Moore than just a match


West Ham United vs Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night is an important game for both teams’ league campaigns, but is important for another, much Moore important reason.

The Irons have been struggling to find any sort of form recently. They have lost 6 of their last 10 league games and are 7 points from the relegation zone. That sounds like quite a gap, but with teams like Newcastle and Southampton starting to put runs together, West Ham will have to do the same if they are to avoid being sucked into the relegation battle.

Tottenham Hotspur seem to be going from strength to strength under Andre Villas Boas. They’re unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League matches and if Gareth Bale keeps playing the way that he has been in the last few games, I see no reason why Spurs’ good run can’t continue. After Monday’s game against West Ham, Spurs have to play Arsenal at home and Liverpool away. Those two games will prove whether Tottenham have the mettle to finish in 2nd place, as some Spurs fans have been murmuring.

Most of the pre match focus will be on one man and one man only – Bobby Moore. The day before West Ham and Tottenham play each other will mark the 20th anniversary of the former England defender’s death. The game will almost be a memorial match for Moore as there will be a minute’s applause before kick-off and at 6 minutes past 8, fans in the Bobby Moore stand will create a mosaic depicting his famous number 6 shirt.

It will be a special occasion for fans and players alike, so the atmosphere at Upton Park will be even more intense than it usually is for a match against Tottenham. It hasn’t been an easy place for teams to go to this season and you only have to think back to games against Manchester City and Chelsea in the Premier League as well as Manchester United in the FA Cup to realise how difficult it can be to get a result at the Boleyn Ground. Spurs will certainly find it difficult, but their quality will most likely shine through. The West Ham players have had a week in Dubai, so they will be recharged and definitely up for the challenge.

Sam Allardyce knows that because of the occasion, all he will have to say to the players on Monday night is this – ‘Win it for Bobby Moore’.

Thomas Baxter