In Ken’s Café Matt has been working the night shift and has only slept for two hours, so Lisa is worried he might not have the energy to swear at the ref with his usual gusto. Michael the Whovian is carrying a sealed box marked ‘fragile’ that he’s picked up from the sorting office, which appears to be a metaphor for our season. DC arrives offering more tickets than Ticketmaster and leaves a single behind Ken’s counter for The Gav (delayed in the Blackwall Tunnel) to collect. The early kick-off is putting a strain on Ken’s resources, as I head off to the game leaving Michael, Matt and Lisa still waiting for their orders.
A lot happens in the first ten minutes. Adrian boots a clearance straight at Kane and the ball bounces just wide of his post. West Ham force a couple of corners and Diame has a header that bounces on top of the bar, while a Spurs break on the right sees Sigurdsson and Eriksen find Adebayor in a good position only to sidefoot tamely to Adrian.
Then the latecomers from Ken’s arrive and Fraser (wearing special end of season blue suede shoes) points out that McCartney is up against Lennon, so he’d better Get Back and may need some Help. From then on it’s all the Hammers and Downing has a great game, getting crosses in and spraying the ball around nicely. Diame is having a fine match too and we start to look like we want it more than Spurs.
Downing races past the defence and is about to get a shot away only to be hauled down by Kaboul. It’s a straight red for the Spurs man and though we celebrate we’re also waiting for Big Sam to start saying, “it’s always difficult to play against ten men.” From the resulting free kick Andy Carroll belts a shot towards the top corner only to be thwarted by a great save from Lloris. From the corner Andy Carroll rises brilliantly at the back post to get in a header that deflects of Kane’s head into the back of the net. Carroll runs to the Chicken Run claiming it, but it goes down as an own goal.
“It’s happened again… it’s happened again… Tottenham Hotspur… it’s happened again!” chants all four sides of the gleeful Boleyn Ground.
OH WHEN THE SPURS GO TWO-NIL DOWN
Downing produces another great cross, Lloris punches clear and then has to make another fine stop from Matt Taylor’s half-volley. This is odd – we’re playing really well. West Ham go two up a minute before the break. Noble is brought down and Downing shoots the free kick straight through Spurs’ feeble wall.
The Bobby Moore Stand is now chanting,“Oh when the Spurs go 2-0 down!” We go in two-nil up at the break, though Nigel does text to say that Spurs were 3-0 down at WBA before coming back to draw 3-3.
Yet the second half begins with more West Ham dominance. Lloris is having a fantastic game. Downing gets another good cross in from the right and the Spurs’ keeper produces a fine save from Diame’s acrobatic overhead kick, before Taylor shoots wide. Andy Carroll then flicks on and Kevin Nolan looks certain to score with a trademark volley only for the keeper to block with his knee.
TIM SHERWOOD WE WANT YOU TO STAY!
There’s something of a carnival atmosphere in the Bobby Moore Stand. There’s a group of fans in surfing shirts waving palm trees with a banner “Hawaiian Hammers We Wear What We Want”, next to the mysterious “West Ham I’ve Got Chickens in my Backyard” banner.
I can see a little bit of hope for next season here. It’s not exactly champagne football, but we’re creating lots of chances and if Downing could play with this confidence in a side that isn’t fighting relegation West Ham might do something.
CAN WE PLAY YOU EVERY WEEK?
Matt has a shout at Diame for dribbling into trouble, just for old time’s sake, but apart from a Soldado volley wide West Ham’s only worry is when Rose dribbles through and Adrian makes a great save to tip it over.
If we could play Spurs every week we’d be top of the league. The sun comes out in appreciation of West Ham securing safety. We go down to the lower East Stand for the lap of appreciation as the players come on with their kids. Adrian does some showboating with a red hat and waves a Spanish flag matador-style before giving his flag to the fans. Fraser almost cheers Big Sam.
A fine day ends with two cigars for Fraser and a trip to the Black Lion where we respect the pint, which is a very good drop of Old Bob, and watch the relegation of Cardiff and Fulham with impunity. It’s been a strange and sometimes infuriating season, but beating Spurs three times is something to remember. And now all we have to do is stop Manchester City winning the league next Sunday.