The pesky international break is over, Premier League football is back, and it’s back with a bang. It returns with a fixture that every Hammers fan looks out for at the start of the season with a mixture of excitement and fear. The Irons travel to White Hart Lane in the hope of getting one over their North London foes.
Slaven Bilic takes his side, who are still waiting to really kick start their season, across the capital to face Mauricio Pochettino’s unbeaten Lilywhites for a clash that will be more than welcomed by fans across the country.
A look through the archives will tell you that Spurs have the edge over the East London side but only just with 79 wins to the Hammers 71. When the pair meet though it tends to be a cracker with 588 goals scored over 199 clashes between these great rivals. And as this weekend’s evening fixture will mark the 200th encounter we here at Shoot! have decided to pick the Irons top five wins over their noisy North London rivals.
In reverse order, hardly a classic on the pitch but one that will stick with the West Ham faithful for a long time to come, The Irons last ever win over Spurs at our famous old home the Boleyn.
The atmosphere was electric and thankfully a Michail Antonio header early on was enough to ensure the Hammers would be celebrating another memorable win at the Boleyn Ground, in what turned out to be a fitting farewell.
At four is a fixture that West Ham fans still talk about to this day, a match that will be forever remembered as ‘Psycho’s day’. It was the summer of 1981 and Ron Greenwood’s men pitched up at White Hart Lane after an opening day 1-1 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion after Ray Stewart bagged a penalty at Upton Park.
Under the lights in North London the Hammers played their rivals off the park and silenced the Spurs faithful. The Irons lined up with an all British XI, much like many teams were in the 1980’s and played some delightful football, with David Cross stealing the headlines bagging four goals in front of a raucous travelling Claret and Blue army.
The pick of the goals was Cross’ hat-trick goal, a typically delightful West Ham move under Greenwood. The Hammers midfield produced a perfect one-touch move many of which were cushioned volleys which eventually found Cross on the penalty spot and the forward shinned the ball home on the volley to put the Hammers 3-0 up and in a dominant position. He wasn’t done there though, his fourth – a somewhat more scrappy finish – sealed a memorable away day win for the Hammers who went on to enjoy a fruitful season finishing in ninth place.
At three, a slightly more recent game and it was another under the lights special, this time at Upton Park. In horrid February conditions in 1997, the Hammers were teetering around the relegation zone in deep trouble and with new investment the Irons were hoping a couple of new strikers could rescue the club from relegation. The players in question, John Hartson and Paul Kitson had arrived at the club with a simple mission to grab the goals to save the club from relegation. A message the duo clearly received going into this fixture.
The weather was horrendous under the Boleyn Ground lights and as so often is the case when wind, rain and hail get involved in a match, it turns into a classic encounter and this was no different.
Spurs took the lead through Teddy Sheringham – who would later go on to become a Hammer in the twilight of his career – planted a header past Ludo Miklosko. The hosts were soon level though through Julian Dicks. Michael Hughes hung a ball up into the wind and Dicks found space to power a header into the bottom corner, it was soon becoming obvious that crosses into the box were going to cause havoc.
Another corner caused further problems for the Spurs back line as Kitson bravely nodded past an onrushing keeper to make it two goals in as many first-half minutes for the Irons. It was turning into a topsy-turvy affair, and Tottenham soon equalized through Darren Anderton (‘sick note’ as he is affectionately known) who latched onto a ball to dink a clever lob over the top of the big Czech stopper to tie the game up at 2-2 in the first half.
There was though to be a fifth before the break as Hartson joined the party, yep, you guessed it another cross into the box, this time by Dicks who produced a sumptuous free-kick from the right wing to allow his new Welsh teammate to head past the despairing Ian Walker in the Tottenham net.
This was turning into a proper classic London Derby under the lights as the hosts lead 3-2 going into the break. It didn’t take long after the break for the night’s sixth goal however as Spurs leveled the game up again just eight minutes into the second half.
Another well-worked goal from the visitors saw David Howell produce the final decisive finish slotting the ball into the corner from just outside the box, following a neat touch from Sheringham to tee up the Spurs midfield man. The Terminator (Julian Dicks) had other ideas though and ended the encounter once and for all and in true Dicksy style too.
Kitson was felled in the box to give the Hammers the chance to retake the lead with 18 minutes remaining on the clock. Up stepped the popular West Ham fullback to use his lead-like left foot to smash the ball into the roof of the net to bring an end to the drama and give the Hammers faithful another memorable night in the East End.
At two is Sam Allardyce’s golden moment as West Ham United manager. Big Sam was not always Mr. Popular in the East End, but he became the toast of the Boleyn one October afternoon in 2013.
The Hammers were in the midst of a relegation battle early on in the 2013/14 season under Allardyce, and the former Bolton manager even described his side as relegation favourites earlier on in that week. With injuries stacking up, the West Ham gaffer only had one choice and his gutsy decision paid off in wonderful style in the North London sunshine. The Irons lined up without a striker and it worked a treat.
In thirteen glorious second-half minutes, the Hammers had ripped up the record books and silenced a boisterous home crowd. Firstly, West Ham United’s centre-half Winston Reid reacted quickest in the box to smash home past Hugo Lloris to give the visitors a deserved one-nil lead to send the West Ham away crowd into raptures, and six minutes later they were in dreamland as Ricardo Vaz-Te latched onto a delightful through ball from West Ham skipper Kevin Nolan to fortuitously slide the ball underneath the French goalkeeper’s legs to double the Hammers advantage.
The hosts were shell-shocked and left in awe of a youngster in Claret and Blue as Ravel Morrison produced a moment of sheer magic to put the icing on the West Ham cake. The former Manchester United academy product picked up the ball inside his own half before finding himself through on the Tottenham goal, he left the Spurs defenders on the floor before dinking a lovely chip over the onrushing Hugo Lloris to send the away end into a state of delirium.
It was striker-less West Ham United 3 Tottenham Hotspur 0. Fourteen years of White Hart Lane heartbreak had come to a majestic end as the Hammers cruised to a vital win in North London.
At one, perhaps not the most memorable for many, but a classic West Ham United moment nonetheless.
It was the final day of the Premier League season; Tottenham knew they needed to win to secure Champions League football. Stepping out onto West Ham station, rumours began to fill the air that the match was to be abandoned due to illness within the Tottenham camp.
A dodgy lasagna, as it was later revealed, left the Tottenham playing staff with a bout of sickness. Still, with it being the last game of the season the show had to go on.
There was a party atmosphere around the Boleyn that day as the Irons prepared for the FA Cup final, their first since 1980, a week later in Cardiff against Liverpool. There was a real sense that something special was going on at West Ham United under Alan Pardew. And just ten minutes into the encounter the Hammers took the lead, with the strike coming from the most unlikely source as Carl Fletcher made the visitors feel that little more sick as he crashed home from range past Paul Robinson to send the West Ham faithful into a frenzy.
Predictably perhaps, public enemy number one Jermain Defoe levelled the scores with a clever finish past Shaka Hislop. And with ten minutes remaining on the clock, the Hammers ended Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League dreams once and for all when clever intricate play involving Nigel Reo-Coker and Marlon Harewood eventually allowed Yossi Benayoun to curl a beauty into the top corner to give the Hammers a deserved 2-1 lead.