West Ham, away day (twice)… aren’t we lucky!
I had an interesting conversation with one of the Travelling Away Spurs Stewards over the PSV Eindhoven game, at the London stadium.
As I stated in my previous article, there was a lot of problems accessing tickets – at the PSV ground – for the travelling Spurs fans. Even I had a problem, questioning my photo with what they were observing in front of them (i.e. me). The Steward told me about the lengths some fans tried to go to purchase a ticket that wasn’t in their name. Such as one person dressing up as a woman, another using his father’s driving licence, the lad was only in his twenties, while his father was in his fifties. There were quite a few tickets left uncollected (a couple of hundred). PSV Eindhoven are going to do the same when coming over here, and Barcelona tried a similar exercise when they also were here. It seems that clubs are trying to find ways to stop supporters purchasing tickets that weren’t officially theirs. Anyway, it is interesting what you learn if you keep your ears open. Not that that knowledge will help me conquer the world or even a small part of it.
Before all that, I visited our new superstore at Tottenham (for the second time), purchased a few items and then made my way to Goodmayes. They have mostly the same items as the previous store had, but a lot more clothing. All spread out in a much bigger store (easy to access and get around). Both times when I went there, there were quite a few people shopping. A lot of the staff – management – I recognised from the old place, and they remembered me (we spent some time chatting).
Got to the ground at 5.30, purchased my programme (you can’t go to a game without getting a programme), then went through West Ham’s thorough checking processes and then made my way to the Away supporters’ entrance. Had something to eat before I went through the turnstiles. It still looked the same – built by Meccano – as it did on previous occasions. There is no way that the West Ham supporters call that truly home. Home has a feeling to it, London stadium doesn’t have that feel or quality about it. It was made for the Olympics, not for football. Daniel Levy said that if Tottenham had purchased it, he would have torn it down and rebuilt a new stadium there. To be honest, it still needs pulling down and redeveloped.
I also noticed that some Spurs fans had utterly wrecked the toilets there. And then after the game, there was a punch-up between both sets of fans, while the police tried to restore order and got caught up in fisty cuffs. Martin, his father and myself made a detour so that we wouldn’t get caught up in it all, anyway, I am jumping the gun a bit here.
Surprise, surprise, for an away match the people in front of me were sat down, and we could actually sit in our seats (as opposed to standing). This helped my arthritis no end.
Before the match, there was a minute’s silence, and then the gladiators embarked on their quest for silverware.
Last season, in the same competition, we were knocked out after being 2-0 up at Wembley. This match was our revenge.
Son Heung-min celebrated his 150th appearance for us with two goals as we eased past West Ham in the Carabao Cup.
Fernando Llorente's left-footed volley confirmed Spurs passage to face north London rivals Arsenal in the quarter-finals, after Lucas Perez had pulled one back for West Ham with a header. But it was South Korea international Son who stole the show, sweeping Dele Alli's deft pass into the top corner to open the scoring. Son then extended Tottenham's lead in the second half, rounding West Ham goalkeeper Adrian after capitalising on a mistake from defender Arthur Masuaku.
Colombia defender Davinson Sanchez was the only player to start from the side that lost to Manchester City in the Premier League on Monday.
Mauricio Pochettino will have been encouraged by the performances of Christian Eriksen and in particular, Alli, who played a prominent role in Tottenham's opening two goals on his first start since the club's third-round win over Watford on 26 September.
Manuel Pellegrini named a strong side after saying he was taking the competition "very seriously", it proved a difficult evening for the hosts.
At times the purposeful running of wingers Michail Antonio and academy product Grady Diangana threatened to unlock our defence but West Ham's end product lacked precision. Antonio got into good positions but was twice denied a first-half equaliser by visiting goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga. And it was only when the Hammers went two goals down, and introduced Marko Arnautovic, that they briefly looked capable of engineering a revival.
But while Perez's header raised the roof inside the London Stadium, West Ham was unable to repeat last term's EFL Cup heroics, when they came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat Tottenham.
We won, to the surprise of many inside the stadium. We thought that Pochettino might have thrown this competition away, so it will be interesting to see what sort of approach he takes when facing Arsenal at the Emirates.
So, there you have it… oh, I forgot to mention the smoke bomb set off by our supporters. Probably in retaliation to the ones that were set off in our previous encounter with them. God knows how they managed to smuggle them into the stadium. I was thoroughly searched, as I said, even my keys were meticulously checked, one-by-one.
Once the final whistle went the cheers from our side was deafening. Then our fans taunted the home side (as per usual). They marched out with their heads between their legs, while we were on cloud nine.
The walk back was painful as my arthritis was playing up and the uneven road surface didn’t help. I got a train from Stratford to Goodmayes, then Hanna picked me up at the station. Stayed for tea, finally getting home at 1.40 pm.
So, that was that and now I must prepare for Saturday’s encounter with Wolves. All good fun.
By Glenn Renshaw