed a change, as the home side began to get more and more on top. Redknapp, as is his way ignored the bench, and we played the remainder of the second period like a side devoid of ideas, and completely lacking in imagination.

Still, it was nice to hear the Hammers section of the crowd outsing the opposition for large quantities of the game. Just a shame the team couldn't give as much effort.

It's Liverpool on Sunday; our situation is starting to look worrying. Last week Redknapp was sure we'd still be in with a shout for Europe, after tonight all he would say is that we'd still finish in the top ten. But the truth is if we don't start winning soon we are going to find ourselves embroiled in the middle of a very messy battle for points at the wrong end of the table.

Too good to go down? On this performance, don't you believe it.

Graeme Howlett

West Ham: Hislop, Winterburn, Sinclair, Ferdinand, S.Pearce, Lomas, Lampard, Cole, Carrick, Di Canio, Kanoute

Subs: Moncur, Forrest, Peacock, Potts, Kitson

Tottenham: Sullivan, Carr, Tarricco, Campbell, Young, Freund, Leonhardsen, Sherwood, Rebrov, Ferdinand, Iversen

Subs: Thatcher (Tarricco 73), Vega (Young 50), Walker, Etherington, Clemence

Booked: Lampard, S.Pearce, Freund

Goals: Campbell (67)

Attendance: tbc

Referee: S.Dunn

Your views (use the form below to send us your version of events)

"So I take a day off and go to the local ex-pat pub (Shakespeare's) here in San Diego, CA for my first game as a Hammers Fan where I'm outnumbered by Lillywhites 15 to 1. No matter, I've forsaken all American professional sportz in favour of football -- and I'm ready to get the last laugh, surely, at White Hart Lane...

"Nothing could have prepared me for such a horrible display of lack. Worse, the pub monitor lost all audio for that entire travesty of a second half. I DARE anyone to watch shit football with no audio -- the mistakes only get magnified, leaving the commentary to you! And we were brutal, without choice. No execution from either side; no leadership; no winning attitude; no _urgency_ in the final minutes. But Sitting BACK and allowing a sloppy opponent to set up! Where's the self-respect? Are the players disenchanted with their coach? (a familiar refrain these days, innit). Well, I find Football a "cruel and capricious" game, but I'm here to stay -- and I'm with the collective lot of you when you say, "Wake UP, Harry!"

"Looking forward to visiting Upton Park someday. Crush the Scouse with style(s)."
Dave Irons

"A disgrace.

"Redknapp keeps giving us these excuses every week and i for one am getting sick of them. If we don't pick up some points on saturday against Liverpool then we should start to questions Redknapp's position.

"To lose to them is worse than 7-1 against Man U. I'm sick to the teeth."

"Watching from 10,000 miles away here in Perth WA, it's the same old West Ham still isn't it? Despite us having the best squad for years, we still have to prove that we have character and resilience. If we don't get our finger out soon we will be struggling to get out of the bottom 3 come March.

"The Spurs game was typical - we were great in the first half but failed to put away the chances. Once they scored any other goal in the game was going to come from them as well. We are not well known for pinching points away from home with last minute flourishes are we? We will never win anything until we have a team and manager that hates losing and fights to the death. If you are 1-0 up with 15 minutes to go at home against Arsenal, would you ever feel the game was safe? On the other hand, anyone 1-0 up against us with 15 mins to go could collct at the bookies. Until this changes, we are not going anywhere but down."

"Did Lampard play ?.......oh yeah, the only thing i saw of him was when the ref brandished the yellow card. Summers over now Frank (Ayia Napa and all that) get on with it.

"P.S Good commentary last night Graeme, shame about the Spurs fan."
Terry Stephens

"A good first half effort.

"We were missing the clinical finisher Suker to bring home at least a point from this one.

"Sunday Sunshine !!!"

"If we keep on playing people out of position rather than dropping them then we're going to win nothing.

"Harry needs the balls to drop average players like Lomas & Lampard and give other people their chance, last night Moncur even Peacock.

"At set pieces last night we lost every header and it was only a matter of time before they scored from one.

"If the players don't like being dropped for playing shit then they can f*$k off!"

"I have been through this in my mind time and time again and I just can not understand why Redknapp refuses to use the subs.

"It was painfully obvious that we had several players out on the field that were either:

a) not fit
b) not motivated
c) both

"If the player is not 100% fit, it is not right to expect him to play the full 90 minutes, if anything that is likely to trigger another injury and put him out for longer! Start him by all means, but be ready to substitute him when he tires. Obvious.

"A player should be motivated purely by pulling on the claret and blue in my opinion, but again, it is Redknapps job to make sure that the players out there ARE motivated and WANT TO WIN. In the second half we looked like a team that didn't care. Again, bring on some fresh legs that want to prove they should be in the starting line up, it might just change the game. Obvious.

"I like Harry, I admire what he has done for the club, and he is second to none in the transfer market. Unfortunately he has no tactical skills and no motivational qualities and without these we are in trouble. the time is right to either let him get a job 'upstairs' or to bring in someone who can help with the basics, otherwise we are in danger of wasting the best squad we have had for many many years."
Dean Hughes

"I watched Frank Lampard closely and believe it or not he didn't touch the ball once in the first half!"

"To lose again to a mediocre team is really a worry. We looked like relegation candidates in the second half with a large part of the team lacking in conviction and ideas. Joe Cole was one of few bright spots along with Rio, finally looking like the top drawer defender we know he is. Does this mean he will continue to play in the middle of a back three instead of Stimac? Lets hope so but we all know what will happen. FLJ was his usual anonymous self and if his goals have dried up then he cannot be worth his place. I know he was carrying a knock but Moncur would have been quicker carrying a skip. Pearce and Winterburn combined to make Carr? look like a good player. We cannot afford to have such ageing legs both on the same side of defence. Pearce looks like a ponderous, footballing dinosaur more content with either thumping the ball or the opponent then getting it down and playing. Is a 38 year old the way forward? A fundamental change in attitude and tactics is required, we need to make better use of the substitutes and switch to a back four when required. Unfortunately tactics seem beyond the manager who has taken us as far as he can. If this is the best squad we have had in 20 years , and I believe it is, then the responsibility must be with the management and coaching staff. Perhaps we need to look for a professionally qualified manager or at least coach instead of relying on old boys and nepotism."
Martin Humphreys

"I have to agree with all of the above. What alarms me is the fact that players who are obviously not match fit are being pushed for a full 90 minutes. It doesn't help them and it doesn't help us. You all know how much I adore Frank Junior but last night I think an early bath and bed would have been order of the day. He was not at his best and Harry should have used what is know as a substitute and replaced him. Harry said that he would have to see what he was like before Liverpool Sunday. However, Freddie isn't fully fit and neither is Trevor and sometimes I thought that they looked frustrated.

"I have to add that Rio looked very fit indeed and I certainly think that having Stuart Pearce back there with him helps. He is a marvellous influence on the defence.

"Joe Cole, well he is talent but sometimes he just shows off in all the wrong places and costs us chances. I don't deny he's good but he needs to stop the tricks for a while and concentrate more.

"We need to get ourselves into gear for Sunday, we can do it but Harry needs fit players. He needs to bring some of the youngsters through and stick Frank and the others who aren't 100% on the bench and break them in gently. In that way you don't do them any more damage and don't damage our chances.

"It's all well and good Harry talking about injuries but don't we have depth in the squad now or is that just a rumour flying around?"

"Can't disagree with anything you say (I only saw on TV too). The defence looked pretty robust (effective a back 2 with Lomas so ineffective as a centre half) and dominated aerial possession despite the goal and despite what Harry said.

"But Lampard, Kanoute, Sinclair and Di Canio were just awful. Why Harry did not replace three of them after heads dropped after Solīs goal is beyond me. Moncur would have revitalised us during the last 20 mins (he's always up for his ex-team) and Kitson, although rubbish, couldn't have been worse than Kanoute who looked like sulky Anelka throughout the game.

"Harry can't keep making excuses. Sort out or f*ck off, that's my message."

"I think Harry is making all the wrong decisions. We had at least three players on the pitch who have not recovered from injuries. Kanoute, Lampard and Sinclair and it showed. Don't think it's going to be any better next Sunday against Liverpool."

"One of those rare games that Fox televises for Australians. I thought Kanoute looked OK until the final 1/3 & Joe Cole was by far the classiest player on the field, a mere overstep of the ball ?? All attacking players do that, but to then flick it with the other foot AND run that way as well is impressive. Lampard was a joke & should not have been selected if he was not fit. Rio was outstanding, always with the crucial intercept. For someone who is 36, Winterburn is incredible, he just doesn't stop running. Paolo alas took some poorer options in the second half & failed to shine. For Spurs, they must have said to themselves, 'We have a crap midfield & about 20 million pounds worth of striker in Rebrov, Iversen & Ferdinand, let's just belt the ball down the guts as far as we can.' In fact, if it wasn't for the multitude of corners that Spurs got they would never have gone close to scoring. Our loses are worrying, but I hope that our class will shine soon."

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